What the dickens am I talking about?.............Beetroot juice.
Beetroot juice can be a very useful ergogenic aid. This is because beetroots contain high levels for dietary nitrate's and its the nitrates that are responsible for the nitric oxide performance-boosting effects.
So how is nitric oxide produced in the body.
One of two ways, the first pathway involves nitrate, which is converted to nitrite and the later on converted to nitric oxide. The other pathway involves Arginine being converted to nitric oxide with the presence of oxygen and NOS enzyme. Because Arginine has poor bioavailability when taken orally, citrulline is used as this is converted to Arginine in the body.
Beetroot juice is a fairly popular supplement in the endurance world but seems to have passed under the radar for strength athletes. Studies have shown that nitric oxide influences exercise efficiency, mitochondrial respiration, calcium handling, vasodilation, glucose uptake and longer times to muscle fatigue. Beetroot juice takes it one step further by being naturally high in antioxidants, which help protect nitric oxide from free radicals making it more effective.
Nitric oxide consistently boosts blood flow in exercise research, helping people achieve greater muscle pumps. It's also worth mentioning that nitric oxide plays an important role in muscle growth; this is because when nitric oxide production is inhibited, satellite cell activation is impaired. If Satellite cell activation is blocked, it can blunt muscle growth even in response to muscle loading. So it makes a lot of sense to ensure we ensure nitric oxide production is optimal pre-training.
Eating a ton of beetroots before training is likely not optimal. One way is to consume beetroot juice as part of a pre-training drink. We can go one step further and use the beet it organic Beetroot Shot it's small and convenient and contains 300-400mg of nitrate per shot, so it's perfect. These can be found for less than £1 per shot on Amazon. Other than a performance improvement and helpful daily intake of antioxidants, you might also piss like a demon.