Train like a (cherry) champ
January 15, 2016
In December, the lovely people at Gym Vit sent me Cherry Champ natural superfruit supplement. The product contains Montmorency cherry and beetroot, so I was excited to try it.
The benefits of tart cherry juice for athletes
There have been a number of studies that have demonstrated the benefits of Montmorency cherry juice for endurance athletes. The main outcomes of the studies indicate that cherry juice can help with post-run inflammation and muscle recovery and that the melatonin in cherries can help improve your quality of sleep.
- Bowtell et al. Montmorency cherry juice reduces muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011. 43(8): 1544-51
- Connolly et al. Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. Br J Sports Med. 2006. 40(8): 679-83
- Howatson et al. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010. 20(6): 843-52
- Howatson et al. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2011.
I don’t have any problems with the quality of my sleep – and I’ve yet to find a product that can miraculously increase the number of hours available for me to spend in bed – but I would like to recover from hard training more quickly.
The benefits of beetroot for athletes
It has been recognised for some time that nitrate-rich food can increase endurance.
- Lansley et al. Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011. 43: 1125–1131
- Wilkerson et al. Influence of acute dietary nitrate supplementation on 50-mile time trial performance in well-trained cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012 Dec;112(12):4127-34.
At one stage, I ate beetroot every morning before having my porridge, but I really don’t like the taste, so I gave up after a while. I also bought beetroot juice, but that also tasted unpleasant. I’ve tried concentrated beetroot shots and beetroot flapjack, but beetroot is one of the very few vegetables that I don’t like and there doesn’t seem to be any way of making it taste good!
On top of including two recognisably beneficial ingredients, the product is also vegan. I’ve been given the opportunity to try other products, but as a vegetarian, I won’t try a product that isn’t suitable for vegetarians.
Anyway, back to my product review…
The packaging states:
May help with:
- Stamina & energy
- Joints & flexibility
- Muscle recovery
- Tissue growth
The bottle contained 60 capsules. The recommendation was to take 1-3 capsules a day preferably with food for at least 2-3 week continuously. I was also advised to avoid caffeinated beverages. I did really well at avoiding caffeine whilst I was at home, but I will admit to drinking a few (4?) cups of Earl Grey tea since I’ve been back at work – mainly because it has been so cold!
The website for the product looks really professional, with some beautiful images, so I will admit that I was a little disappointed by the packaging. However, I realise that any costs involved in branding would have to be passed onto the customer, so this is one way of keeping costs low. I also thought the bottle was a strange shape, however, I quickly realised the advantage. The bottle is about 12cm tall and 2cm wide, so it was easy to tuck it onto a shelf in my kitchen or pop it into my lunch bag to take to work.
I was worried that the capsules would have an unpleasant beetroot aftertaste, but they didn’t. If anything there was a slight taste of cherries, which was pleasant.
It’s really hard for me to comment on whether the product lives up to the claims on the packaging. I was feeling more energetic at the end of December, but it also coincided with me having time off work and a break from training as my local pool was closed. As soon as things got back to normal in January, I got a heavy cold that wiped me out for a week. Likewise, I have been feeling more flexible, but I have also been putting more effort into my stretching routine at home.
I haven’t quite finished the course of Cherry Champ capsules, so will continue taking them and let you know whether I think there have been any other advantages or disadvantages of this product.