A grueling workout can leave you with ripped muscles—literally.
It's called microtrauma, and it refers to small tears in your muscle fibers, at the microscopic level. Sure, you may look stronger, but according to David Pearson, CSCS, director of strength research at Ball State University, it results in delayed muscle soreness—which means that hitting the weights again the next day just got harder.
One way to mitigate the damage is to ingest the right nutrients after intense training. Take a look at the University of Florida, a powerhouse whose athletes experience plenty of gains in Gainesville. Despite the Gators' continual success, recovery is no bowl of cherries. Instead, it's more like a bottle of cherries, thanks to CherryPharm, a product that contains "50 tart cherries…with a little apple juice concentrate to give it some shelf life," says Cheryl Zonkowski, Florida's director of sports nutrition.
Research supports numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of cherry consumption. Of particular interest to athletes, a 2006 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that drinking cherry juice after a tough workout reduced symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage.
Zonkowski says, "The antioxidants [in CherryPharm] help with muscle recovery so that you can do repeated bouts of practice or exercise or lifting and be able to do the same weight—the same reps [and] the same amount [of weight]—without feeling as sore and without as much injury to your muscles as you would without a product like that."
An added bonus is that cherries contain polyphenols, chemical substances that strengthen the immune system. Zonkowski says if you aren't a big fruit eater, each eight-ounce bottle of CherryPharm counts as two servings of your daily fruit requirement.
Zonkowski supports grabbing a bottle of CherryPharm before eating a balanced meal. But if you must get away immediately after practice, gulp down the version with whey—it offers eight grams of protein per serving.
For more info, check out cherrypharm.com.
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