Is Tart Cherry Juice the New Celery Juice…Of Fitness?
Here's What Experts Say.
Knowing what, when, and how much to eat or drink before and after workouts is a balancing act. No one feels like exercising when they’re in the midst of a food coma, but queasiness, fatigue, and lightheadedness are all symptoms of low blood sugar. “You don’t want to go into a workout with low blood sugar,” warns Glen Tobias, MS, RDN, CSSD, and FAND Performance Dietician who works with the Boston Red Sox. “I use this metaphor: You don’t race a car without gas in the tank. The same goes for your body.” The regimen below is different from our founder’s, but some of the tips below are making us reconsider the merits of tart cherry juice.
“What we do as performance dietitians is go over how much to eat and when [to eat] in order to optimize performance,” Tobias says. As a general rule of thumb, Tobias says to eat 90 minutes before exercise. “Before and after your workout, I recommend keeping the fat content low [in your pre-workout smoothie],” Tobias says, noting that the goal is to blend sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats together.
In addition to staying hydrated, Tobias recommends anti-inflammatory supplements such as Omega 3 Fish Oil and curcumin (which is found in turmeric). These can be easily added to a pre-or post-workout smoothie. “A tall smoothie packed with protein, fruits, vegetable(s), and carbs energizes your body, is easy to digest, and hydrates you pre-or post-workout,” Catherine McCord, author of The Smoothie Project, points out.
Celebrity chef and holistic nutritionist Shayna Taylor, founder of Shayna’s Kitchen, consider matcha to be another fantastic pre-or post-workout beverage. “Not only does matcha boost your metabolism, but it’s loaded with EGCG’s, or disease-fighting antioxidants. These can increase endurance during your workout [and aid with post-workout recovery],” she tells rē-spin. “I also recommend drinking celery juice for a pre-and post-workout drink because it increases energy, relaxes nerves, and improves cardiovascular health.”
A Post-Workout Tip? Look to Tart Cherry Juice
We’ve all heard of the celery juice trend, but Tobias points to a different fruity treat as the source of our sports-related solutions: tart cherry juice. He is a brand ambassador for the tart cherry juice brand Cheribundi, noting that, “Hundreds of teams rely on Cheribundi as a go-to, natural performance beverage.” But why? “[As a post-workout beverage], tart cherry juice boasts scientifically proven benefits [like] the ability to reduce muscle soreness and [to] speed up muscle recovery,” Tobias says.
Taylor also points to other health benefits to incorporating tart cherry juice into your diet, fitness goals aside. Along with fighting inflammation which can help with pain, its high concentration of antioxidants is beneficial for the immune system—something we are all interested in right now. “A lot of people might not know this, but tart cherry juice naturally increases melatonin, which can help those suffering from insomnia,” Taylor adds. “It’s a great natural drink to incorporate into your diet because it helps with sleep, immunity, muscle recovery, and relaxes nerves,” she says.
Here are some pre-and post-workout products to shop.
Cheribundi 100% Tart, $27 for 12
“I like the 100% Tart [beverage] which has 60 tart cherries in each eight-ounce bottle — and nothing else,” says Tobias. For professional and elite athletes, however, he recommends Rebuild, $30 for 12, which incorporates whey protein and vitamins into each bottle.
“If I need a boost of energy [pre-workout], I drink my Morning Ritual Matcha,” Taylor says. She warns against pre-workout drinks that contain large amounts of caffeine that can increase your blood pressure, adversely impact your sleep schedule, and can be harsh on your gut.
McCord recommends this blender for recreating her Cherry Vanilla smoothie recipe: ½ fresh or frozen banana, ½ cup of fresh or frozen cherries, ¼ cup vanilla Greek yogurt or non-dairy alternative, one serving of vanilla protein powder, one serving of collagen peptides, and ¾ cup of the milk of your choice. Then blend until smooth, no ice necessary.
This gluten-free, non-dairy, and non-GMO protein comes in compostable packaging and incorporates curcumin and Bioperine right into the formula. It comes in gourmet flavors like chocolate peanut, tiramisu, and vanilla.
To stay hydrated, an electrolyte powder — like this organic mix of electrolytes and glucose — features four times the amount of electrolytes as a typical sport’s drink. Their berry pomegranate flavor is their best-seller.
Combining anti-inflammatory turmeric with the “ultimate ketogenic fat” means that it is ideal for energizing your body and helping it enter a fat-burning state (i.e., ketosis) during your workout. The MCT oil is sourced from organic coconuts and is naturally gluten-free.
The Spring Center Omega Supreme, $52.50
Omega-3 fatty acids aid with a healthy inflammation response, cardiovascular health, joints, and support cognitive health. Each capsule contains 820 mg EPA and DHA and is independently tested to ensure that it is free from heavy metals, pesticides, and PCBs.
Funny as it might sound, adding black pepper to fresh turmeric, or selecting a formula with Bioperine or black pepper fruit extract, helps with the supplement’s bioavailability.
Naked Whey sourced from small dairy farms in California, ensuring that their whey protein comes from grass-fed cows without GMOs or growth hormones. Each jar contains only one ingredient: whey protein.