Leg Cramps

Discussion in 'Health Nutrition and Supplements' started by chasbwdc, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. chasbwdc

    chasbwdc New Member

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    Rode my first Century the other day. It was very hot and there were many hills. About half way through I experienced severe leg cramps, especially when doing hills. Any suggestions on how to avoid this condition?
     
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  2. rparedes

    rparedes New Member

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    Check the nutrition threads...
    http://www.cyclingforums.com/health-nutrition-supplements/477409-cramps.html

    Potassium, magnesium supplements help...Hydration... proper fuel. Some say Tums helps (calcium); also Stim-O-Stam (sulphates)
    For me, magnesium was the key...
     
  3. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    You said it was your first century. Were you in good enough shape for the speed and terrain? Were you eating and drinking properly during the ride?
     
  4. Funseeker

    Funseeker New Member

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    According to the trainers and PTs the primary cause of leg cramps is inadequate physical conditioning for the task. Following that thought, as you gain physical conditioning the cramps will cease.

    Certainly nutrition plays a part. But for most of us as long as we stay hydrated and eat a regular diet it is a minor part as compared to physical fitness.

    That is the advise I was given and it has proven to be correct. I personally do not know anyone who is fit and also suffers from leg cramps unless they stress their legs beyond their fitness level.
     
  5. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    For me, in this order - ymmv:

    1. Electrolytes. Eating a bag of Doritos (sodium content) will cure my cramping much quicker and with more efficacy than drinking water alone.
    2. Hydration. Always important during long rides in warm weather. Longish rides in cooler temps don't cause me to cramp regardless of hydration schedule.
    3. Fitness. I've got enough miles/kilometers in my legs such that this aspect would more than likely not be the cause of my cramping.
     
  6. wooliferkins

    wooliferkins New Member

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    Hydrate properly.
     
  7. Funseeker

    Funseeker New Member

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    Many time hydration is emphasized in relation to a variety of physical symptoms. That is good advice, even I mentioned it. But, it is only good advice in context of Proper Hydration.

    The negative effects of too much water are significant. Add to that the effects of the various sweeteners, minerals and chemicals in some "performance drinks" and those negative effects are magnified.

    Certainly there are some Rules of Thumb that are good starting points. But what is proper hydration for an individual can only be determined by experimentation.
     
  8. gbsbrad

    gbsbrad New Member

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    Gatorade gives me almost instant relief! When I finish my ride the first thing I do when I get in the house is make a big glass and chug it. I read on Web MD that it replaces nutrients in your body that causes the cramps and I've been a believer every since. I buy the powdered Gatorade because it's much less expensive.
     
  9. Chapeau!

    Chapeau! New Member

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    When you have muscle cramps, your body is probably yearning for potassium, magnesium and calcium - the trio of minerals that helps to regulate activity in your nerves and muscles. These simple and accurate steps will help restore the trio minerals in your body, regaining your muscle's strength and abilities.

    Stay hydrated.

    If your using a supplement such as creatine, don't.
     
  10. riptoff

    riptoff New Member

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    I get cramps at night, not while riding; the last 3 nights have been hell. I am 68 and have ridden about 50km, 70km and 100km over the last 3 days. Apparently age is a factor, but I would dearly like to know if there is a remedy.
     
  11. rparedes

    rparedes New Member

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    Try a Potassium and Magnesium combo supplement. It stopped mine...
     
  12. bubsy

    bubsy New Member

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    Yes if your cramping at night magnesim will solve that 200-500mg, however cramping during intense exercise is much harder to pin point and fitness or lack there of is usually the main culprit.
     
  13. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Since this was your first century ride I'd say the likely culprit is lack of training.

    If you incorporate a good number of really hard 3 to 4 hours rides, in a similar terrain, in your training then you'll have no problems with just riding a century event. You'll also get a really good idea about what works and what doesn't with regards to on-the-bike nutrition.

