I’ve always eaten pretty healthy and I’ve felt pretty good because of it, but I admit that I don’t eat a whole lot of vegetables besides carrots. I have however, recently been hearing a good amount about beet juice for physical performance and so I thought I would give it a try. From the first day I noticed I had more energy, which was surprising because I typically have good levels of energy already.
Before I started drinking it when I was still just reading about beet juice online, most of what I could find was information on how it helped long distance endurance athletes such as cyclists and marathon runners, but nothing for an athlete like a Crossfitter. After a while though, I was able to piece together bits of valuable information from many different sources on how beet juice could actually benefit Crossfit athletes.
I’m not going to get super scientific about how exactly beet juice works in the body with its nitrates and nitrites, but you can click the links provided for exact details.
How beet juice can give you an advantage in Crossfit
Improve your lactate threshold (Max sustainable pace)
One source states that beet juice allows you to perform the same high intensity workouts while consuming less oxygen than normal, meaning it will take longer for you to hit that lactate threshold during a metcon. And it’s not just by a few seconds, drinking beet juice regularly slowed the time to exhaustion by 15%. Taking 15% longer to actually hit redline during a workout is a HUGE advantage for any Crossfit athlete.
YOU CAN CREATE THE SAME ENERGY WHILE CONSUMING LESS OXYGEN!
“On average, the subjects were able to run for 7.6 minutes at high intensity after six days of drinking nitrate-depleted beetroot juice. But after six days on regular beetroot juice they lasted 8.7 minutes.”
That’s 1.2 minutes longer of a high intensity pace and that 1.2 minutes could be a huge difference especially in shorter, faster metcons.
Another source proves that beet juice is most effective for workouts lasting between 5-30 minutes, which basically describes all of Crossfit. The studies included in that source claim that improvements in oxygen efficiency are more around only a 3% increase, compared to the 15% increase in time to exhaustion claimed in the previous source.
Let’s say that you do only get a 3% increase, that would still take a 10:00 time to a 9:42 time, which is only 18 seconds, but in an Opens workout that can be a lifetime. And don’t forget that you are producing the same results while consuming less oxygen, meaning that we can keep our ideal pace for longer than usual just by drinking a vegetable.
Beet juice for power and strength
The badass thing about beets is that they not only help with our conditioning but also something we all like a little bit more, our strength.
Drinking beet juice increases muscle power output and improves sprint performance. We as Crossfit athletes don’t necessarily do a whole lot of run sprints but we do many sprint type workouts that last only a couple of minutes such as Fran and Grace. We also tend to like lifting heavy weights and putting them over our heads.
Beet juice supposedly helps us do both of these because in conditions of low oxygen availability, nitrite can be converted into nitric oxide and that’s exactly what beet juice does.
Now I don’t know if beet juice is really going to provide us with these phenomenal results, but if it’s going to give me even the slightest advantage over the next guy I’m going to keep drinking it.