First things first. Practice makes perfect when it comes to your sport, and as much as we would love for this to be the case, no juice alone can take you from the couch to a sub-thirty-minute 5k. But with consistent training and an overall healthy diet, there are certainly some powerhouse juices that can aid your athletic performance; beetroot being one of them. 

What’s so neat about beet? Other than its cool deep hues and ability to turn your tongue purple, beetroot contains antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and nitrate. Sounds impressive, but what does it do? Well, nitrate is converted into nitric oxide when consumed, and drinking beet juice raises nitric oxide levels in your body. Research shows nitric oxide can increase blood flow, improve lung function, and strengthen muscle contractions. It’s a powerful combo which has led many athletes to supplement their routines with beet juice for better cardiorespiratory endurance and performance.

And it’s not just running that beet juice is good for. Studies have been conducted on the positive effects for swimmers and cyclists, too (triathletes, take note). A study was published on beetroot juice supplementation and aerobic response in fourteen male swimmers. After supplementing with beet juice, the swimmers significantly increased their anaerobic threshold compared to those without. Their increased oxygen capacity allowed them to swim longer before reaching failure.

What’s more, competitive cyclists who supplemented with beetroot juice improved their performance by 0.8% in a 50 mile test. The most significant improvements were observed during the last 10 miles. Both their oxygen efficiency and time to exhaustion improved greatly after sipping on some beet juice.

And if you need any more convincing, a test conducted on runners, swimmers, cyclists and kayakers shows that they maintained exercise intensities from 60-80% longer with beet juice supplementation. Trained runners ran 5% faster in the later part of a 5000-meter race from having beetroot juice 90 minutes before their run. 

But the review found that the timing and dosage of beet juice is important, so we’d recommend having more than just a one-off glug. The research that was conducted used 70–500ml of beetroot juice to see the best results for stamina and recovery. This is approximately 2 cups, or a 360ml bottle of Beet Chia (wink wink).

As far as when to take it, athletes seem to benefit most from beet juice supplementation 150 minutes before their events. But the research also suggests that drinking it a few weeks prior to the event is important. One study found that supplementing with beetroot juice at least six days prior to intense exercise or athletic events improved stamina and recovery. Other research found that supplementing with beet juice for 15 days showed an increase in power and oxygen during sustained exercise. 

So before your next event, try supplementing with beet juice from two weeks to six days before. Because remember when you were wearing your Nike Alphaflys on marathon day, but you still saw Barry dressed as a washing machine zooming past you? Yep, he might just have had his Beet Chia. 

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