What exactly are Electrolytes, Why They’re Required for Performance

 

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Why are Electrolytes so Important for Physical performance increases

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Electrolytes in Human Performance

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The Electrolyte Myth: What Causes Cramping and How Can You Prevent It?

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What Are The Best Electrolytes For Performance

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Nutritional Considerations

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ELECTROLYTES BY ISE METHOD

Video taken from the channel: LabsforLifeProject


 

Electrolytes in Human Performance

Video taken from the channel: Brute Strength


 

The Electrolyte Myth: What Causes Cramping and How Can You Prevent It?

Video taken from the channel: Dylan Johnson


 

Hydration And Electrolytes | Why WATER Is So IMPORTANT | SBS Academy 2018

Video taken from the channel: Personal Trainer Collective


Explore the importance of electrolytes and hydration, and just how much these vital minerals assist with workout performance. Menu. Cancel View cart. Store Shop By Brand Best Sellers Top 40 Products Top 30 Brands Top 10 BCAAs Top 10 Creatines Top 10 Fat Burners. Electrolytes are minerals that play a very important role in the body.

These little guys supply an electrical current that helps control your heartbeat, coordinate muscle contraction and control the movement of water in the body, so fluids stay evenly distributed, per the. They keep our bodies functioning properly—you know, “our hearts beating, our lungs breathing, and our brains learning.” So there’s that. When you work out, electrolytes get deposited into sweat. Electrolytes, which are found in sports nutrition products as well as whole foods like bananas and sweet potatoes, are minerals that have an electric charge. Once they’re in.

When you sweat, you don’t just lose water, but also electrolytes, the minerals that help deliver fluids to the cells that need them and are essential to everything from muscle health to brain. Electrolytes are the minerals that play a role in hydration and overall balance within your body. Sodium, potassium, phosphate, calcium, and chloride are all forms of electrolytes. These minerals are responsible for forming ions in the body and keep things running smoothly. There are a few reasons why your electrolyte stores could be depleted.

Electrolytes are involved in a wide range of functions. They are particularly important for maintaining hydration levels, as the movement of sodium and potassium in and out of cells determines how much water our body retains or flushes out. Our nerve cells need these slightly charged particles to help carry electrical impulses around the body. Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge. They’re found in your blood, urine and sweat and are vital to specific processes that keep your body functioning as it should.

Needed to. Electrolytes are minerals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water. They’re distributed through the fluid in your body and use their electrical energy to facilitate important bodily.

Electrolytes are minerals found in your blood that help regulate and control the balance of fluids in the body. These minerals play a role in regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction and keep your system functioning properly. The big three electrolytes ar.

List of related literature:

Electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and chloride are critical for concentration, energy production, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.

“Training for Climbing: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Performance” by Eric Horst
from Training for Climbing: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Performance
by Eric Horst
Falcon Guides, 2008

These electrolytes help conduct neural signals, maintain proper fluid levels in cells, and maintain proper concentrations of various body fluids (blood, cerebral spinal fluid, and so on).

“Developing Endurance” by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association, Ben Reuter
from Developing Endurance
by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association, Ben Reuter
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2012

Because electrolytes play a critical role in almost all of the body’s physiological functions, they are included in the administration of PN to meet daily requirements and to prevent or correct preexisting deficits.

“Infusion Nursing E-Book: An Evidence-Based Approach” by Infusion Nurses Society, Mary Alexander, Ann Corrigan, Lisa Gorski, Judy Hankins, Roxanne Perucca
from Infusion Nursing E-Book: An Evidence-Based Approach
by Infusion Nurses Society, Mary Alexander, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011

for sustaining energy levels and electrolytes to prevent conditions such as hyponatremia.

“Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition” by Heather Hedrick Fink, Lisa A. Burgoon, Alan E. Mikesky
from Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition
by Heather Hedrick Fink, Lisa A. Burgoon, Alan E. Mikesky
Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2006

Electrolyte and carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions promote fluid absorption better than water while commercially made carbohydrateelectrolyte sport drinks delay the onset of both fatigue and dehydration.

“Tennis Medicine: A Complete Guide to Evaluation, Treatment, and Rehabilitation” by Giovanni Di Giacomo, Todd S. Ellenbecker, W. Ben Kibler
from Tennis Medicine: A Complete Guide to Evaluation, Treatment, and Rehabilitation
by Giovanni Di Giacomo, Todd S. Ellenbecker, W. Ben Kibler
Springer International Publishing, 2019

Electrolytes are essential for metabolic activities in the body and for normal function of body cells.

“Pharmacology for the Surgical Technologist” by Katherine Snyder, Chris Keegan
from Pharmacology for the Surgical Technologist
by Katherine Snyder, Chris Keegan
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2016

Electrolytes should be routinely monitored to determine electrolyte requirements in PN.

“Williams' Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy E-Book” by Eleanor Schlenker, Joyce Ann Gilbert
from Williams’ Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy E-Book
by Eleanor Schlenker, Joyce Ann Gilbert
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2018

Electrolytes are necessary for functioning of muscles and nerves.

“The Language of Medicine E-Book” by Davi-Ellen Chabner
from The Language of Medicine E-Book
by Davi-Ellen Chabner
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2016

Electrolytes are what help your muscle cells to function properly.

“ChiWalking: Fitness Walking for Lifelong Health and Energy” by Danny Dreyer, Katherine Dreyer
from ChiWalking: Fitness Walking for Lifelong Health and Energy
by Danny Dreyer, Katherine Dreyer
Atria Books, 2009

The need for electrolyte supplementation depends on their level in the diet and the amount of sweat produced.

“Horse Feeding and Nutrition” by Tony J. Cunha
from Horse Feeding and Nutrition
by Tony J. Cunha
Elsevier Science, 2012

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

[email protected]

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  • My rbc count is already at 69 and my hemocrat is thru the roof to where I need to donate 3 units of blood per week now as it is. Lol. All I need is more blood volume!

  • I have suffered muscle cramps for many years towards the end of long (100 mile) sportives and usually several hours after a hard training ride throughout the year. I tried all sorts of remedies including hydration and electrolytes (specifically sodium and potassium) but nothing really made much difference including stretching.

    Fast forward to this year and I have been changing my diet and doing lots of research into nutrition, (not specifically for cramping). One of the things I did find surprising was there were a lot of doctors saying that the majority of people are deficient in magnesium because there is not a lot in our modern, intensively farmed food. Magnesium is very important for muscular signalling including especially the heart so I started taking a daily supplement and noticed almost straight away no more cramping after a training ride, even quite arduous ones.

    One of the things about magnesium apparently is that it is very difficult to diagnose a deficiency because most of the magnesium is stored in the cells not the blood stream so it’s very difficult to ascertain your magnesium level. All of the research that I have seen into cramping revolves around the common electrolytes like sodium or potassium which are easy to measure the blood serum level.

    It may just be more hooey but I’m continuing to monitor the effect and would be interested to hear if anyone has had similar experiences.

  • Red meat: I have been a chronic cramper for years: during exercise and after. sometimes not even long rides and almost no matter how much riding. I have just had my 4th ride in a row without cramping during the ride or after and all I can think of is that I’ve been pigging out on steaks most nights recently. This is the closest thing to a solution I have experienced and completely unexpected. Had tried all the electrolyte crap, gels, chews, bananas, concentrating on hydration (pre/during) and nothing has worked until stumbling across what may turn out to be my personal fix.

  • I am a cramper. Had L5/S1 surgery and now my right calf muscles and the peronneus cramp after hard efforts in particular and in the night in general. Licorice, Booze and Limptar N helps.

  • I started cramping when I was about 40 years old. The thing that always helped even in Gran Fondos in Southern Italy was magnesium and potassium. It is no secret amongst endurance athletes. Why are these substances not reviewed in the video?

