Ergogenic aids 1 - Beetroot juice
Welcome, everybody, to part one of the ergogenic aid series.
We often get asked what is the most beneficial thing to have before, during and after exercise in regards to nutrition. Our answer is always the same, we are not qualified nutritionists or dietitians and the process is incredibly complex and demands a lot of time and respect in regards to the detailed subjective understanding that is relevant to an individual variability when it comes to diet.
However, we do have an understanding of ergogenic aids there are backed by statistically significant science and are used across high performance environments.
So, what is an ergogenic aid?
An ergogenic aid is more commonly known as a performance enhancer. It involves anything that gives you a mental and/or physical improvement when it comes to performance.
Ergogenic aids can be both harmful and safe.
We plan on sharing with you the information on the safe ergogenic aids with detailed listings of any potential benefits and risks proven by scientific study.
For part one we're diving into the benefits of beetroot juice.
A valued client, and even better friend has recently gone through a fad of beetroot juicing . We have been lucky enough to receive upward of three litres of the stuff and it has reminded us just how great it is.
How is it made?
Beetroots are a hard vegetable grown underground (it’s in the name). In order to juice them an electric juicer is required. The juice from a beetroot is rather potent and it is often consumed in a combination of other fruits or vegetables.
It's really simple to make or easy to get your hands on ergogenic aid and has a significant amount of health benefits , but we will just focus on its relationship to performance.
What does it do?
Beetroot juice contains high levels of inorganic nitrate and its intake has proven effective at increasing blood nitric oxide (NO) concentrations. NO promotes vasodilation and blood flow within the body. Put simply, this helps improve lung function and strengthens muscle contractions which are 2 crucial parts of increased physical and mental performance.
What are the benefits associated?
There is a significant amount of evidence showing beetroot juice having a positive influence on performance.
This meta-analysis found a “moderate improvement in constant load time to exhaustion” tasks in healthy individuals. What is important to note is a lack of significant evidence suggesting any other influence of time trial or graded exercise performance testing.
Outside of performance enhancement beetroot juice has been associated with other health improving benefits for example the reduction of blood pressure.
What are the risks associated?
At this stage, the risks associated appear very low. There is a small amount of evidence suggesting that chronic effects of antioxidant consumption can be detrimental to performance but we’re not taking that too seriously until the numbers give us more clarity.
Is it for you?
Well, that is up to you to decide. We have provided a brief summary and if you want to find out more we suggest diving in and doing your own research to help you make your own decision.
If you are getting good quality sleep regularly, eating a decent diet and you’re looking to get a little more out of your training and performance than by all means, have a go. But don’t think consuming beetroot juice is going to change your life entirely, hard work and good rest will outdo just about any supplement, any day.