T Nation

Never Ending Leg Cramps...

for those who might be in the know about cramps i have a puzzler for you. two weeks ago was the first time i had worked legs in more than a year. i knew it would be rough to get it going again, so i lifted VERY light weights. all went well with only minor doms. three days later i worked them again with a little more intensity. no problems. after the first week back on i kicked it up yet another notch. things were fine for two days after this workout when the shit hit the fan.

saturday morning i collapsed in my living room when both of my quads totally locked up which after several minutes of agonizing pain, moved on to my hams, glutes and hip flexors. i thought i was going to die. i spent the rest of the day bedridden while taking in plenty of water, vitamin c, calcium, potassium and magnesium. i tried to keep them loose by lightly stretching and massaging them frequently. after several hours, the soreness caused by the cramping had subsided although they still felt very tight. i could now at least move them through their full range of motion without causing more cramps. i made it through the night without any episodes, so i thought i was through the worst of it.

i got out of bed sunday morning and after taking 30 or so steps it happened again. i repeated the above described treatment. this happened again monday and today. i have been a virtual prisoner to this shit for days now with no end in sight. my urine is as clear as a bell and i’ve got my hydration and electrolyte bases covered as near as i can tell.

possible cause: i had been taking creatine non-stop for over a year up until my last leg workout when i just happened to run out. i am familiar with the cramping that can occur if you start on creatine and don’t up your water intake. i also remember reading somewhere that your body will stop producing creatine on it’s own if you do not cycle it properly.

here is my question: could it be possible that my body is not producing enough creatine to allow my cells to hydrate properly thus making my legs cramp as though they are not properly hydrated even though i am drinking more than enough water? does this sound plausible? anyone go through a similar situation and make it through in one piece? thanks. kevo

I’m no expert and I could be wrong, but I don’t think that your body produces creatine. I think that you just get it from food sources. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Sorry to hear about your cramps. Sounds painful. They could possibly be a result of your not training your legs for a year. Was there any reason for this, medical or otherwise?

C

Do you warm up and stretch before your lower body workout? Ian King makes them compulsory for lower body although warm up is optional for upper body (stretching is always compulsory per Ian King).

Another thing could be some sort of micronutrient deficiency (mineral, vitamin, etc.) I’d see a doc if I were you just to make sure.

car - thanks for the reply. no medical reason. my legs are disproportionately larger than the rest of my body, so when i don’t work them out i look more balanced. i was working them back in because of the extra boost it gives to overall growth. i wanted to have them going in time for my mag 10 cycle, so i could reap full befefit of the cycle.

you do obtain creatine from eating animal protein sources as you mentioned. i am no expert either, but i would assume that if other creatures we eat produce creatine then it stands to reason that we would produce it too. not to mention our third energy system (creatine-phosphate system) is based on the utilization of creatine. i wouldn’t think mother nature would leave this energy system unsuable to those who do not eat animal proteins (vegans…) but i could be wrong. thanks again. kevo

linverse - i always stretch out before my workouts. although not always as well as i prolly should. i will be more thorough in the future! the first thing that came to my mind was hydration level and mineral content, so i attacked that first thing. i am fairly confident that isn’t the issue. i do alot of biking and running, so it’s not like my legs get absolutely no work at all, but it most certainly isn’t the same as a heavy set of squats or presses. i suppose the extremely long layoff and insufficient stretching could have caused SO much damage that this is the result? that’s a scary thought! thanks. kevo

kevo you are absolutely right about creatine being produced by your body. After I read your response, I went and looked it up. Here is what I found.

Creatine is naturally produced within our bodies, and therefore, it is not a foreign compound. Creatine is a natural by-product of liver, kidney, and pancreas metabolism. Initially, the amino acids arginine and glycine are combined to form glycocyamine. A few more enzymatic steps result in the formation of methyl guanido acetate. The nomenclature methyl guanido acetate is commonly referred to as “CREATINE”.

I stand corrected. I don’t know about the down-regulating of this process due to creatine supplementation, but I’ll keep digging. I’ll let you know what I find.

C

I came across this article on the web.
www.physsportsmed.com/issues /1999/05_99/juhn.htm

If you look at the section titled ‘Unstudied Potential Effects’, it does say that oral creatine supplementation results in the attenuation or suppression of endogenous creatine synthesis by the liver. I don’t know if this could be causing your problem but it is a curious statement.

C

Do you do 5 mins of cardio before your leg workout? When I was a teen, I used to be able to do squats with no stretching or cardio first. I’m now 28 and if I do squats without 5 mins cardio and lots of stretching, my legs go into serious spasm.
Creatine my contribute to your problem, but I don’t think it is the sole problem. If the additional streching/cardio does not solve the problem, see a doctor as something else could be going on.

thanks for all your input guys! i think i am through the worst of it now. i haven’t had any cramps yet today (knock on wood). usually by now i have rolled around on the floor in agony at least twice. i never thought i would relish the ability to peacefully sit in a chair at work all day. oh, the little things in life. thanks again gentlemen. kevo