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Kraken

Leg cramps while climbing (hamstrings and quads)

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When I climb (alpine) I almost always get terrible muscle freezing cramps which virtually make it so I can't move. It has happened at various points in the Chugach in Alaska and it happened on Rainier.

 

Dehydration? I just don't see how that could be. I always drink a ton of water and my urine always shows white when i'm climbing, which means I'm hydrated.

 

Lack of potassium? This is one of my theories.

 

Lack of sodium? Another theory...doesn't hold water in my body.

 

Stretching? I always stretch and it goes away for a while, but returns later on.

 

This is something which is really bugging me. Any input would be great.

Thanks.

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I get those a few times a year. I've taken to eating bananas before I head out, then pop potassium tablets every hour or so. Emergen-C has good amounts of potassium too.

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you need more salt and potassium if you are cramping. If you drink straight water you are just making the imbalance worse (probably caused by the salts lost through sweating). If you are partial to energy drinks, some have more salt than others. Cytomax, for instance, doesn't have hardly any salt so I'll add 1/8th of a teaspoon of salt to a nalgene bottle. Whereas, Accelerade generally doesn't need any salt added.

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Yeah I used Cytomax, thanks to my partner Andy. he gave me taht and it helped me. It helped me a lot.

 

From now on I'll take a multi vitamen several days before a climb, make sure my sodium and potassium intake is steady during a climb, and continue to stay hydrated.

 

Banana chips, Cytomax, Gu, and tons of water seemed to help me on Rainier. I'll continue this regiment.

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I sweat like a pig while I'm climbing and I get some gnarly cramps in my quads and hamstrings. The sport and sport-recovery drinks didn't do anything to help. I tried Emergen-C and it didn't help either.

 

Finally I tried dramitcally increasing my salt intake while climbing. I figured that I was losing a lot of salt in my sweat, and I just needed to replace it to feel better. Now for the nasty (sounding) part: I carry a dry boullion cube in my pocket and nibble off a bit from time to time and wash it down with a swig of water. No more cramps.

 

It's way cheaper and lighter than a bunch of drink packets that make your water bottles smell funny.

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Almost any fruit, including dried fruit has lots of potassium, which is a good reason to bring it on climbing trips. It is difficult to get potassium, but ridiculously easy to get plenty of sodium.

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CBS - for always being such a watershed of inane technical info your assertion that it is hard to get enough potassium is funny. It is readily available in so many fresh fruits and veggies. It may not be added to processed foods (nor listed on food labels) but if you want to eat healthy you don't want to eat processed crap anyways.

 

During the Darwinian time of human specices evolution salt was hard to come by, which is why our bodies work so hard at retaining salt and waste potassium at every chance since it was very easy to come by. Unfortunately human biological design has not continued to evolve to reflect the amount of crap they add to processed food.

 

If you are getting cramps you likely have an imbalance of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, but other micronutrients may be involved if you don't have a great diet or don't take a multivitamin (e.g., calcium or phosphate imbalance).

 

If you decide to play with supplementing your intake of sodium and potassium before and during a climb, DO NOT overdo it. More is not always better. Electrolytes are a pretty delicate balance and if you overload on sodium or potassium you can have some pretty bad consequences. Rule of thumb would be to eat foods that have salt and potassium (nuts and dried fruits and dried meats) during your climb. Put some kind of gorp in a pocket and have a handful every hour or so. You'll get a little energy and some electrolytes. Replacement drinks are great too.

 

A note on multivitamins...if you don't have a great diet or drink alcohol with meals you are hoping to get vitamins from: Alcohol interferes with vitamin absorption so you may be deficient and not know it. Best bet is to take a multivitamin in the morning with breakfast, a little food will keep your stomach from getting upset.

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Chelle, it is hard to get potassium, IF YOU DON'T EAT FRUIT. The fact is Americans, in general, don't eat enough fruit. Instead they eat too much processed foods. Climbers tend not to bring fresh fruit on climbs because it is heavy. Not everyone brings dried fruit. The sorts of things many climbers bring on climbs are potassium poor: cheese, crackers, candy bars, etc. So yes, it is easy to get potassium, and YET, many do not get enough. Vitamin supplements that contain potassium cannot, by law, exceed 3% of the RDA. You get more potassium in an average sized apple or bannana than you do in a potassium supplement.

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Rule of thumb would be to eat foods that have salt and potassium (nuts and dried fruits and dried meats) during your climb. Put some kind of gorp in a pocket and have a handful every hour or so. You'll get a little energy and some electrolytes. Replacement drinks are great too

 

yeah this is what i did and it helped. I had a nut-rich gorp that I ate the entire second say and it seemed to help, along with dried banana chips. thanks for all the input!

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Vitamin supplements that contain potassium cannot, by law, exceed 3% of the RDA.

 

Some flavors of emergen-c have 6% RDA. just have a couple packets...

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I used to have problem with cramping too. I played around wth energy drinks and found one that works for me. plain old gatoraide seems to be effective. I know, I have read the literature that cytomax etc... are better but this one works for me. I also force myself to ingest a packet of gu or something equiv each hour during a climb and this helps.

In the midst of actual cramping I have taken a tiny sip of a little chinese restaraunt soy sauce packet and 5 minutes later the cramping went away. best to prevent however. Bananas have potassium but if you are to the point of true potassium depletion then they may not help. It takes 12 feet of bannana to equal one 20 meq tablet of Potasium which is a typical dose of Pot. for somebody with normal renal function taking 40 mg of Lasix ( water pill)

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It takes 12 feet of bannana to equal one 20 meq tablet of Potasium which is a typical dose of Pot.

 

how do you smoke 12 feet of banana?

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how do you smoke 12 feet of banana?

C'mere, I'll show ya! HCL.gifyelrotflmao.gif

...small packet of restaurant soy sauce

bigdrink.gif

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Hey Clint, here's one other thing for you to consider. I never have cramps when I climb I did however have cramps when I cycle. I went throught he same process of why. What I finally tracked down was that I tended to cramp when I far exceeded (>50%)my normal training level. In training you are teaching your body to attain a certain level. It's just saying your going out of bounds. I had good results in just varying and extending my workouts. The "mystery" cramps ceased. It may be helpful to keep track of which climbs you cramp on and how that compares with recent history.

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It takes 12 feet of bannana to equal one 20 meq tablet of Potasium which is a typical dose of Pot.

 

how do you smoke 12 feet of banana?

 

The hard part is getting it lit. :spliff:

 

Hey, where's the smokin' gremlin?

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