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Juicing for athletes

People who are on juice fasts, or cleansing or detox regimens, are told to limit their physical activity. The main reason is that the body needs its energy for the detoxing process. Also, the body is not taking in the usual amounts of protein from meat or supplements that help rebuild muscle after workouts.

Even athletes can benefit from juicing if they are sensible about it

This is a minor problem for most people, who can cut back on their exercise for a short period of time while juice fasting. Indeed, many people who are juice fasting for weight loss may not already be working out at all, hoping that the fast will help them restart a healthy lifestyle.

But serious athletes who are not willing to forgo their workout regimens can still take advantage of the cleansing and energy-enhancing benefits of juicing. It may take a little more research and planning but the results are worth it.

Juicing fast

A true juicing fast is not recommended for more than a couple of days for athletes. The best idea is to select a two-day period in your training schedule when you are “off” or on a light routine.

For the days leading up to your two-day fast, increase your intake of vegetables and leafy greens. Have one or two juices each day, preferably with more emphasis on vegetables than on fruits.

Be sure to maintain — or increase — your water intake on those days, and wean yourself off of caffeine. (Caffeine requires your body to use energy.) Decaffeinated tea is a good alternative.

After your fast, which consisted of six juices each day, slowly start adding back fruits and vegetables in whole form, or as smoothies. Still have two juices a day. Pay attention to the foods you select so that you don’t inadvertently default to mostly fruit, which has high sugar content. After a few days, resume eating lean chicken and meat, and still have at least one juice a day.

Meal replacement

Whether as part of the fasting regimen just discussed, or as a stand-alone part of your daily food plan, a healthy juice in place of breakfast can kick-start your day and leave you feeling more energetic and light. Citrus and ginger are ideal ingredients to add some zing to your morning.

Juicing to replace commercial drinks

Raw fruit and vegetable juices can supply your body with rich vitamins and nutrients that can maximize your endurance and speed muscle recovery. They can also serve to hold off dehydration.

A very popular pre-workout juice for endurance athletes is made with beet juice and carrot juice. The nitrates in the beets are supposed to help the muscles use oxygen efficiently, contributing to better performance.

For post-competition, cherries are believed to help with speedier muscle recovery and reduced inflammation. Adding various fruits such as plums, blueberries, and blackberries will make delicious drinks that far surpass the commercial chemical-filled beverages that are seen everywhere.

So athletes and competitors can certainly enjoy the fun and taste of juicing, just in a slightly-more focused manner than their fans can!