  • Thank you for your content. You are professional, funny and science based. Keep it up. I cramp on rides or races that are out of my usual distance/time zone BWR, Lost and Found Gravel. I’m a personal trainer and cycling coach and get asked this question that you are addressing frequently. Thanks for crunching the science and making it fun.

  • Excellent video mate. Good to see the use of peer reviewed information as you always do.
    On purely a subjective observation, I was once out riding an ultra, at about 210km I started to completely cramp up. I realised I had not taken my Mg+ supplement. Called into a pharmacy in a remote town and grabbed some. Chewed them up to speed up absorption. After about 45 minutes my cramps abated. Obviously one of many possible causes for cramping but it enabled me to finish the rest of the ride.

  • Is there any research on the impact of psychological/ mood/mindset on performance? Separately I wonder how much our mood impacts cramps etc. Most of us experience that if your in a poor mood and mentally tense, your muscles can tense up right?? What does the research say about mindset and performance?
    Thanks Dylan
    -Sam

  • Your assessments and summary of the scientific literature are very impressive. Do you have someone help you with that or is it a skill that you picked up from riding with BackHatDJ?

  • That was helpful. I cramped up twice last month, and it was because I pushed myself beyond the level of my conditioning. And yes, it is true; more conditioning has eliminated my cramping. Being new to the sport and only a few months shy of 60, my plan is to increase my distance by 10 miles each month.

  • Well, in the late 60’s definately the perceived wisdom was cramp was caused by lack of body salts……so take a drink with you and add some table salt….say one or two teaspoons per pint. Having said that, at the lower levels of the sport (42 mile road races) nobody took a drink with them…..we didn’t want the weight.. and hey it was no more than a training ride….and we didn’t take drinks on those either. But whilst doing physio recently i was able to ask a pro physiotherapist the cramp question. The answer was exercising the muscles in extended range because in her ooinion it was about working a muscle in a range not trained for…..so stretching….and weight training in an extended zone was key to avoidance. She said it wasn’t about salt intake (doh! 50 years of faulty diagnosis by me!)

  • I’m 73 yrs old, every ride is over exercise for me, I cramped at the finish line on a 30 mi gravel race, I couldn’t move until I drank my bottle of coconut water, then I uncramped an went to get my award,, I use to cramp at home after a hard day of riding, I then drank coconut water, it went away, I now just carry a bottle of coconut water on the bike with some maple syurp in it for energy and I don’t cramp up no matter how hard I ride. I average 11 to 14 mph on 20 to 30 mile non stop mountain bike rides 2, to 3 times a week. I ride all year outdoors in Michigan, winter is mostly gravel bike, and some fat bike time. I don’t cramp anymore thats my science. I don’t take any meds for anything.

  • Personally I find I cramp if I take more then a few days off from any activity and then go back in. Even when my muscles are in better shape from resting they cramp more.

  • I have an idea that over zealous replacement of carbohydrates causes glucose and more importantly, Potassium to follow it into the cells. We do this in hospitals to reduce potassium. i.e. give dextrose and insulin. This causes glucose and potassium to flow into cells. This may cause hyper contractibility.
    I tied up in knots during a 100 mile sportive and that was after I stopped at a shop a downed a litre of chocolate milk 70 miles in.
    I will have to test my theory and try fasting after a big effort. Also im not convinced that serum K+ is a reliable measure. Truth is I dont know. Just hunches based on knowledge working with patient and my own experiences as a nurse

  • Very good video. You could have added the impact of nutrition on cramps. Since i switched to low carbs, i need more salt and is processed better. When you are a sugar addict, salt is retained, so the system does need more. I also take pure salt rather than buying electrolytes with sugar. For the past 2 yrs, never had any cramps on bike rides of 3-4hrs.

  • I usually cramp and especially during rides that go past the 7075 miles range… at this point I don’t know if it’s psychological or physical but either way the cramp is real and debilitating; I can hardly turn the pedals and have even fallen off my bike as my leg is paralyzed by the shooting pain. I have tried just about everything but recently observed that as I have begun to do YOGA consistently my cramping has subsided… go figure?!?

  • This subject is covered to the nth degree in the book, ” Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports, by Dr. Tim Noakes. Be prepared to sit down and spend some serious time digesting the information.

  • I’m diabetic and can almost activate a quad cramp at will. I’ll tell you what works best, it’s a supplement of Calcium-Magnesium and Vit. D., taken thee times a day. If a cramp does appear, I agree that stretching is the better relief.

  • My “favourite” is trying to stretch out a cramped quad only to set off a wicked hamstring cramp. It’s pretty fun to watch me roll around on the ground.

  • You looked at some related material but there is more to investigate. Post-exercise cramping (typically when sleeping, or doing casual swimming in cold water), not in-exercise, is another sort that is a big problem (big literal pain). Potassium (from food) in particular is another remedy administered in a chronic (not acute) pattern, this stemming from the known biological mechanism whereby this element is used as a primary muscle relaxer signalling agent in the cycle of neuromuscular contraction-relaxation, and it can be depleted. Finaly, more training, not less trainng, is associated with more such cramps. To characterize post-exercise cramping, it’s a like a giant full force contraction with no off-button it just won’t stop, and it’s able to tear the muscle; it’s not a little discomfort. Anyway, I’ve talked way above my head like some kind of exercise physiologist which I’m not but the struggle is real.

  • Interesting interesting. I get cramps whenever I take electroyte gels mid-exercise XD It never used to make any sense to me, as they are usually marketed as reducing cramping. However maybe the extra energy from the carbs in the gel helps me to push harder than is normally possible, causing the cramp? Or even crazier theory the extra electrolytes over-stimulate the nerves in my muscles causing the cramp..? My HR is usually quite high, I’m predominantly fast-twitch, and as an added bonus to the genetic component, my dad suffers from leg cramps in the night occasionally.. I do find that adding a little extra NaCl to whatever I’m drinking seems to help reduce the likelihood of me getting cramps however..? (even if it’s already high in electrolytes)

  • After say 7 hours I can be cramping badly, take a salt tablet and its like the pathways open up again. Electrolyte balance for me is a no brainer as a heavy sweater. I’m surprised this basic system causes controversy.

    I’d also say for salts to make a difference they have to be higher concentration than a regular drink. For me high sweat is TWO high 5 TABS per 750ml PLUS a pinch of table salt. Clearly unless you’re doing this quantity in the test electrolytes won’t make any difference.

  • I’m one of those people that never cramp no matter what state I’m in. Dehydrated, bonking etc etc. I do know some guys that have big problem with cramping. Quite weird there’s such a difference between individuals.

  • I was not that bad before but since I went plant based 20 years ago I do not get it any more. Not sure if it’s got anything to do with it. Great video ��

  • I usually cramp and especially during rides that go past the 7075 miles range… at this point I don’t know if it’s psychological or physical but either way the cramp is real and debilitating; I can hardly turn the pedals and have even fallen off my bike as my leg is paralyzed by the shooting pain. I have tried just about everything but recently observed that as I have begun to do YOGA consistently my cramping has subsided… go figure?!?

  • Waiting for a saddle height video (emoji smile). If you find the “perfect” height for power, then what if the rider feels unstable when descending? If it’s not perfectly efficient, but can generate more power for an hour, wouldn’t this height work for crits (but not for stage races)? Saddle height, IMO, must include fore/aft since it seems, IMO, to have a big impact on center of gravity and how I feel in a corner. To me, it’s all about confidence. People want to spin like Lance but then they can recover as long as they want (unlike in the Tour), so stronger riders can take a different approach. The nice thing about saddle height is you can take a tool, go ride, and listen to your body. if you can take a corner at 50 instead of 45 with a slightly lower saddle but lose 4 watts from ideal on a flat section, i’ll do it. curious on your thoughts.

  • Pickle juice tastes pretty good, when your body needs it. To me, At first, The thought of drinking pickle juice was disgusting… Until I tried it.:)
    I thought that stuff was delicious.:) I would have never thought that before I tried it.
    I had a bottle sitting in the fridge for almost a year. The first time I tried it was right after finishing 2019 LA Marathon. I carried it on me the whole time.

