muscle cramps: how to avoid them?

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rohaimie
Posts: 117
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 5:23 am

by rohaimie

bobalou wrote:
rohaimie wrote:hi,Does medicated oil or plaster really works? Esp for cramp after a hard climbing or race??


I'd be surprised if it did but .. a massage definitly will help, that and good stretching before and after.

I'm keeping a log on this because I've cramped up more this year then any other. I think it's because I'm pushing harder then ever and going anarobic. Once you deplete the glycogen in the muscles then cramping can occur. I think it will improve with training, but good recovery food (the sooner the better after a hard ride) and massage will help. Not sure about the oil thing. What oil you talking about anyway?


i went to the doctor and he gave me a bottle of medicated oil claim used for relief of muscle cramp.So far,after rubbing it,feel only hot for moment and soon after,my muscle cramp came back.yes,i agreed with you on the massage thing.definately help in some ways.
italian bikes rules!

bobalou
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Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 6:05 am

by bobalou

rohaimie wrote:
bobalou wrote:
rohaimie wrote:hi,Does medicated oil or plaster really works? Esp for cramp after a hard climbing or race??


I'd be surprised if it did but .. a massage definitly will help, that and good stretching before and after.

I'm keeping a log on this because I've cramped up more this year then any other. I think it's because I'm pushing harder then ever and going anarobic. Once you deplete the glycogen in the muscles then cramping can occur. I think it will improve with training, but good recovery food (the sooner the better after a hard ride) and massage will help. Not sure about the oil thing. What oil you talking about anyway?


i went to the doctor and he gave me a bottle of medicated oil claim used for relief of muscle cramp.So far,after rubbing it,feel only hot for moment and soon after,my muscle cramp came back.yes,i agreed with you on the massage thing.definately help in some ways.


Something I'm starting to learn about myself, .. I probably sweat more then most people, but a bigger part of that is how much salt you lose in sweating and is it being replaced. Aparently, some people lose more salt then others and this will effect electrolyte balance greatly. Salt loss can vary on a factor of 10 from one person to the next (From what I read!).

My next experiment (because I've tried extra potassium which didn't help so far) is to add more salt to my hydration .. maybe half a teaspoon per liter.

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Bruiser
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by Bruiser

2 minute noddles contain heaps of sodium.
Rinse them in boiling water to remove the oil them add the sodium rich flavouring.

Brian

cabia2002
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by cabia2002

Potasium(K) is no all, If you have salts problems you also need Magnesium(Mg) and Sodium(Na), it is neccesary to have a salts balance in the body.
Use a litle more Na (standar salt) in food and eat also some nuts (Mg) (only 3 o 4 every day) apart from the the bananas(K).
Regards
It's more importatnt how to arrive that arrive.

bobalou
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by bobalou

Thanks for the feedback folks.. on noodles, Mg, nuts, etc! :D

I did the first randonneur series (200k) and it went fairly well. Energy wise, not a problem, I had energy to spare at the end. I purposly never went anarobic and generally kept the heart rate under 150 with peaks about 165.

Nevertheless, I STILL %$%&* CRAMPED at about 95 miles. Had to take a 30 minute stop, clothes change and massage to keep going. I took it real easy until the next stop (105 miles) where I hydrated more, drank some tomato juice and ate some potato chips. Tomato juice has lots of sodium, more then a "V8" for example. The woman at the stop told me to drink tonic water which has "quinine" in it. She said she swore it would help cramps.. but she may have just been trying to sell some old tonic water! I actually took her up on it but don't know if it made a differenc. At any rate, no more cramps the last 20 miles. :)

I'm looking into buffered salt tablets.. supposedly the real crapola for combating cramps, I think salt is my basic problem.

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Cyco
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by Cyco

Tonic water will be good for the cramps. Quinine is the chemical you are after (Quinate is a trade name). I prefer the tablets as I don't like the taste of tonic water.
Success is how far you you bounce back up after being knocked down

bobalou
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by bobalou

Cyco wrote:Tonic water will be good for the cramps. Quinine is the chemical you are after (Quinate is a trade name). I prefer the tablets as I don't like the taste of tonic water.


I'll look into those quinine tabs if my current solution doesn't work. Tonic water tastes like crap, plus it's carbonated (not good for exercise I think).

