Uncontrolled muscle contractions and their consequences (cramps, muscle tension, hardening, twitching) are a common phenomenon in endurance and game sports and lead to a performance restriction or failure. Typical causes (especially cramps) are mechanical overload or a lack of fluid, electrolytes and energy.
MUSCLE RELAX from SPONSER® is supposed to aid in such situations. The innovative formulation of pickle juice and vinegar concentrate is based on functional ingredients which have been shown in numerous studies (Miller et al 2010, Craighead et al 2017) to reduce symptoms and improve muscle function.
The practical serving size vials can be taken both acutely and preventively for muscle relaxation, especially in cases of increased susceptibility to cramps (e.g. during exercise or at rest during the night),
Pickle Juice has been used in sport for years. The exact mode of action is still part of ongoing research. Current explanations suppose that the high acid and bitter substances content triggers neurological reactions, which let the brain forget the cramp event. The muscles thereby reduce their tonicity, come into a relaxation state and the cramp vanishes. The bitter substance quinine and magnesium are other researched ingredients which counteract a cramping tendency. Magnesium contributes to electrolyte balance and normal muscle function.
Cramps are particularly frequent in sports with stop-and-go movements such as football, basketball, handball and the like.
Athletes in endurance sports with longer durations such as triathlon, marathon, trail running, mountain biking, racing biking, etc. are very often affected by restricted muscle function and cramps. Before its market launch, the pickle juice-vinegar solution was tested extensively and successfully on the occasion of the Swiss Epic MTB stage race.
Ice Hockey Nutrition
Nutrition in ice hockey: what ice hockey players should be aware of
Ice hockey is a fascinating sport: fast-paced, physical and in some cases highly dramatic. Although the regular match time is usually three times 20 minutes with breaks of 15 minutes, the effective play time is much longer. Depending on the interruptions during the game, the five field players and the goalie can spend up to two and a half hours on ice. It is obvious that a competition of over two hours requires a targeted and carefully balanced nutritional strategy if an athlete is to fully exploit his performance potential on the ice. We explain in the following what ice hockey players nutrition-wise need to consider before, during and after the competition and make recommendations for product selection from the SPONSER range.
Filling glycogen stores
Full energy reservoirs are the be-all and end-all in a sport with long performing times such as ice hockey. Studies confirm that glycogen supercompensation (carboloading) with a concentrated, carbohydrate-containing drink provides a considerable energy advantage on the day before the competition. Suitable products:
• CARBO LOADER: High energy sports drink for replenishing glycogen stores, contains Vitargo®, a barley starch hydrolysate specially developed for this purpose.
• LIQUID ENERGY GELS: Those who prefer it quick and comfortable can take carbohydrates directly from the tube with these gels. They deliver easily tolerable energy, which is available within a few minutes after ingestion.
• HIGH ENERGY BAR: Competition bars for long-lasting energy. Ideal up to one hour before use.
Increased lactate tolerance
The relatively short, but high-intensity blocks, with sprints and hardly any breathers, as they occur again and again in ice hockey, result in high lactate accumulation. Beta-alanine and soda loading (sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate) in advance increase the extracellular buffer capacity, which in turn delays the muscle acidosis and fatigue. Athletes benefit also from creatine supplementation, especially when it comes to speed and interval performance - two factors that play a central role in ice hockey. Suitable products:
• LACTAT BUFFER: For professional soda loading during 4-5 days before important games.
• BETA ALANINE: In contrast to soda loading, it does not increase the extracellular but the intracellular buffer capacity and thus ideally complements the LACTATE BUFFER. Loading is necessary for approx. 8 weeks and should be paused after approx. 12 weeks for several weeks.
• CREATINE MONOHYDRATE: Loading phase during 1-2 weeks, but can also be used throughout the entire season. For even better absorption, a combination with CREATINE PYRUMAX is also possible.
