Issue #2


by HardFitness

2005 Ironman Review by HardFitness

2005 Ironman Expo by HardFitness

Breast Augmentation by Darlina Acampora

Becoming a Fitness Competitor
by Kristi Willis

Julie Lohre Interview
by Julie Lohre

Sodium in Your Diet
by Shelly Pinkerton

Alexis Ellis Overall Winner of the 2005 Ironman Video Interview Footage from Sunday after her victory.

Recipe: Breakfast Frittata by Amy Peters

Pictorials featuring Monica Martin, Carina Dupree, Darlina Acampora, Alexis Ellis and Andrea Dumon

Diuretics and Alternatives
by Sandra Del Vecchio

Rising Star Video Interview: Andrea Dumon NPC Figure from Arizona 2005 Ironman short class competitor

Show Schedule for 2005
by HardFitness

Contest Prep Diet and Supplement Schedule by Kristi Wills

Measuring Body Fat by Shelly Pinkerton

Secrets to Achieving a Leaner Physique by Linda Cusmano

Road to the 2005 Ironman by Andrea Dumon

Future Fitness Star: Mandy Polk 19 years old by Mandy Polk

Abby Eyre, Pro card contender Interview by Abby Eyre

How to Gain Natural Muscle by Kelly Burke Jennings

Sodium in your Diet by Shelly Pinkerton

When JC asked me to write about sodium, I had to pause. When I think of sodium, I think of reading nutrition labels at the store. I'm sure you all do it too – check for calories, fat, protein, carbs, sugar – and sodium. But the interesting thing I realized is that I don't give sodium the same amount of criticism as I do the others. I have the understanding, like most health-conscious women, that the use of sodium can be, and often is, abused. And, like most good moms, I recognize that most of the fast and pre-packaged food targeting our children are jammed with ridiculously high amounts of sodium in the form of shelf-life-prolonging preservatives. I avoid these “quick fixes” wherever and whenever possible, I prepare fresh, wholesome meals for my family, and I keep my intake of salty foods to a minimum. As any normal, health-minded woman would. But when it comes to the specific disciplines of bodybuilding, figure and fitness competition preparation, sodium becomes a much more critical part of the picture.

First, some facts about sodium. Sodium is the 4th most abundant element on earth. Sodium is a mineral that is needed by the body to regulate blood pressure and blood volume. Sodium also assists in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves. Sodium occurs naturally in most foods; for example, milk, beets, and celery all have sodium. It is also present in drinking water, although the amount varies depending on the source of the drinking water. Sodium used as a preservative in packaged foods is monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite and sodium saccharin. Other forms of sodium are baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and sodium benzoate. They may be more familiar as ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion salt, garlic salt, and bouillon cubes. Processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, and ham, and canned soups and vegetables are all examples of foods that contain added sodium.

For individuals who are sodium-sensitive, an increased intake of sodium may contribute to high blood pressure, so people with a pre-existing condition may be advised to be extra cautious with their consumption of salty and processed/packaged foods. Reducing sodium can also reduce the side effects from certain prescription medications. Dietary sodium is measured in milligrams (mg). The most common form of sodium used is table salt, which is 40% sodium. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences recommends an approximate daily range of 1,100 to 3,300 milligrams of sodium for the average adult. The American Heart Association recommends that for every 1,000 calories of food consumed, the sodium intake should be 1,000 milligrams and should not exceed the 3,000 milligram limit. You may be shocked to know that the average intake in the United States is between 4,000 and 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day – a frightening statistic that is a direct result of a fast-paced society always looking for the quickest fix. (

Photo by Sandy Spears

Now I’d like to talk about sodium as it relates to training, diet and show prep. It may come as a surprise to some of you that in my regime I do not cut sodium from my diet, even in the last few days before competition. Understand, I am not taking in much; just the given amounts found naturally in chicken breast, yams, oatmeal, and the usual stuff. I use condiments like ketchup, BBQ sauce, low-sodium soy sauce, sugar-free jam and sugar-free syrup, right up to the big day. Being relatively new to the industry, I hadn't given it much thought until now. Curiosity piqued, I consulted my trainer, semi-pro super heavyweight bodybuilder Tony Dodd of Tailor Made Physiques, and heroes what he had to say.

The theory is that pulling sodium out of your diet keeps you from retaining water, which is the bane of all competitors. Therefore, cutting sodium triggers the diuretic process. However, since 70% of muscle tissue is water, if you take out too much you run the risk of depleting your muscles – going “flat”. Sodium helps with proper and effective skeletal muscle contraction; it also gives muscle the fullness and tightness needed for a beautiful, well-rounded physique. “It’s all in the timing,” says Dodd. “What you want to do is start monitoring sodium intake to 200 – 300mg per day three days prior to your contest, and then watch it the day of the show – depending, of course, on how you look. Remember, taking sodium out completely will inhibit the diuretic process. Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, always said, ‘You cut the sodium, you cut the muscle.’ Figure competing is about shape and symmetry, muscle fullness and roundness and curves. Taking this into account, if you cut too much sodium from your diet you cut the essentials needed to win a competition.”

The important part is knowing how much sodium intake – or depletion – is right for you. Experimentation and observation is the key, and the able assistance of a seasoned trainer is always helpful. (Tony has been training women for competitions and pageants for over 18 years. If you'd like to talk with him more about his philosophy and techniques you can reach him through his website –













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About the Author...

Shelly Pinkerton CPFT & National-level Figure Competitor

I grew up in rural northern California where extracurricular activities were few and far between - I can remember my mom driving two to three hours a day to get me to gymnastics and ballet lessons. Naturally athletic and blessed with good genetics, I involved myself in all school sports and cheerleading, and when I started college at CSU, Chico, I found myself joining my first gym and learning about weight training – I was hooked!

After my son was born in 1992 I became certified to teach group fitness and shortly after attained my personal training certification. I have been working with people to improve their lifestyles ever since. In 2004, after a difficult move to Southern California, I accepted a new challenge – figure competing – and found renewed personal satisfaction and success. I plan to continue to share my passion for fitness with others by helping them develop their own happy, healthy lifestyle through my personal training business, BodyWise Total Fitness, and through my experiences in figure competing.

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