arm pump & sugar

35 replies to this topic
  • Boit

Posted October 13, 2000 - 09:17 PM


Two months ago I knew I wasn't feeling quite right and went to my doc. After a discussion, he tested my blood sugar and found that I had become slightly type II diabetic. Posting my health issues here is not my intent, rather, it is to inform and possibly help others overcome that nagging arm pump syndrome. Anyway, I went on a diet of avoiding all foods with refined sugar content as much as humanly possible. Actually, I became a fanatic about avoiding sugar. Today I went riding for the first time since the end of July and experienced NO ARM Before I cut out the sugar, my arm pump was so bad that I couldn't ride more than 5 minutes straight without debilitating arm pump and I couldn't do better than last place and was lucky not to get lapped in a 4 lap race. I'm passing on my experience to others who might suffer from terrible arm pump and are looking for an avenue to curtail it. Cutting out sugar might be the key as well. Another positive aspect of avoiding sugar is that I slowly shed 12 pounds of fat and now my weight is a svelte 172 with tons of energy. It actually feels like I just knocked 15 years off my age(47). Who woulda thunk it?

  • MikeOK

Posted October 14, 2000 - 04:56 AM


:eek 15 years!? send me that diet please, I need 15 years! Good for you Boit, mny brother recently found out he had diabetes and he had a similar problem, only he had physical symptoms while water skiing. He noticed an improvement after he started taking care of himself too...


  • Boit

Posted October 14, 2000 - 07:33 AM


Mike...I'm not exaggerating at all. My diabetes is mild and is totally under control with this diet, moderate exercise, and glucophage medication that simply assists my body's own natural ability to process complex sugars. A normal person's insulin production would normally do this. I still produce insulin, it's just that for some reason my body hasn't been able to use it efficiently. This diet is pretty simply. Avoid foods with refined sugar like the plague, minimal saturated fats, and a good balance of carbohydrates and proteins. Refined sugar is any athelete's enemy. Sure, it gives an initial burst of energy, but right after that, it actually saps energy. I've also noticed a dramatic increase in my endurance. I wish I had known this long ago.

  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted October 14, 2000 - 05:08 PM


Thanks for posting about the sugar being linked to arm pump. That's great news. I too struggle with arm pump and have tried to incorporate a glass of wine the night before to thin the blood, but wine is full of sugar so maybe thats not such a good thing :)

  • Boit

Posted October 14, 2000 - 09:38 PM


Howard; as part of my treatment, my insurance company sent me to a diabetic education class given by a specialist in this field. I had already been "sugar free" for nearly a month and mentioned that I had noticed a marked improvement when working with weights. I could easily perform several more reps before experiencing that muscle burning sensation and that the burn was much more gradual. The specialist said that this result is typical and added that I will probably also experience an improvement in my vision and hearing, ....which I have. It wasn't easy giving up chocolate chip cookies, ice cream..etc, but the alternative made THAT choice for me. I simply did what I had to do and the result has been nothing but a win/win for me. I'd really like to know if others have found the same to be true for them as well.

  • So_Cal_Erik

Posted October 15, 2000 - 02:05 PM


I have to confess that I got my but kicked badly yesterday at GlenHelen REM motocross yesterday. I entered the vet beginner class and got last place both motos. I attribute it DIRECTLY to POOR DIET! I had been eating pretty good for the last few months up until about three weeks ago. I have been eating alot of fast food and drinking at least two to three cokes a day. I also have not been exercising, just riding once a week.I have been feeling like c---! I have been feeling unusally tired but also jittery and amped up.I had the worst arm pump ever during both motos and I could barely hold on(the track was extremely rough) My throat and lungs were burning like fire too! I am glad this post came up! To save myself from further embarassment on the track, I will devote myself to eating (clean) and getting back to regular exercise! Thanks for the help!

So Cal Erik
Visit my club's site at <A HREF="
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[This message has been edited by So Cal Erik (edited 10-15-2000).]