So far my new experiment is working: Someone told me about "thermotabs". Buffered salt tablets basically. Used two on a hard ride today (about 45 minutes apart) .. I was trying to get cramps and going anarobic.. no cramps! Yeah!! These tablets are supposedly popular with triatheletes.

regopsp22
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by regopsp22

Cramps are caused by something 'mad' happening with your nerve synapses, that's the extent of my knowledge ;) but, the nerve signaling in your body, and thus the majority of the neuromuscular actions in the body are controlled by ions as stated by previous posters. There seems to be a mis-conception that all salt is bad for you when in fact it's crucial for life! There should be sufficient salt in a regular diet (perhaps more due to the excess use of salt in preservation of conveinience foods), however in warmer conditions, or after prolonged periods of activity we sweat all these nice ions out, hence the salty taste to our sweat. The cure is thus to ingest some salt! Or an "electrolyte" mixture as they're branded.. Lo-salt has both Potassium and Sodium in it, and potassium is also plentyful in nana's! I suppose nuts are good when riding, they're so will give sustained energy release too.

WillRide4Food
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Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 7:44 pm

by WillRide4Food

PT1
While I never addressed these issues for road riding my road riding results have certainly improved. However where I used to get cramps was on extreme mountain biking XC on hot smog stinky days. Exacerbating the problem was also from not wearing proper cycling clothes. Cycling jersey's make a huge differerence in delaying onset. The cramps when experienced mountain biking were very bad, complete loss of leg control where it would just unexpectedly and rapidly extend. Usually 3-5 minutes were needed just to stop screaming and get girly man use of the leg and the problem would repeat with just a moderate effort.

My solution for a healthy early 30's guy eating more than well enough, but with an above average sweaty salt profile, do you salt stain clothes, have a salt mustache or feel salt on your skin??? Yes, then you must replace and have it avaliable.

WillRide4Food
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 7:44 pm

by WillRide4Food

PT2

Cramps Solution
Magnesium Citrate 150mg, 1 pill every day and 2-3 during hot summer and intense rides. Also taking a pill just before exercise\during when it felt like I maynot have taken enough. My family and I avoided salt and while this is usually a good thing for me I clearly needed salt. So I throw a little here and there when not eating food with loads of salt in it. I also take an A-Z vitamin daily and Zinc 50mg (for good blood oxygene and muscle building, not cramp related) as well as a "Magic Calcium pill", which is calcium and a few other things that susposedly help the body take up calcium.

I also do eat the Gels before and sometimes during riding and usually eat a bar. Aside from that I do give great credit to my sports drink Eload, www.eload.net. which I take with it's extra pills.

With this my cramping problems have been eliminated.

Hope this helps.

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Tippster
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by Tippster

For a quick solution why not salted crisps?
"Ride it like you've just stolen it!"

smallfish101
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Location: AUSTRALIA

by smallfish101

I have read the threads through with interest. The bottom line is that all of the contributors are correct in some form or other and this just shows how complex it all is. It is important to realise that some " therapies" out there are dangerous. I am specifically referring to Potassium - on one of the replies there was a query of Potassium tablets. These do exist, but for very specific medical treatments, and without wishing to be too alarmist, potassum overdose is a highly effective method of suicide. Be assured though that you will not get overdosed from bananas.

The commonest electrolyte deficiency in exercise junkies is magnesium. This also often causes night cramps or cramps unrelated to exercise. Especially if you sweat a lot. The supplements are good but be aware that like iron and calcium, some of the cheaper ones contain forms of the elements that do not absorb well. A good supplement will have all the extras you need e.g. Calcium, magnesium, zinc etc. in readily absorbable formats.
It is very unlikely that anyone is sodium / salt deficient unless they drink gallons of water with no electrolyte content. The western diet has way too much sodium anyway. Salt tablets are unnecessary and can be dangerous.

Also remember that cramps on a long ride can be due to not varying the rhythm - if you cruise along at a steady pace in a steady gear, a sudden change e.g. a climb or sprint can provoke a cramp. Alter the cadence by changing up or down for short intervals to break the monotony, especially if you know there is a sprint coming up.

Sorry about the lengthy diatribe.
GO HARD OR GO HOME

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Bruiser
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by Bruiser

It was a good read.

Cheers

Stevie Boi
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Location: Scotland

by Stevie Boi

I had a similar problem to this and I eventually overcame it when I started doing more stretches/warm up exercises before a race than I had been doing previously. Now I never get cramp.

Steve

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manny
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by manny

I was informed that muscle contraction and expansion is controlled by the electrolytes potassium, magnesium and sodium. They are also more efficiently absorbed by the body in the absence of sugar, carbs or protein. There is a product called elyte that contains potassium, magnesium and sodium without anything else. It works well to avoid cramping but during long rides you need an alternative source of carbs, by the way the stuff tastes like saltwater, not very good taste, but it works.

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