Recovery is important for anybody that works out or engages in training. Whether you consider yourself a weekend warrior, occasional fitness bunny or serious athlete, recovery from your training is something that you need to consider.
Exercise results in muscle damage, caused by a response to mechanical stress. Muscle damage is at its highest following eccentric exercise (when muscle lengthens as it contracts, such as in the Romanian deadlift), or following exercise with high metabolic load (such as high intensity interval training).
This then causes inflammation and initiates a healing response around that damaged area; this healing response often causes the tissue to grow bigger and stronger than pre- training. This is called supercompensation. Or gains!
So how do we maximise our recovery?
Many methods are commonly used in sport, such as ice baths, contrast bathing, nutritional supplements and sleep; all have demonstrated some level of effectiveness across many different subject groups.
The use of antioxidants in recovery is growing in popularity as they are generally a quick and convenient method of recovery after training (not everyone has access or the inclination to jump into a bath of ice after a tough session!).
Tart cherry juice supplements such as Cherry Active, contain high levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants act as an anti-inflammatory agent, decreasing the healing time of muscle tissue post training. Many research studies have been conducted looking at the use of tart cherry juice post exercise.
Participants taking the supplement have been shown to have greater strength levels 24-72 hours post exercise in comparison to those not taking the supplement.
Additionally, the use of tart cherry juice has been shown to decrease post exercise soreness in the 24-72 hours after eccentric exercise. The optimal dose of the cherry juice supplements is unclear and this is an area of research that is continuing to develop.
So this all seems very positive so far, why wouldn’t you take tart cherry juice every day, ease your post gym aches and train every day? Well the only downside to the use of this supplement is the suggestion that it may reduce adaptation to the exercise.
Research has shown that the adaptation response is only blunted, not completely abolished. This means you are still getting gains following that hard workout, just maybe not to the same level as if you were using no recovery supplements post exercise.
So, to wrap it all up in a bowl:
Therefore, tart cherry juice remains a good option following hard sessions to ensure you are ready to go again for further training later in the week. But the daily/constant useage is probably not worth it. Save it for your hardest sessions when you feel like you need a little boost to get over that strenuous workout.