Up your recovery game

This post is sponsored through my partnership with the Cherry Marketing Institute.

I love the energy and zest that new fitness goals bring into the new year. It’s the perfect time to revamp your routine, try out a different class, and focus on consistency. If you make changes to your routine, your body will respond, and with that, many results can occur: lean muscle growth, fat burning, increased endurance, strength, power, and… oh yeah, muscle soreness. Muscle soreness can be a bit of a beast when you step up your routine. You know you’re making changes, but you also have that sore waddle swagger.

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(Source)

Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to reduce muscle soreness.

Here are some ideas to up your recovery game in the new year:

1) Stretch and foam roll, if they work for you. The research is mixed on stretching, but if you find that it works for you and you enjoy it, add it into your routine. I suggest dynamic stretching before a workout, and static stretching afterwards. Think about your warmup stretches as ones that will encourage the motion you need for the activity to follow. If you’re running, try high knee skips, butt kicks, side pendulum swings and knee hugs before you set off. For strength training, perform some slow and controlled strength movements, like 10 slow squats, 10 pushups, and a six 10-second planks. Dynamic stretching can help improve muscular performance.

Stretch

After your workout, you have a couple of options to add into your stretching routine: static stretch, and/or foam roll. For your stretches, be sure to stretch the muscles you just worked (some of my very favorites are in this video). Foam rolling is also a great way to help relieve muscle tension and encourage full range of motion, which can help to prevent injury. When you have full range of motion in a joint, you are less likely to compensate, which can lead to muscle imbalances, altered movement patterns, and potentially injury. Some of my best foam rolling tips are here!

2) HYDRATE. Adequate hydration can improve athletic performance, and water composes 75% of muscle tissue! Crazy. Aim to drink 17-20 ounces at least two hours before your workout, 8 ounces of fluid 20-30 minutes before your workout or during warmup, and 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during exercise (source). My personal training book (NASM) suggested at least 96 oz per day, just to function.

3) Fuel your body adequately, before and after your workout. I’ve found that for some of my clients, working out on an empty stomach is a good option, while others like to have a snack (balancing protein, fats and easily digested carbs) before their session. For me, I know that I like to have a couple of hours to digest before I head out to teach or take an intense class. Afterwards, focus on foods that will assist in recovery, including a mix of protein, fats and carbs. For a bonus, add in this popular ingredient, frequently used by elite athletes: tart cherry juice!

Tart cherry smoothie bowl 7

Why is it so awesome?

The pain that you feel after exercise is largely attributed to three main factors: stress, muscle damage and inflammation. Studies suggest that Montmorency tart cherry juice can help with all three, reducing muscle pain and weakness following intense strength training or a long distance run. A new study demonstrates the impact of Montmorency tart cherries on inflammation and oxidative stress after high-intensity cycling. Cyclists who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate before a three-day simulated race experienced less inflammation and oxidative stress compared to those who drank another beverage.

Montmorency tart cherries have a high amount of anthocyanins, which are beautiful in color and have been demonstrated to protect the body against inflammation and various diseases. You can check out more of the benefits here.

Tart cherry smoothie bowl

They’re easy to consume pre or post-workout, whether you enjoy a handful of dried tart cherries, a large glass of tart cherry juice, or include frozen tart cherries in a smoothie.

I decided to use tart cherry juice as the base for this hydrating and replenishing smoothie bowl. 

Tart cherry smoothie bowl 2

Tart cherry smoothie bowl 6

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try:

Tart Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Makes 2 small bowls, or 1 large bowl

Blend:

1 cup frozen tart cherries (or frozen mixed berries)

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 cup tart cherry juice (or 1/2 cup if you want a thicker smoothie base)

1 medjool date

Toppings:

1/2 banana, sliced

1/4 cup of your favorite granola

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Tart cherry smoothie bowl 4

So tell me friends: what’s your remedy for sore muscles? Any post-workout meals that you love? Have you tried tart cherry juice?

Have a wonderful day!

xoxo

Gina

This post is sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute. Thank you so much for reading this blog and for your support!

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Comments

  1. An active recovery day does wonders for me… yoga or walking. I’ve noticed if I do a “rest” day it seems to keep me sore longer. I’ve also learned that I appreciate an 80% all out activity level on HIIT days rather than 100%. I’m a perfectionist so 100% to me is really 110%, and my body gets MAD and I don’t want to workout anymore. If I work at my perceived level of 80%, I sweat but I still have fun. And I’m rarely sore the next day.

  2. I’ve been making a lot of smoothie bowls lately to mix things up (and bc they make beautiful pictures!). I’ll have to try one w cherries!

  3. i LOVE tart cherries! i havent been able to find the juice or concentrate (or frozen!) near me, but i do have the dried unsweetened. i like to grab a handful to eat, or throw them into yogurt or smoothie bowls, depending on my mood. i also make a killer cherry/pistachio yogurt dipped granola bar xD

  4. I’ve heard about cherries for recovery but still haven’t tried it. Thanks for the reminder and recipe!

  5. I love the smoothie bowl recipe, will be trying it soon. Never tried this juice before. My usual go to after a long run/workout is banana and PB – i know pretty old fashioned 😉 As for foam rolling i know i should be doing it and hopefully i ll get myself a foam roller soon. I ve heard from other runners that its the hellish version of heaven! You know – feels painfully good kinda thing…

  6. Hahahaha, why just ONE date?

    • Fitnessista says:

      It’s just to add a hint of sweetness. I didn’t want it to be overly sweet and keep the tart flavor, but take a bit of the edge off. You can skip it

  7. I am usually not one for smoothies, especially in January but this one sounds fantastic! Can’t wait to try it next week!

  8. I’ve been doing cherry smoothies for two years now and they’re the bomb for recovery. Unfortunately, in the winter I don’t want something cold but in the summer they’re spot on!

    • Fitnessista says:

      i’m the same way. i definitely prefer them in the summer, but it’s a nice way to switch it up during the winter

  9. Ooo, tart cherry juice is one of my favorites for muscle recovery! I love it plain (or with a little red wine) or in a smoothie. Sometimes I’ll even throw in a beet – perfection!

  10. I love using frozen tart cherries in my post workout smoothies! Especially combined with raw cacao powder!

  11. How much tart cherry juice should I drink for recovery after a workout?

  12. great list! Glad you added hydration to the list. It’s so simple but the majority of people are not hydrated enough which leads to soreness and injuries!

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