Have you ever been working out and all of the sudden your calf muscle decides to like detach itself from your leg and roll up your leg and sit on your butt? Okay, not really. That may have been a touch dramatic. However! How to prevent muscle cramps is actually much simpler than you might think.
Let’s take a look at a couple of causes of muscle cramps before we dive into how to prevent them.
And, believe me, I know this part can be super boring, so I’m going to do my best to liven up this discussion here, so you have to work with me, okay?
According to the Mayo Clinic,
Muscle cramps can be caused by a few things such as limited blood supply and being low in potassium. (Full article here)
But more on the potassium piece in a minute…
Sometimes it’s really good to know why our body is doing what it’s doing and not just what we need to do to prevent something.
Muscle cramps can be a total buzz kill in the gym, so let’s dive into how to prevent muscle cramps.
How to Prevent Muscle Cramps #1- Eat a Banana
While I’m obviously not a doc, and I can’t tell you what to eat, I’m just a coach that helps busy mamas get fit, I’d like to focus a second on the potassium one. Then you can make your own decision. 🙂
I get a lot of questions about what to eat before working out.
To which I say something to the effect of- “everybody is different and you’re going to have to decide what works for your body. However, I’ve had many clients have great success (myself included) eating a banana before working out.”
Heeeyyyooo guess what’s in a banana? Potassium and that lovely fruit sugar to give you lots of energy.
Plus, bonus! Potassium helps prevent muscle cramps.
Can you believe it? Okay, let’s move on to the next thing.
How to Prevent Muscle Cramps #2- Stay Hydrated
Let’s be clear about one thing- I’m not saying that you have to carry around a water gallon jug and drink a full gallon of water.
Although, if your kiddos are driving you crazy, you could make drinking a gallon of water a goal because you won’t have time for their drama because you’ll be peeing all the time.
But, I digress.
Water! It’s important, so drink up! It lubricates those muscles and keeps them from getting all cramped up.
Bonus tip– one of my favorite concoctions for getting re-hydrated after a killer workout or a long run is to take coconut water, lemon juice, a splash of regular water, and a touch of stevia. Mix up, put an ice cube in and enjoy!
How to Prevent Muscle Cramps #3 – A Good Warm Up
Warm ups don’t get their proper emphasis of importance.
A lot of times it’s because we’re in such a hurry to make sure we actually get a workout in that we just run into the gym and swan dive into the workout.
Then a few minutes later we either get a side stitch or our calf muscle seizes up.
Talk about mood killer, am I right?
Taking the time to warm up your muscles can really be a game changer in your workouts because it gives them time to… well, warm up.
It’s like a first date, although… I’ve been married nine years, so my last first date was about 15 years ago. Yikes, right? I mean, really, Amber? How old are you?
Anywho, on a first date, you have to warm up to the person. It’s always super awkward, right? It’s because we have to get to know the other person. I mean, let’s not even start on the awkward sweaty hand holding that will probably happen on the first date if all goes well.
Well, it kinda goes like that with your muscles, too. They want to get to know and warm up to the idea of working out.
How to Prevent Muscle Cramps #4 – Proper Cool Down
Wouldn’t ya know it? A cool down is on the list too.
Now, believe me when I say that I completely get not “having time to cool down”. I have to squeeze my workouts in between my clients so, taking the time for a cool down is often pushed to the back burner.
Here’s the deal,
A proper cool down doesn’t require 15 minutes of stretching.
Honestly about 90 seconds of a slow walk on a treadmill or going for a meander around the gym to slow your heart rate, followed by 3-4 minutes of foam rolling is all it takes.
I mean, come on, you’ve got time for that, mama.
Here’s another deal about muscle cramps
It’s actually fairly simple to prevent muscle cramps, you just have to take the time to do a few things to prevent them.
Let’s review real fast:
- Eat a banana
- Stay hydrated
- Proper warm up
- Proper cool down
Hey, here’s a little bonus for you- I’ve got some sample foam rolling cool down exercises for you.
It’s an instant download, just throw in your email and I’ll be happy to send it to you.
Don’t worry, I won’t spam you. Only good stuff that you won’t see anywhere else on the blog or my social media pages!