Muscle cramps can bring even the strongest athlete to his or her knees. There are a number of theories as to what causes cramps but we never really get a lot of answers to why they happen.
But to quickly jump to what seems to be working, here is the answer to your cramp issue… Pickle Juice.
Most experts think it’s the vinegar.
It seems as though vinegar pulls sodium and calcium together to eliminate cramping.
Bring a small amount of pickle juice with you on your next training session (2 ounces is usually enough).
Mustard contains vinegar in smaller, but potentially effective amounts as well. However, it has not been as well studied as pickle juice. Packets of yellow and honey mustard are portable on the trail or road, and often easier to consume than pickle juice. Mustard has up to 100 milligrams of sodium per packet and also contains turmeric, which is helpful for muscle soreness and inflammation.
Beyond the cramps, pickle juice and mustard provide other benefits for athletes:
Sodium: Adequate intake can improve hydration and reduce cramping, at least in practice. Just 1 tablespoon of mustard has 200 milligrams sodium and 2 ounces pickle juice has more than 400 milligrams sodium. Just 2 ounces of the pickle juice sports drink has about 225 milligrams sodium.
Glycogen Replenishment: Vinegar, which is chemically known as acetic acid, can provide the acetyl group. This is a fundamental building block for the Krebs Cycle and helps to metabolize carbohydrates and fat to produce energy and ATP for cells.
If you’re prone to cramps bring a bottle of pickle juice or packet of mustard to your next training session or race. Consume them at the first sign of cramps and you might be able to keep training or racing and full speed.