Beetroot has been given quite the hero status around the endurance world recently. It has been linked heavily with increased stamina and blood flow, the reason for this being the vegetables high nitrate levels. What this has shown to do is improve muscle oxygenation during exercise, this basically means you get more oxygen to your muscles and in turn your muscles perform better. Almost free gains…
So with that in mind I headed to my local food superstore to check out what was on offer. If you do the same thing you’ll find that you probably have just one option and that’s Beet-It Juice. You can get it chilled, ambient or in these really convenient shots perfect for athletes. So shots it was.
I’m going straight in with what, for me, is the main thing about these shots… Taste… I love beetroot. My folks have been growing their own and pickling them for a while, it’s great. I quite like beetroot crisps – dried then oven baked and seasoned to your liking. But these shots are hideous! I cannot stand the taste! But that’s really not the point at all!
Each 70 ml shot of Beet-It juice contains 0.4g of nitrates, doesn’t sound like a lot but take a look at their website and their very impressive list of customers and you can clearly see it’s enough. You’re advised to take one shot 1-12 hours before exercise and it goes onto say that some elite athletes suggest loading the shots over a period of 1-2 weeks before an event, not sure if I could stomach that!
But I suppose the main focus, and reason I chose to write this review, is my performance after taking it. I’ve only gone with the one shot per event and taken it about 3 hours prior. The first time I downed one was before my club, Rye & District Wheeler’s, 10 mile TT Championships where I went out and did a new personal best and won the event. The second time was again on the same course about a month later, again another PB. The final two times I tested this I didn’t reduce my PB but was pretty close, but of course you can’t continue to get better every time.
The research I found away from their site also supports this. It suggests that on a 10 mile TT beetroot juice improved some athletes’ performance by 45 seconds. I’m not sure if it would do this for a seasoned racer but marginal gains and all that.
For me I suppose placebo is a possibility, or I could be naturally getting stronger – which has been a theme this year. But for the price (a little over a pound per shot if brought individually) it’s almost entirely worth it. Of course you could just supplement your diet more with beetroots, after all it’s no magic formula it’s the vegetable that contains the ingredients that allegedly make you faster. But if you were to introduce these shots as part of your regime then you wouldn’t have to worry about when you’re next going to squeeze some more beetroot into your diet.
I suppose what really matters is whether I will continue to use these shots going forward. Well the answer is yes, definitely. For me I’ll push past the taste, hoping that I get used to it, and focus on the fact that I did my best time using it. Whether I get any better because of increased nitrates in my blood is irrelevant, as long as I keep getting better. My advice to you is to go out and at least try it once. There’s probably no cheaper gains available.