Thursday, June 16, 2011

Help, I’m CRAMPING!! . . . Are salt tablets the solution for me?

The answer to this question depends on who YOU are.  First we need to identify the source of your cramps.  There are two main categories of muscle cramping; (1) cramping due to the state of your muscles, and (2) muscle cramping due to your nutrition.  This two minute video from Dr. Jordan Metzl will help you understand the basics.

If your cramping is due to nutrition then salt tablets may help.  However, it is important to realize that the solution isn’t simply MORE salt.  The solution is the proper ratio taken at the right time (before you need it and undetected by your body).  If you slam down 2 or 3 salt tablets when you need them, you will likely find yourself bent over at the side of the road nauseous and vomiting. 
Steve Born wrote a solid article outlining the proper balance, the following is an excerpt from that article.  “The solution for proper electrolyte replacement during endurance exercise is to do it gradually and in a way that does not override normal body mechanics. Electrolyte intake needs to be below systemic detection, yet provide support to systemic depression . . . when consuming electrolytes, it has to be done in a way that falls under the "radar detection system" of the body while still providing optimal support.”
So, what should you do??  First determine the source of your cramping then realize that it is important not only to stay hydrated, but also to ensure you maintain the proper electrolyte balance.  If you do this then you will likely avoid the dreaded Hyponatremia. 

I have found that a consistent regiment of ENDUROLYTES by Hammer Nutrition does the trick.  If you want to pickup a bottle use this link for 15% off.
Lessons Learned:
1.      Not all cramping is due to dehydration
2.      More salt isn’t always the answer

1 comment:

  1. Endurolytes personally work for me. On really hot days I would take four tablets before my work out and then halfway through the bike I would take another four, and it seemed to do the trick during my training and most of my runs.