Every once in a while, someone in story looks at an age old problem and comes up with an brilliantly unique solution. Example, increased aerodynamics through ditching the traditional double diamond frame shape like Dimond or Ventum bikes. Obviously, only time will tell if these ideas will work out in the long run. Questions abound from the stability, stiffness, and recently even the safety of such designs. There is a reason traditional designers have stood the test of time!

But on the nutritional side of things, the age old dilemma that has plagued about every athlete at one time or another is that of cramping! The team behind HotShot is looking to be that radical solution that challenges the traditional approach to cramping. 

So what is HotShot?

HotShot is a small little canister of liquid that claims to treat the source of muscle cramps and not just the symptoms. The traditional answer to the source of muscle cramps is found in the muscle, namely, dehydration. Most of us, if we start cramping, will reach for our sports drink. While that’s not necessarily wrong (as I’ll discuss later) HotShot looks at the same problem from a different angle.

The makers of HotShot claim that the real source of the cramp is in the nervous system. It’s not a muscle problem, it’s a nerve problem. We know that our nerves control our muscles, telling them when to relax and contract. The idea is that when a muscle starts to cramp, it is being overloaded with signals from the nerve to contract and never told to relax. HotShot then activates the nerve receptors in your mouth and esophagus that sense hot/spicy foods known as TPR channels in turn forcing your other nerves to almost reboot and end the cramping.

So you just drink this stuff and cramps are magically gone?

Kinda. The directions say to drink one HotShot 15-30 minutes before exercise to “boost neuromuscular performance.” You can also drink one if you start to cramp and it will knock it out.

What does it taste like?

That was my first question. If it activated the same nerves recovers in your mouth as spicy food, that is the last thing I want before a workout. But it’s really not that bad. I liken it to some of those cinnamon hot candies you ate as a kid. I was never a fan of them, but after a few times taking HotShot it didn’t bother me any more. It’s got a bit of a kick, but nothing overbearing. I’ve defiantly had wings that were hotter, and I’m not a big fan of really hot wings.

So does it work?

Yes, but don’t expect it to be the magic end to all cramps. I’ve gone though a whole 12 pack of these, taking them with my most intense training where I know I’m prone to cramp as well as in my last 2 races. I never had a cramp in training, but I did have some issues at long course Du nationals. I took one before the start, and left one in my transition bag since I know I have a tendency to cramp on the second run. That day was exceptionally warm and I cramped on the bike. I know I was dehydrated and I was able to work the cramps out by spinning quicker and getting some extra fluids in me. I took the second HotShot in transition and didn’t have any problems on the run.

At the end of the day, my evaluation is that these things do work, so if you have major issues cramping, this would be a good thing for you to try. At $7 for a single and $84 for a 12 pack these are not cheep, so if you are like me and don’t really have many issues with cramping, it might not be worth it. However, if you have tried everything and stay on top of your hydration and still cramp a lot, it’s worth a try.

Other than buying them direct from HotShot, Trisports is the only online retailer where you can get them! They are also available at a few local bike, run, or tri shops in Boston, boulder, and LA. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back and you can use the code TEAMSHARE15 to get 15% off your order at Trisports!

If you think these are for you, try them out and let me know what you think! Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!