DURING THE GAME
Ensure regular liquid supply
Despite the obviously cool temperatures on the ice field, the loss of liquid is significantly higher than one would expect, due to high-intensity performance and the hindered thermoregulation by full-body clothing and protection gear. For this reason, professional athletes make sure to drink 0.5 to 1 litres of an energy- and electrolyte-containing sports drink per hour during a match. Suitable products:
Avoiding blood sugar fluctuations and muscle cramps
In competitive sports, energy supply plays a central role because the body's fuel stores are not sufficient for a duration of more than approx. 90 to 120 minutes. LIQUID ENERGY Gels can therefore also be used in addition to carbohydrate-electrolytes drinks. They provide fast energy, can be taken easily and do not strain the digestion. Players with high sweat losses and/or cramp tendency may benefit from our MUSCLE RELAX Shot. Suitable products:
• LIQUID ENERGY GELS: Best tolerated liquid energy concentrate from quick and slow available carbohydrates. The energy kick par excellence! With or without caffeine.
• MUSCLE RELAX: 30 ml bottles of cucumber juice and vinegar. At first signs or acute muscle cramps, rinse your mouth briefly with it and drink afterwards.
Keeping coordination and concentration high
Reaction time, attention, coordination, concentration and a high focus are elementary performance components in a technical and fast discipline like ice hockey. Suitable products for increased cognitive performance and delayed fatigue:
• ACTIVATOR: Ready-to-drink flask with 200 mg caffeine from guarana, mate and green tea. Ideal from the second third or to manage mental fatigue. To be taken approx. 30-60 min before the desired time of effect. Take in two portions depending on tolerance.
• MENTAL FOCUS: Caffeine-free formulation with green tea active ingredients and Rhodiola Rosea. Promotes focusing without increasing anxiety.
Ensure fast recovery
«After the match is before the match» is a bon mot in ice hockey. It is therefore crucial to take care of regeneration immediately after a match. A high-quality regeneration supplement supplies the body with fluid and electrolytes, fills the glycogen stores and repairs endured muscle damage. Suitable products:
• RECOVERY DRINK: Fruity regeneration drink, lactose-free. Preparation with water.
• PRO RECOVERY: Efficient, highly professional protein-based regeneration product to balance muscle stress. Lactose-free and without artificial sweeteners. Preparation with water.
• NITROFLOW PERFORMANCE2: The professional tip! Its vasodilatory effect enables better nutrient supply and reduction of metabolic end products (e.g. lactate). Ideal for supporting regeneration.
Author: Remo Jutzeler
Head R&D SPONSER SPORT FOOD
Ing. Applied Food Sciences UAS
MAS Nutrition & Health ETHZ
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Important nutrition tips for racing a bike marathon
Basic nutritional recommendations for marathons
The nutrition strategy before and during a mountainbike marathon is basically a very individual matter, especially for longer distances. Nevertheless, there are important guidelines to follow in order to get through the competition optimally. Special attention should be paid to the following three parameters:
• Fluid balance: Drink regularly and according to your thirst.
• Energy: Use easily digestible carbohydrates as the main source of energy, approx. 60-80 g per hour. Sports drinks and energy gels are particularly practical during marathons.
• Electrolytes/salt balance: Preferably use sports drinks and additionally take electrolytes (salt capsules) if the race lasts more than three hours. Especially, if pure water is drunk and warm temperatures prevail.
» The graphic MTB marathon nutrition illustrates what you need to pay attention to.
No experiments in competition!
Prior to use during competitions, we recommend testing all products in advance during training under competition-specific stress. Because even though optimal digestibility of the products is a central development component of SPONSER®, there are always individual and situational factors that have to be considered. Many an elite athlete has had to learn the hard way in this regard. Rule number one is therefore: No nutritional experiments on the day of competition or immediately before!
Activation of NO metabolism
Formerly a secret tip, the so-called nitric oxide activation has spread in recent years thanks to broad scientific support. In addition to professionals, this concept is also used today by numerous ambitious amateur athletes. The activation of the nitric oxide metabolism (NO) aims, among other things, at increased oxygen availability and improved blood flow. The most efficient products are NITROFLOW PERFORMANCE2 and RED BEET VINITROX.
The longer the competition, the more the body's limited carbohydrate reserves and absorption capacity become the performance-limiting criteria. As a rule, long distance mountainbikers therefore benefit from carboloading prior to a marathon. Efficient carboloading means filling the body's various carbohydrate stores to the maximum. Study results suggest that one to two days of carboloading before competition is the adequately efficient. However, large amounts of food on the eve of a competition often lead to an unpleasant feeling of fullness or even digestive problems, and are therefore not recommended.
