Got tingly muscles at night? Or foot cramps that keep cropping up in class? Worse yet, have you ever felt like there was a lacrosse-ball sized lump in your calf as your gastrocnemius seizes?
I've had all of these, and I actually used to get calf and foot cramps in every performance. NOT GOOD!
It's possible that getting more magnesium in your diet could help. Now let me be upfront: I am NOT a nutritionist. This is a synthesis of my own research. Make an appointment with a registered dietician if you want a professional perspective!
Some benefits of the mineral magnesium include:
If you have magnesium deficiency, you might experience some of these symptoms:
Now, of course, anyone can have this magnesium deficiency, aerialist or not. But since we practice intense muscle contraction such as in toe point, we might be a little more concerned than the average person about keeping cramps at bay.
If you want to up your magnesium intake, consider adding more of these magnesium-rich foods to your diet:
1. Squash & pumpkin seeds: 550mg magnesium/100 grams (131% DV)
Perfect timing for the fall and winter! If you are making pumpkin pies from sugar pumpkins, be sure to save the seeds and roast em! They're super yummy :P (Hemp, flax, sesame, and chia are slightly lower but also good sources)
2. Unsweetened cocoa: 499mg magnesium/100 grams (125% DV)
Wow this is amazing news. I recommend adding cacao to a protein smoothie. 85%+ dark chocolate is also a nice way to add in magnesium.
3. Cashews: 292mg/100grams (69% DV)
I'm excited about this because cashews are one of my favorite foods. And I always seem to crave them more right before my moon cycle, which is interesting considering they are hypothesized to calm smooth muscle spasms AKA cramps.
4. Almonds: 270mg magnesium/100 grams (64% DV)
If you think almond butter is expensive, you're right. I recommend buying raw almonds from the bulk aisle (with a reusable bag or jar) and snacking on those or blending them if you have a food processor.
5. Spinach: 87mg magnesium/100 grams (21% DV)
Chard, kale, and collard greens are also good sources. Cook with oil to improve absorption.
You can also supplement magnesium. I use the powdered form but you can also get it in pill form. I put a teaspoon in a glass of water and drink it for bed when I ramp up my training such as before a performance.
Next time you get a cramp, ask yourself: do any of these listed foods sound appealing? If they do, maybe that's something your body needs.