With winter training well underway you could be looking to get some extra gains from your rides and looking to different supplements of foods. One very potential one could be tart cherries or Montmorency Cherries in particular.
Tart cherries have been shown to be most effective in two main areas; Recovery and Sleep. Tart cherry juice is high in polyphenols, in particular flavonoids and anthocyanins, which have high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and as a little boost are high in melatonin.
Recovery –It’s been found that taking tart cherry juice will actually help maintain muscle force production and reduce muscle soreness post exercise and next day when compared with not taking it.
How to take for Recovery – Take 30ml concentrate mixed with water within 30mins after exercise.
Get inventive and take it with you post workout shake blending it with some frozen bananas and berries and some whey protein to ultimately boost your recovery!
Should I use it all the time? – Currently research is quite equivocal about whether taking something like tart cherry juice regularly is a good thing as reducing the inflammatory response from training could reduce the adaptions you get from it. My opinion would not be to use it all the time and pick and choose moments.
Sleep – Due to the high amount of melatonin found in tart cherry juice it’s easy to see why it aids sleep, as melatonin is critical to the cycles of deep sleep and studies have found that there were significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency with cherry juice supplementation.
How to take for improved sleep – Take 30ml concentrate with 250ml water 30mins before sleep
Where do I get it from? Healthspan Elite are the official suppliers of Team Sky, with batch tested products and their cherry juice concentrate is just what it says on the tin, 100% cherries.
Where it really shines! – Personally, I think these cherries really shine when you’re doing a sportive or event that takes place over multiple days or after a really intense training session and recovery for the next day is paramount! If you’re at a training camp I wouldn’t take it. Try to get the most out of that week – yes you will feel tired – but the adaptions you gain will be worth it rather than potentially reducing it through large intakes of cherry juice in the name of recovery.
If you’re doing a multi-day event, I would recommend taking 30ml x2 a day for 4 days’ pre-event and on each of the race days following would be the most beneficial.