Consequently, in addition to a generally carbohydrate-rich diet immediately before the competition, we recommend taking the specially developed CARBO LOADER on pre-race days. CARBO LOADER is a highly concentrated, carbohydrate-electrolyte drink without free fructose. Ideally, one portion should be taken after each main meal.
The advantages of such a carboloading are:
• Maximally filled glycogen stores.
• No feeling of fullness and less flatulence.
• Practical handling: CARBO LOADER, especially in a portion bag, can be easily taken at any location.
The electrolytes balance should be maintained before the race start. A little extra salt during the last meals is a suitable measure in this respect. Ideally, you should take one or two salt capsules (SALT CAPS) or dissolve ELECTROLYTE TABS in a water bottle. If you want to take carbohydrates at the same time, take a sports drink (COMPETITION®).
The longer the duration of the competition, the more important it is to keep individual parameters in balance in order to maintain optimal performance. The most important factors to keep in mind are: energy, fluid and electrolytes.
For almost all mountainbikers racing a marathon distance or more, carbohydrates are the main source of energy in competition. However, their absorption capacity is physiologically limited. As a rule of thumb: Consume between 60-80 g carbohydrates per hour or approx. 1 g carbohydrates per kg of body weight.
If too much energy is ingested, digestive problems may occur. Flatulence or digestive problems, for example, are two such indicators. In principle, it does not matter whether the energy is ingested through sports drinks, gels, bars or the like. In addition to the competition route (topography), individual experiences and preferences play a decisive role here. We recommend a combination of the different sources. The longer the competition, the greater the need for solid food. In this respect, our HIGH ENERGY BARS have proven to be the most suitable. For ascents and with heavy breathing the energy is preferably taken via liquids. Intermittent energy shortage can optimally be countered with LIQUID ENERGY gels.
The choice of gels (LIQUID ENERGY PLUS, BCAA, PURE, or SALTY) is individual and can be varied at preference. The LIQUID ENERGY SALTY gel is a good change in heat - not least from a taste point of view. It contains more salt, tastes spicy-salty and less sweet. With increasing competition duration, high temperatures and a tendency to cramp, we recommend the use of SALT CAPS as an additional electrolyte source (approx. 1-2 caps per hour).
Fluid and electrolytes
Not only fluid but also electrolytes are lost through sweat. Therefore, it is important to drink regularly right from the start and to pay attention to the feeling of thirst, which is the most reliable indicator according to scientific findings. For nutritional and physiological reasons, we recommend taking COMPETITION®, LONG ENERGY or ULTRA COMPETITION carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks. The advantage: These sports drinks provide the body with valuable electrolytes, fluids and, of course, the necessary energy in hypotonic form. The drinks are also acid-free, provide a broad carbohydrate spectrum and are only discreetly flavoured, which makes them optimally tolerated.
To ignite one's supercharger in the second half of the competition, the use of ACTIVATOR is beneficial. The small 25 ml ready-to-drink shot with 200 mg of caffeine corresponds to about 2 to 3 cups of coffee. Caffeine activates and improves endurance performance, concentration and alertness. It also has a positive effect on motivation. As with all products, it is advisable to test ACTIVATOR for individual digestibility in the run-up to the competition.
If you tend to cramp with increasing competition duration or in general, you can use the MUSCLE RELAX shot as a remedy. The pickle juice-like, sour-sharp drinking solution activates neurosensory receptors and helps to normalise muscle function.
Fast regeneration pays off
The regeneration phase begins immediately after the finish line and is particularly decisive. The faster, the better for the body, even if there is usually no feeling of hunger at this point.
The following three factors are central to your rapid regeneration:
• Replenishment of glycogen stores through easily digestible carbohydrates.
• Rehydration with fluid and electrolytes.
• Restoration/repair of the muscles with protein.
Elite athletes consume a professional regeneration drink with a protein content of approx. 20 to 30 g within 30 minutes after passing the finish line in order to cover all important elements easily and efficiently. PRO RECOVERY, RECOVERY SHAKE or WHEY ISOLATE 94 are used most frequently. The RECOVERY DRINK (combined with a flask AMINO 12500) has also proven itself in practice thanks to its practical portion size.
