Benefits Of Beetroot Juice for Cyclists
Athletes in every single sport do all that they can to get a leg up on the competition legally. Some do this by adopting a rigorous training schedule, while others use supplements alongside their everyday exercise routines. For cyclists, the use of beetroot juice is becoming increasingly common, especially since studies were released that showed this particular juice to be able to improve aerobic performance. Cyclists often need to expend a lot of energy over the course of a bike race, and having that extra boost derived from the juice may be the difference between finishing strong and being passed by the pack heading to the finish line.
The question that most of you probably have now is in regards to how beetroot juice can deliver the goods for cyclists. It’s a good question and one that is easily answered by simply looking at what is in the juice. The key component in beetroot juice is nitrate, as it is that ingredient that delivers all the positive aerobic benefits. Beetroot is not the only vegetable that contains nitrate, as spinach, lettuce, and rocket also have it, but it is the vegetable that is easiest to extract juice from. Please note that nitrate is the only part of the beetroot that helps with aerobic performance, which is why the juice the preferred way to go.
Let’s take a minute to talk about how nitrate can deliver that extra aerobic boost. When you ingest this ingredient, your body goes to work, turning the nitrate into nitric oxide. This change causes the blood vessels to dilate, which is important because it means that more blood and oxygen gets delivered to the parts of the body that need it most at that time. The muscle cells in the body are also positively impacted, with the overall effect being that you get an extra blast of aerobic energy when it is needed.
While there are sure to be some doubters out there, the benefits of beetroot for cyclists had proved positive in numerous studies. One well-known study took place in the Netherlands, where a group of cyclists was asked to take nitrate in various dosages before cycling trials. Some of the riders ingested 140ml of beetroot juice before the trials, while others took a placebo. The riders who took the nitrate saw an improved aerobic output when compared against those given the placebo. The results of that study were more than enough to get cyclists on board with beetroot juice.
Further studies have since taken place to prove the efficacy of beetroot juice for cyclists, and the results show that taking 5-8mmol of juice a couple of hours before a race delivers the biggest impact. That said, the dosage will depend on some other factors, such as the body weight of the cyclist taking the juice. A little bit of trial and error when you train for these events should help you discover which dosage of beetroot juice delivers the best results for you.
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