Up your recovery game

This cherry smoothie bowl recipe 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.

Help me, I'm sore


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

How to Up Your Recovery Game in the New Year:

1) Stretch and foam roll. 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!

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.

Tart cherry smoothie in blender

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.

Tart Cherry Smoothie Bowl

I used tart cherry juice as the base for this hydrating and replenishing tart cherry smoothie bowl. 

Tart cherry smoothie bowl

Tart cherry smoothie bowl

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


Tart Cherry Smoothie 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


  1. Blend smoothie ingredients.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with toppings!


  • Makes two small bowls or one large bowl.


  • Serving Size: 2

This hydrating and replenishing cherry smoothie bowl can help your muscles recover after an intense workout thanks to the tart cherry juice. fitnessista.com

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!



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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  1. Cassie on January 13, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    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.

    • masala girl on January 13, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      that’s a great idea! i think i am the same way.

  2. Erin @ Erin's Inside Job on January 13, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    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. masala girl on January 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    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. Sheena @ Paws and Pavement on January 13, 2016 at 7:19 pm

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

  5. ellen on January 14, 2016 at 3:45 am

    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. confused on January 14, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Hahahaha, why just ONE date?

    • Fitnessista on January 14, 2016 at 7:29 am

      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. Hilary on January 14, 2016 at 6:24 am

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

  8. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on January 14, 2016 at 6:46 am

    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 on January 14, 2016 at 10:06 am

      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. Jen on January 14, 2016 at 9:17 am

    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!

    • Fitnessista on January 14, 2016 at 9:38 am

      i LOVE the wine idea

  10. Tracy on January 14, 2016 at 11:36 am

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

  11. Sarah V on January 16, 2016 at 1:32 pm

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

    • Fitnessista on January 16, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      everything i read said 8 oz will do the trick 🙂

      • Sarah V on January 16, 2016 at 3:51 pm


  12. Hin on January 18, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    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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