Author: Yvonner Forster Nigg
dipl. eng. food sciences UAS
dipl. dietitian HS
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Gigathlon in Blazing Heat
Read the full text in German:
Die fünf wichtigsten Ernährungsgrundsätze für Ausdauersport in extremer Hitze
Ein Gigathlon ist ja an sich schon eine anspruchsvolle Sache. Wenn zum sportlichen Pflichtprogramm noch hochsommerliche Temperaturen kommen, die den Athleten das Leben schwer machen, kommt der Wettkampfverpflegung eine noch höhere Bedeutung bei als ohnehin schon. Worauf ist zu achten?
Je länger und heisser der Wettkampf, desto wichtiger ist eine regelmässige Zufuhr von Flüssigkeit, Kohlenhydraten und Elektrolyten. Das tönt in der Theorie sehr simpel. Doch die Praxis zeigt: Je höher die Leistung, desto schwerer fällt das Einnehmen von Nahrung während des Wettkampfs. Und auch die Verdauung setzt bei hohen Intensitäten irgendwann aus. Magenprobleme, Hungerast, Dehydrierung, Muskelkrämpfe oder gar Durchfall und Erbrechen können die Folgen sein.
Damit der Traum vom Finishen auch bei Gluthitze nicht platzt, sollen folgende Tipps beherzigt werden:
1. Bei heissem Wetter ist es wichtig, regelmässig zu trinken! Der Bedarf orientiert sich primär am Verlust. Die Trinkmenge ist aber von Athlet zu Athlet sehr unterschiedlich und gerade bei Maximaltemperaturen kann die Zufuhrmenge deutlich über der Faustregel von 0.5-0.8 Litern pro Stunde liegen. Wir empfehlen das mild aromatisierte und säurefreie COMPETITION-Sportgetränk, welches einen breiten Mix an Kohlehydraten mit unterschiedlichem glykämischem Index und Elektrolyten aufweist. Wer bereits an die Erholung nach dem Wettkampf denkt, der steigt auf LONG ENERGY um, welches inhaltlich dem COMPETITION entspricht, aber zusätzlich noch etwas Eiweiss enthält.
2. Solche Kohlenhydrat-Elektrolyt-Getränke verbessern die Aufnahme von Wasser während der körperlichen Betätigung und tragen zur Ausdauerleistung bei längerer Belastung bei. Zusätzlich kann bei Bedarf in jeder Getränkeflasche auch noch eine SALT CAPS aufgelöst oder auch direkt runtergeschluckt werden. Der Bedarf kann erhöht sein bei ungenügender Akklimatisation, kurzfristigem Wetterumschlag, «Heavy Sweaters» oder «Salty Eaters» (also stark schwitzenden, oder gewohnheitsmässig salzreich essenden Personen), bei Personen mit Krampfneigung und grundsätzlich eben auch bei heissem Wetter und damit verbundenem erhöhtem Schweissverlust.
3. Mit Trinken alleine ist es bei Langzeit-Ausdaueraktivitäten nicht getan. Zur Unterstützung der Leistung empfiehlt es sich, kohlenhydratreiche, leicht verdauliche Flüssignahrung in Form von LIQUID ENERGY GELS einzunehmen. Diese sind von SPONSER in verschiedenen Varianten erhältlich: süss oder salzig, mit oder ohne Koffein, mit oder ohne BCAA. Die Faustregel für kurze bis mittlere Belastungszeiten von bis zu 4-6 Stunden lautet: eine Zufuhr von 1 g Kohlenhydrat pro kg Körpergewicht pro Stunde. Mehr als 60-90 g Kohlenhydrate sollten nicht eingenommen werden, es können sich Magen-Darm-Probleme unter Belastung ergeben. Ein gewisses «Antrainieren» höherer Zufuhrmengen ist für Ultra-Ausdaueranlässe aber möglich.
4. Wer schon mal ein Langzeitausdauer-Event bestritten hat, weiss: Mit der Zeit mag man kaum noch süsse Nahrung sehen, geschweige denn, schlucken. Da empfehlen sich dann die angenehm salzigen LIQUID ENERGY SALTY aus dem Sachet, welche eine willkommene Abwechslung in den primär süssen Menüplan eines Gigathleten bringen.
