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Problems with cramping--Could it be Race Day Boost?

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Problems with cramping--Could it be Race Day Boost?

Postby Slow Steve » Mon May 03, 2010 1:11 pm

First of all, I want to start off this post by saying I have had great
results with nearly every Hammer product. I use many of them in my training
and racing, and I feel I am a better runner as a result of using the product
and taking advantage of this forum, and its vast bank of experience.

I'm looking for an answer to a recurrent problem I have had in the last year
with muscle cramps, specifically when I use Race Day Boost.

I posted on this forum last week re. the proper dosing of RDB, and got
information from Steve Born, indicating specific dosing recommendations,
based on body weight. I followed those to the letter, and was 9 miles into
my half marathon this morning when muscle cramps hit me in the legs again!
For the 3rd time!

First, some background. I'm 56 years old, 5' 5", 155 pounds. I use Hammer
gel mixed with HEED almost exclusively in my training/racing. For a 2 hour
training run, for example, I will use 2 scoops of unflavored HEED mixed with
1 serving of Espresso Hammer Gel. This is mixed into 36 to 40 ounces of
water, and 8 Endurolytes. I generally start out the run with 1 serving of
Hammer Gel and 3 Endurolytes, taking them about 5 minutes before I start
running. That is what I used on this half marathon this morning., also. I
did not consume anything else on the course. I take Premium Insurance Caps
daily (4 in the morning, 3 in the evening), and have been doing that for
well over a year. I take Race Caps Supreme, 3 on workout or race day (which I did this morning), 1 on non workout day. I work out 6 days a week,
running or swimming, usually putting in about 10 hours a week. I always drink a post workout smoothie made with whey protein, a banana, glutamine, water, ice, and 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt.

Enough of that. I have tried using Race Day Boost on 5 occasions including
today. The first time was a 10 mile training run, which was 4 weeks before
a half marathon last year, Result: good run, but moderate cramping of my
legs at mile nine. Second time was a half marathon 4 weeks later. Result:
mediocre run, with moderate to severe leg cramps again at mile 9, causing me to stop to stretch them out. Third time was a 10k. No cramps, but I didn't have to run the insidious ninth mile. Fourth time was another 10k--again no cramps. Fifth time was today. Again, cramps at mile 9, causing me to slow down. In fact, slowing down enough that I did not hit the pace I had trained at successfully 2 weeks ago without the Race Day Boost. Start of race temperature was 40 degrees, probably about 55 degrees by the time I finished, so heat was not a factor. Needless to say, I was not impressed with the results I got from RDB today.

This is not a rant against RDB--I really want to figure this one out, and I
need some help doing it. I have gotten muscle cramps in my legs sometimes
in the middle of a sound sleep (like 2 a.m. in the morning, scaring the s--t
out of my wife). This happens rarely, maybe once every 3 to 6 months.
Also, if it is any help, I sometimes encounter lower GI problems after a run
lasting longer than 11 or 12 miles, using the HEED/Hammer Gel/Endurolyte mix
as described above.

Can somebody help me with this? What am I missing?

Slow Steve
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Re: Problems with cramping--Could it be Race Day Boost?

Postby steve-born » Mon May 03, 2010 5:34 pm

Hello Steve -

Every teaspoonful or two-capsule dose of Race Day Boost contains 1000 mg of sodium phosphate, 193 mg of which is comprised of sodium. So if, for example, you're taking the "normal" dose of Race Day Boost (4 teaspoonfuls or 8 capsule per day in divided doses), you're adding 772 mg of sodium to your diet.

The point is that you need to be especially cognizant of your sodium intake from your diet when doing a loading dose of Race Day Boost. That extra 772 mg of sodium added on to your daily sodium intake may possibly cause an electrolyte imbalance, which would be a potential culprit in the cramping you're experiencing.

After reading your email, however, what I suspect is the primary culprit is a lack of calcium and magnesium. In my experience, it is inadequate amounts of these two minerals that are the primary causes for night cramping and restless leg syndrome. I would bet that if you started taking a Cal/Mag supplement on a daily basis (in divided doses, with one dose taken prior to sleep), you would experience a lot less cramping problems at night and during the day.

I would consider taking in 1000 - 1500 mg of elemental calcium and 500 - 750 mg of elemental magnesium a day. Some extra vitamin D wouldn't hurt either, not so much for cramping, but for a plethora of health benefits, including enhanced calcium absorption.

If this is an option you want to pursue, let me know and I can give you some ideas.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely -

Steve
************************
Steve Born
Fueling Expert
Event Sponsorship Coordinator
www.hammernutrition.com
800.336.1977
************************
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Re: Problems with cramping--Could it be Race Day Boost?

Postby Slow Steve » Tue May 04, 2010 8:12 am

Steve,

Thank you for responding to my question so quickly.

I guess I am more confused now than when I posted my original question, though. I thought that Endurolytes would alleviate problems with cramping. You indicate that the RDB may actually exacerbate cramping because of increased sodium levels. Incidentally, I consume very little in processed foods, and we don't even have a salt shaker in the house, so my intake of sodium is pretty minimal, aside from Endurolytes, and apparently, RDB.

