The following post about tart cherry juice is sponsored by FitFluential, Inc. on behalf of The Cherry Marketing Institute.

When you’re training for an athletic event, be it a marathon, triathlon, or adventure race, or whether you’re just an exercise enthusiast, there’s one aspect of training that seems to slip by the wayside: recovery.

tart cherries for muscle recovery

It’s kind of how like sleep is the forgotten element of health: diet, exercise, sleep!

How you recover between exercise sessions is as much a part of your training program or exercise regimen as the actual miles logged and the drills performed. Two ways to maximize your recovery are a) rest and b) nutrition.

By nutrition, I mean what you eat or drink before, during, or after training. It may seem a little dull compared to the excitement of building training plans {oh, just me?} but it’s just as important. If you expect to see improvements in your time, your strength, or even simply decrease your fatigue or injury risk, you should consider your recovery strategy.

Most of the time we turn to protein for recovery after a workout. The amino acids that form protein help rebuild and repair the microscopic tears that occur in muscle tissue during training. {It should be noted that carbohydrate after a workout is also important as it helps replenish lost glycogen stores.}

tart cherry juice recipe

But you really probably already know a bit about protein. Instead, let’s talk tart cherry juice. {I know, what a segue.} Some people view juice as an empty source of calories or sugar, but when it comes to muscle recovery, tart cherry juice could actually be a beneficial tool. Tart cherries may help decrease inflammation, muscle damage, and oxidative stress. From elite athlete to weekend warrior, tart cherry juice can help decrease muscle pain associated with intense exercise.  Interestingly enough, tart cherries may also help improve sleep. Better sleep = better recovery.

Tart cherries work in a different capacity than a carb + protein combo post-workout (tart cherries contain a compound called anthocyanin, which has been linked to reducing inflammation)In fact, drinking/eating them before intense exercise can aid in recovery after exercise. That means a pre-workout shake or drink can be beneficial, as can post-workout.

It’s important to note that the research that indicates tart cherry juice aids in recovery is done on tart cherries, not sweet cherries. {Specifically Montmorency cherries.} One of these studies looked at cyclists who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for seven days. They showed less inflammation after a race-scenario than those who didn’t drink the tart cherry juice. I’m going to embark on  The Cherry Marketing Institute’s 7-Day Tart Cherry Juice Challenge to see if I notice a difference myself. Granted I’m nowhere near an elite athlete, but I exercise hard enough to be sore afterwards. Case in point: I can’t lift my arms above my head today.

Here’s a great way to add tart cherry juice to your pre/mid workout routine: add it to a homemade sports drink, like this one:

homemade tart cherry sports drink

Homemade Tart Cherry Sports Drink

by with a Side of Sneakers

Ingredients

  • 4 cups liquid {water, coconut water, or even herbal/fruity tea – a combo of water and coconut water is my favorite}
  • 1/2 cup tart cherry juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 T honey or agave {adjust to taste}

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together and store in fridge. Drink before, during, or after workouts, or just as a hydrator throughout the day. Tart cherries have been shown to have the most benefit when used twice a day.

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I’ll be checking back in on my 7-day challenge soon – who wants in with me?!

To learn more about tart cherries and how they can aid your recovery {or for recipe ideas} visit ChooseCherries.com or:

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