OK, so this is a review of a product not yet available here in Australia, but has recently started shipping all over the world from USA. I managed to obtain a few samples from a friend who competed in Kona and attended a medical conference where Hotshots presented their product. My friend automatically though of my battles with cramping and grabbed the samples for me to try. As always, I am not sponsored, this product was supplied to be by a 3rd party with no financial ties to Hotshots and this review is completely 100% my own thoughts and opinions.
Hotshot is a product “invented by a Nobel Prize – Winning neuroscientist / endurance athlete” specifically to help prevent cramping in susceptible athletes.
The following are a couple of screen shots from the company’s website that give a better background and summary of the product:
So I trialed this product at 2 races, Noosa Olympic distance and Challenge Shepparton (half iron distance race). On the website it provides more detail about how to use the product, essentially I took the shot in bike to run transition (T2). Traditionally I suffer from cramps early in the run, when I am trying to find my rhythm and late in the longer distance runs, I assume due to fatigue more than anything else!
So at Noosa the taste shocked me, it literally took my breath away. It was spicy, warm and a very strange sensation, tingly all the way down (sort of like a stiff shot of your favorite alcoholic spirit)! I sought out some water to chase it down with and I was all good to head out onto the run! I completed the 10km run in a solid time of 45:39 and suffered no cramping, even toward the end where I would traditionally start to suffer.
I then trialed this product again at Shepparton Challenge (half iron distance), using a similar protocol I took the sample in T2 off the bike and before my run. Shepparton weather conditions were the complete opposite to Noosa, it didn’t get about 12 degrees Celsius in Shepparton, Noosa it probably didn’t drop below 30 degrees Celsius! So this time I was prepared for the taste and had water on hand, I was freezing and the warmth of the shot was actually really nice in this race! At this point I still couldn’t feel my feet or hands from the wind chill factor on the bike. I started the run and got about 1km in before the first small cramp set in. I walked for about 50-100m and it settled pretty quick and I was able to complete the 21.1km half marathon without any issues in a respectable time of 1:45:20.
So did Hotshot work for me? Hard to tell, in Noosa I suffered no cramping, in Shepparton I had one little calf early in the run, but this could be a result of the temperature and my nutrition on this particular day (I found it a little harder to drink in the cold)! I’m not convinced that this product will stop me from cramping during a race completely, but I do love the science behind it, the research and supporting data is absolutely fascinating. Does taking it mean you don’t need to hydrate or eat properly during a race, ABSOLUTELY NOT. I think over the 5 years of racing long course race I have my nutrition and hydration pretty dialed in, however always looking to improve I will continue to trial new product and access the benefits. Perhaps this is why I determine if there was a benefit from the Hotshot, my nutrition & hydration on point? Did it have a negative effect, no!
For my this will be a product that I will probably have in my cupboard for those crazy late night lower leg cramp spasms I tend to suffer occasionally. I may also roll it out during different races if I believe I am going to be susceptible to cramping during that particular race.
Taking any product to prevent cramps should only be done if you have tick all other boxes, like proper preparation, having your nutrition & hydration strategy on race day are dialed in and you are still suffering regular cramps then this may just work for your. The science indicates it can’t hurt! My advice seek the advice of a nutritionalist and keep changing your approach to racing till you find a formular that works!
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