Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ahhh...leg cramps!

So I have been dealing with leg cramps/spasms for the past couple months.  My first incident happened in August.  I have been playing tennis and cycling throughout the week.  One day is tennis, the next day is cycling.  I believe that just pushed my legs to overexertion.  One early morning session of tennis started my 2 week long rehab of my quads.  I was not able to walk far without my leg tightening up.  After that August, I have reminded myself to be careful about pushing my limits.

This past February I have been on a roll of cycling around the area.  I have built up to 105 miles a week for the first 2 weeks of February.  In January, I was up to 80 miles a week.  The great weather in Northern California has helped me start my century training early.  But once again, my leg cramps came back.  One weekend, I decided to go back to back long rides(2+ hrs).  The next 2 days I rested, then started my 90x and Insanity workouts.  2 days after doing P90x Plyo video, I developed a cramp/spasm on my leg while walking.  This started another two weeks off the bike and away from the gym.  I have wondered why this happens.  Maybe I am just getting older...but no way.  I am only 23 years old.  So I have zoned in the #1 thing I should be keeping an eye on: my diet/nutrition.

My diet is not very balanced from the start.   I start my day with Whey Protein and Oatmeal.  A good balance of carbs and protein.  After that, I just seem to eat whatever is available in my kitchen.  I try to eat healthy, but I do not get enough veggies and fruit.  Those two would be the main source of natural nutrients.

I checked out some books from the library that deal with nutritional healing.  I have come across a good set of info on supplements that deal with healing leg cramps. From the book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, there is a section on muscle cramps with using certain vitamins.  It states:

Essential Nutrients
- Calcium - 1500mg daily
- Magnesium - 750mg daily
- Vitamin E - 200 IU or 400IU every other day

I am no doctor, but this has helped my cramps disappear.  I know this will not solve my problem of overexerting my legs, but will help my muscles recover.  After walking through the endurance supplement aisle at Sports Basement in Walnut Creek, I firmly believe that Calcium and Magnesium are the two main supplements other than Potassium to help recover muscles.  Most supplements such as Sports Legs have the two key nutrients within their product.  I guess I should have read about that earlier in sports nutrition books/articles.