Coach Selena's Fit Tips: Cramping Your Running Style?

Leg cramps really get in the way of a good run or a good recovery. We have all heard about eating bananas for the charley horse fix, but what other foods can you eat to keep your legs limber?

Your body has a delicate balance of electrolytes (ions) in your body. This balance is critical for nerve impulses and muscle contractions. When you sweat and things get out of whack, your body responds with irregular or more frequent contractions that cause a CRAMP!


The following list covers the major electrolytes in your body and the REAL foods you can consume to keep things running smoothly. Pun intended!

Potassium (K+) – This is what we think of FIRST when we think CRAMP! Potassium helps to regulate another electrolyte, Sodium, in your body when you sweat. Potassium works with Sodium to help muscles contract.

  • Bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe, and oranges
  • Raisins and dried apricots
  • Beets, spinach, peas, and mushrooms
  • Coconut water
  • Turkey, fish, and beef

Calcium (Ca2+) - Helps in the excitation of the muscle. Works with Magnesium for muscle contraction and relaxation, therefore, the balance between Calcium and Magnesium is VERY important.

(Non-dairy options)

  • Kale and okra
  • Almonds, sesame seeds
  • Apricots and figs*
  • Sardines*
  • Tofu*
  • Okay…yes, you can also have milk, cheese, and yogurt :)

*These have more calcium per serving than dairy products!

Magnesium (Mg2+) - Important in muscle relaxation and ATP production. Works with Calcium in a delicate balance for muscle contraction and relaxation. Marathon runners tend to run low in Magnesium after a race, this is cause for concern.

  • Grains
  • Almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds
  • Dark, leafy greens and broccoli
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • And…get ready for it…DARK CHOCOLATE!!!

Chloride (Cl-) - works with the other electrolytes. You may see Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, and definitely Sodium Chloride (table salt) when looking into electrolytes.

Sodium (Na+) - works with Potassium to help muscles contract. Water follows salt, so enough salt keeps the water balance stable. Too much, and your cells to swell, causing a host of problems!

  • Pickles and/or pickle juice! (you get sodium, calcium, vinegar, and water!)
  • Adding a little REAL salt to your food – this depends on your overall health. High blood pressure and extra salt is not a good combination!
  • Coconut water


If you want a supplement form, there are tons on the market. A magnesium/calcium combination works well for me. Also, taking a bath in epsom salts (Magnesium!) can really help relax the muscles…and your mind! Nutrition information can be overwhelming. Take this tip and apply it to your training routine. I’d love to hear how it works for you.

Send your questions to me:

Love YOU More,


Selena Maestas Moffitt is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach helping overwhelmed professionals curb their exhaustion, reclaim their sanity, and get back to kicking-ass at life. Her belief is, “It’s not just about the food.” Her ability to heal overburden bodies in the world is expanding as she works to launch her latest endeavor: The Love YOU More project.

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