Here's the best (but disgusting) way to prevent muscle cramps
When you're at the end of a heavy session, that's when you need to dig deep and find a little bit more.
They say that those final few moments are where the most gains are made - when your body is at its most tired. So the last thing you need is to suddenly have your body seize up and potentially cause an injury or even just cut your workout short.
But as your body gets tired, you become more susceptible to muscle cramps which, as anyone who has experienced them can tell you, are incredibly unpleasant and to be avoided if at all possible.
You probably know that cramps come from your muscles being dehydrated as well as a loss of minerals such as potassium and calcium. When they strike, your best bet is to generally stretch them out, take on some water and hope that they don't last too long.
But according to research, water might not be the best thing for your tightened muscles. That's not to say it's bad for them (hydration is incredibly important for any kind of muscular function) but there might be a secret ingredient out there that interacts with your body faster to bring you back to normal - pickle juice.
It sounds disgusting, but remedies often are. According to The Times-Picayune in Louisiana in the US, the high sodium and potassium found in pickle juice helps it to alleviate muscle cramps faster than water alone, and is used by athletes the world over in favour of many common sports drinks.
In fact, they claim that many sportspeople will drink pickle juice before they compete so that their body is ready for whatever they throw at it.
The Times-Picayune say that "pickle juice has about 20 times more sodium and eight times more potassium than a regular sports drink" and that a theory behind its fast-acting relief is that "pickle juice - and likely the vinegar component of pickle juice - activates nerve receptors in the throat or stomach that send out nerve signals that somehow stop the malfunctioning in the muscle".
Although they concede that further research needs to be done on the topic, and that the theories behind pickle juice as an anti-cramping agent are just theories, it's worth a shot.
And if you don't like drinking it, you can always just dip your fingers in the jar and flick it on your sandwiches for flavour.