Are You Getting Enough Potassium?

When it comes to blood pressure and heart health one of the most common recommendations is to reduce your sodium intake. You often hear people saying “I need to cut down how much salt I eat”. But you rarely hear people saying “I need to get more potassium”. A new study from Boston University shows that people who have increased potassium intakes have reduced rates of cardiovascular disease.

What Are The Recommended Daily Allowances?

According to the Institute of Medicine (2005) the RDA for sodium is 2400mg and the RDA for potassium is 4700mg. That’s almost a 1:2 ratio of sodium to potassium and that’s what would be desired according to them. However, according to the Food Safety Authority in Ireland our RDA for sodium is 4000mg and RDA for potassium is just 2000mg. That’s a 2:1 ratio of sodium to potassium. Heart disease is a very common problem in Ireland. I wonder why? I don’t know about you but I’m going to side with the Institute of Medicine and researchers at Boston University on this one.

What The Boston Study Found

The scientists followed over 2,000 people, ages 30-64, and tracked their eating and health data over 12 years. When the study started, none of these folks had cardiovascular disease. They found that the more potassium people ate, the less risk of cardiovascular disease they had. Specifically, risk was elevated at potassium intakes of less than 2500 mg, but began to drop once people were eating more than that.

This is just another example of how you can improve your diet by adding something to your nutrition. In this case it’s potassium. Instead of cutting something out like almost every diet out there. It’s not my place to tell you reduce your sodium intake but it’s worth looking at what kind of ratio you might have.

Where Can You Get More Potassium?

Many fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, and legumes are packed with potassium. For perspective, here’s a shortlist of how much potassium a typical serving of a few popular foods contain. (List taken from

  • Potato (1 medium): 926 mg
  • Acorn squash (1 cup cooked): 896 mg
  • Spinach (1 cup cooked): 839 mg
  • Butternut squash (1 cup cooked): 582
  • Plain lowfat yogurt (8 ounces): 573
  • Sweet potato (1 cup cooked): 572
  • Kiwifruit (1 cup): 562
  • Clams (3 ounces): 534
  • White beans (½ cup cooked): 480
  • Cantaloupe (1 cup): 473
  • Banana (1 medium): 452
  • Soybeans (½ cup cooked): 443
  • Grapefruit (1 fruit): 415
  • Carrots (1 cup): 410
  • Milk (1 cup): 382
  • Pinto beans (½ cup cooked): 373
  • Lentils (½ cup cooked): 366
  • Kidney beans (½ cup cooked)
  • Split peas (½ cup cooked): 355
  • Navy beans (½ cup cooked): 354
  • Tempeh (½ cup): 342
  • Edamame (½ cup cooked): 338
  • Mandarin oranges (1 cup): 324
  • Cauliflower (1 cup raw): 320
  • Red bell pepper (1 cup raw): 314
  • Raisins (¼ cup): 307
  • Black bans (½ cup cooked): 306
  • Pork (3 ounces): 303



Training Splits

Which Training Split Is Best?

The answer to that question will be different for everyone. It all comes down to time available to you. Once you know how many training sessions you can do consistently every single week you can then make a plan of action. Obviously training once is better than no training at all. But training every single day isn’t optimal either. There is a balance that needs to be struck in your training week. There are loads of training splits out there. You could do whole body workouts, upper-lower workouts, push-pull-legs or body part splits etc. What it comes down to is the amount of time you have to fit training in and also what your goal is. 3 or 4 sessions per week is probably best. 5 or more and you really would need to make them a lot smaller and less intense. Most people just don’t have that kind of time either.

Choosing A Split

Before we choose a training split we first must make sure that it takes the following points into consideration.

  • Does the split provide enough frequency for each muscle group?

Ideally you want to train each muscle group two or three times a week. Annihilating each muscle group like in a bodybuilding style format probably won’t work optimally for the majority of people.

  • Will one workout negatively impact the following workout?

If you trained your back on a Monday you would have also used the other pulling muscles in your arms, your biceps and forearms. To then try and train biceps on a Tuesday will mean you won’t have as much energy in the biceps and so you can’t train that muscle optimally. This is an example of negative impact.

  • Is there enough recovery time between workouts?

Generally speaking the three variables in training are frequency, intensity and volume. Normally you would have two higher and one lower. All three together are incredibly tough on your body and would hurt your powers of recovery. If you want to train often and intensely (lifting relatively very heavy loads) you need to lower the amount of volume in each session. Train often with lots of volume means you won’t lift as intensely. And training intensely with lots of volume means you’ll need to reduce training frequency. Depending on how you want to train you can gauge how much recovery is needed.

Before we look at the different splits let’s get one thing out of the way. If you can only train once or twice per week you should do whole body training. Don’t even think about doing a different split. When you can do three sessions or more you can look at something else. Let’s get into it.

Whole Body Workouts

If you have time for 3 sessions in the week whole body could be good for you. You could train Monday-Wednesday-Friday with the weekend off. Or you could do Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. A typical session might include a lower body movement, an upper body pull and an upper body push. To fill it out you could do some core work or isolate arms or shoulders. Each session could vary the the exercises for each muscle group where you could have an A, B or C workout or you would switch between A and B from week to week. Every muscle group is trained frequently and you would adjust the intensity or volume without negatively affecting the following workout. A day rest between sessions as well as two consecutive rest days allow enough recovery.


If you have 4 training days you could use the upper/lower split to hit everything hard twice per week. It could look like this;

  • Monday – Upper 1
  • Tuesday – Lower 1
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – Upper 2
  • Friday – Lower 2
  • Weekend – Rest

You can train with a higher intensity in each session as there will be very little, if any, negative impact on the following session. There’s only 2 sessions for each set of muscle groups so you can up the volume here also as there is enough recovery. If you aren’t a fan of training legs put abs or core work in here as well. that way you won’t have to spend the entire session on lower body muscles. And who doesn’t love training abs!?


This split is popular as it allows you to really focus on each session because they’re so different. You would have 3 training days or if you have a fourth you would just repeat the cycle. The problem I have with this split is that it only hits each muscle group once per week if training 3 times. Rather than making a possible fourth day the next workout in the cycle I would make it a whole body day. That allows you to work all body parts twice per week. I would set the week up like this;

  • Monday – Whole Body
  • Tuesday – Rest
  • Wednesday – Legs
  • Thursday – Rest
  • Friday – Push or Pull
  • Saturday – Opposite of Friday
  • Sunday – Rest

All 3 splits will work well, it really would come down to the effort you put into your training. What to do in each session, exercises to use, reps, sets etc is more complicated and depends on your goals. That’s what people pay me for! The main thing is finding a training routine that you enjoy and are motivated to do. If you hate your training routine you won’t stick to it. Find what you like and make progress!