Preventing Leg Cramps Using different Energy
nearly everyone is aware of the value of carbohydrates as a way to raise energy reserves and prevent leg and muscle cramps – but if you’ve tried this strategy before and cramped up during a race, what makes you think what you’re doing is right? In this article we’ll take a look at ‘different energy supplies’ to turbo-charge your performance.
One strategy to prevent muscle cramps associated with fatigue that most people overlook is loading up on protein before an event.
There’s always such an emphasis on carbohydrates and sugar however the main problem with relying too much on carbohydrates is that you run the risk of having an energy ‘peak’ followed by a ‘low’ and at this point you’re more likely to get a cramp.
Instead, I recommend you try loading up on a spread of carbohydrate, protein and fat. I like it to be a more 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat, and 30% protein diet – making sure that
There’s an important thing to observe here – you should make sure that the making sure the foods are from fresh supplies. The carbohydrates shouldn’t be from perfected or processed supplies (cakes, biscuits, perfected flour, sugar) and the fats need to be good fats and not trans fatty acids (these are fried foods, margarine, anything with hydrogenated vegetable oil on the package, heated vegetable oils).
The protein and fat energy supplies will truly last longer – your peak won’t be as high in the first half of the event but you won’t have your down in the second half and you’ll be just as strong.
So if we’re looking at daily events I usually encourage the people to take a good strong protein meal 4-6 hours before the event then 2 hours before the event take a carb meal and with that combination you’ll get the moment sugar to your muscles and you’ll have the protein and fat in there to last you for the rest of the event.
A big side-effect of relying too much on junk food, bad fats and processed carbohydrates that most people aren’t aware of is that they rule to the body producing more of a particular hormone that has a stimulatory effect on muscle tone.
Put another way, poor nutrition choices may increase your chances of cramping. And aside from improved training techniques, becoming more flexible and getting your fluid and energy strategies right, I rate nutrition as the meaningful method of preventing and eliminating muscle cramps.
If you value your sporting life and are looking for another piece of the ‘cramp-relief’ question, then more protein and fat (only the good kind) in your pre-race meal might just change things for you.
There’s a great quote that goes, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always had” – and isn’t that the truth when it comes to regular muscle and leg cramps!