    You can't expect to ride for a few hours during training at only a moderate pace and then expect to ride for double that an not experience issues, especially the first few times you try. If you start to think about even longer events - like double centuries or longer then there does seem to be a cutoff at around 5 to 6 hours per training session and any more than that is just "butt getting used to saddle and testing for positional woes" time and not actually increasing althletic performance per-se. Even RAAM (Race Across AMerica) riders rarely train more than 6 hours.

    For shorter events like centuries, which still represent a significant challenge, you really do need to get a nice base of training around 60 to 80 miles to where you can complete that distance with relative ease at a reasonable speed. The old default of "train upto 3/4's of the distance at a bit faster than you intend to ride" works well. The key words there are speed and distance and you need to balance both. Speed is actually important. The faster you can average - the less time you spend on the bike during the ride and the less you'll suffer from being sat on the bike for far too long. It doesn't take a massive amount of training to raise your average from 15 to 17mph, if you're more of a recreational cyclist, but that'll shave about an hour off your final time which means an hour less you're leaning against the bars pedalling.

    Since you experienced more problems on the hills, did you have gearing low enough to allow you to ride up the hills seated without having to really push hard on the pedals? Last year when I did the first Alta Alpina challenge (198 miles and lots of climbing at altitude) I made sure I geared for the "worse than worst case" scenario. That scenario was "175 miles hitting the hard stuff on the final climb which included a ~7.5% section for almost 8miles, into a cold headwind, with cramps and bonked" I had 30x32 - and I weighed ~175lbs and could keep 300 watts going for a few hours - I was reasonably fit. Contador rode a 32 sprocket in the Giro in 2008 on a few stages. There's no shame in having a nice "bail out gear" if needed.

    If this was an organized century ride then you probably did consume more than enough to complete the course comfortably. On a couple of organized centuries that I've ridden - like the Death Ride - I'd say that more people eat and drink too much rather that too little, especially given the number of rest stops on the course.
     
  14. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Isn't eating Doritos on the bike during a long ride on a hot day like getting a mouthful of sawdust?
     
  15. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    Uhh, yeah, sure, sounds about right and makes perfect sense...
     
  16. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    It ain't me picking quite possibly the driest food on the planet to solve a problem that shouldn't have existed in the first place. Are you still eating and drinking like it's 1892?

    Cramp due to electrolyte loss should be a non-issue for someone who has a clue and doesn't race long/hard stage races in the summer or massively long endurance events - something like the Furnace Creek 508.
     
  17. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    yawn...quite obviously your cycle must be starting in a day or two evidenced by your comments to other members in several subsects of this forum...go away, please...
     
  18. ellno#1

    ellno#1 New Member

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    I'm sure you will find a whole host of good suggestions/answers here, my input is this.

    Always remember to "eat today" for your intended "activity tomorrow", Magnesium-Calcium-Potassium in natural sources, the old banana or three is a wonder for the athlete and make sure your Hydration is adequate. If you find it difficult to eat while riding, mash said banana's and place in doubled up glad wrap parcel, all that is required after that is to take said parcel out of your back pocket, bite into the glad wrap and suck out the contents, easy as............?
    More time spent training over such a distance should be your target, ride with an MP3 Player but not so loud you can't hear the tintop coming up behind, if that is not possible a weekly distance should be a minimum of 350/450 kilometres.
    There is a preperation that contains all the essential nutrients and that is available in most Health Food Shops, it is called "MUSCLE RESUSCITATION' by "Herbs Of Gold" and has all the essentials that you will need, it can be added to the water bidden and consumed during training and just to be sure to be sure to be sure, have a half a teaspoon of this in a 600ml glass of water before and after training, but don't over do the consumption of this product, like all things there is a limit to how much one should consume and if in doubt go and see a sports nutrition specialist.
    I know this could cost you some cash but it is better to be safe rather than sorry and it also depends on how much you want to do better/suceed in this acivity, if it is your chosen sport.
     
  19. NMCycling

    NMCycling New Member

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    Stay hydrated and eat bananas
     
  20. GetSetGoSports

    GetSetGoSports New Member

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    How would creatine affect his situation?
     
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