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Leg cramps... Carb related???

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  • Leg cramps... Carb related???

    Have not been an issue except at a 5k a few months ago that I did not hydrate for (and before I was PB). Was relieved then almost instantly by drinking sports drink and water.

    Today 5 hours following an 11 mile run at a 9:20 pace (a fast run for me) I am having waves of cramps in my right calf. These are the "screamers" that are like an 11 on a 1-10. I have been drinking some gatordae to try to get some electrolytes, I ate fruit and was well hydrated before, during and after the run and I stretched out after also. Seem to be getting a bit better and I am able to "catch" them now before it cramps 100% and rub my leg or walk a bit and they go away.

    Any advice? Dreading waking up tonight at 2 a.m. screaming...

  • #2

    Should also have put I am PB now almost 3 weeks and this is my longest run since I started PB. I also pushed the squats, clean and jerks, and assorted Crossfit nastys pretty hard last week.


    • #3

      Sounds like you need to take a magnesuim supplement.


      • #4

        Yeah I was hoping that the Gatorade "Endurance" formula (3 times the amount of Pot, Mag, salt and same amount of sugar or regular) would put an end to it for today. I also had a bananna before and after the run....


        • #5

          Yeah potassium and magnesium, along with dehydration tend to be the culprits for diet-related leg cramps.

          Gatorade is pretty nasty stuff though - try coconut water if you want a "sport drink." It's pretty nearly perfect and 100% natural (ONE brand is good and doesn't have any added ingredients).

          Dates are really high in potassium I believe, but they are also sugary... but then so are bananas.

          Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


          • #6

            I would second maybe a lack of Mg, but on the day of your workout you could use pickle juice instead of a sports drink. You only need a couple ounces and it should do the trick to stave off the cramps. I usually just use the leftover juice from a jar of pickles.


            • #7

              My $.02 worth.

              Don't run. Read Dr. Kurt Harris's posts on "Cardio Causes Heart Disease" Links are:



              It's a tough pill to swallow, I know. Stick to sprinting.

              Now, here's the REALLY weird part. My mother used to have bad leg cramps at night. Many years ago she started using an old "cure" and it worked. Just put a bar of soap under your sheets (I told you it was weird). After she did that, they went away.

              Not too long ago, my dad did a test. They were traveling and neglected to put the hotel soap under the sheet. She woke with bad cramps. She got up to walk them off, and my dad secretly put the soap back. No more cramps!

              I did a web search on this phenominon and it seems to work for most people. You've nothin to lose by trying!


              • #8

                Oh, and check the ingredients in the Gatorade. NOT primal. Not even close. Neolithic garbage.

                I hated that at first, because I never liked the taste of water. Then I started adding a little lemon and it was better. Then I got some carbonated water (just water and bubbles, no "ingredients"). Then I added a couple of table spoons of lemon juice and a half dropper of liquide stevia. Very refreashing. Best "lemonade" ever!


                • #9

                  I had a weird charlie horse about two weeks in back in January. It hurt like a you-know-what, but I haven't had one since.

                  And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair
                  Kahlil Gibran



                  • #10
                    another coconut water fan here! worth every penny...more potassium than gatorade and most otehr sports drinks...its awesome. I dont even like coconut and has hardly any taste, just light tasting.


                    • #11
                      I was getting leg and foot cramps at night recently, since lowering my carbs and doing more running/walking (did both at the same time so I'm not sure which is to blame, if either). I started taking a calcium+magnesium supplement (had it at home already, just hadn't been taking it yet) and haven't had a single cramp since! I take a multivitamin in the morning, and the Ca+Mg in the evening, since I don't know how much you can absorb all at once so I figured it couldn't hurt to spread them out.
                      "mayness, you need to have a siggy line that says "Paleo Information Desk" or something!" -FMN <3

                      I'm blogging again, at least a little bit.


                      • #12
                        Are you getting adequate potassium? I take two 99mg potassium citrate supplements every night to avoid the cramps. The Drs Eades recommend them when you are low-carbing.
                        Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

                        Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is:

                        Ditch the scale!:

                        My Success Story:


                        • #13
                          You can also try some spinach, it's loaded with potassium
                          I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

                          Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe


                          • #14
                            I doubt it is carb related, but potassium and magnesium are rich in several carb heavy foods, such as bananas, that reducing carb intake also reduced K/Mg intake to the point that you are cramping. Adequate sodium/potassium/magnesium balance is necessary to prevent cramping; also, you're not taking creatine, are you? Creatine loading can cause severe cramping in some people, so you might want to moderate intake if you are using it.

                            Up your avocado intake, one of which has more potassium than a banana. Eat some foods rich in magnesium. Stay hydrated.


                            • #15
                              A guy I know who eats paleo but is an endurance athlete says that his cramps have been solved by drinking apple juice. It's not completely primal, but probably less of a cheat than Gatorade.