  • WoW! I didnt know im not an athlete. My woman and myself dont put steroids AkA ( GEAR ) ( Needle Drugs ) on our cornflakes like this dude every day nor do we take HGH nor do we get TRT shots every week. We work out 4 days a week and walk the last 3 doing something every day. 45 Yrs old both of us. We like taking creatine it really helps out. If this guy stopped taking all of the above he shrivel up like raisin in the hot sun. Look at ronnie coleman or arnold and every single other so called athlete whos pro. Question? If the muscle literally falls off( dissapears ) when you stop taking DRUGS is it really muscle? I dont know, you tell me. Question 2# If a tree falls in the woods and nobody there to here it does it make a sound?

  • Thanks for the great videos and training advice. I have to take in a bunch of salt to keep from cramping, mostly NaCl. I have done the experiment, N =1:)

    Question for DJ: now that I and many others have been sucked into Zwift, how does weekly Zwift racing 20-50 min fit into an effective training program? I find it fun and motivating to race and it’s an easy way to bring in intensity.

  • Alright, yoga and performance. Thinks it’s time after the ‘dont bother stretching video. By the way your videos are awesome, keep it up.

  • Dylan, Great Vid, but I have a different issue. Seems I don’t cramp much on the bike. And, when I do they are interior thigh from groin to knee and normally happen after 5 hrs on the bike when I push harder than usual for the entire ride. My biggest issue is after ride I can’t seem to solve. My hammies will all of sudden go into all out freak mode within an hour of long rides and all night long and will wake me from a dead sleep in all out terror. What do you think the causes are or how to solve?

  • I have cramped in the past. And really bad. The site for cramping was consistent. The same spot the muscles. I agree that conditioning is a big player as with my greater consistency in training cramping has become a super rare event.

  • Hey, want to do a video on science behind ketones? We here about them all the time, gcn say they “felt” better, after consumption, but I’m curious about real scientific research. I now read that they have actually impaired time-trial performance.

  • I’ve been a cramper for the 30 years I’ve been racing. After years of racing, I knew that I’d start cramping around 2:45 3:00 hours into any race, and planned accordingly with pickle juice, etc..I’ve tried everything, but still had marginal success…and then I went vegan about 6 months ago, and haven’t had a cramp since, no matter how long or hard I ride. I have no scientific evidence to support the theory that meat made me cramp, but my personal anecdotal evidence has been enough for me to stay plant based.

  • Before I was 30 I don’t think I ever cramped. Not even sure if it happened before 35. But you seem to have concluded the same thing as I have: increasing fitness appears to be the most efficient way to reduce cramping. In 2017, I owned a bike for the first time since 2007. One day on a climb, I had cramps in so many leg muscles that I couldn’t unclip, and I could barely pedal. I looked for some spot by the side of the road where the ground looked soft and then tried to crash there as softly as possible, before immediately starting to stretch my legs.

    A year later I passed the same spot, and barely even thought of the climb as a climb. Of course I didn’t cramp.

    Oh, and I often do drink an electrolyte drink on longer rides, but that’s mainly because I like the taste, and that makes me drink more. I don’t notice any extra cramping when I just have water in the bottles.

  • Lack of proper muscular adaptation+workload too intense too fast. Too much eccentric workload i.e. pulling on the pedals more than usual. Poor fit on the bike will often result in cramping…

  • WEIGHT LIFTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! made my cramps go away.:) great video!! Science!!!!!! that ties in to your other videos for incease insurance.

  • after 7 SM100 with severe cramps in both legs at the top of Hanky (first pass) with 50 miles to go, I just wait until an attractive female rides pass me then hop back on the bike and try to keep up. the my brain is thinking about something different. kidding of course, just stretch until they go away and feel them on the cusp for the next 50 miles. Thanks like you’ve probably tried to express to me plenty of times just train for it and you’ll be more successful.

  • The ultimate anti cramping beverage works, because no matter how bad the cramps are when you look at the bottle you think.. well it ain’t THAT bad yet 😉

  • So if he just had been eating Top Ramen like Kali Muscle said, he woulda been just fuckin fine from the start.. No hospital, no problems,, just eat that shit already!

  • This subject is covered to the nth degree in the book, ” Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports, by Dr. Tim Noakes. Be prepared to sit down and spend some serious time digesting the information.

  • My broscience take: every since I started using Scratch mix or some type of electrolyte powder i have never experienced cramps and I used to before.

  • Olives are actually much better than pickle juice (pretty sure reason is neurological). Overheating causes massive muscle damage, indirectly causing cramps. Personally I just avoid all intense activity outdoors from June-August, not because of cramps, but because it sucks and it’s not a good return on investment.

  • I’m been sold on Pickle juice for years. I buy in bulk! It’s been very rare for me to cramp, even if the juice is just fooling my nervous system.

    Tastes good with Jameson Whisky toooooooo!

  • God. Stan Efferding. That shirt, “effing s-t up”. This dude has absolutely nothing else in life to him except the gym, his body, and supplements. What really annoys me is these guys get money, nice things, not have to work, etc.. Then guys who lost legs in Afghanistan struggle to stay afloat. Guys who served are homeless, they fought in wars that had nothing to do with the safety of USA citizens, and they got fucked up over it and wound up homeless. Then these fucks like Stan do absolutely nothing except lift weights and take steroids and they get nice things and money. Their wives must be very proud of them, they pick up heavy things. I hope these dudes at least volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or some organization so they work and do something to help out. I’m sure Rich Oiana never did a fucking thing for anyone other than himself.

  • Great Video..For Me “No Cramps for 18hrs. Hard & Long Bike Ride
    1: Banana & Milk Shake Daily
    2: Proper Training (Hard)
    3: Proper Hydration during Ride
    4: Oral Rehydration Salt
    (mix in my Water)
    5: Eating Right Foods
    6: Banana Ketsup
    (as Power Gel..whoaah)
    Hope it Will Help..
    Ride Safe

  • I believe you about the salt but the salt with iodine I think you need to limit that. I see from a quick google search its best not to go over 1,100 mcg of iodine. I have no idea how much you take but if I am wrong please correct me? I would like to start working these into my daily diet. I used to make salt drinks myself when I worked out I used to mix 2,000 mgs of pink Himalayan salt with my water throughout the day sometimes I do 4000 mgs.

  • Obviously cramping is multifactorial. But why do electrolyte drinks and pickle juice help so many people? Well sweat composition and volume are individual factors that vary from person to person. Low volume and / or low sodium sweaters often have non-electrolyte causes of cramping related to fatigue, overuse, injury, etc. However the impact of localized factors is unknown. They often respond to non-electrolyte based interventions such as stretching and the mystery component (peptide fragments?) of pickle juice that alters receptor activation. High volume and / or high sodium sweaters, or average sodium / average volume sweaters, especially over long periods of time, can alter both their intra and extracellular electrolyte concentrations without getting dehydrated if intake doesn’t match output. This in turn alters both the neural and muscular action potentials predisposing muscles to cramping. Because sodium and potassium are the two major players in this process, alterations in their concentrations are the most likely to cause cramping. It’s important to remember that large amounts of electrolytes are stored inside cells and not detected by simple blood levels. It takes large shifts over sustained periods of time for these changes to be noted in the blood even when intercellular levels are severely altered because of the bodies response and drive to keep blood levels constant. Even athletes that are severely dehydrated can have normal sodium and potassium levels in their blood while experiencing a total body shutdown. We forget that action potentials are not universal even within our own bodies and vary from side to side, muscle to muscle and nerve to nerve changing throughout the course of a race. Previously injured muscles and those potentially doing more work (higher watts from one leg as an example ) over time makes that muscle susceptible to cramping. Localized pH almost certainly plays a role because of its universal effects on transporter and protein function. As an example maybe one of your muscles is more prone to cramping because there’s some sort of alteration in deoxygenated blood returning from that region. Finally most of these studies neglect the effects of, and effect of exercise on, osmolality which is regulated by your kidneys and pituitary gland, both of which can be affected by age, medications, pain and stress. These systems alone can change sodium and possum levels WITHOUT exercise but the effects are often amplified by exercise. Interestingly osmolality is most effected by sodium and potassium (as well as free water) levels. So in conclusion, sodium and potassium are the most important intracellular electrolytes related to muscle and nerve action potentials, two of the most common extracellular electrolytes and the most important electrolytes related to osmolality, disturbances in all of which lead to cramps. (Obviously I’m leaving out the negatively charged ions which don’t seem to be as important but remember they are there and you need one to have the other). Therefore replacing sodium and potassium with electrolyte drinks, tabs or the magic pickle juice will often allow your body to place these electrolytes closer to their desired levels and thus alleviate or improve cramps in many athletes no matter which of these processes is the cause.

