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Old 03-13-2011, 11:39 AM   #1
itaborai83
Join Date: May 2010
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Brazil
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Cramping

I've been having some troubles with cramping for a while now. I've been sweating profusely in classes from a combination of factors such as using a heavy gi, high summer temperatures and training hard. I've had recently a severe cramp on my right calf that left me screaming with pain on the mat for some (seemingly endless) minutes. Scared the sh*t out of me.

I'm reasonably fit, but sometimes it feels like my body is simply shutting down and I'm left afterwards with a nasty headache that may last a day. Gatorade alleviates the problem. I suppose going easy would do the trick, but I'm afraid of feeling like a sham.

I'm wondering if someone else here had to deal with this sort of thing. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

regards,
Daniel
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:17 PM   #2
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Daniel Itaboraí wrote: View Post
I've been having some troubles with cramping for a while now. I've been sweating profusely in classes from a combination of factors such as using a heavy gi, high summer temperatures and training hard. I've had recently a severe cramp on my right calf that left me screaming with pain on the mat for some (seemingly endless) minutes. Scared the sh*t out of me.

I'm reasonably fit, but sometimes it feels like my body is simply shutting down and I'm left afterwards with a nasty headache that may last a day. Gatorade alleviates the problem. I suppose going easy would do the trick, but I'm afraid of feeling like a sham.

I'm wondering if someone else here had to deal with this sort of thing. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

regards,
Daniel
Daniel,
I find myself getting cramps fairly regularly.I have found that Schweppes Tonic Water helps me. I dont know if its cheaper than Gatorade.I must point out I feel even better when I add a snort of Gin to the mix[just joking].Give it a try , it works for me!!!
Cheers, Joe.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:27 PM   #3
Ketsan
Dojo: Zanshin Kai
Location: Birmingham
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Daniel Itaboraí wrote: View Post
I've been having some troubles with cramping for a while now. I've been sweating profusely in classes from a combination of factors such as using a heavy gi, high summer temperatures and training hard. I've had recently a severe cramp on my right calf that left me screaming with pain on the mat for some (seemingly endless) minutes. Scared the sh*t out of me.

I'm reasonably fit, but sometimes it feels like my body is simply shutting down and I'm left afterwards with a nasty headache that may last a day. Gatorade alleviates the problem. I suppose going easy would do the trick, but I'm afraid of feeling like a sham.

I'm wondering if someone else here had to deal with this sort of thing. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

regards,
Daniel
I heard that bananas are good for preventing cramp.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:37 PM   #4
Walter Martindale
Location: Cambridge, ON
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Re: Cramping

rats... typed something up and had a brain belch. start again...

Sounds like you're combining dehydration with electrolyte depletion.

If gatorade helps you can try that as preventive stuff, too - take it in on occasion during training. it will prolong the time that you can go "full pace" by sparing the glycogen in your muscles and will replenish some of the electrolytes that you're losing with your sweat.

If you don't want to pay for brand name sports drinks you can make your own version by diluting (say) orange juice 50-50 with water, adding some sugar (about 15 ml, I think) and salt (about 5 ml, I think) per litre...

What I've also been told works (by sport nutritionists and physiologists) is pediatric rehydration solutions. I don't know if that's more or less expensive than the brand name sports drinks but I would bet that there's a little more research gone into the formulation because it's meant for life-death stuff.

When you do get a cramp - right when you first feel it coming on - try to prevent it getting to tetanus by stretching against the normal pull of the muscle. If it does clamp down, you'll have to stretch very steadily and slowly against the cramp to make it let go.

prevention is good, too - try to have your sport drink handy at the dojo and take a moment every 20-30 minutes to have the equivalent of a small glass ful of the sport drink. That may not fit with a lot of more traditional budo practice (I used to pride myself in getting through a 90 minute judo session, sweating almost 3 kg off, and not drinking at all during the session - I know better now) but I have seen shihan allowing 5 min drinks breaks during seminars in the past few years.
HTH
Walter
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:56 PM   #5
Tony Wagstaffe
Location: Winchester
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
I heard that bananas are good for preventing cramp.
Where do you put them ?.....

I couldn't resist that one..... Yes it's true also keep well hydrated is another thing...

You might be overdoing it in one session.
It's best to pace oneself, do short bouts of high intensity with small rests in between

Last edited by Tony Wagstaffe : 03-13-2011 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:36 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: Cramping

Sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium can all get depleted. I believe for electrolytes the pediatric drinks are a better source than Gatorade.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:40 PM   #7
Ketsan
Dojo: Zanshin Kai
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Where do you put them ?.....

I couldn't resist that one..... Yes it's true also keep well hydrated is another thing...

You might be overdoing it in one session.
It's best to pace oneself, do short bouts of high intensity with small rests in between
You eat the banana, thus disarming the attacker.
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:25 PM   #8
Keith Larman
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Re: Cramping

Chocolate milk is your friend.

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Old 03-14-2011, 04:12 AM   #9
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
You eat the banana, thus disarming the attacker.
I thought maybe you put them in between your armpits
As they squeeze out and hit your attacker in the eyeballs at high speed....
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:14 AM   #10
James Edwards
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Chocolate milk is your friend.
A friend of mine told me about chocolate milk too to replace that after-training lager
Thanks for the article

Might be a good idea to read up on why cramps happen. Usually it's due to not enough ions/electrolytes. On the other end of the spectrum I heard it might be because of not drinking enough water.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:10 AM   #11
Keith Larman
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Re: Cramping

Quite honestly the chocolate milk has all sorts of good stuff usually. Small bit of minerals, fluids, protein, some sugars. Try for a brand that is lower in sugar content and you're good to go.

