Your ability to build a bigger, leaner and stronger body is directly correlated with the number of workouts you can do, and how much intensity you muster each time you hit the gym. If a workout leaves you so stiff and sore that you can’t move for five days, results will come slowly at best. But if you can drastically reduce soreness and restore strength levels, you will gain muscle faster because you can train more often with a higher intensity.
Research is mounting to support the use of tart cherry juice as a highly effective recovery aid. It appears that supplementing your pre- and post-workout training with it can provide a powerful assistance to recovery by reducing soreness and restoring strength more quickly. In addition, tart cherry juice has shown to have a positive effect on boosting your natural melatonin levels so you can sleep better: a key to faster recovery and growth.
How does tart cherry juice help you recover faster with less overall soreness? The reason is likely due to the fact that tart cherries contain flavonoids and anthocyanins that induce strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
You can find plenty of studies on Pubmed to support the use of tart cherry juice, but these three studies will probably interest you most:
Bowtell JL, et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Aug 2011
What it showed: 10 well-trained athletes consumed tart cherry juice 7 days before and until 2 days after a bout of leg extensions for 10 sets of 10 reps. Subjects restored strength faster and measures of protein carbonyls (a marker of oxidative stress in aging and disease) were reduced.
Howatson G, et al. Scand J Med Sci Sports. Dec 2010
What it showed: 20 subjects consumed tart cherry juice 5 days before and until 2 days after a marathon run. Three markers of inflammation (interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and uric acid) were reduced, and strength was restored more quickly.
Connolly DA, et al. Br J Sports Med. Aug 2006
What it showed: 14 male college students drank tart cherry juice twice a day for 8 days. They performed a workout on the fourth day. Strength loss and pain were reduced.
Surprisingly, it appears that you don’t need much tart cherry juice to get a favorable effect. The studies vary greatly with regard to dosage: some were as low as a few ounces per day while other protocols were as high as 24 ounces per day. It’s also likely that the extract in pill form could produce the results you’re after if the carbs scare you.
For the last two years I’ve been using tart cherry juice with my athletes and myself. The results have been impressive, so I thought I’d share my protocol with you. Keep in mind, this protocol isn’t necessarily what I’d do for pure fat loss, but when it comes to building muscle, strength, and performance, this combo works awesome.
The Tart Cherry Juice & Warrior Whey Protocol
15-30 minutes before training: 4 ounces of tart cherry juice mixed with 4 ounces of water and 1 scoop of Organic Warrior Whey.
Immediately after training: 4 ounces of tart cherry juice mixed with 8 ounces of water and 2 scoops of Organic Warrior Whey. (Note: I use R.W. Knudsen’s Organic Just Tart Cherry juice but any organic version will probably work as well.)
It’s important to note that part of the effectiveness of this protocol comes from this whey. It’s simply the best protein powder I’ve ever used. Since it’s not heated or acidified in the manufacturing process it contains all the natural immune boosters that help reduce soreness, restore strength, and build muscle. And it tastes incredible. You’ll soon learn how chemically bitter other protein powders are when you taste it for the first time.
Make no mistake about it: when you mix grass-fed whey with organic tart cherry juice you have a powerful combination during your workouts to combat muscle soreness and supercharge recovery and growth.