  • I used to always get cramping. I found that consuming 1 saltstick capsule per hour with water works like a charm. On very long rides, with consumption of saltsticks, I could feel some muscles twitching (a precursor to cramping in my experience), but never really goes all the way. Give it a try bros! P.s. I live in a very hot and humid place

  • Very much a cramper. Saltstick caps mostly fixed it. I know, the science you described doesn’t support that, and for most of my 30 years riding I was skeptical of all the received wisdom surrounding riding. But after many years of frequent night time foot cramps, hand cramps while brushing my teeth, quads seizing up on hot rides, I finally tried the caps, and while I still get the rare excruciating quad seizure after long, hot rides, the smaller, frequent cramping is gone.

  • Great Video..For Me “No Cramps for 18hrs. Hard & Long Bike Ride
    1: Banana & Milk Shake Daily
    2: Proper Training (Hard)
    3: Proper Hydration during Ride
    4: Oral Rehydration Salt
    (mix in my Water)
    5: Eating Right Foods
    6: Banana Ketsup
    (as Power Gel..whoaah)
    Hope it Will Help..
    Ride Safe

  • Great video as always. This topic really highlights a complex topic with two polarized theories to account for it that we try to reduce to a binary solution. It is clear from the lack of consensus in the literature that the ultimate cause of cramping will not be a black or white answer, rather a vast portion of the gray spectrum in between. That being said, if taking electrolytes every 12.4 miles, while chewing on jalapeno peppers, and drinking pickle juice helps, then kudos to the placebo effect and mental conviction. I myself I’m quite fond of Backwards Hat Dylan secret formula of 98% habanero pepper and maltodextrin on the pizza and beer flavour.

  • I can confirm that training helps the best: After training with increasing durations the cramps, that used to come after about 5 hrs into a race or century just didn’t show up again. No cramps for more than 3 years, even when racing the longset distances (312 and 390km) ever.

  • Since uploading a few vids I now realise how hard you YouTuber’s work to give us content. It might not seem it but your vids help a lot with my KOM hunting and local cyclists training…. just wanted to say thanks, Dylan ���� it’s not said enough ��

  • I’m been sold on Pickle juice for years. I buy in bulk! It’s been very rare for me to cramp, even if the juice is just fooling my nervous system.

    Tastes good with Jameson Whisky toooooooo!

  • Right on the money. Golgi tendon organ, alpha neurons, genes and overexertion esp at end of a (hilly) comp are the main triggers for cramp. This is what the good studies show. Training the way you race (dist and intensity) will prob reduce cramping. Hydration, sodium, reducing body temp ie slowing down and proper gearing (spinning) may help if you’re a cramper. Also lowering your seat height a cm or 2 may help. Good luck!

  • 2:55 LOL
    This is what happens when autism spectrum personalities infest science.
    People don’t cramp in their serum, so denying an association between serum electrolytes and cramping is moronic.
    Here’s a hint…not from published science…..

    Many people who suffer EAMC have the following:
    negative fluid balance in heavily exercised muscle.
    post long rides, many do not develop cramps until they lay down. why so? because lying down facilitates fluid redistribution from lower limbs into the rest of the body, thereby sending lower limbs further into negative fluid balance.
    whether during or after exercise, cramps seed in regions of muscle that have interstitial and muscle fluid balance disturbances, such as associated with fibrotic scarring from previous strains or repetitive microtrauma.
    When these people have several heavy massages into the cramp seed region, then maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, they stop cramping.
    Other factors that predispose to cramps is a history of sciatic nerve irritation such as is common with lumbar spine pathology. This will prevent hamstrings and calf compartments from relaxing optimally, thereby compromising circulation and fluid distribution.
    The above is from my 40 years experience working with amateur and professional cyclists.
    Mystery solved.
    You’re welcome.

  • What Stan says is actually true.

    My gym trainer, who’s a pro bodybuilder, used to drink a bottle of water mixed with salt and sugar daily first thing in the morning.

    Said it helps in recovery and muscle volume.

    This is a very valuable piece of information for someone who’s into stage competition where looks definitely matter.

    But. The sad fact is. Owing to the abuse of sodium, insulin, test, and other enhancement drugs. Most bodybuilders are lucky if they live to the age of 60.

    Organ failure, organ enlargement, arteries and vein rupture caused by excessive sodium intake are some very common reasons.

    If you get a chance to analyze table salt for example.

    You would understand that it consists of 1/3 sodium, sand and glass.

    This weird composition is the major reason why people who eat excessive salt tend to get a heart attack.

    When an artery or vein ruptures, it’s cholesterol that helps heal it, from the rupture caused by the glass in table salt.

    Even when someone gets attacked by acid or has severe burns.

    It’s cholesterol that’s administered to help heal the patient.

    Even for testosterone.

    Test depends on cholesterol for food.

    Which is one reason why I’m baffled when someone tells me egg yolk is bad for you.

    Still. Like Stan said.

    Sodium is very crucial. But in a monitored level.

  • it feels genetic in many ways. Like, you’re just more prone to them maybe, versus other people. All i know is they SUCK. I’ve been unable to avoid them at times, BUT i feel like Amp lotion might help a little.

  • I was under the impression that magnesium was the electrolyte needed to prevent cramping. The studies you cited only involved sodium and potassium, as far as I could tell.

  • I’m diabetic and can almost activate a quad cramp at will. I’ll tell you what works best, it’s a supplement of Calcium-Magnesium and Vit. D., taken thee times a day. If a cramp does appear, I agree that stretching is the better relief.

  • I’ve had left hamstring cramping issues for years. Always and only my left hamstring. After some research, and experimentation, I finally realized the reason for cramping….it was my sciatic nerve. By using an inversion table, back exercises, and adjusting my posture, I was able to rid the issue.

  • Right on the money. Golgi tendon organ, alpha neurons, genes and overexertion esp at end of a (hilly) comp are the main triggers for cramp. This is what the good studies show. Training the way you race (dist and intensity) will prob reduce cramping. Hydration, sodium, reducing body temp ie slowing down and proper gearing (spinning) may help if you’re a cramper. Also lowering your seat height a cm or 2 may help. Good luck!

  • 100% agree! I read about sodium and took it once before the gym 1h before it, I could work out for 3h really intense, without any problems, since then I take a few himalayan salt crystals before the workouts and it shows, if you don’t believe it, try it yourself, I was also sceptical about it.

  • Red meat: I have been a chronic cramper for years: during exercise and after. sometimes not even long rides and almost no matter how much riding. I have just had my 4th ride in a row without cramping during the ride or after and all I can think of is that I’ve been pigging out on steaks most nights recently. This is the closest thing to a solution I have experienced and completely unexpected. Had tried all the electrolyte crap, gels, chews, bananas, concentrating on hydration (pre/during) and nothing has worked until stumbling across what may turn out to be my personal fix.