If I'm going to be doing a longer training session I'll often make myself a small glass of chocolate milk and have a half a banana as a "supplement" before I start. I'll have another small glass (4 oz) afterwards along with the other half of the banana. Did wonders for aches and pains, not to mention helping prevent cramping and simply fatigue. It has helped me when water wasn't sufficient (I sweat a lot too and I live in an area that tends to get hot).

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Old 03-14-2011, 10:28 AM   #12
chillzATL
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Quite honestly the chocolate milk has all sorts of good stuff usually. Small bit of minerals, fluids, protein, some sugars. Try for a brand that is lower in sugar content and you're good to go.

If I'm going to be doing a longer training session I'll often make myself a small glass of chocolate milk and have a half a banana as a "supplement" before I start. I'll have another small glass (4 oz) afterwards along with the other half of the banana. Did wonders for aches and pains, not to mention helping prevent cramping and simply fatigue. It has helped me when water wasn't sufficient (I sweat a lot too and I live in an area that tends to get hot).
Chocolate milk has gotten a lot of press as a recovery drink due to the 4:1 carb/protein ratio. Personally I find it a little too heavy to drink like water or other such drinks during training, but afterwards it's pretty awesome. I started drinking carnation instant breakfast in place of just plain chocolate milk as a recovery drink for the extra protein, vitamins and such, but you can't go wrong either way.

For during practice I'd probably recommend water and gatorade type drinks. If you don't like the sweetness of those things, give coconut water a try. It's basically all natural gatorade and you can find it most everywhere these days.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:39 AM   #13
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Cramping

My husband was getting crampy during class and he eats a banana about a half hour before class and that seems to have helped him out drastically. You may have to figure out the timeline that works best for you though.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:29 AM   #14
Keith Larman
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Re: Cramping

I don't drink it while I'm working out. But last weekend, for instance, I was helping out while my shihan was teaching a kid's class at 6 pm. At 7 pm I had to teach a 2.5 hour seminar. So I was looking at 3.5 hours of training and some degree of exertion (although the kid's class is more like a gentle warm up for obvious reasons). So being that I am prone to dehydration and cramping (I really sweat easily) I made sure I had a lot of water in me before class. I had my half banana as well. At a quick break after the kids but before the seminar I had a small bit of chocolate milk since it also helps keep the blood sugar, etc. more stable. I always have a toothbrush/toothpaste kit in my bag so I also brushed my teeth as it's the milk/chocolate mouth that I find kinda gross. I felt great through the seminar taking a few water breaks along the way. A jug of chocolate milk afterwards and I felt good to go.

One point of all of this is that there is more than just "getting water" into your system. There's issues of restoring glycogen to the muscles, etc. None of these things happen in isolation so really it's a good idea to have something to add in as you train if you're going to go for a prolonged workout. And chocolate milk is cheap, easy, and bloody effective in that respect.

Personally I tend to go for "no sugar added" powdered chocolate milk mix with 2% milk. There's enough "sugar" in the milk itself and I'm a bit sensitive to sugar as it is. So that is my compromise.

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Old 03-14-2011, 11:31 AM   #15
Keith Larman
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Re: Cramping

Oh, left one thing out. It really doesn't take much. A small bit of the chocolate milk and then go ahead and drink a bunch of water. I find I do much better with just a few swigs of the chocolate milk. The article I referenced talked about a study that seemed to suggest that the chocolate milk just helps with uptake and other things. So think of it as a mild "booster". Doesn't hurt to try it, especially if you get cramps and are prone to dehydration. Worked wonders for me and others I know. Anecdotal, yes, but having a *lot* of anecdotes sometimes add up to more than that...

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Old 03-14-2011, 11:37 AM   #16
SeaGrass
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium can all get depleted. I believe for electrolytes the pediatric drinks are a better source than Gatorade.
Absolutely, I used to play beach volleyball and used to always get cramped around 3rd or 4th game half way through a tournament, worse when it's 80-90 degrees F. A friend of mine who played professionally told me use Pedialyte, drink some the night before and some during worked wonder for me. Highly recommended.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:06 PM   #17
Larry Feldman
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Re: Cramping

I take a Potassium pill - in lieu of the bananas. About 100 pills for $3.50 at your local grocer.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:43 AM   #18
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Cramping

Quote:
Larry Feldman wrote: View Post
I take a Potassium pill - in lieu of the bananas. About 100 pills for $3.50 at your local grocer.
Then rattle and get constipation?......

Prefer the natural banana....... oooo oooo!!
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:07 AM   #19
Eric in Denver
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Re: Cramping

I sometimes get a cramp in my foot in similar situations - hot summertime, heavy gi, etc. On days when I remember to bring in an energy drink such as gatorade and drink some between practices, I seem to do a lot better. A banana before practice also seems to help.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:40 PM   #20
jonreading
 
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Re: Cramping

I don't have much to add... pedialyte is good. Gatorade (50/50) is good.

Stretch well 15-20 minutes prior to class too (sometimes dojo warmups are not very vigorous). And ditch the heavy gi. I actually have regular gis and summer gis for the Southern heat...
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:04 PM   #21
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Cramping

Has anyone tried the before and after training drinks gatorade makes? One of them is almost more like a gel I believe. I haven't had a chance to try them since I don't want to waste money taking it when I'm not even stressing myself as of the moment. I figure this summer when I'm good and healthy and can train all the time I will try them or when I got out and hit the tennis courts for three hours.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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