A sports drink won’t make you run faster or ride longer—it’ll merely replenish nutrients and fluids you lose while sweating. But there are other beverages that do have positive training effects! As you run or ride, sip water or a sports drink, but on your off time, try these other drinks for real results.
How much: 2½ cups
Best time to sip: Every day for a week leading up to (as well as the day of) a race or a long ride.
Beverage benefits: Endurance athletes who drank cherry juice before running a marathon felt less pain afterward than those who didn’t. Phytochemicals in the drink appear to ease inflammation. Cherry juice can also help you sleep more, the best ingredient for recovery.
Best time to sip: Right after hill-training or a fast ride
How much: 2 to 4 cups
Beverage benefits: The protein in the milk helps repair muscles you’ve exerted. The calcium and vitamin D strengthen bones and may help you lose more fat.