  • I was not that bad before but since I went plant based 20 years ago I do not get it any more. Not sure if it’s got anything to do with it. Great video ��

  • I started cramping when I was about 40 years old. The thing that always helped even in Gran Fondos in Southern Italy was magnesium and potassium. It is no secret amongst endurance athletes. Why are these substances not reviewed in the video?

  • Thank you for your content. You are professional, funny and science based. Keep it up. I cramp on rides or races that are out of my usual distance/time zone BWR, Lost and Found Gravel. I’m a personal trainer and cycling coach and get asked this question that you are addressing frequently. Thanks for crunching the science and making it fun.

  • When I ride long, say over 2 hours, my quads and hamstrings start cramping as my body cools off. I use a product called Calm. It is a magnesium supplement. If I take the product right after a long ride, I have no cramping. If I wait for cramping to start, then take the product, the cramping ceases much sooner then when I take no intervention. I don’t know if it will work for anyone else, but it works for me.

  • I just rip ass every time I bust out a rep and it gives me extra pumpage. You know you were hittin it hard if you have a couple skid marks in your pants post workout.

  • Your assessments and summary of the scientific literature are very impressive. Do you have someone help you with that or is it a skill that you picked up from riding with BackHatDJ?

  • That was helpful. I cramped up twice last month, and it was because I pushed myself beyond the level of my conditioning. And yes, it is true; more conditioning has eliminated my cramping. Being new to the sport and only a few months shy of 60, my plan is to increase my distance by 10 miles each month.

  • Hey, want to do a video on science behind ketones? We here about them all the time, gcn say they “felt” better, after consumption, but I’m curious about real scientific research. I now read that they have actually impaired time-trial performance.

  • My “favourite” is trying to stretch out a cramped quad only to set off a wicked hamstring cramp. It’s pretty fun to watch me roll around on the ground.

  • Personally I find I cramp if I take more then a few days off from any activity and then go back in. Even when my muscles are in better shape from resting they cramp more.

  • Well, in the late 60’s definately the perceived wisdom was cramp was caused by lack of body salts……so take a drink with you and add some table salt….say one or two teaspoons per pint. Having said that, at the lower levels of the sport (42 mile road races) nobody took a drink with them…..we didn’t want the weight.. and hey it was no more than a training ride….and we didn’t take drinks on those either. But whilst doing physio recently i was able to ask a pro physiotherapist the cramp question. The answer was exercising the muscles in extended range because in her ooinion it was about working a muscle in a range not trained for…..so stretching….and weight training in an extended zone was key to avoidance. She said it wasn’t about salt intake (doh! 50 years of faulty diagnosis by me!)

  • Very good video. You could have added the impact of nutrition on cramps. Since i switched to low carbs, i need more salt and is processed better. When you are a sugar addict, salt is retained, so the system does need more. I also take pure salt rather than buying electrolytes with sugar. For the past 2 yrs, never had any cramps on bike rides of 3-4hrs.

  • I have cramped in the past. And really bad. The site for cramping was consistent. The same spot the muscles. I agree that conditioning is a big player as with my greater consistency in training cramping has become a super rare event.

  • I have an idea that over zealous replacement of carbohydrates causes glucose and more importantly, Potassium to follow it into the cells. We do this in hospitals to reduce potassium. i.e. give dextrose and insulin. This causes glucose and potassium to flow into cells. This may cause hyper contractibility.
    I tied up in knots during a 100 mile sportive and that was after I stopped at a shop a downed a litre of chocolate milk 70 miles in.
    I will have to test my theory and try fasting after a big effort. Also im not convinced that serum K+ is a reliable measure. Truth is I dont know. Just hunches based on knowledge working with patient and my own experiences as a nurse

  • it feels genetic in many ways. Like, you’re just more prone to them maybe, versus other people. All i know is they SUCK. I’ve been unable to avoid them at times, BUT i feel like Amp lotion might help a little.

  • Olives are actually much better than pickle juice (pretty sure reason is neurological). Overheating causes massive muscle damage, indirectly causing cramps. Personally I just avoid all intense activity outdoors from June-August, not because of cramps, but because it sucks and it’s not a good return on investment.

  • Table salt intake will send me to the hospital and raise my blood pressure. I will research another way to consume. Anyone can help?

  • Interesting interesting. I get cramps whenever I take electroyte gels mid-exercise XD It never used to make any sense to me, as they are usually marketed as reducing cramping. However maybe the extra energy from the carbs in the gel helps me to push harder than is normally possible, causing the cramp? Or even crazier theory the extra electrolytes over-stimulate the nerves in my muscles causing the cramp..? My HR is usually quite high, I’m predominantly fast-twitch, and as an added bonus to the genetic component, my dad suffers from leg cramps in the night occasionally.. I do find that adding a little extra NaCl to whatever I’m drinking seems to help reduce the likelihood of me getting cramps however..? (even if it’s already high in electrolytes)

  • Cycling stops me getting night cramps
    I recommend “Nerve Muscle and Synapse “ by Bernard Katz, if you want to know how muscles contract and relax. If it’s still in print. That should keep you occupied during lockdown.
    Stretching can halt an incipient cramp. I’ve got good at it. I think it might be due to an imbalance between muscle activity and adequate oxygen supply. ATP, calcium channels and all that.

  • I get ’em, big time. Have for decades. I can tell you it’s not training, for me. I’ve had some success with the Precision Hydration protocol, especially for long hot rides. I use pickle juice on 30-50 mile rides. Hot shot has shown promise and my brain tends toward their research, on neurological triggering. Also, after tough sessions, a spray some Theraworx on the thighs and calves. You can feel a calming effect. Bottom line…no mono-therapy. Gotta go with combinations. When both sartorius muscles cramp at the same time, prepare your curse vocab.

  • I am a cramper. Had L5/S1 surgery and now my right calf muscles and the peronneus cramp after hard efforts in particular and in the night in general. Licorice, Booze and Limptar N helps.

  • The pickle juice tastes like crap, worked great for me on a century ride, I was surprised, was at one of the rest stops and figured would try it.

  • Excellent video mate. Good to see the use of peer reviewed information as you always do.
    On purely a subjective observation, I was once out riding an ultra, at about 210km I started to completely cramp up. I realised I had not taken my Mg+ supplement. Called into a pharmacy in a remote town and grabbed some. Chewed them up to speed up absorption. After about 45 minutes my cramps abated. Obviously one of many possible causes for cramping but it enabled me to finish the rest of the ride.

  • Pickle juice tastes pretty good, when your body needs it. To me, At first, The thought of drinking pickle juice was disgusting… Until I tried it.:)
    I thought that stuff was delicious.:) I would have never thought that before I tried it.
    I had a bottle sitting in the fridge for almost a year. The first time I tried it was right after finishing 2019 LA Marathon. I carried it on me the whole time.

  • this is a badass video. i been drinking super high sodium drink for pre workout and swear i was getting the sickest pumps ever, this video comfirms im not trippin

  • Thanks for the great videos and training advice. I have to take in a bunch of salt to keep from cramping, mostly NaCl. I have done the experiment, N =1:)

    Question for DJ: now that I and many others have been sucked into Zwift, how does weekly Zwift racing 20-50 min fit into an effective training program? I find it fun and motivating to race and it’s an easy way to bring in intensity.

  • This is my experience. Double century rides and triathlon. The worst…both quads and hamstrings at the same time 200 feet before the finish at Chicago tri. Temp was around 65. As time goes on I found out 1500 milligrams of salt per hour and I was golden. Around 7 or 8 hours into a double I would get sleepy and heavy eyelids. Salt would wake me right up. Then I found out if I cut salt out of diet a month or two before event, cramping went away or almost no salt needed. I would keep track of my blood pressure, when it went down to a certain point, no cramping. For me 125 over 80 down to 105 over 70.

  • Hi Dylan, great video. I have a tendency to cramp around the 60-70 km mark of my rides, I have type 2 diabetes and get the sense that has something to do with it. I have extra large quad muscles, I’ve found that heat on the muscles when I get home such as a super hot bath helps relax the muscles… I wonder if taking a muscle relaxant will help.. will have to test this out.

