juices to burn fat and extend endurance

Whether it’s orange juice for breakfast, lemon juice for a cleanse, grapefruit juice for your entire diet, juicing at home, or the juicing among professional athletes, we can’t get enough. Even with the negative headlines saying juice is less healthy than diet soda, the stuff is flying off the shelves. We must be addicted to juice!

The good news is, if you make some smart (and sometimes adventurous) choices, you might actually reap a few rewards from your chosen juice!

Here are five options to consider when you feel the urge:

1. Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice has been around for ages, steadily building a loyal following. Back when I first tried some black cherry juice, it was claimed to be a natural anti-inflammatory, so I took it in hopes to reduce joint pain and muscle soreness. And I kept taking it, because it was delicious!

The benefits come from the potent antioxidants in the cherries – queritrin, isoqueritrin, ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and possibly other compounds.

The research continues to pile up, with a recent study (published February 2014) showing that cyclists who drank tart cherry juice leading up to a simulated race experienced less inflammation and oxidative stress than the placebo group. Now we have some evidence of the juice’s effects specifically for us cyclists!

The best part is that the actual product consumed during testing was Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate, which is easily found in stores. And it’s not all that expensive, either.

Of course, whether any of that translates to real life performance numbers remains to be seen.

Bottom line: Cherry juice tastes great, is relatively inexpensive, and is backed by research conducted on humans. It’s worth a shot. (Take 1 ounce, twice per day, for 7 days leading up to your event.)

2. Aloe Vera Juice

Growing up, we had a few aloe plants in the house, so that’s how I treated my scrapes and sunburns. If there was any extra gel to be squeezed out, I would play with it (it was slimy), and on occasion, I’d eat some (it tasted better than Elmer’s glue).

Little did I know that that slime was supporting my immune and digestive systems, regulating my blood sugar, aiding weight loss, and curing cancer. Or at least that’s what some people claim aloe vera juice will do for you! In reality, there’s not sufficient evidence to back that up.

Regardless, I’ve had bottled aloe vera juice, and it’s quite enjoyable (if you like odd, funky drinks).

Another option is to make your own, which is probably far healthier than what I got from the convenience store. The simple recipe comes from Ingrid Macher, a certified holistic health coach and personal trainer (as well as my #2 favorite Ingrid*). All you have to do is put 2-3″ of aloe vera gel in a glass and fill with water. Super simple.

(*I’m a fan of Ingrid Michaelson so she’s my #1 favorite Ingrid.)

Bottom line: Aloe vera gel may help heal burns and abrasions, so it’s worth having a plant or two at home. (And if you feel adventurous, one drink probably won’t kill you.)

3. Beet Juice

Though not as sweet and enticing as cherry juice, beet juice could be even more useful for endurance athletes.

Results from a study at the University of Exeter’s School of Sport and Health Sciences show that supplementing with beet juice improves endurance and stamina. The subjects drank about 16oz of beet juice (or a placebo) for six days and then performed tests on a stationary bicycle. After drinking the beet juice, their performances were better!

Researchers suspect that the body converts the nitrates in the juice to nitric oxide, thereby reducing oxygen consumption.

It’s easy to make your own beet juice, or you can buy it in bottles under the Biotta brand.

Bottom line: Beet juice has research showing it can improve your endurance for cycling. If that’s not a reason to try it, I don’t know what is!

4. Hornet Juice

This one is just as crazy as it sounds! I thought for sure it was just a brand name for an energy drink, but no, it literally is hornet juice! Well, it’s “hornet larval saliva,” whatever that is.

Turns out that giant hornets have great endurance (flying up to 100 kilometers per day) because they can readily use their stored fat for energy, and that capability is due to their ingestion of hornet larval saliva.

The question is, can humans get the same fat burning effect if we ingest the so-called hornet juice?

The answer is yes, if you ask Olympic gold medal winning marathoners Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi, who attribute their success to this stuff!

Bottom line: Plenty of Olympians (especially from other countries) have used weird stuff that probably played little if any role in their success. Proceed with caution.

5. ‘Green’ Juice

You know what I’m talking about. Whether it’s a bottle of Naked Green Machine, a scoop of Greens+ powder, or a fresh concoction from a local juice bar, it’s part of the trend of green juice.

It makes sense. Anything that’s green is typically deemed healthy. Any benefit you can think of can probably be attributed to green juice since it has so many ingredients.

You have to be careful, though. It has to be really fresh to get the benefits, so with most of these bottled drinks, you pay more and get less (in terms of nutrients). I think Greens+ does a good job at preserving nutrients in their powder, but in general, I’d suggest making your own juices.

Blend up some carrots with spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, cucumber, wheat grass, parsley, and some seaweed if you can find it. That’s good, fresh juice, and all you need is a blender. (You can even put aloe vera in your green smoothie, as Ingrid does.)

Bottom line: If you are staunchly opposed to eating your vegetables, then at least drink your vegetables.


Have you tried any of these juices? Ever done a juice cleanse? Bold enough to try hornet juice?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


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This article was originally published on August 28, 2014. It was updated and republished on July 13, 2018.

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1 Comment
  1. Mostly we brew tea, but if I had a juicer…

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