Dehydration Isn’t Causing Your Muscle Cramps

Leg muscle cramping is a big issue for runners, and it particularly gets a lot of play in marathon and ultramarathon circles.  When cramps hit, there’s really nothing you can do but walk.  The traditional argument for the causes of cramping boils down to one or both of the following factors…

Source: Race Cramping: Causes and Prevention

We don’t know what cramping is, but we’re ruling things out.

It’s been months since I had leg cramps.  It was in the pool, and I can’t remember why it would have occurred.  I remember it being more frequent, for myself and others, when swimming after running.  Most often, the cramps would be triggered by pushing off the wall when swimming laps.  This is part of why I only do two of the three events (swimming, cycling, running) in a day.

Four Myths About Hydration That Refuse To Die

As Derek Zoolander wisely put it, wetness is the essence of life. Whether you like drinking water or not, it accounts for about 60% of your body weight, and plays a pretty darn important role in making sure your body functions normally. But statistics aside, there are a couple of myths about hydration that refuse to die.

Source: Four Myths About Hydration That Refuse To Die

You can read about my experience looking into myth #1.  I have never attempted to drink that much water since.

The blurb about myth #3 does not mention skim milk or chocolate milk as a recovery drink.   Providing you’re not lactose intolerant or have ideological issues with drinking cows milk, it’s hydrating, provides carbs and protein, and a good source of calcium and vitamin D (necessary for processing calcium).

There is also an argument that diuretics (coffee, pop/soda) can be beneficial because they will encourage you to drink more when most aren’t motivated to drink more water.  They can be more enjoyable than water – certainly understandable in places where filtration can’t do enough for water.  Hard water tastes horrible…

Here’s What Really Happens When You Force-Feed Someone

The American Medical Association and the Red Cross both condemn force-feeding as a form of torture. And yet, the U.S. government and the United Nations have both force-fed hunger-striking prisoners. The real problem? Most people probably don’t realize how complicated force-feeding is, and how much can go wrong.

Source: Here’s What Really Happens When You Force-Feed Someone

The article doesn’t cover ethics, just the physical aspects that get dealt with.  Still, there’s a reason major medical organizations condemn the practice.

DIY: Vegan Parmesan Alternative

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some more options from time to time? Sure, we’ve got other cheeses like Pecorino Romano or a good aged ricotta salata, but they’re really just variations on a theme. What I want is something that can be used just like grated Parmesan, but brings a new set of flavors to the table. It’s something of particular interest to me during the month of February, when I maintain an entirely vegan diet (and I can tell you, cheese is the one thing I miss most). But I was after something that wouldn’t just carry me through February: I wanted something that I’d keep in my pantry all through the year and I’m afraid the common solution of cashews ground with nutritional yeast just ain’t gonna cut it.

Source: Better Than Parm? Dried Olive and Miso May Be the Ultimate Pasta-Topper

Parmesan – the worse it smells, the better it is.  So there can be benefits if you can’t have it 😉

Unrelated tip: Try nutritional yeast (nooch) on your popcorn.

Why Women Need to Hydrate Differently Than Men

Coming off the heels of my Drink a Gallon Challenge:

When you work out, you sweat: That’s true no matter what your age, sex, or fitness level. Sweating is critical to keeping your body temp regulated, but with each drop of perspiration, you’re losing essential electrolytes and fluids that ensure your bod functions at its best. Lose too much and you may start to feel tired, dizzy, lightheaded, and achy. That’s dehydration.

Turns out, combating those fluid losses may not be a one-size-fits-all proposition.

Source: Why Women Need to Hydrate Differently Than Men

The article mentions sodium and potassium deficiency concerns, but not iron?  Regardless of gender, pay attention and investigate for yourself because overly broad (pun?) generalizations can be harmful.

Challenge: Drink a Gallon of Water a Day or Urine Trouble

Piss-poor pun?  😉

Drinking a gallon (3.79 L) of water is a recommended practice for active people – ½ a gallon a day is the general recommendation.  Some bodybuilders recommend more, but the key detail is your level of activity.  And it can be very personal…  Not drinking enough means suffering dehydration – from sweating, diuretics (coffee, anything with caffeine, alcohol), medication, diabetes, vomiting or diarrhea.  Symptoms include sore/dry mouth, loss of appetite, nausea.  The other side of the coin is water intoxication, which can be fatal.

So I tried increasing my water intake… Drinking 16 oz (think Starbucks Grande) an hour, for 8 hours, was my goal.  It helped that I found a Field Guide to Understanding the Many Possible Colours of your Urine.  In the interest of science, I looked.  In review, I can’t drink a gallon within 8 hours at work.  Starting at 8 AM, I hit a saturation point around 1 – 2 PM depending on the day.  I had a serious bathroom break need, and drinking another 16 oz would put me at the same point within an hour.  I’d read others not recommending chugging the water, because it’d increase the likelihood of a bathroom break but that wasn’t my experience – but I also paced refills on the hour, rather than race to make the goal as quickly as possible.

Additional reading: How Urine Can Be Used to Make Gunpowder (and Other Interesting Pee Facts)