  • My Grandfather used to say if people knew how important salt was we would be paying more for it…. However creatine is very important for mitochondrial development and brain preservation, science doesn’t lie fella.

  • Is there any research on the impact of psychological/ mood/mindset on performance? Separately I wonder how much our mood impacts cramps etc. Most of us experience that if your in a poor mood and mentally tense, your muscles can tense up right?? What does the research say about mindset and performance?
    Thanks Dylan
    -Sam

  • I’ve been a cramper for the 30 years I’ve been racing. After years of racing, I knew that I’d start cramping around 2:45 3:00 hours into any race, and planned accordingly with pickle juice, etc..I’ve tried everything, but still had marginal success…and then I went vegan about 6 months ago, and haven’t had a cramp since, no matter how long or hard I ride. I have no scientific evidence to support the theory that meat made me cramp, but my personal anecdotal evidence has been enough for me to stay plant based.

  • Before I was 30 I don’t think I ever cramped. Not even sure if it happened before 35. But you seem to have concluded the same thing as I have: increasing fitness appears to be the most efficient way to reduce cramping. In 2017, I owned a bike for the first time since 2007. One day on a climb, I had cramps in so many leg muscles that I couldn’t unclip, and I could barely pedal. I looked for some spot by the side of the road where the ground looked soft and then tried to crash there as softly as possible, before immediately starting to stretch my legs.

    A year later I passed the same spot, and barely even thought of the climb as a climb. Of course I didn’t cramp.

    Oh, and I often do drink an electrolyte drink on longer rides, but that’s mainly because I like the taste, and that makes me drink more. I don’t notice any extra cramping when I just have water in the bottles.

  • I read an article in a non scientific newspaper that reported initial results of a scientific study stating that the reason for cramping is fatigued muscle cells not handling the demands placed on them. Have you heard anything of this?

  • WEIGHT LIFTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! made my cramps go away.:) great video!! Science!!!!!! that ties in to your other videos for incease insurance.

  • 9:20 Sounds like this product works. You say that cramping is largely associated with working harder than normal, and I’m pretty sure I can’t work harder than normal on the bike when I’m busy puking my guts out.

  • The most honest video I have seen on the subject. I am not a cramper but I have had cramps before and I always put them on the count of muscle fatigue and the lack of training. Addresses the latter and the occurrences of cramping disappears for me.

  • This is my experience. Double century rides and triathlon. The worst…both quads and hamstrings at the same time 200 feet before the finish at Chicago tri. Temp was around 65. As time goes on I found out 1500 milligrams of salt per hour and I was golden. Around 7 or 8 hours into a double I would get sleepy and heavy eyelids. Salt would wake me right up. Then I found out if I cut salt out of diet a month or two before event, cramping went away or almost no salt needed. I would keep track of my blood pressure, when it went down to a certain point, no cramping. For me 125 over 80 down to 105 over 70.

  • I get ’em, big time. Have for decades. I can tell you it’s not training, for me. I’ve had some success with the Precision Hydration protocol, especially for long hot rides. I use pickle juice on 30-50 mile rides. Hot shot has shown promise and my brain tends toward their research, on neurological triggering. Also, after tough sessions, a spray some Theraworx on the thighs and calves. You can feel a calming effect. Bottom line…no mono-therapy. Gotta go with combinations. When both sartorius muscles cramp at the same time, prepare your curse vocab.

  • Alright, yoga and performance. Thinks it’s time after the ‘dont bother stretching video. By the way your videos are awesome, keep it up.

  • After say 7 hours I can be cramping badly, take a salt tablet and its like the pathways open up again. Electrolyte balance for me is a no brainer as a heavy sweater. I’m surprised this basic system causes controversy.

    I’d also say for salts to make a difference they have to be higher concentration than a regular drink. For me high sweat is TWO high 5 TABS per 750ml PLUS a pinch of table salt. Clearly unless you’re doing this quantity in the test electrolytes won’t make any difference.

  • Man, I was having issues with my neck and shoulder on long rides (there are other issues but cycling aggravates it), I read baking soda can help with muscle cramping so I tried it, and it helped with my neck and shoulder muscles. So…. I like baking soda in my water for long rides, though it’s not good for your stomach acid.

  • I’ve had left hamstring cramping issues for years. Always and only my left hamstring. After some research, and experimentation, I finally realized the reason for cramping….it was my sciatic nerve. By using an inversion table, back exercises, and adjusting my posture, I was able to rid the issue.

  • 9:20 Sounds like this product works. You say that cramping is largely associated with working harder than normal, and I’m pretty sure I can’t work harder than normal on the bike when I’m busy puking my guts out.

  • I read an article in a non scientific newspaper that reported initial results of a scientific study stating that the reason for cramping is fatigued muscle cells not handling the demands placed on them. Have you heard anything of this?

  • I can confirm that training helps the best: After training with increasing durations the cramps, that used to come after about 5 hrs into a race or century just didn’t show up again. No cramps for more than 3 years, even when racing the longset distances (312 and 390km) ever.

  • My broscience take: every since I started using Scratch mix or some type of electrolyte powder i have never experienced cramps and I used to before.

  • For me, water/hydration intake the two days prior to my cramp issues is a marker. That is to say, if I exercise on a Thursday and don’t hydrate properly during or after, then I’m almost guaranteed to experience cramping on Saturday or Sunday. This might be the case of I worked harder on that Thursday and am still fatigued that Saturday or Sunday, so when I think I can go deep in that Saturday or Sunday session I pay for it. Veggie juice and beet juice added to my regular diet do wonders for me probably due to a good concentration of vitamins/minerals. Great video, Dylan.

  • Obviously cramping is multifactorial. But why do electrolyte drinks and pickle juice help so many people? Well sweat composition and volume are individual factors that vary from person to person. Low volume and / or low sodium sweaters often have non-electrolyte causes of cramping related to fatigue, overuse, injury, etc. However the impact of localized factors is unknown. They often respond to non-electrolyte based interventions such as stretching and the mystery component (peptide fragments?) of pickle juice that alters receptor activation. High volume and / or high sodium sweaters, or average sodium / average volume sweaters, especially over long periods of time, can alter both their intra and extracellular electrolyte concentrations without getting dehydrated if intake doesn’t match output. This in turn alters both the neural and muscular action potentials predisposing muscles to cramping. Because sodium and potassium are the two major players in this process, alterations in their concentrations are the most likely to cause cramping. It’s important to remember that large amounts of electrolytes are stored inside cells and not detected by simple blood levels. It takes large shifts over sustained periods of time for these changes to be noted in the blood even when intercellular levels are severely altered because of the bodies response and drive to keep blood levels constant. Even athletes that are severely dehydrated can have normal sodium and potassium levels in their blood while experiencing a total body shutdown. We forget that action potentials are not universal even within our own bodies and vary from side to side, muscle to muscle and nerve to nerve changing throughout the course of a race. Previously injured muscles and those potentially doing more work (higher watts from one leg as an example ) over time makes that muscle susceptible to cramping. Localized pH almost certainly plays a role because of its universal effects on transporter and protein function. As an example maybe one of your muscles is more prone to cramping because there’s some sort of alteration in deoxygenated blood returning from that region. Finally most of these studies neglect the effects of, and effect of exercise on, osmolality which is regulated by your kidneys and pituitary gland, both of which can be affected by age, medications, pain and stress. These systems alone can change sodium and possum levels WITHOUT exercise but the effects are often amplified by exercise. Interestingly osmolality is most effected by sodium and potassium (as well as free water) levels. So in conclusion, sodium and potassium are the most important intracellular electrolytes related to muscle and nerve action potentials, two of the most common extracellular electrolytes and the most important electrolytes related to osmolality, disturbances in all of which lead to cramps. (Obviously I’m leaving out the negatively charged ions which don’t seem to be as important but remember they are there and you need one to have the other). Therefore replacing sodium and potassium with electrolyte drinks, tabs or the magic pickle juice will often allow your body to place these electrolytes closer to their desired levels and thus alleviate or improve cramps in many athletes no matter which of these processes is the cause.