  • Boit

Posted October 15, 2000 - 05:15 PM


Erik, two months ago I could have posted the exact same thing as you....had the same physical signs and that overall "not feeling right" sensation. I was seriously considering giving up MX and just play ride but play riding was causing severe arm pump as well. I admit that when I was first diagnosed with type II and found out what could happen if I didn't change my eating habits, I was pretty down in the dumps. However, after being on this diet for two months, and the total lack of arm pump Friday, I have a totally new outlook on life and racing I'm still in shock that I couldn't even FORCE arm pump to occur. I DID experience just the beginning of a little pump in my right arm, but that's just from using the throttle so much as I stay pretty busy since I set the idle at stall so I have to continually blip to keep from stalling. I would have expected some pump after not riding for over two months but this wasn't this case. This is really incredible and I hope you experience the same. Let me know, please.

  • So_Cal_Erik

Posted October 15, 2000 - 07:09 PM


Boit, thanks for the response, it gives me some inspiration to keep trying. Do you have a detailed diet plan that you've been using, or are you just eating stuff from the "healthy" markets? If you have a specific diet plan, or are eating any "special" foods could you please post it here? Your help is much appreciated. Thanks, Erik

So Cal Erik
Visit my club's site at <A HREF="
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  • Boit

Posted October 16, 2000 - 04:51 AM


Erik, my diet isn't all that specific. It's a diet that is recommended for type II diabetics and is simply a healthy diet for any athlete. It's very similar to the sugar busters diet except that you can have more carbohydrates such as moderate amounts of potatos and carrots. Eat fruits along with or right after your meals and not as a snack because the natural sugars in fruits will make the blood sugar spike high. Avoid fried foods as much as possible but if you do have those, use a low saturated fat oil to fy in. I think Canola oil might be one...I stay away from fried foods altogether myself. Avoid white breads are any source of refined flour. Go for whole grain wheat breads for your sandwiches. Definitely avoid breakfast cereals that have higher then 3gms of sugar per cup. Plain Cheerios are excellent as well as plain oatmeal. Milk is high in sugar so try and keep that intake to a cup or less per day and use only skim milk for the low fat content. Sodas are a double kill in that a regular 12 oz Coke has 39gms of sugar, plus, sodas have carbon dioxide for the fizz. We need oxygen, not CO2. Bananas are a double edged sword. They have potassium, which we need for when we sweat and exert ourselves, but they also are high in sugar, so eat a small one or half of a normal sized one. Skinless chicken and turkey are very good, just prepare them so that they are not greasy. I like to broil or grill them. Lean cuts of steak are fine, grilled. As you can see, most foods are OK, it's the sugar that we need to watch closely. If you get serious about cutting out your sugar intake, you can start to see and feel the results rather quickly. I felt and noticed a tremendous difference in about 2 weeks. And it goes without saying, lots and lots of fresh raw veggies. Salads are the best substitute for having sweets as a snack. If you are creative, salads can really be as good as sweets...sort of. If yo need more detail about this type of diet, just type in "diabetes" in any search engine and there will be many sites related to this. The American Diabetes Association has tons of info about proper eating. Good luck

[This message has been edited by Boit (edited 10-16-2000).]

  • So_Cal_Erik

Posted October 16, 2000 - 07:03 PM


Thanks Boit, I've started my new diet and exercise program today! I shopped at Trader Joes and found all kinds of healthy "natural" low sugar and low sodium/fat foods.
I couldn't believe how much cheaper and healthier the food items were at T.J.'s versus the regular supermarkets. Just about everything at the regular markets are processed to death, almost nothing there is all-natural. Anyway, I'll post back on this topic in a few weeks and let you know how it's going. Thanks again, Erik

So Cal Erik
Visit my club's site at <A HREF="
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  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted October 19, 2000 - 05:03 PM


boit, you and Erik have sold me on the sugar thing. I stopped putting sugar in my coffee, going to stay away from sodas, and white bread too. I thought carrots had a high sugar content maybe its a different type of sugar. I will definately keep in touch about the results of our little study, anything is better than freak'in arm pump.

