Competition Week – What’s On My Plate? (aka: Why Sodium Matters)

This week is the week of my next Strongman competition. Saturday I’m competing in the Strongest Southern Belle. I feel pretty good about my training and I’m ready for the competition. However, competition week brings one thing that every strongman competitor dreads — the weigh in (queue dramatic music.)

 

 

I’m competing in the Lightweight Open class, which means I have to weigh at or under 123.4lbs. I’m pretty lucky that I weigh under 123lbs on any given day. But, I will take a few steps this week to make sure I hit my weight and that there’s no salt-induced surprises on weigh-in day. This week, I’ll watch my sodium intake.

Sodium, or salt, makes your body retain water, which can add up to some extra water weight on the scales. According to the American Heart Association, 98% of Americans eat twice the amount of sodium recommended for a healthy diet. I’m probably guilty of this. Sodium isn’t one of the main items I track in my daily food intake. But this week, I’ll make sure to watch it carefully.

 

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Too much salt leaves you feeling bloated.

 

I never understood how much of an effect sodium had on your body until I played around with it before one competition. And my (unscientific) findings — boy, does it affect your body! One week of reduced sodium and I feel tighter and less-bloated.

This week, I’ll adjust my normal eating habits to reflect a low-sodium diet. Here are a few things I’ll do to reduce my sodium this week:

Lunch Meat: Deli ham and turkey are crazy salty. I’ll skip these and instead use fresh, grilled chicken breasts (more details below) for my meat this week. Oh, and no bacon.

Salad Dressings: These little guys are sneaky salty. Just two Tbsp of salad dressing can pack up to 300mg of sodium (which is 15% of your daily quota.) I’ll steer clear of salad dressings or use low sodium options.

Salsa: I put it on my eggs every day, but jars of salsa are one of the highest sodium offenders. Instead I’ll chop up fresh tomatoes and add them to my eggs or use some of the homemade, no-salt-added salsa my awesome friend made for me this week (thanks, Emily!)

Hot Dogs: I occasionally like to eat some low calorie turkey dogs for dinner (and yes, I realize not many people over the age of 30 eat hot dogs for dinner) But I definitely won’t eat any hot dogs this week. These delicious guys are super high in sodium.

Anything Canned or Any Frozen Meals: On a busy morning, I’ll eat a Special K breakfast sandwich. Not this week. Any frozen meal is going to be packed with sodium. Same goes with canned soups. I’ll wait until next week before I eat either of those.

Nuts: I pack almonds or pistachios as snacks throughout my day. But these are salted and not on my list for this week.

Ketchup: Be careful here, guys. Ketchup, mustard and any sauces are notoriously high in sodium. I’ll skip sauces this week and save the ketchup for my post-competition hamburger.

Reduce my Diet Cokes: (I shed a little tear as I typed that.) Everyone has a vice. This is mine. But, this delicious nectar of the gods unfortunately contains 40mg of sodium. So, I’ll limit my Diet Coke and instead up my water intake.

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Again, I’m not cutting weight for this competition. There’s a totally different technique for that (and that’s a blog topic worthy of its own excruciating post.) This is just a way that I’ll make sure I don’t retain a lot of water and get a shock when I hop on the scales.

So, after reading the list above, you’re probably asking “what WILL you eat this week?” Well, here’s a list of what I’ll focus on eating this week:

Fresh Fruits: I love apples and cutie oranges. They’ll be on my list of go-to foods.

Oatmeal: I’ll eat it for breakfast, but I’ll cut out the brown sugar. Just add my almond milk and fresh berries.

Grilled Chicken Breast: I’ll grill it myself (or volunteer my husband to do it.) That way, there’s no added salt or marinades with high sodium. Use fresh herbs or lemons for flavoring, if you need something.

Peas: I like them. They’re yummy. Just be careful not to add salted butter. There’s sodium in that, too.

Eggs: You already know my house eats about 2-3 dozen eggs in any given week. This week will be no exception.

Potassium-Rich Foods: Foods that are high in potassium can help you get rid of excess water. They’re natural diuretics (foods that help decrease the level of fluid you have in your body.) So, I’ll make sure to add some of the following to my weekly mealsBananas, Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus, Pineapple, Grapes, Lettuce and Kiwi

 

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This week, I’ll focus on my diet. It’s part of my pre-game routine. I want to ensure that come Saturday, my body is running at peak performance level – not bogged down and bloated. And, important side note, I know I won’t see any crazy number on the scales at competition weigh-in.

So, if you see me this week pushing the salt shaker aside, give me a nod in solidarity. ‘Cause you know I’m getting ready for Saturday’s Strongman competition. And just know that for this week, THIS will be the only salt I’ll be partaking in.  (Go ahead and click it, you know you want to….) 🙂

 

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