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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 cup of your favorite granola
1 tablespoon chia seeds
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!
This post is sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute. Thank you so much for reading this blog and for your support!