Tag Archives: Weight Training

CRAMP – What it is and How to Avoid It!


Leg Cramps

We all know the feeling of being doubled -over in the gym holding our calf / thigh / hand as crippling cramp strikes us, but what IS it and why does it happen?

What is cramp?

Cramp is the involuntary spasming of a muscle or muscle group where the muscle refuses to relax.
It is normally accompanied by a painful sensation that can range from a slight spasm to agonising pain. It can last a few seconds to 15 minutes and often recurs in the same muscle repeatedly.

Types of Cramps:

There are 4 distinct cramping types:  “true” cramps, tetany, contractures, and dystonic cramps but it is most likely that fitness models and athletes will be affected by “true” cramps, as these are commonly associated with the vigorous use of muscles and muscle fatigue brought on by excessive use in sports, or through repetitive use i.e. in weight lifting.

Muscle-Leg-Cramps

Such cramps may happen during activity or later, sometimes many hours later and are usually caused by:

  • Dehydration: Sports and other vigorous activities can cause excessive fluid loss from perspiration.
    Any athletes who commonly use diuretics such as “stackers” are likely to suffer from cramping more frequently than those who do not due to the chronic volume depletion of body fluids brought on by these substances.
    Sodium depletion has also been associated with cramps – Sodium is the most abundant chemical constituent of body fluids outside the cell and is usually a function of dehydration.
  • Conditioning / Injury: Persistent cramping may occur as a protective mechanism following an injury or in weaker less conditioned muscles. In this instance, the spasm tends to minimize movement and stabilize the area of injury.
  • Fatigue: Cramp sets in when our muscles are tired
  • Vitamin Depletion – Low blood calcium and / or magnesium: Lower than recommended levels of either calcium or magnesium directly increase the sensitivity and excitability of nerve endings and muscles. This additional stimulation can be a predisposing factor for the cramps, and can often be brough on through excessive sweating as key electrolites are lost from the body.
    It can also be caused by: inadequate calcium absorption due to a definciency of vitamin D, hyperventilation (overbreathing), vomiting, inadequate calcium and/or magnesium in the diet, and other conditions.
    These can be combatted by ensuring that electrolytes are consumed during any periods of nausea or diarrhea, that a sufficient level of sun-light exposure is maintained, and that a good quality vitamin supplement is taken as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
    Low potassium blood levels can also occasionally cause muscle cramps, although it is more common for low potassium although potassium deficiency usually results in weak muscles rather than cramp. Banana’s are an excellent source of potassium and are also an excellent source of energy before a workout.

Treatment?

Leg-Cramps-Remedy

The immediate treatment for muscle cramp is to stretch and gently massage the muscle. Use ice packs for severe cases and drink water or a sports drink, or better yet dextrose or maltodextrin – as a lot of the glucose in “sports” drinks will go to the liver as opposed to the muscle.

How can you avoid cramp?

Plenty of fluid and a nutritious diet along with a proper warm-up such as walking on an incline or x-training on a medium resistance for around 10 minutes will ensure that muscles are warm. NEVER STRETCH COLD MUSCLES AS THIS CAN RESULT IN TEARS IN THE MUSCLE.



Article Written by Georgia B. Simmons

Georgia B. Simmons is a Bikini Athlete and Competitor out of the UK. Read here featured interview here.



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Lunges & Love


I have an amazing relationship with the weights. They are always there when I need them, push me beyond my standard limits, make me a better individual and they don’t mind getting banged around a little. Unfortunately for some of us Muscle Bombshells™, sometimes a relationship may suffer as a result of the amazing relationship that we have with the weights.

This can especially be the case if your partner simply does not adhere to the health and fitness lifestyle that you have chosen for yourself. They may simply not understand the fact that you have to wake up at 5am on most days just to squeeze a workout or a morning step mill session in. And they think of you as being “obsessed” for turning down cheesecake for asparagus and dry chicken. After all, they love you. They already think of your body as perfect – or they should!, so how can you improve upon perfection? (We all know that we will always be trying to do this!) They may not quite understand the love of the sweat, the sacrifice and the utter satisfaction that can come after months of hard work for an ultimate
goal.

I have a little bit of luck in this department, as my partner happens to be a competitive bodybuilder. But even with this, it can still be hard in the depletion phase of contest prep not to have fights over absolutely nothing. It is also helpful to note that the prep for a man can be quite a differing emotional experience than one of a woman. So there still can be issues with integrating fitness into a committed relationship.

How do you balance that very demanding relationship you have with the weights with the one that you have with your partner? I have compiled a few tips that may help:

  • Find another hobby that you both enjoy (non fitness related) and indulge in that on a weekly basis. Something like cooking class, or jazz music, a new type of dance or learning to bartend.
  • Help your partner understand how fitness is so important to you on more than just a physical level. Communicate effectively!
  • Have a cheat night out and let them help you plan it.
  • Do not force fitness or your lifestyle on them. It must be a personal choice and they will not take to nagging.

The best thing to do is to make sure that you make time for that special person in your life in the same way you carve out time in your busy day for cardio or that ridiculous workout. We need love in our life to help support us in achieving our goals, so it is important to take care of those relationships as well as our bodies!


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