If you refer to my previous post re. my height, weight, and Endurolyte intake, am I overconsuming electrolytes?

Also, as I mentioned, I take 7 Premium Insurance Caps per day, 4 in the morning, 3 in the evening. According to the label, PIC's contain 40% of the %DV of the calcium I need. As I indicated in my earlier post, I eat a recovery shake every morning after working out, which has whey protein (not Hammer's) powder, containing calcium (21% of the DV) and a little magnesium (31 mg) in it. The smoothie also has 2 heaping tablespoons of plain yogurt in it. Plus, I eat about a cup of cottage cheese for breakfast daily. In other words, I am ingesting calcium.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. I will consider the magnesium and calcium supplements, based on your response to this post.

Thanks again, Steve!

Slow Steve
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 10:52 am

Re: Problems with cramping--Could it be Race Day Boost?

Postby steve-born » Tue May 04, 2010 3:09 pm

Hello Steve -

Forget about the DV, RDA, or RDI of a given nutrient. In essence, those standards are the minimum amount to keep you from getting a deficiency disease. They have little-to-nothing to do with optimal health, but again, are the minimum standard estimated to keep "X" percentage of the population from getting a nutrient deficiency disease. We are required by labeling regulations/laws to put the % of the Daily Value (DV) on the label, which is why you see it there.

What you're looking for is Optimum Daily Intake (ODI) amounts, which are much more appropriate for athletes, active people, and more in line with the current nutrient requirements. In my opinion, the DV, RDA, RDI and any other similar standard is outdated, archaic, and nothing to "hang your hat on" so to speak.

The problem with calcium and magnesium is that you need a lot of it every day. The ODI for calcium is anywhere from 1000 mg - 2000 mg (1500 mg is usually the norm). The ODI from magnesium is 500 mg - 1000 mg (750 mg is usually the norm). Fitting that much elemental calcium and magnesium in a multivitamin/mineral capsule is just not practical. Remember, we're talking about the elemental, or actual amount, of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. That means that "X" amount of a compound is comprised of the actual mineral (the elemental amount), with "X" amount being the compound that it's chelated (bonded) to.

For example, calcium citrate, a common form of calcium, contains about 20% actual (elemental) calcium, with the rest being comprised of citric acid. That means in order to obtain 1500 mg of actual/elemental calcium, it'd require 7500 mg of calcium citrate (20% of 7500 mg = 1500 mg). To fit that much calcium in Premium Insurance Caps would obviously require significantly more capsules (or much larger ones). And that's just calcium!

Bottom line: I believe while a good multivitamin/mineral product like Premium insurance Caps covers a good portion of the bases for calcium and magnesium, to get the full amount of these two minerals, supplementation with a separate Cal/Mag product is oftentimes necessary. With every 7 capsules of Premium Insurance Caps you're obtaining 400 mg of elemental calcium and 200 mg of elemental magnesium. That gives you a good start on your overall calcium/magnesium needs but it doesn't cover all them.

Also, your food sources may contain "X" amount of calcium but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're absorbing/utilizing all of it. Calcium and magnesium are two of the minerals that don't have great absorption rates to begin with, which is probably why the ODI on both of those minerals is so high. So yes, while you are getting some calcium in your food and via your supplements, I would still suggest that it's insufficient to meet your daily needs, especially considering how much you're going through during exercise.

Again, I would encourage you to disregard the Daily Value of vitamins and minerals and instead aim for Optimal Daily Intake amounts.

You mentioned that you have "gotten muscle cramps in my legs sometimes in the middle of a sound sleep." I have heard this quite frequently and to me that almost always raises the red flag that the person is not getting enough calcium and magnesium. I think that if you were to augment your intake of Premium insurance Caps with some additional calcium and magnesium, it would minimize-to-prevent this from occurring.

Yes, Endurolytes - because they contain well-balanced amounts of all the electrolytic minerals - will help to minimize/eliminate cramping issues during exercise. If you are experiencing cramping issues with the amount of Endurolytes that you're currently taking, that's a sign that you need to increase your hourly dose. Also, I believe that taking a dose prior to your workout - what I like to call a "pre-emptive strike" dose - will help to prevent cramping issues.

Lastly, when you load with RDB you have to take into account the extra sodium you're obtaining so that you're not overloading your body with too much sodium at the expense of other minerals. That simply means to be extra conscious of your salt intake during the four-day loading period. 772 extra milligrams of sodium for four days (the amount in 4 teaspoonfuls of RDB powder or 8 RDB capsules) is quite a bit of a jump in sodium intake. My point was just to be aware of it and to consider altering your food choices to lower the sodium amount that you're consuming while doing a four-day load with RDB.

I hope this helps explain things a little more clearly.

Sincerely -

Steve
************************
Steve Born
Fueling Expert
Event Sponsorship Coordinator
www.hammernutrition.com
800.336.1977
************************
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