  • Great video as always. This topic really highlights a complex topic with two polarized theories to account for it that we try to reduce to a binary solution. It is clear from the lack of consensus in the literature that the ultimate cause of cramping will not be a black or white answer, rather a vast portion of the gray spectrum in between. That being said, if taking electrolytes every 12.4 miles, while chewing on jalapeno peppers, and drinking pickle juice helps, then kudos to the placebo effect and mental conviction. I myself I’m quite fond of Backwards Hat Dylan secret formula of 98% habanero pepper and maltodextrin on the pizza and beer flavour.

  • Cycling stops me getting night cramps
    I recommend “Nerve Muscle and Synapse “ by Bernard Katz, if you want to know how muscles contract and relax. If it’s still in print. That should keep you occupied during lockdown.
    Stretching can halt an incipient cramp. I’ve got good at it. I think it might be due to an imbalance between muscle activity and adequate oxygen supply. ATP, calcium channels and all that.

  • Since uploading a few vids I now realise how hard you YouTuber’s work to give us content. It might not seem it but your vids help a lot with my KOM hunting and local cyclists training…. just wanted to say thanks, Dylan ���� it’s not said enough ��

  • Man, I was having issues with my neck and shoulder on long rides (there are other issues but cycling aggravates it), I read baking soda can help with muscle cramping so I tried it, and it helped with my neck and shoulder muscles. So…. I like baking soda in my water for long rides, though it’s not good for your stomach acid.

  • Very much a cramper. Saltstick caps mostly fixed it. I know, the science you described doesn’t support that, and for most of my 30 years riding I was skeptical of all the received wisdom surrounding riding. But after many years of frequent night time foot cramps, hand cramps while brushing my teeth, quads seizing up on hot rides, I finally tried the caps, and while I still get the rare excruciating quad seizure after long, hot rides, the smaller, frequent cramping is gone.

  • 2:55 LOL
    This is what happens when autism spectrum personalities infest science.
    People don’t cramp in their serum, so denying an association between serum electrolytes and cramping is moronic.
    Here’s a hint…not from published science…..

    Many people who suffer EAMC have the following:
    negative fluid balance in heavily exercised muscle.
    post long rides, many do not develop cramps until they lay down. why so? because lying down facilitates fluid redistribution from lower limbs into the rest of the body, thereby sending lower limbs further into negative fluid balance.
    whether during or after exercise, cramps seed in regions of muscle that have interstitial and muscle fluid balance disturbances, such as associated with fibrotic scarring from previous strains or repetitive microtrauma.
    When these people have several heavy massages into the cramp seed region, then maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, they stop cramping.
    Other factors that predispose to cramps is a history of sciatic nerve irritation such as is common with lumbar spine pathology. This will prevent hamstrings and calf compartments from relaxing optimally, thereby compromising circulation and fluid distribution.
    The above is from my 40 years experience working with amateur and professional cyclists.
    Mystery solved.
    You’re welcome.

  • Thank you for sharing your experience. Also very cool design for your “kooler”. I’m currently reading the new power eating diet by phd Susan kleiner. Who talks about soda loading for athletes which is the use of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) while she mentions salt aka sodium chloride as a necessary nutrient to prevent over hydration and thus avoid the problems you have discussed so far looking through the book I don’t see an emphasis on loading sodium chloride. Could you please address some of the differences when using these types of sodium as sports supplements? Is one better than the other? What is the balance needed between the two? For someone sensitive to salt can sodium bicarbonate be an alternative to getting similar performance results? Thanks and looking forward to hearing more about sodium and it’s variations. Cheers.

  • I’m one of those people that never cramp no matter what state I’m in. Dehydrated, bonking etc etc. I do know some guys that have big problem with cramping. Quite weird there’s such a difference between individuals.

  • For me, water/hydration intake the two days prior to my cramp issues is a marker. That is to say, if I exercise on a Thursday and don’t hydrate properly during or after, then I’m almost guaranteed to experience cramping on Saturday or Sunday. This might be the case of I worked harder on that Thursday and am still fatigued that Saturday or Sunday, so when I think I can go deep in that Saturday or Sunday session I pay for it. Veggie juice and beet juice added to my regular diet do wonders for me probably due to a good concentration of vitamins/minerals. Great video, Dylan.

  • after 7 SM100 with severe cramps in both legs at the top of Hanky (first pass) with 50 miles to go, I just wait until an attractive female rides pass me then hop back on the bike and try to keep up. the my brain is thinking about something different. kidding of course, just stretch until they go away and feel them on the cusp for the next 50 miles. Thanks like you’ve probably tried to express to me plenty of times just train for it and you’ll be more successful.

  • I was under the impression that magnesium was the electrolyte needed to prevent cramping. The studies you cited only involved sodium and potassium, as far as I could tell.

  • Thank you. I have been increasing my water intake but neglected adding the sodium tablets which probably why my hamstrings have been feeling tight lately too.

  • Waiting for a saddle height video (emoji smile). If you find the “perfect” height for power, then what if the rider feels unstable when descending? If it’s not perfectly efficient, but can generate more power for an hour, wouldn’t this height work for crits (but not for stage races)? Saddle height, IMO, must include fore/aft since it seems, IMO, to have a big impact on center of gravity and how I feel in a corner. To me, it’s all about confidence. People want to spin like Lance but then they can recover as long as they want (unlike in the Tour), so stronger riders can take a different approach. The nice thing about saddle height is you can take a tool, go ride, and listen to your body. if you can take a corner at 50 instead of 45 with a slightly lower saddle but lose 4 watts from ideal on a flat section, i’ll do it. curious on your thoughts.

  • I have suffered muscle cramps for many years towards the end of long (100 mile) sportives and usually several hours after a hard training ride throughout the year. I tried all sorts of remedies including hydration and electrolytes (specifically sodium and potassium) but nothing really made much difference including stretching.

    Fast forward to this year and I have been changing my diet and doing lots of research into nutrition, (not specifically for cramping). One of the things I did find surprising was there were a lot of doctors saying that the majority of people are deficient in magnesium because there is not a lot in our modern, intensively farmed food. Magnesium is very important for muscular signalling including especially the heart so I started taking a daily supplement and noticed almost straight away no more cramping after a training ride, even quite arduous ones.

    One of the things about magnesium apparently is that it is very difficult to diagnose a deficiency because most of the magnesium is stored in the cells not the blood stream so it’s very difficult to ascertain your magnesium level. All of the research that I have seen into cramping revolves around the common electrolytes like sodium or potassium which are easy to measure the blood serum level.

    It may just be more hooey but I’m continuing to monitor the effect and would be interested to hear if anyone has had similar experiences.

  • I’m not going to mention your Kooler in my comment because I don’t want to have some entitled asshole bitch at me for talking about Kooler. Instead, I’ll save the Kooler talk for the cooler talk.

  • The ultimate anti cramping beverage works, because no matter how bad the cramps are when you look at the bottle you think.. well it ain’t THAT bad yet 😉

  • When I ride long, say over 2 hours, my quads and hamstrings start cramping as my body cools off. I use a product called Calm. It is a magnesium supplement. If I take the product right after a long ride, I have no cramping. If I wait for cramping to start, then take the product, the cramping ceases much sooner then when I take no intervention. I don’t know if it will work for anyone else, but it works for me.

