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Does beet juice actually improve endurance performance?

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August 21, 2020

We have all heard about the health benefits of beets for years.  Simply, the concentrated beet juice increases blood nitrates.  Many athletes have been experiencing improved athletic performances and reduce blood pressure for years using the products. 

I figured why not test out this theory of improved endurance and see if it really impacts performance.    Most of the hype started from the cycling performance study at the University of Exeter, in England. 

"A study was done at the University of Exeter's School of Sport and Health Sciences, using beet juice. The study looked at eight male cyclists consuming half a liter (500ml) of beet juice (approx. 2 cups), containing nearly 700 mg of naturally occurring nitrate, for six days. The control group with the placebo drank 500 ml of black currant cordial containing very minimal nitrates for the same amount of time.  The overall results after placebo testing showed the athletes in the beet juice group were able to go 16% longer, thus being able to improve performance with the same power but less energy.   Also, athletes used about 3% less oxygen during the workout while taking the beet juice." Exeter July 1, 2011  

Additional studies:

1. "In another study, Australian researchers gave five professional female kayakers two 70 ml (2.4 ounces) shots of beet juice, each containing about 300 mg of nitrate, two hours before a test involving kayaking one-third of a mile. Compared with a placebo, the rowers who drank beet juice improved their performance by 1.7 percent." Washington Post

 

2. "After many such experiments, mainly in runners and cyclists, researchers have concluded that nitrate supplementation lowers the oxygen demand of exercise and improves performance in endurance sports. They find that beet juice is most effective when drank two to three hours before exercise, and, in general, that 300 to 500 milligrams (500 mg is a bit more than two cups) of inorganic nitrate is enough to provide a 1 to 3 percent improvement in performance — significant enough to give a serious athlete a competitive edge. Solid vegetables, although they’re not generally used in such studies, can be effective, too; beetroot and spinach contain about 250 mg of nitrate per 3.5 ounces of produce." Washington Post

 

Recently, I received another spam email ad about beet juice and finally decided to purchase one of the products that is being advertised quite heavily to the endurance racing space.  I planned on doing my own tests over several weeks with and without beet juice.    The product I have been using is called beetelite (black cherry flavor) - I am sure many of you might of heard of it as their marketing is everywhere.  There are plenty of beet juice products on the market and most advocate taking a serving from 30 minutes to up to 2-3 hours prior to the workout.   My testing would just be for cycling - 2 small scoops in 6 oz of water 30 minutes prior to the workout.  Surprisingly it tastes good!

From the outset,  I assumed that there was a significant placebo affect and my mind knew it was helping me.  I decided to test it over 4 weeks (with and without beet juice) especially with harder cycling efforts  - hill climb repeats (2x a week seated only hill repeat workout at 50 RPM's).   

Overall the results were quite surprising and it clearly improves performance from my experience. Like every other nutritional drink or food touting amazing benefits, I was quite skeptical but it clearly worked well.  I would assume results differ for each individual.    What I noticed clearly with recording heart rate and overall climbing pace is that my heart rate was lower and my climbing times were slightly faster by taking the beet juice.  The most important item: I was able to perform many more repeats and never experienced the fatigue factor that normally comes after the first set of climbs.    It was comfortable climbing just under lactic threshold and the HR stayed about 5-6 beats lower on average when compared to the days of not taking the beet juice.  

The downside with many of the products is the cost, they are a bit expensive.   The only other option would be to consume a significant amount of beets or spinach!  There are many statistical analysis online that you can check out to see the various results with athletes. 

I am a believer and suggest you give it a personal test!

 

 

 

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The Top 7 Ultra Cycling Injuries and Issues

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March 02, 2020

This is for those of you who are considering ultra distance cycling. Injuries and health issues that may come up when doing and ultra distance cycling particularly a self-supported one.

Quick Breakdown:
1. Saddle Sores
2. Hand Numbness
3. Knee Pain
4. Neck Issues - Shermer's Neck
5. Road Rashes/Crashes
6. Achilles Tendon
7. Sun Burn

Listed to the audio to learn my recommendations on how to avoid and incorporate solutions/options to these Ultra Cycling Injuries and Issues.

Under : Cycling, ultra distance cycling, self-supported cycling

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TOP 6 EXTREME MENTAL TRAINING TIPS – ULTRA ENDURANCE ATHLETES

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January 23, 2020

Mental training is a topic that we hear continuously in racing, but it continues to be a “hole” in many training plans. It’s one thing to talk about mental training and completely different to actually build a mental training plan and practice it DAILY – just like a physical training plan.

Under : Endurance Challenge, endurance racing, training, athlete, ultradistance, mental training

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Who Is In Your Corner? A Birthday Wish to my Greek Queen - Evania

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January 21, 2020

Happy Birthday, Evania! Most know my wife as Jan or Janice, however, the root of her Greek name means Goodness and Peaceful.    

Under : happy birthday

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ARE YOUR BUSINESS SALES LAGGING? EVALUATE YOUR QUESTIONS

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January 15, 2020

How were your business sales last year? If you are a business owner or sales professional and your sales are dragging, consider what questions you are asking. More important, have you perfected the “pause” while listening.

Under : business adviser, business tips, business success, business tips and tactics

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Unstoppable Curiosity Audio Series Success Ideas for Life and Business

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January 10, 2020

After writing over 350 blog posts, 4 books and never finding time with excuses of fully launching a podcast, I figured what better time to test the waters at the beginning of a New Year.   Unstoppable Curiosity is a collection of inflection points and ideas that I have used with success and failures.   These might be useful to you with your own business or life.

Under : personal development, personal growth, unstoppable curiosity, business tips and tactics, gigging

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Trans Am Tri – Southern Tier Swelter/Bikepacking Checklist

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December 31, 2019

Bikepacking Checklist Click Here for Audio

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1263 Training Hours Top 10 Ideas for Tracking in 2020

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December 31, 2019
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My Favorite Books of 2019

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December 19, 2019

“Reading a good book is like taking a journey.”  Emma Gulliford

Under : reading challenge, reading, reading goals, speed reading, book

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Post Season Reflections– Most Excited Races for 2020 Part II The Brutal Quintuple in Wales

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December 10, 2019

Following up to the previous blog last week, regarding the best race experience reflection you had in 2019, now consider a pivot to what’s on your schedule for 2020.  Which event stands out from the all the others.  It may be the A race or a secondary event, but what uniqueness or experience are you looking forward to above all the events or adventures.

Under : training, ultradistance, race planning tips

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