Improve Your Cycling Performance by Eating Beets
We know you are always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition, so we want to offer you some advice and insight. Strictly monitored by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), athletes (both professional and amateur) are tested for banned substances. Surprisingly athletes still get caught using banned substances even though they know the risks of getting caught.
What is there was a type of doping that wasn't banned by WADA?? Would you try it? Many athletes always look for complicated doping solutions when in fact, the easiest and healthiest solutions are right under their noses....beets!! That's right, beets. Beets have been proven to be very beneficial for athletic performance. Let's take a closer look at why and some of the evidence behind it.
A recent study was conducted by a group of researchers to determine if beetroot juice, in fact, aids athletic performance or not. They had a group of participants on a stationary bike cycle as hard as possible for as long as they could before they had to stop.
Each time the cyclists were given a different serving size of beetroot juice. One was a placebo (medicine with nothing in it, just for the psychological effect of the cyclist not knowing the difference) and the others were a 1/4 cup (4 units), 1/2 cup (8 units) and 1 cup (16 units). Here were their noted results:
Placebo (no beetroot):
Cyclists went for about 8 minutes on the placebo where they didn't have any beetroot juice.
1/4 cup (4 units of beetroot juice):
Cyclists didn't notice any perceived gain. They went for about the same time and when they had the placebo.
1/2 cup (8 units of beetroot juice):
With 1/2 cup the cyclists noticed much improvement and were able to go for approximately 9 minutes. I minute longer than the placebo and the 1/4 cup of beetroot juice.
1 cup (16 units of beetroot juice):
With 1 full cup of beetroot juice, the cyclists did see an improved performance but it was no better than the performance they had when they only had 1/2 cup. They went for about 9 minutes here as well. No added gain from the 1/2 cup serving.
They concluded from the study that 8 units of beetroot juice were the optimal intake in order to increase athletic performance. They determined in fact that the gains from this 1/2 cup serving actually goes a long way when it comes to enhancing athletic performance.
If we don't want to drink beetroot juice (because it's expensive and processed) how many beets would we need to eat in order to realize this gain? Well, the British Heart Foundation provided the table below which helps give us a pretty good idea.
As we can see from this table...the vegetables in the high nitrate content category have about 2 units of nitrates per 80g of the food. From this we can determine that in order to get the optimal 8 units of nitrates the cyclists were getting from the beetroot juice we would need to eat about 320g of beetroot. That's actually pretty doable. Your average can of beets is about 410g. So if you ate a can of beets you could reach the equivalent of 1/2 of beetroot juice no problem.
This is great news for all of us athletes out there trying to get ahead. Look no further than beets! The power of plants is real and we need to start realizing it. People are paying big money for drugs, pharmaceuticals and sports nutrition products but the answer is simple. Eat more plants!!..especially beets and dark leafy green vegetables. You get the most bang for your buck and don't even have to worry about WADA tracking you down.