Dan Pfaff, a friend of mine that happens to be a legendary coach and very wise man, sent me an article about muscle cramps and it occurred to me that this is something that could help a lot of people that suffer from chronic muscle cramps during competition.
How to solve muscle CRAMPING:
Despite popular opinion, (and sales campaigns of sport drink companies) cramps do not come solely from electrolytes depletion, it's more complicated than that. Electrolytes play a large role in performance and are not to be taken lightly, however, on the subject of hydration and cramps- their is another culprit.
Before you decide you have a cramp problem you need to rule out the possibility of having basic hydration problems. Hydration is not just how much water you have drank today or even in the last three days, it's more complicated than that. Factors for hydration include the average from the last 4-7days of; stress levels, work output, quality of food eaten, sleep quality, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, tissue recovery, mindset, water intake, electrolytes, sugar intake, caffeine intake, and much more. In fact, for every coffee, juice, soda you drink- you need to match with 1.5x the amount in water. One of the most hydrating drinks available is milk(chocolate works) due to the influx of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
If you are taking care of business in all of the factors mentioned above it is certainly possible that you have a true cramping issue. Muscle cramps are actually distorted neural signaling between an athlete’s muscles and the spine. The miscommunication between the two causes the misplaced firing that locks an athlete up. When you’re fatigued, the motor reflex responsible for sending a “relax” signal to the spine becomes tired. When this happens, the “contract” signal keeps firing, and muscles become stuck.
It has be proven in research that pickle juice and mustard can help defeat cramps. They contain molecules called ion-channel activators, which trigger nerves in the digestive system. These activators are why spicy foods feel hot. Just don’t expect it to taste like your favorite energy gel.
The activators in pickle juice and mustard simultaneously calm nerves in other parts of the body that are responsible for muscle contraction. A Nobel Prize–winning neuroscientist and a Harvard neurobiologist are to credit for discovering an antidote. MacKinnon and Bean, with their team, have poured over 80 million dollars into research on the subject matter. Products like Hot-Shot and Pickle Juice Sport do a great job delivering an effective solution for those that suffer from cramps. Originally Developed in 2001 with the dual purpose of replenishing electrolytes lost during strenuous exercise and addressing muscle cramps, The Pickle Juice Company has evolved to develop the most effective formula possible to address the neurological elements that directly lead to muscle cramping as well as replenishing electrolytes that contribute to hydration. Another alternative is mixing up some pickle juice with mustard and your chances of cramping up are minimal at best.
Enjoy you mustard and pickle juice!
Bobby Stroupe RSCC*D
APEC Founder I President