5. Auf dem Rad nimmt man mit Vorteil auch ein paar Bissen feste Nahrung zu sich, denn der Darm braucht Festnahrung, um die Transportfunktion aufrechtzuerhalten (Peristaltik). Am besten sind leichtverdauliche Energieriegel wie die HIGH ENERGY BARs, die in süsser oder salziger (Salty Nuts!) Ausführung erhältlich sind. Aber auch ein paar Bissen Weissbrot, Kuchen, Bretzel oder reife Banane machen Sinn.
Zum Schluss ein Typ gegen Krämpfe
Wer bei Hitze mit Muskelkrämpfen zu kämpfen hat, packt vorzugsweise auch noch MUSCLE RELAX ein. Diese bitter-saure Gurkenessiglösung hilft bei akuten Muskelkrämpfen im Wettkampf. Man sollte den Shot ein paar Sekunden im Mund halten/spülen, danach schlucken oder wieder ausspucken. Es gibt auch Anhaltspunkte, dass MUSCLE RELAX prophylaktisch funktioniert. In diesem Falle wird geraten, MUSCLE RELAX relativ kurz vor der Leistung oder erwartetem Krampfauftreten, je nach Verträglichkeit, einzunehmen.
Autor: Remo Jutzeler Leiter
F&E SPONSER SPORT FOOD
Ing. Lebensmittelwissenschaften FH
MAS Nutrition & Health ETHZ
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Avoiding muscle cramps
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
Best practice tips for marathon runners
Cramps can make life as a runner quite difficult. Unexpectedly they occur and literally paralyze a muscle or muscle group. In some marathons you can see athletes stretching their calves in the middle of the course with a pain distorted face or even asking their fellow human beings to help them overstretch the affected area. Muscle cramps are annoying and sometimes quite painful, but fortunately harmless. It is true that one cannot fully arm oneself against cramps. But there are a number of measures that marathon participants can take against uncontrolled muscle contractions.
Months before the competition: serious training
If you don't want to experience any surprises on marathon distances, you have to prepare yourself or your muscles for the specific requirements of the target competition (altitude difference up and down, different surfaces from asphalt to root trail) in a targeted and long-term way. This means: Study the course profile carefully and adapt the training accordingly!
Days before the competition: liquid and electrolytes
Fluid and energy deficits as well as electrolyte deficiency (sodium, magnesium) are probably the main reasons why a muscle no longer runs smoothly. For this reason, it is advisable to ensure an adequate supply of minerals before a competition. Mineral salt mixtures before the competition help to fill the depots. Even salty food is not out of place during this time. Get up early enough on the morning of the competition and take about 1-1.5 litres of liquid before or during breakfast, ideally you are already drinking a sports drink. The electrolytes contained in sports drinks serve to transport fluids. SPONSER recommends the drinks CARBO LOADER and the low-calorie drink tabs ELECTROLYTES in the days before the marathon starts.
During the competition: eat and drink
The top priority in competition is to regularly drink sports drinks and bouillon and take advantage of every opportunity to eat, even if you are not yet thirsty. If you are competing for more than two hours, it is a good idea to eat a few bites on a regular basis - provided your stomach tolerates solid foods such as a piece of banana, bar, bread, pretzel or similar. Athletes who suffer from stomach problems in competition fill the energy deficit with stomach-friendly sports drinks such as COMPETITION, LONG ENERGY or ULTRA COMPETITION as well as sweet and salty LIQUID ENERGY GELS. In order not to experience any surprises in the competition, one downloads the catering plan of the target competition in advance and tests the offered products in training under load.
Secret weapon: MUSCLE RELAX
The secret weapon against muscle cramps from Sponser is called MUSCLE RELAX, an acid-bitter drinking solution which has a neuromuscular effect due to sensory stimuli and can relax the muscle. MUSCLE RELAX is based on a formula of acetic acid, cucumber juice, quinine and magnesium and comes in a small bottle of 30 ml, which can be used as a lifeline in the hip pocket or running pants. In order for the sensory stimuli to fully unfold, the mouth must be rinsed with MUSCLE RELAX for 10-15 seconds before swallowing the shot.
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