Beetroot Juice & Exercise

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Did you know that beetroot juice can be an ergogenic aid to your sporting performance?

Beetroot juice is used by elite athletes, one of the main advocates being David Weir, the Paralympic gold medallist and London Marathon champion. The reason is that beetroot and beetroot juice are an excellent source of dietary nitrate which has been shown to improve performances in cycling and running endurance activities in clinical trials. When eaten, the body converts the nitrate to nitric oxide which causes the blood vessels to vasodilate delivering oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the exercising muscles. As a consequence of this, resting blood pressure is decreased which is very beneficial for general health.

Some studies looking at using beetroot juice as an aid to exercise performance have shown that it improves endurance, allows you to sustain high exercise intensities for longer and reduces the oxygen cost of exercise. Typical dosages are 500ml of beetroot juice taken up to 1- 2 ½ hours before exercise or a race. Daily intake in the week before a competition has also been proven to be beneficial due to higher nitrate levels circulating in the body.

No side effects have been associated with drinking beetroot juice and it is a much safer and natural alternative than taking nitrate supplements. Beetroot juice can turn your urine pink in the hours after drinking it but this is harmless and only temporary. Try experimenting with beetroot juice in training before long runs or cycles and if you notice a difference then use it prior to competitions for an added edge to your performance.

Please feel free to contact the G4 Didsbury Clinic (Manchester) to speak to a member of our diet & nutrition team for any questions that you may have or if you wish to arrange a consultation to discuss your diet, nutrition and lifestyle.

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