How long have you been into cycling? If you’re new to the sport, you’ll have to learn to deal with muscle cramps early on. They hurt, last for a while, and they can even keep you off the road. It’s a good thing that cycling cramps can be treated with something found in your pantry: pickles.
Carrying a jar of pickles while cycling is rather awkward, but the brine left in the jar also does the trick. It could be the difference between a smooth ride and a painful experience, which is why I’ve come up with a quick guide on what to do with pickle juice.
First Things First – Does It Really Work?
Pickle juice is nothing new to the sport; one of the earliest reports regarding this home remedy was on an old issue of Training and Conditioning back in 2000. During that time, both professional and university athletes have already been using pickle juice to treat muscle cramps for years
How does it work? There’s no definite answer yet, but researchers propose that the acid found in the pickle juice can cause the nerves in your throat to fire off signals that cause the involuntary contraction of the cramped muscle to stop.
Relevant YouTube video:
How Much Pickle Juice Should You Be Packing?
You don’t need to bring an entire bottle of pickle juice all the time. According to an article published on Authority Nutrition, research shows that drinking an ounce or two of pickle juice is good enough to get rid of a cramp. The juice works faster than just drinking water or letting the cramp subside on its own.
Since you don’t need a lot of the stuff, you can put them in small vials often used for storing energy shots. You can also buy readily-packaged pickle juice, which is handy if you don’t have pickle juice stored in your home. If you don’t mind the taste, you can even mix the pickle juice with your water.
When Should You Be Drinking Pickle Juice?
You don’t have to wait till you’re hurting on the road; you can drink pickle juice anytime and it would still help you ward off cramps. According to an article on Lovingthebike.com, pickle juice is rich in sodium and important nutrients that keep your muscles healthy and replenished.
Some athletes eat pickles and drink the juice the night or morning before a race to reduce the chances of getting cramps during the race. Many people drink an ounce or two after the race for the same reason; cramps happen after physical activity and hurt more because the adrenaline has worn off.
Improving the Taste of Pickle Juice
Pickle juice may work great, but it’s sort of an acquired taste. If you need an urgent supply of the stuff to deal with a cramp, the best you can do is wash it down with water. It may not taste good (most treatment options never do), but it’s much better than keeping that cramp.
If you’re taking pickle juice before or after the race, you have more options. You can mix it with your water or recovery shake to weaken its flavor, or you can drink it while eating yogurt. The strong taste of yogurt should be more than enough to mask the pickle juice.
Things to Watch out for Before Drinking Pickle Juice
While pickle juice is generally safe to drink, you may still want to check with your doctor or nutritionist if you are under certain conditions. This is especially true if you have gout since pickle juice can easily cause uric acid to build up. You should also avoid pickle juice if you are on a low-sodium diet.
According to New Health Advisor, you should also be careful when drinking pickle juice if you’re on medication. The acids in the pickle juice may interfere with your medicine or even cause complications, so it’s better to stay safe than sorry.
Other Uses for Pickle Juice
Pickle juice isn’t just limited to getting rid of cramps during cycling! Thanks to its high sodium content, drinking pickle juice is one of the best ways to quickly get rid of a hangover. This is a must-have for frequent drinkers or those with low alcohol tolerance.
The hydrating and cramp-fighting effects of pickle juice mean it’s also a great way to relieve the pain from PMS. Furthermore, it has a salty flavor that can keep women from craving salty food when they are on their periods.
We don’t know how it actually works yet, but it does, and it will remain a mainstay for cyclists and other athletes. Someday, we’ll discover its secrets and maybe even come up with more effective alternatives. For now, keeping pickle juice available is the tried and tested way of getting rid of your cramps.
Got any questions about pickle Juice? Have you already tried pickle juice for cramps before? Share your experience in the comments section!