Muscle cramps from hell

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by garage sale GT, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Do any of you get really bad cramps at night after a ride? I did only about 38 miles, moderate except for the last eleven which were a bit catabolic, last Tuesday. I woke up at night with my muscles tying themselves up into knots that felt like my muscles would tear in half- it really felt like something was gonna give. I had to take epsom salts to be able to sleep again. This happens to me from time to time after a sweaty ride.

    Is this normal? My diet was not so bad! Have I damaged my kidneys so as not to be able to keep enough magnesium in my blood?
     
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  2. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I'm talking LEG muscles. I took epsom salts because they are a source of magnesium you don't have to digest, just dissolve in water.
     
  3. musher

    musher New Member

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    Hi , yes those night cramp can wake you up screaming :eek: ,i ride 50 miles daily & 100 to 170 miles on sunday's in 85 to 95 temperature.No cramps ,what i do " extra magnesium before & after rides ,but the most important is your electrolytes ",i get nine from www.hammernut.com it's call Endurolytes powder add 3 scoops per bottle also i recommend anti-fatigue caps ( potassium magnesium aspartate ). You can also take 1 or 2 scoops of endurolytes with water just before bedtime ,give it a try ,it will help you with you cramps :p , Musher
     
  4. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    I've suffered from these over the years. Probably mainly due to not drinking enough water and early enough.

    Problem came to a head in my first race So I'm thinking of trying the Magnesium myself.
     
  5. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    I've woken up in the middle of the night with a scream on several occasions as the left calf locked up completely.

    Don't get any of that now. I don't take any of the aforementioned remedies - all I do after training is stand on one of those calf-stretching platforms shaped like a V with your heels at the bottom of the V. A minute or so on the platform with bending forward straight-legged to touch my toes a couple of times and BINGO! No more cramps and no money wasted on supplements. Tyson;)
     
  6. noonievut

    noonievut New Member

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  7. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    Too risky, might get mugged.
     
  8. Unbelievably

    Unbelievably New Member

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    I might see ones money being wasted on supplements if ones daily regimen
    consisted of protein shakes 3 times a day. However, IMHO, I believe that if one was to take a protein supplement after any work-out, not only will their recovery time decrease but also the frequency and intensity of the cramping
    should more or less come to an end.
     
  9. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    Is the magenisum stuff you can take, say on the morning of a race to avoid cramp during the race, or do you need to take it regulary?
     
  10. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I don't know about racing. I just recalled reading that Mg is involved in muscle relaxation and is also lost in the sweat, so when I cramp up after a sweaty ride, I take it. I have taken a 250 mg tablet of Mg before a longer ride and had no trouble with diarrhea.

    Supposedly, metabolizing fat and sugar expends Mg, I think, and my diet is not always top notch.

    Those who eat a lot of brown rice or other whole grains plus lots of meat probabaly don't need to worry about it, but when I displayed the symptoms of a deficiency, I took Mg. Apples and some leafy greens are good too.

    You DON'T want to take too much Mg because you'll get diarrhea or can harm your kidneys. Also, it has to be balanced with Ca and P in the correct ratio.

    You DON'T want to take it with or after meals because it will act as an antacid. You won't digest your food well.
     
  11. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Salt substitutes are a good source of potassium if bananas are too dear.

    The correct ratio of magnesium to calcium to phosphorus probabaly does not take perspiration into account.

    I posted mainly because I wondered if it gets that bad for the rest of you. I am concerned for a few reasons that I may have damaged my kidneys. Occasional exposure to lead, that sort of thing.
     
  12. musher

    musher New Member

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    Hi,i have found this article in my files by " Phys Sports Med." www.ultracycling.com/training/cramping.html :D
     
  13. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    Thanks for that link Musher - it confirms what I said.

    UNBELIEVABLY wrote:

    When I said "supplements", I meant little coloured pills in bottles.
    Everyday after my ride, be it in the gym or out on the road, I drink a half pint of fat free milk, half a pint of water, a few spoons of fat free yogurt and a banana mixed up with Whey Protein in a blender to aid recovery.
    If you have a good balanced diet there's no need for all the pills, and I see you live in Japan, so if you eat Japanese food you are probably eating the healthiest diet on the planet. That is, loads of fish, vegetables, tofu, umeboshi, natto etc. etc.
    Throw the bottles away mate, save your money you don't need them.
    And Strettttttttttch! TYSON :D
     
  14. Albert 50

    Albert 50 New Member

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    "The authors of the current hypothesis discount other factors, such as dehydration and electrolyte depletion/imbalance, that we have long thought may contribute to cramps. I argue that these factors, while not the sole cause, are still important. Further, whatever factors cause cramps multiply each other, so that if you can fix even one, you greatly reduce your chances of cramping."

