Friday, January 3, 2014

Leg Cramps and ZMA

As an avid cyclist I suffered from leg cramps right from the beginning. For the last few years if I pushed my personal limits in effort or distance I was sure to pay the price with debilitating legs cramps. Many times the cramps themselves would damage my muscle far worse then the cycling effort and the muscle would be tender and sore for days following a hard cramp. Every Saturday or Sunday I could count on 5 minutes of agony. I could always tell when they were near, they would try to tighten up unless I kept them at bay with an extended leg or it was on. Lose your guard for only a second and relax, Wham, It’s on like Donkey Kong. No talking, no breathing, nothing but red faced and sweating like Mike Tyson until the beating is over. Sound familiar, read on…

I tried Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes with no effect, I searched high and low for any information I could find on leg cramps.  Searching Randonneuring and long distance sites and clubs for anything I could find that might help. Always coming up with the same answers. Drink more water, add electrolytes, increase your salt intake, tonic (quinine) water, stretch more, eat banana’s, take calcium and magnesium, some people just get cramps…

Lately I’ve been experimenting with different supplements and vitamins for general heath and well being. Nothing fancy or trickery, just basics. Vitamin C, E, B-complex, Calcium, and Fish Oil. I was at the local Vitamin Cottage a couple months ago re-supplying and stopped to look at performance supplements for athletes. I picked up a bottle of ZMA by Now Foods and read the label. It peaked my interest, so I did a quick search on my smart phone. Here is what I found on the Now Foods website.
ZMA® is a synergistic combination of Zinc and Magnesium designed to maximize absorption and promote recovery from exercise.  Zinc plays a central role in the regulation of cellular growth and tissue repair, as well as the maintenance of a healthy immune system.  Magnesium is essential for the maintenance of electrolyte balance, energy production and normal neuromuscular function.  Because physical activity can increase the need for these two minerals, ZMA® is the ideal supplement to aid in their replenishment.*

Sounded like I could benefit, it didn’t cost much, so I tossed it in the basket. For the past 2 months of taking 1 capsule every day, 2-3 if I worked out, my leg cramps are gone. It took some time for me to notice, a couple hard rides had to go by without leg cramps before I realized what I was missing. The magic combination of Magnesium and Zinc in the Now ZMA has done wonders for me, it works. It’s nice to know I can work out and push the limits to the point of fatigue and not get leg cramps.