Improve your performance by reaching for the ’root
Beetroot’s ability to improve performance has been mentioned a lot over the last few years, but what is less well known is how much you need to take on and for how long to see those benefits.
Beetroot is high in nitrate, and nitrate consumption helps to reduce the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise so helps to increase time trial speed and time to exhaustion. Nitrate consumption has seen around a 2.8 per cent improvement in time to completion, which can be the difference between first and second place.
To get it naturally you’d need 800ml of beetroot juice to see any performance-enhancing effects. Luckily, beetroot concentrate is available in 70ml shots.
If you compete a lot, do a loading phase of four days with 2x140ml a day (four shots in total). If you’re not as highly trained taking on board 140ml (two shots) 2.5 hours before an event should suffice. Research suggests that trained individuals require more nitrate to see a benefit.
New studies also suggest that having beetroot post-exercise can help recovery. Emma Stevenson PhD, professor of sport and exercise science at Newcastle University says: “We’ve conducted a series of studies looking at the role of beetroot juice in facilitating recovery following intense exercise, and found that consuming beetroot juice for three days after a hard bout of exercise can enhance recovery. Participants have reported reduced muscle soreness and, in many cases, faster recovery in muscle power”. willgirling.com