    The above is from the " Phys Sports Med." with the author not discounting totally the electrolyte / dehydration factor regarding cramp.
    I am a profuse sweater whether from working in hot, humid conditions or riding. 20 odd years ago when I played squash you could literally wring the sweat from my shirt after a 5 setter. For many years I suffered from cramp even when I was conditioned to the sport I played at the time. I did little stretching though.

    My experiences regarding minimizing cramp [almost eliminated actually] have been due, IMO, to my use of electrolyte drinks during riding & 1 Mg tablet a day in summer, maybe every 2nd day in winter. I also have a banana a day

    I try not to OD, so it is water only up to about 60 ks, H2O first then elec/lt to about 80ks & all elec/lt above 80ks. I take on board the stretching scenario, even though I do stretch now, I will be more conscious of the need.
    BTW I have very tight hamstrings which has been a common cramp area for me.

     
  15. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    Be careful with the Epsom salts, especially if you are taking it before a ride. Magnesium salts (and Epsom salts is pure magnesium sulfate) are not absorbed very well. If you take very much at one time, they will increase the osmotic pressure in your GI tract, which will pull extra water from the body into the intestines and cause diarrhea. Dehydration is a bigger threat while riding than is a magnesium deficiency. Calcium and potassium deficiencies are more likely to cause cramps while you are riding than will magnesium deficiency.
     
  16. wiredued

    wiredued New Member

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    I agree with Rick calcium citrate can do wonders for leg cramps.
     
  17. 1id10t

    1id10t New Member

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    Thought i'd rehash this thread as i've recently suffered some strange cramping problems. This has happened a few times but only twice at an extreme intensity. The other day (after not having cycled for three days) I suddenly cramped going home on the train. The cramping/pain was so severe I actually passed out. Anyway, the strange thing is it has only happened days after i've had a break from cycling (never during or just after a ride). The pain is always in both legs and tends to affect the quads. On the right leg it is on the outside and on the left leg it is usually on the inside of the leg with a slight pain on the outside. I stretch for a couple of minutes before a ride and try to stretch after a ride. I also do pilates for an hour once a week. I tend to take it easy for the last 10 minutes of my ride and for the first few minutes at the start. I keep fairly well hydrated drinking well before and after a ride and always sipping during a ride. I occasionally take magnesium tablets and my diet excludes fast food and most other unhealthy food (except for the occasional chocolate bar or sweet). I've also had my bike checked for the correct fit. I ended up going to the doctor yeserday and he took some blood samples. He couldn't tell what was causing it. Should get the results in a couple of days. Anyway, was wondering if anyone has had or come across a similar problem. It just seems strange that this only happens when I have stopped cycling for a few days because of other commitments. Any ideas would be great.
     
  18. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    Thats a serious issue, only a doctor should be advising you.

    Edit: Whats everyones opinon on the advice on this page?

    http://www.bodyandfitness.com/Information/Health/legcramp.htm
     
  19. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I agree with the advice concerning calcium, magnesium, and potassium, especially the part about magnesium causing diarrhea. Magnesium supplements need to be taken in small quantities or you will get diarrhea.

    I am not a fan of black cohosh. Ginko and vitamin E will not do any harm, but it is unlikely they will help unless, as some cyclists have done, you have restricted the fat in your diet so much that you become deficient in fat soluable vitamines. A healthy diet is low in fat, but fat should not be excluded entirely. Between 10% and 20% of your daily caloric intake should come from fat (primarily the vegatible fats like olive oil and tree nuts or the coldwater fish oils). With adequate fat intake, vitamine A, E, D, and K deficiencies should not occur.
     
  20. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    Stretching before a ride is not doing anything beneficial for you. Stretching after a ride is helpful in preventing cramping and muscle soreness, but probably will not help in your case. If you were cramping within hours after a ride, stretching after a ride might help, but because you are cramping after a few days rest, I do not think stretching after a ride will help. Daily stretching, especially on days in which you do not ride, might help.

    The other serious cause for cramping that was not covered in the page referenced by mikesbytes is circulatory insufficiency. These cramps, though, usually start in the calf and start while riding. They usually subside shortly after stopping. They are most likely to happen in smokers and in men over the age of 50. If the cramps occur only at rest, then it is highly unlikely that they are related to circulatory problems.

    People who take the "statin" (e.g., Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, etc) or "fibrate" (e.g., Tricor, Lopid, etc) classes of cholesterol lowering drugs are at a higher risk for muscle pain. This pain is different from cramping, but if you had never experienced either type of pain before, it might be possible to confuse the two. Muscle pain from these drugs is not common, but if it does occur, it could be a sign of a more serious problem (rhabdomyolysis), so if you are on one of these drugs and experience muscle pain, you should get checked out by your doctor.
     
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