How Beet Juice Makes You Stronger (Like Hulk)
We usually associate juicing with hippie health nuts. You know what I’m talking about. Hemp clothing, backyard gardens, and they only shop at the local farmers market. We’re here to dispel those stereotypes and show you how juicing can be used to improve your strength training in the gym.
Beet Juice for Strength
Lifting weights is a great way to improve cardiovascular health. As you train, your muscles need more oxygen and nutrients to keep up with the increased stress you place on them. Your veins dilate, heart rate increases and you begin to sweat as your body burns off calories. It’s a great feeling, but if you’re like me then you’re always looking for an edge in the gym.
Surprisingly, beet juice might provide that edge. A study conducted in 2015 showed evidence that drinking beet juice before certain exercises improved strength in patients. The study reported up to 13% increase in strength. While I wouldn’t expect those same gains in your local gym I would say it’s noteworthy. If nothing else this study sheds light on a topic that needs further research.
Methods and Results—Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover design, we determined the effects of dietary NO3- in nine HF patients. After fasting overnight, subjects drank beetroot juice containing or devoid of 11.2 mmol NO3-. Two hours later, muscle function was assessed using isokinetic dynamometry. Dietary NO3- increased (P<0.05-0.001) breath NO by 35-50%. This was accompanied by 9% (P=0.07) and 11% (P<0.05) increases in peak knee extensor power at the two highest movement velocities tested (i.e., 4.71 and 6.28 rad/s). Maximal power (calculated by fitting peak power data with a parabola) was therefore greater (i.e., 4.74±0.41 vs. 4.20±0.33 W/kg; P<0.05) after dietary NO3- intake. Calculated maximal velocity of knee extension was also higher following NO3- ingestion (i.e., 12.48±0.95 vs. 11.11±0.53 rad/s; P<0.05). Blood pressure was unchanged, and no adverse clinical events occurred.
Beet Juice for Endurance
It’s reasonable to be skeptical that beet juice will improve your strength in the gym. However, let’s not dismiss beet juice altogether. It’s no secret that world class cycler’s use beet juice to improve their endurance. The main reason for this is Beets contain inorganic nitrates.
Without going too deep into the science. A study done by Exeter University found that drinking beet juice improves endurance by 15%.
The study also showed that the runners it studied also reduced their oxygen consumption. Another study found in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that beet juice increased blood circulation. Essentially, an increase in nitrates in the body makes it easier to produce Nitrate Oxide. NO plays a vitally important role in signaling throughout the body.
Essentially, an increase in nitrates in the body makes it easier to produce Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide plays a vitally important role in signaling throughout the body. This role is none more apparent than when you lift. Not only does increased blood flow to the muscles help, but also maximum recruitment of muscle fibers.
Making Beet Juice at Home
Recently, some supplement companies have tried to capitalize on the rising trend in beets. They’ve developed powdered beet products that you can add to water like Beet Root Powder
From what I’ve read these work, and I might consider using them in a crunch. However, for now, I prefer the all natural route, juicing at home.
Both a masticating and centrifugal juicer will work for juicing beets. The Omega J8006 I have handles beets with ease. You can read my review of the Omega J8006 here.
Since beets are a root, I like to wash mine thoroughly before juicing them. I’m also careful when handling them because they can stain things easily, including your hands. Make sure to wash your hands after cutting.
Beet juice is very strong. For a beginner juicing beets I would start off with half a large beet. If they’re smaller, use a whole one.
Here is a beet juice recipe that I love to drink on my way to the gym.
Pre-Gym Beet Juice
- 1 Beet
- 3 Celery Stalks
- 1 Apple
- 1 Lemon
Simple but effective.
The first time I tried beet juice, I was skeptical. However, after the gym, my veins spoke for themselves. My arms were swollen more than usual and I could see each vein popping out of my skin.
These days I typically make a beet juice before a big leg or arm session. It’s a great way for me to feel like I’m on an all natural steroid without the harmful effects of a real one.
I should also mention the pigment in beets is extremely strong. Don’t be alarmed if your stool turns red after drinking a beet juice.
A twist to the typical red beets that I’ve come to love is golden beets. They are hard to find, (thankfully my local market carries them) but they are worth it. They don’t stain anything, taste less earthy than red beets, and I like their color. If you ever come across them pick a few up for a tasty red beet juicing alternative.
Next time you reach for the pre-work out before the gym, try a tall glass of beet juice instead. You’ll feel better and perform better. After all, that’s what we’re about here at Biology Boost—better performance.
PS: If you’re in need of some good recipes regarding juicing, look no further.