Ugh, Cramps!

9 Jun
The struggle is real

Even Lebron James knows: the struggle is real.

As much as I love sports, I am absolutely not an athlete. I am the quintessential couch coach. I can call all kinds of plays from the sidelines of my living room. That’s why I love the NBA Finals. After the Super Bowl, it’s my favorite sporting event of the year.

Like a lot of people, I was halfway paying attention to the first game of the NBA Finals last Thursday. It’s the first game; there will at least be four; it’s two tough teams guaranteed to play a close game; who needs that kind of stress? But at the end, I peeked up from my book to see “King” LeBron James limping then being carried off the court. “What the…?!?!” I said to myself. I hit rewind to find out it was 90 degrees on the court as the air conditioning had gone out in the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Texas, but for some reason it just remains hot there. Just…just nasty hot. And it’s June. In Texas. At the time LeBron needed to be carried off the court, the temperature was in the low 80s with about 70% humidity. In other words, it was damn hot—and that was outside.

I know I wasn’t the only one laughing at the mighty LeBron being carried off the court. But I also understood why.

When you exert yourself the way top athletes do, especially in this type of competition, your body temperature is going to rise. Couple that with the heat in the arena and the lactic acid that had built up in his body over four quarters and you’ve got man down due to cramps.

There’s no other way to say it: Lactic acid buildup is a bitch. When in beast mode, it will slay the beast. Ask any runner, basketball player, football player, fencer, etc. When you get into a groove, it can be easy to ignore the burn that is attacking your calves, hamstrings, triceps.

People who’ve never experienced that type of pain will be the first ones to call LeBron a punk for not continuing to play in such a tight game. Those people are idiots. I laughed because it’s funny watching LeBron getting carried off the court, not because he couldn’t finish the game. As a woman, I’ve had debilitating menstrual cramps. And while it hurts to walk, you can still move. You can’t do that with a Charlie horse. Charlie horse is a cute name, but is not acute pain.

Here are a few tips to help you get through beast mode without falling on your face:

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. It can never emphasized enough: You have to hydrate. Gatorade, VitaminWater, or just good-old H20 will all do a body good. The water acts to counter the lactic acid building up in your system. This keeps your muscles from tightening and preventing Charlie horses. (See: LeBron)

Stretch. The other day I ran in a 5K (post to come). Afterward, I had to go to work to pick up my stuff and my running mate tsk-tsked me because I hadn’t stretched yet. I admit that stretching is annoying. If you’re like me, you just want to get your workout over with and go about your day. That becomes difficult when you can’t move. So take those extra five minutes before and after to loosen up your limbs. Your body will thank you. And drink some water.

Don’t feel the burn. This isn’t the ’80s when people were still trying to figure out how to exercise. Everyone these days is a self-proclaimed expert (including yours truly). The one thing they agree on is pain is not the point. So if your thigh or arms or back starts tingling in an unfortunate way, stop. Just stop it. Move on to something else. Learn the difference between the feeling of your muscles working and your muscles hurting. And drink some water.

Frequency is key. Though you need to stop when the burn hits, increasing the frequency of your workouts helps. The fitter you are, the less lactic acid that will build up. If you’re a once a month exerciser, do you, boo. But you’ll have to compensate that with extra time spent on stretching, eating bananas and hydrating. Please drink some water.

“Bananas taste the best and are the best for you.” Aside from that, the potassium helps prevent the buildup of lactic acid. But I’ll let my girl Chiquita Banana give you the other benefits of bananas. And drink some water.


What do you find that helps you with your workout pains? I hope one thing you do is drink water.

2 Responses to “Ugh, Cramps!”


  1. Skinny Guide to Stocking Stuffers | I'm Skinny, Now What? - December 9, 2014

    […] Water bottle. Hydration is key. I can’t stress this enough. Just like new parents never have enough baby bottles, gym rats […]

  2. Summertime Shine (From Sweat) | I'm Skinny, Now What? - July 8, 2014

    […] heading for an outdoor workout. Remember Game 1 of the NBA Finals this summer? Of course you do. I wrote a lovely post about it. That’s what happens when you don’t hydrate. Don’t be LeBron. Be better than […]

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