T Nation

Salt Pre-Workout

What do you think of salt before a workout? What are the long-term consequences of having salt in your pre-workout?

Salt is the one thing you should always have before training hard, especially if you ever train fasted. Not having salt before training can put you in the hospital and in general increases the chance of a negative health event occurring during training. I would argue that salt is the only essential “pre-workout” and the only thing, along with moderate hydration that probably decreases your chance of dying during a workout


I agree with Mert. I keep my sodium low and use it similar to how people use low carbs. A little jolt before working out makes for a nice pick-me-up.

1000% agree salt is imperative. I remember when I first got into the vertical diet which is huge on salt. I was a runner and having a really hard time my run times were getting worse and worse. I honestly thought I was sick or something I was actually considering getting blood work done.

I came upon a video Stan Efferding put in the vertical diet about the importance of salt so I watched it and the guy was talking about how 99% of america is salt depleted and the whole “low salt” fad is the worst thing and I never really understood how salt was an electrolyte. Well the guy talked about how he adds a teaspoon of salt to his pre workout drink so I figured why not try it I got nothing to lose…

Well when I did it, I immediately got an amped up feeling I havent felt in a VERY long time. I was soo full of energy and jittery I went for my run and BEAT my BEST time by over a minute. I Was so happy at the end and full of energy I was almost in tears. I realized then that I had probably been extremely sodium depleted for a very long time and that was more than likely what was causing all my problems.


I use a teaspoon of sea salt in my intra-workout shake. I presume that using regular table salt at that amount wouldn’t be great.

What’s in your intro-workout drink?

Depends on how frivolous I’m being with my spending, and if I’ve eaten at all before my workout and what my workout looks like. Specifically, if it’s a higher volume workout I’ll include more carbs.

Generally, without writing out grams,

If I haven’t eaten beforehand
Sea salt
Creatine - not ideal timing, but convenient
Beta alanine - allegedly this has a synergistic effect with creatine but I’ve noticed no difference so once I run out I’m dropping this

If I’ve eaten something beforehand,
EAA (for taste alone as the other stuff tastes bad without any added flavouring)
Leucine, more than in the whey scenario
Sea salt
Beta alanine

Subjectively, I’ve found HBCD to work better for me than cheaper alternatives.

If I’m doing say, Nutty’s Program I’ll “require” (want coughs) heaps of powdered carbs. If I’m doing something with less volume just a scoop will do.

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Thanks, I appreciate the response. I’m terrible about nutrient timing. I really despise have lots of containers of supplements. Right now all I have is creatine monohydrate and some whey isolate. I used to keep plasma in stock but I’ve been trying to just eat more whole foods lately. Is there any product that you feel combines the essentials?

There was a seminar where Stan Efferding was saying you need some kinda carb to transport the sodium, otherwise you’ll just shit it out.

My intraworkout is
Table Salt
Sugar (for taste because straight leucine is gross)

I’m not sure if you are asking me.

If you are, I’ll preface my reply with that as far as the members of this community goes I’m/I’ve probably (been) one of the majoring in the minors people and that I’ve recently been better served by just working harder, and applying myself more seems to have done more for me than all of the supplements I’ve taken. Or maybe it’s starting TRT (which was warranted). Or coming out of a long deficit (also warranted) but I don’t think that the knowledge I’ve acquired is necessarily invalidated by any of that.

But, to answer the question on there being a product that combines the essentials then no, not really. Plazma, obviously, and Surge too. But if you are where I am for instance the prices for either is inflated beyond what is financially sustainable. And that’s why I make my own mix.

If I wanted to do a fresh take on it I’d reread the Biotest articles on Surge/Plazma/Mag-10, and look at the ingredients and macro ratios there, counter-reference the claims against examine.com to see if anything has been disproven or just how strong the scientific evidence is and then maybe again do my own blend again or find a product that is in an adjacent ballpark. The search there would probably begin by visiting any potential vendors that I’m considering and starting out with HBCD or cyclic dextrin as a search term.

Food is good too, though. And sleep.

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You look like you’ve done well enough keeping it relatively simple! :joy:


I disagree.

It’s a given that the sodium is an electrolyte and the chloride is used in other hysiological functions,


The American Heart Association and quite literally all of their literature and recommendations say the opposite of Stan.

If anything, the American diet and population is woefully low on potassium and very high in sodium.

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Yeah I came to view a lot of supplements as snake oil but I’m always open to something that will be aiding my workout and recovery. It’s just I don’t know enough to separate the bullshit so I tend to just abstain and stick with the tried and true.

All I know is my experience and I can tell you even going back to my other thread about heart palpitations. Years ago I suffered from heart palpitations very badly much worse than what I am experiencing now and actually it was partly the salt that stopped them. It was an electrolyte imbalance. Also one thing you see on the american heart association and everything else when you google salt is that it causes high blood pressure.

Well I take in TONS of salt in fact The book the salt fix by the guy James DiNicolantonio
that was mentioned in Stan Efferding’s book talks about how you should have half a teaspoon of salt with every half gallon of water you drink and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past like 2 years and my blood pressure is 118/60 with a resting heart rate of 55 and I am 250 lbs.

Who know’s maybe the salt will come back to bite me I truthfully doubt it though considering I feel the best I ever have in my life and have energy for days. When something makes me feel this good I have no choice but to believe it. Like you mentioned a lot of the population is low in potassium and let me add magnesium. I don’t think it’s the high salt that is causing the problem in society it’s the lack of other minerals that’s causing an imbalance and all the issues as well as just the lazy lifestyle in general.

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HBCD is a gamechanger!

Is there a citation for this stat?

I don’t doubt that or question your experience. I’m looking at a larger picture though and asking myself which school of thought I’m going to camp with–The guy who is real strong (good for him!) but also know for some outlandish claims, or a consortium of MDs and scientists that influence the standards and practices of medicine?

I mean, I like Stan. He reminds me of a whole lot of the big guys I looked up to growing up. But that 99% claim really does fly directly in the face of current dietary and medical advice.

Would having a high sodium intake also count as salt intake or is that entirely different?

Typical table salt and other consumable forms is about 40% sodium, but there are also other substances (sodium bicarbonate, mono, and hydroxide) among others that are used in cooking and food preparation for various purposes.

what about a V8 cocktail per say that a 156 ml can has 300MG sodium but on ingredients says salt used as a seasoning?

Would one or two of those be beneficial or just actual salt? just asking because I have those available by the boat load but don’t have sea salt at work until next run.