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TOPIC: Electrolytes, leg cramps and calories

 
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November 30, 2012 8:07 AM
I have done a bit of research and believe that my leg cramping and muscle fatigue is due to a lack of electrolytes.
I have actually seen a doctor and had my legs scanned and there are no physical fractures or illness.
I have new and good shoes, but I still feel pain in my legs when walking, working out, tennis lessons, etc.

I am determined to improve and have been eating bananas every day and also milk and taking a multi-mineral citrate supplement, but I need a bit more.

I've heard that some of the sports drinks available don't actually have electrolytes in them.

How do I choose a good one without adding a lot of calories. I have tried Propel Zero and have not been impressed with the results so far.

Smart water?

Where do I look for reviews on these beverages?

Thanks
  95981
November 30, 2012 8:10 AM
Electrolytes are probably not the issue, what does your diet look like? Your macro nutrients? Maybe you should up your protein or carbs. Stretch everyday, and you should definitely get into some strength training to get stronger - and always always always do your SQUATS.
  29754162
November 30, 2012 8:23 AM
Both my spouse and I occassionally suffer from leg crams. On long runs or bike rides we use a product called Nuun. It comes in tablet form. You add it to a water bottle. I'll drink one 16oz bottle (with one tablet) before and one after a long work-out. Only 7 calories in each tablet. Propel Zero is AWFUL.

Sorry for the product plug, but it totally works.
  28856476
November 30, 2012 8:30 AM
You can make your own sports drinks. It's simple and much cheaper than commercial stuff:

1) Water
2) Fruit Juice or Sugar Free Cordial if you are worried about calorie content
3) Salt
4) Sugar

That should be more than enough to cover the bases. You can add in some powdered electrolyte if you like but it's not vital.

For my cycling I use a number of specialist products but it's not completely necessary to do so. My favourite is "Science in Sport Go Electrolyte" powder. Works a treat and not too expensive.
November 30, 2012 8:30 AM
I'm typically potassium deficient, and would suffer leg cramps as a result. Normally, I drinking a 20oz Gatorade every day at lunch was enough to keep my levels up. Since I started counting calories here, I've quit with the Gatorade and trying to get more potassium through foods. It's been 25 days and so far, so good (but I've not had my blood work checked to be sure). If the cramps start back up, I'll check out Nuun as sirea suggested.
  12337117
November 30, 2012 9:12 AM
I usually don't use sports drinks, water works just fine. I do not trust soda pop companies to make anything healthy. I do take Hammer Endurolytes. 2 to 4 of them before a ride. Depending on how far and hard I plan to ride. So far leg cramping has been eliminated. I also take Red Ginseng on my ride days as that helps the after ride muscle burn.
November 30, 2012 9:20 AM
I like Nuun Electrolyte Tabs. They just go in plain water and they taste awesome without any sugar. I never hit the trail without them. Tri-berry and Lemon Lime are my two favorite flavors.
November 30, 2012 9:33 AM
potassium/electrolytes is the way to go for leg cramps...
the best product I've come across is Xtend by Scivation
No its not the male enhancement product called extenze..hahaha
this helped me during my vigaroius workouts as I was cramping up do to being dehydrated/sweating out vital nutrients.
when I started developing tendonitus I came across this product and now I am fine and continue working out harder without cramping up

look it up on the internet...also has zero calories

good luck
Edited by anil8er On November 30, 2012 9:42 AM
November 30, 2012 10:20 AM
Thanks everyone for you tips.

I just got back from a short walk and man, my leg pain is back.

I def. need something!!!!
  95981
November 30, 2012 10:23 AM
Also, I should clarify that it 's not really muscle fatigue, it's more plain old leg pain.
Might be early signs of shin splints.
Rest always helps.

And I have been doing strength training for about a year now.
  95981
November 30, 2012 10:34 AM
Agree it doesn't sound like leg cramps but shin splints? I'm sure a few runners on here that are more avid then I can give you some recommendations. I know that have compression socks for that. Back in my 20's I got it bad and used to put on long socks and pack them with ice after a run also.
November 30, 2012 8:32 PM
I always hear people talk about Gatorade this, Powerade that for electrolytes.

They're often amazed when I tell them that my post-workout protein drink (just skim milk plus Body Fortress protein powder, sometimes I add in a carton of Greek yogurt) has about 5x the potassium without unnecessary added sugars.
November 30, 2012 9:43 PM
Tomato juice?
November 30, 2012 9:48 PM
Bananas.
  13032637
November 30, 2012 9:51 PM
QUOTE:

Bananas.

Basically anything that would be considered healthy is full of potassium.
June 4, 2013 12:36 PM
QUOTE:

I'm typically potassium deficient, and would suffer leg cramps as a result. Normally, I drinking a 20oz Gatorade every day at lunch was enough to keep my levels up. Since I started counting calories here, I've quit with the Gatorade and trying to get more potassium through foods. It's been 25 days and so far, so good (but I've not had my blood work checked to be sure). If the cramps start back up, I'll check out Nuun as sirea suggested.


Just wanted to update this to say my nighttime leg cramps are back with a vengeance! Last night was so bad, that I'm still limping around. I've set my diary to track potassium, and see that I am woefully lacking (if the 3500 goal MFP set is anywhere near accurate).

I'm going to tweak what I'm eating and see if I can work more potassium into my diet without screwing up my macros. If not, looks like I'm going to have to supplement :(
  12337117
June 4, 2013 12:46 PM
I have had leg cramp problems on and off for pretty much my whole life. It gets worse with exercise. Part of it is probably over exertion. I think the other part is electrolyte balance. Last year I experimented with eating more potassium (bananas, raisins, tomatoes, potatoes are all very high potassium food) and that seemed to help a little bit. Then I started drinking more water...tons of water. I was striving for that clear and copious urination everyone is always talking about. Then the cramps got worse than ever this spring. I think I was basically diluting all my electrolytes with all that unnecessary water. Also I don't eat processed food and hardly salted my food so my sodium intake was very, very low. So...I started drinking less water (drinking to thirst only) and adding salt to my food, and continuing to eat potassium rich food. That has helped tremendously. I also take electrolyte tablets before, during, and after my long bike rides. The changes seem to be working as I haven't had cramps for a few months now. Stretching and rest help too.
  7162284

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