  • So_Cal_Erik

Posted October 19, 2000 - 06:46 PM


Hey guys I have been eating "clean" all week
and I'm already starting to feel better. I'm goin' riding Sat. and Sun. out at soggy dry lake. I'll keep you all posted with the results. I feel like a guinea pig in a lab experiment. :) Erik

So Cal Erik
Visit my club's site at <A HREF="
" TARGET=_blank>

  • Boit

Posted October 20, 2000 - 10:58 PM


Howard. You are correct about the carrots. However, they are fine in small amounts due to the benefits of beta carotene. All foods that are carbohydrates have natural com[lex sugars which our insulin production can process effectively. The key is to eat them in moderate amounts and combine them with proteins and amino acids. I wanted to make sure that my experience last Friday was not a fluke, I had this Wednesday and Thursday off work and went both days for moto practice at two different tracks. I DID have a little pump in my right arm Wednesday but absolutely none on Thursday and I really pushed as hard as I could Thursday and also had amazing endurance. My energy level is like it was when I was in my early 20's..... and I'm 47 now! Arm pump has ALWAYS been a problem for me and I had attrbuted it to genetic factors. I can only imagine what the possibilities could have been had I lived sugar free as a youth. Oh well, stuff happens.

  • Scott_F

Posted October 21, 2000 - 08:15 AM


Boit, your long post above contains some good advice. I would add that soymilk is a great substitute for cows milk, and reducing or eliminating all animal products is highly beneficial to the overall health of you and the animals.

Erik, the best place to shop is Whole Foods, which is nationwide. If you are lucky, there is one near you. Check out their website, Also check out your local farmers market for organic produce.

[This message has been edited by Scott F (edited 10-21-2000).]

  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted October 21, 2000 - 01:32 PM


Boit, when you practice do you start out slowly for a couple practice laps before turning the wick up or do you just go out with six guns blazing like if it were an actual moto trying pull a holeshot and never lookin back? My experience with arm pump has led me to a small warm up ride at about half pace makes a difference. there's nothing worse in my eyes than running at the pace you know you are capable of then having to back off because of that burning sensation and weakening grip.well maybe coming up short on a long double rates right up there.I tend to race more hare scrambles, dead engine starts no warm up. Last saturday I had a rare occasion for me I began the race pushing hard felt the arm pump creeping up on me instead of focusing on it though I concentrated on trying to relax and breathing the arm pump subsided and I was able to push hard for the entire two hours and was rewarded with a 1st place B vet 9th overall out of 100 riders. I was stoked! Now to keep the arm pump monster away I will try anything within reason, diet and riding relaxed and above all having fun thanks for the input....

  • Boit

Posted October 21, 2000 - 03:36 PM


Erik: Thanks for the advice on the soy milk. I will definitely try it. Is it calcium fortified? If it weren't for the calcium content, I would skip cow's milk as well due to the high sugar content.
Howard: I do a quick stretching routine and then do a couple of leisurely laps and then start quickening the pace. I agree that the arm pump is more likely if I were to go straight out and attack the track. Now that arm pump is not a factor, I find that I can concentrate on having fun and improving my technique instead of worrying about whether I'll be able to grip the bars when landing off a typical double or being in the middle of a whoop section. And congrats on your 1st place Howard. That gives me hope as well.

[This message has been edited by Boit (edited 10-21-2000).]

  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted October 21, 2000 - 05:19 PM


What is arm pump ?

  • Boit

Posted October 21, 2000 - 05:37 PM


There's always one in every crowd.

  • jboz

Posted October 24, 2000 - 06:29 AM


Reading this post at lunch... as I'm polishing off a bag of M&Ms, going "This sounds like me!" :)

Time to get on the band wagon! Not getting any younger & I'm tired of being tired. Boit, sounds like you've got a winner!

Um... Beer's good for ya though, right? :D

  • Boit

Posted October 24, 2000 - 07:34 AM


JBOZ: Nice try. I gave up alcohol(99% of it beer) over a year ago. Beer in moderation probably wouldn't affect you all that much. That's more of a personal choice. I suppose it all boils down to how serious you are in trying to improve your results. You might consider trying a strict diet regimen for two months and then you would have a good idea of whether it's worth it to continue on this course or not. My intent was simply to share what works for me in hopes that it could help some fellow riders. :)

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