Written by David Tatum USAT Level 1 Coach and TriSports Elite Team Member
HOTSHOT was invented by Dr. Rod MacKinnon, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist and endurance athlete. After surviving life threatening muscle cramps while deep sea kayaking off the coast of Cape Cod, he discovered that existing cramp remedies that target the muscle didn’t work. Calling upon his Nobel Prize-winning expertise on ion channels, Rod reasoned that in order to prevent and treat cramps the treatment should focus on the nerve, not the muscle. The company has taken the approach that “muscle cramps are caused by the nerve, not the muscle;” their research has concluded that, “muscles cramp up when motor neurons in your spinal cord start firing off spontaneously and repetitively.”
HOTSHOT’s claim is that it stimulates Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels in your mouth, esophagus, and stomach, sending signals to calm your hyper-excited neurons, to prevent and treat muscle cramps. The product comes in a 1.7 FL OZ bottle that is meant to be taken before, during or after workouts. HOTSHOT is available for purchase in either a single or 12-pack and costs roughly $7 per bottle.
Product Features and Differentiators
HOTSHOT has basically invented a category of its own with its claim to solve the issue of cramping in a whole different way altogether. Most products in this category tend to take the approach that proper hydration and electrolyte replacement such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium will prevent the athlete from experiencing muscle cramps. Other products in this category include sports drinks, salt tablets or electrolyte pills. The biggest difference from other nutrition and supplement products is that HOTSHOT does not seek to solve the problem through hydration or electrolyte replacement.
The active ingredients and proprietary blend are made of the mixture of cinnamon, ginger, and capsaicin, which is an active ingredient in chili peppers. It’s worth mentioning, this product should not be seen as an adequate source of water or electrolytes for the athlete during training or racing.
Many athletes experience muscle cramps during training and competition. The purpose for taking HOTSHOT is to prevent, treat or recover from muscle cramps. If you’re an athlete who experiences frequent cramping issues, this product may have the potential to save a race or help you finish a workout if the product worked for you in training.
In full disclosure, I do not tend to deal with cramps on a frequent basis as an athlete. In my experience as an athlete, I have cramped for a few reasons, a lack of hydration or electrolytes, or both. My approach for cramps has been to remain properly hydrated and consume the right amount of electrolytes during training and racing to prevent cramps before they start, which has worked for me.
In order to test this product I attempted to fatigue my body and deprive myself of water and electrolytes. I would not recommend this process to others; I did it solely for product testing.
HOTSHOT doesn’t make any claims to have created a great tasting product. I definitely would not drink HOTSHOT for pleasure or in any type of greater quantity. Because of the cinnamon and capsaicin it has a burning sensation in your throat and stomach and leaves an after taste. I imagine it is similar to taking a teaspoon of cinnamon, chewing on a chili pepper, or taking a shot of the drink Fireball. You have to remember when taking this product, you’re taking it for its function, to stop muscle cramps, not for the flavor.
To test the product, I completed two independent workouts both on Fridays a week apart, I took a bottle of HOTSHOT at the end of a 70-mile bike ride and a 4.5 mile run. At the time of taking the product I was mildly dehydrated, low on electrolytes, and experiencing mild muscle twinges, but nothing that would stop me from continuing my training. Within five minutes, any slight spasms were eliminated; I felt recovered and didn’t have any lingering cramps. I was also hydrating and replenishing my electrolyte loss at that time. I would recommend that athletes who struggle with muscle cramps test HOTSHOT during training to evaluate whether it works for them. Since personal nutrition, hydration, and electrolyte replacement can vary greatly between individuals, it is crucial to personally try any nutrition and supplements you may consider for yourself before your events. I’ve tried handfuls of products as an IRONMAN athlete before determining what works best for me on race day. Give HOTSHOT a try to see if it helps you, you only have cramps to lose.
About the Author: David Tatum is a USAT Level 1 Coach, a multiple IRONMAN finisher and 70.3 World Championship Qualifier. Visit David’s website at www.tricoachtatum.com.