Athletes Gain Edge with “Super Juice”
Even if he didn’t exactly mean it that way, a certain “King of Pop” may have hit the nail right on the head when it comes to bringing your workout routine to a new level – just beet it!
That’s the take-away from a recent study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. That research suggests that adding some nitrate-rich beetroot juice to your workout plan can enhance your stamina, strength, and endurance.
The performance of 6 national-level male kayakers was measured in lab-based 4-minute ergometer tests, while 5 international-level female kayakers competed in a field-based kayaking time trial. The men consumed a 70 milliliter (mL) beetroot supplement, while the women’s team drank a double shot (140mL) during a 500 meter time-trial.
The beetroot supplement had a small effect on how far the men could go, but improved the energy needed to maintain their speed by 5%. Meanwhile, the women’s team improved their overall performance by 1.7%. The more beetroot juice was consumed the better the athletes’ physical performance.
So, what’s going on to make that happen?
The team attributes the boost to the inorganic nitrate content found in beetroot. Nitrate helped improve the efficiency of the processes that occur in the mitochondria, known as the cell’s energy factory.
This means ATP, the molecule known as the cell’s energy currency, can rest during muscle activity due to less oxygen use. After drinking beet juice, the amount of oxygen, or oxygen cost, needed to sustain moderate exercise is reduced.