Why are so many serious athletes turning to beet juice to improve their endurance?
If you haven’t already heard, beet juice has been christened the new superfood for serious athletes. The frothy red drink has proven to be one of the best, all-natural performance enhancers for athletes who want to substantially increase their endurance. The benefits of beet juice are undeniable.
The most noteworthy research on the benefits of beet juice for athletes was done at the University of Exeter in the UK:
Cyclists who drank Beet Juice increased time to exhaustion by a massive 16% and were able to complete the same work with 19% less oxygen.
In other recent studies, the following results were shown:
• Beet juice improved performance (1-3 per cent) and power output in 4km, 16km, and 10km cycling time trials. For perspective, if you run a 5 km in 20 minutes, a two per cent improvement is 19:36 – impressive!
• In walkers and runners, beet juice reduced the oxygen cost of walking and moderate and intense running, and increased time to exhaustion.
• Runners who ate baked beets before running a 5km time trial ran faster (and the last 1.8 km five per cent faster), and had a lower rate of perceived exertion during the first part of the run.
• Trained divers could hold their breath almost half-a-minute longer if they drank beet juice before their dive.
• In well-trained rowers, beet juice improved times for a set of 6 x 500m repetitions, especially the later repetitions.
How it Works
• Beets are very high in nitrates.
• Nitrates are converted by your body into nitric oxide.
• When sufficient amounts of nitrates are consumed, the nitric oxide boost in your body results in vasodilation for up to 6 hours.
• Vasodilation is a relaxing and opening of blood vessels that allows forincreased oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles and more efficient removal of catabolic waste products that cause fatigue like ammonia and lactic acid.
The bottom line is that the higher your natural nitrate intake, the better your muscles will perform and the faster they will recover. Almost nothing compares to beet juice when it comes to improving endurance!
Other Potential Health Benefits of Beets:
• Reduced cardiovascular stress
• Improved detoxification
• Improved inflammation fighting
• Improved male sexual function (Viagra is also a vasodilator)
What are My Options?
1. Eat more beets. Keep in mind however, that over-cooking will significantly reduce the available nitrates in beets. Consuming steamed or lightly cooked beets is one way to get the benefits, but by eating them, your body has to expend the energy and take the time to digest them. In addition, you will need to eat A LOT of beets to get the performance enhancing benefits. In most cases, this is the least convenient way to get your nitrates from beets.
2. Drink beet juice. This is a very effective way to enhance athletic performance because juiced beets are concentrated and the nutrients are easier to assimilate. The downside to this is that juicing beets is expensive, time consuming and messy.
3. Use a beet juice powder supplement like Beet Extreme. This is the easiest, most convenient, cost effective way to get performance enhancing benefits from beets. All you do is mix a scoop of the powder in with 8 oz of water and drink it approximately 60-90 minutes before training or competition. Not to mention, the cost per serving is cheaper than if you bought your own organic beets and juice them yourself!
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a safe, natural way to boost your performance and give yourself a competitive edge, beets, beet juice or beet juice powders are definitely worth a shot! A potential 16% increase in time to exhaustion and the ability to do the same amount of work with substantially less oxygen could mean HUGE gains to your performance and might even get you a spot on top of the podium!