It's not news to anybody that hydration is important. We've all been told more times than we can possibly remember that we should drink more water.
As an athlete you'll want to pay particular attention to hydration. We can't get away with forgetting to drink water--that's no small "oopsy." There are consequences to our health, our training, and even our happiness. After I got 3 migraines in 2 weeks, one of my mentors recommended that I drink 64oz per day for 10 days. I'm on day 4 and life is definitely different this way. I can feel myself functioning better, feeling better, and I'm literally feeling happier. I also pee 10x more than usual but this is a side-effect I'm willing to accept lol.
So instead of just vaguely telling you to drink more water, would you like to join the same challenge? Half a gallon of water aka 64oz per day for 10 days. And here's a tip: to make it easy for myself to keep track, I'm using a giant mason jar to drink out of. It has a measurement mark at 24oz so I drink about 2 and 2/3 of these per day. Turns out I really am this thirsty and it does not feel excessive at all. On some days I even drink more.
Some implications are:
I recommend finding a friend to do the challenge with. My aerial partner Caitlin (@cait.wellwood) and I have both been doing the challenge together and it helps me stay accountable to know that she's putting in the mindfulness too.
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.