At HOTSHOT, we are passionate about helping athletes perform at their peak. One of the ways we do this is by working with top coaches and trainers to see how we can help the athletes they work with train harder and compete stronger. As part of that effort, Dr. Bob Murray, a leading voice in sports science and advisor to HOTSHOT, will discuss sports nutrition at the Endurance Coaching Summit in Boulder, CO. The event takes place July 21-22, but before Bob heads out to beautiful Boulder, we sat down with him to answer some of the topics that might come up and to get his perspective on how HOTSHOT could impact the sports world.
What are some of the common sports nutrition questions coaches have regarding their athlete’s nutrition and performance?
Coaches are always interested in what their athletes should be doing to improve their performance. That’s not a surprising focus for coaches, but it’s also not as singularly focused as it sounds. Coaches want their athletes to perform well in training and competition, a characteristic that includes the capacity to work hard, to recover effectively, and to accomplish both in a safe and legal manner. Every coach I’ve ever spoken to is tuned into nutrition and hydration as important performance fundamentals that can be augmented by other training and nutrition interventions. The questions coaches ask range from the timing and quantity of nutrient intake before, during, and after exercise, questions about the effectiveness of new sports nutrition products, and questions about how to solve some of the peculiar issues faced by individual athletes. Most coaches want to stay current and aren’t afraid of experimenting with new ways to help their athletes achieve peak performance.
What would you say is the most important element of sports nutrition?
The most important element of sports nutrition is to help athletes find the combination of nutrition and hydration practices that meet their widely varying individual needs. Athletes in all sports share the need for adequate daily energy (calorie), carb, protein, and fluid intake. The timing and quantity that intake has to be fine tuned to match the demands of the athlete’s training and competition, as well as their individual characteristics. That’s no easy task and often takes months—and sometimes years—of experimenting with different approaches, ideally under the guidance of a registered sports dietitian. On top of educating athletes to consistently make the right fundamental nutrition and hydration choices, coaches have to deal with athletes who struggle with issues such as recurring heat illness, cramping, persistent muscle soreness, or loss of muscle mass. Those challenges require coaches to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and strive to fully individualize their training plans.
How does HOTSHOT change the way athletes should look at muscle cramps?
When most people experience a cramp, they understandably focus on the affected muscle. After all, that’s what causing them pain. But a cramping muscle is just obeying the commands sent to it by its nerves. When motor nerves become hyperactive, a cramp results. The uniqueness of HOTSHOT is that it’s specifically designed to calm the hyperactive motor nerves that cause muscle cramps.
How does HOTSHOT coordinate with other measures coaches use for athletes with muscle cramps?
Athletes recognize that doing the right things with hydration, nutrition, training, and pacing can prevent a lot of problems, muscle cramps included. Motor nerves can become hyperactive for a variety of reasons including fatigue, dehydration, low muscle glycogen, and muscle damage HOTSHOT works by keeping motor nerves functioning normally to prevent the hyperactivity that causes cramps. If, despite an athlete’s best efforts, a muscle cramp still occurs, HOTSHOT can also reduce the severity of the cramp and lessen the time the athlete is out of action.
Is HOTSHOT only for the athlete with frequent cramping issues?
One of the exciting aspects of the scientific premise upon which HOTSHOT is based is that it takes advantage of a connection between the mouth, brain, and muscle. Activating receptors in the mouth signals the brain to calm the hyperactive nerves that cause a cramp. This same mouth-to-brain-to-muscle connection might also positively impact performance and recovery. Interestingly, many athletes who have used HOTSHOT report that they feel a greater sense of energy and stamina. Whether those benefits are real or imaginary is the subject of ongoing research. There’s an enormous amount to be learned about the mouth-to-brain-to-muscle connection that could have important practical implications for training, racing, and recovery.
What do you see as HOTSHOT’s future in sports nutrition?
HOTSHOT has the potential to be a vital part of every athlete’s training regimen. That’s certainly true for anyone who has struggled with muscle cramps. If future research confirms that HOTSHOT benefits performance, then it will likely become a go-to product for athletes in all sports.
We look forward to hearing Bob’s discussion, along with the rest of the great lineup, at this year’s event. If you want to experience the difference HOTSHOT can make in your performance, pick some up here. You can also keep in touch with us as we share amazing athlete stories and the latest HOTSHOT news by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We look forward to seeing you in Boulder!
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