  • I used to always get cramping. I found that consuming 1 saltstick capsule per hour with water works like a charm. On very long rides, with consumption of saltsticks, I could feel some muscles twitching (a precursor to cramping in my experience), but never really goes all the way. Give it a try bros! P.s. I live in a very hot and humid place

  • Preach it! Consuming 1/4tsp for each liter of water I drink and drinking 1/2 my body weight in oz of water + 1/4tsp salt lowered my blood pressure almost 40 points in less than two weeks. I can’t agree with you on the iodized salt though. ALL “iodized salt” is white and has already been robbed of the micronutrients that salt naturally has and we really need those micro nutrients. The industry bakes our salt, cooks off the goodies to sell as supplements and then gives you whats left, that is pure white. I go with an unadulterated salt (you can tell by the color) like Himalayan pink, Sea Salt that has some color, or really any other salt that is not bright white. The bright white salts have, as an added benefit (lol) tons of aluminum. Do your research!
    https://www.ecowatch.com/9-different-kinds-of-salt-which-is-the-healthiest-1891079937.html

    I’ve ingested as much as 1tsp Himalayan pink salt besides my dietary intake in one day just to see what it did. Pretty much nothing, but my body is already acclimated to a high sodium diet. It did make me take up a bit of water and my blood pressure went down a pinch. The next day, zero salt, urinated more than usual, blood pressure back to normal. What the medical “professionals” are telling you is completely wrong. Go figure.

  • CV only exists in the media, not in the REAL world.

    The LIE about ‘viruses’/’bacteria’/’microbes’ etc., as WE sold it to you sheeple is a HOAX and you cretins believe(d) it.

    We ”got rid’ of those who knew that it is the terrain that matters and not these micro-critters who just do their jobs(i.e. eat, poop, work, CLEANS house).

    The true cause of ‘dis-ease(s)’ are the poisons we make sure you get into your bodies through the water, air, food, clothing, building materials etc. Basically everything that surrounds you and you use and put on yourself. It’s not that there are no totally safe/harmless alternatives LMFAO.

    We the elite, want to sell you vaccines that will make sure you wont live long enough to get pension and those born after the year 2000, the vaccine will make sure they don’t live beyond 4050 max. 😉

    We the demonic elite don’t need you unwashed demons anymore since we robotized almost all industries, you are useless eaters/breathers.

    Your demonic Godless gullible moronic normalcy bias/stockholm syndrome nature allowed us LEGALLY to do this to you. Thank you brain dead zombies.

    P.S.
    Oh, the poisons we add to your food, water, air helped too, to get what we want, again, thanks to you above mentioned nature. 😉

  • I tried sodium with an open mind for over a month, no effects at all. So I think it only works when you are already lacking ie training in a hot environment and probably taking performance enhancing drugs on top.

  • wow… I’m so happy with the cooler, I think I can fill it with this white warm creamy stuff… and fyi… Himalayan salt is the best salt in the world to consume

  • mortons iodized salt isn’t real stuff, neither the salt or the iodine-use SALT LAKE salt brand REAL SALT it has iodine and roughly 60 ish other minerals….also seaweed..full of perfect minerals…it is all minerals in minute forms that allows body to fire like gas in the engine….add oxygen………also you can get healthy iodine droppers at your health food purveyor….interesting note thor hyerdahl kon tiki…they added a percent of sea water to their fresh water for electrolytes…by the way…..r.o. water is dead water…..and daisaani etc have a wickedly low ph like 5…which means your not metabolizing anything well………..just look at fish tanks,pools, etc-your no different..83-86% h2o…..low ph equals poor endurance……chlorophyll water rocks above all else…even those who don’t want sodium…also old fashioned fresh cows, goats milk have been used for milenia as restoratives..cows milk full of sodium..fresh milk fresh..goat milk easy digest…coconut water too etc…all fruit and veggies have plant distilled water so its super perfect…..wheat grass juice, barley etc. are amazing and require almost zero digestive energy thus not affecting blood flow….and full of perfect nutrients at an ideal ph will restore body………

  • Ok got it. Return my Creatine and buy a sh!t load of salt. Screw stroke, HTN, we are freaks. I take 10 grams of Na daily and now bench 500 for reps.

  • Lack of proper muscular adaptation+workload too intense too fast. Too much eccentric workload i.e. pulling on the pedals more than usual. Poor fit on the bike will often result in cramping…

  • A WRESTLE’A CAN DROP BOMBS ON THE GROUND’S BECAUSE *HE STRONG*
    A PROFESSIONAL LIFTER IN ANY TYPE OF SPORT, HE CAN SLAM & SMOTHER BECAUSE GUESS WH’UT *HE STRONG TOO*

  • Dude, one time I was coming home from the grocery store and my truck got a flat tire. It was a hot humid day and I didn’t get much sleep. I wasn’t looking forward to changing that tire. I realized that along with my eggs, protein powder, steaks, juice etc, I had a 2 pound thing of Morton’s salt. I chugged that shit down, all of it, with a gallon of Orange juice and felt a rush of energy. I mean I now know how the Hulk feels when he transforms. I slid under the truck, stood up and carried that fucker the rest of the 6 miles back to my house and changed the tire in the comfort of my own driveway. Thanks Walmart, your salt rocks!!!

  • You looked at some related material but there is more to investigate. Post-exercise cramping (typically when sleeping, or doing casual swimming in cold water), not in-exercise, is another sort that is a big problem (big literal pain). Potassium (from food) in particular is another remedy administered in a chronic (not acute) pattern, this stemming from the known biological mechanism whereby this element is used as a primary muscle relaxer signalling agent in the cycle of neuromuscular contraction-relaxation, and it can be depleted. Finaly, more training, not less trainng, is associated with more such cramps. To characterize post-exercise cramping, it’s a like a giant full force contraction with no off-button it just won’t stop, and it’s able to tear the muscle; it’s not a little discomfort. Anyway, I’ve talked way above my head like some kind of exercise physiologist which I’m not but the struggle is real.

  • Hi Dylan, great video. I have a tendency to cramp around the 60-70 km mark of my rides, I have type 2 diabetes and get the sense that has something to do with it. I have extra large quad muscles, I’ve found that heat on the muscles when I get home such as a super hot bath helps relax the muscles… I wonder if taking a muscle relaxant will help.. will have to test this out.

  • Dylan, Great Vid, but I have a different issue. Seems I don’t cramp much on the bike. And, when I do they are interior thigh from groin to knee and normally happen after 5 hrs on the bike when I push harder than usual for the entire ride. My biggest issue is after ride I can’t seem to solve. My hammies will all of sudden go into all out freak mode within an hour of long rides and all night long and will wake me from a dead sleep in all out terror. What do you think the causes are or how to solve?

  • Stan you got it right sodium is the best supplemental ingredient to build muscle at the cost of blood pressure so unless going for a PR or rehydrating for Competition then its okay for a few days but long term unless need be I would not ever let my sodium levels to be out of balance for extended periods just eat normal food one a day and a person will get the salt. PS don’t forget about potassium and magnesium for your heart health be safe and utilize your doctors people.Oh yea using YouTube to advertise your product is humiliating for you cause you ant to it the professional normal way and I have a few upgrades you need to add to it.

  • The most honest video I have seen on the subject. I am not a cramper but I have had cramps before and I always put them on the count of muscle fatigue and the lack of training. Addresses the latter and the occurrences of cramping disappears for me.

  • I’m 73 yrs old, every ride is over exercise for me, I cramped at the finish line on a 30 mi gravel race, I couldn’t move until I drank my bottle of coconut water, then I uncramped an went to get my award,, I use to cramp at home after a hard day of riding, I then drank coconut water, it went away, I now just carry a bottle of coconut water on the bike with some maple syurp in it for energy and I don’t cramp up no matter how hard I ride. I average 11 to 14 mph on 20 to 30 mile non stop mountain bike rides 2, to 3 times a week. I ride all year outdoors in Michigan, winter is mostly gravel bike, and some fat bike time. I don’t cramp anymore thats my science. I don’t take any meds for anything.

  • The pickle juice tastes like crap, worked great for me on a century ride, I was surprised, was at one of the rest stops and figured would try it.