Does it work? YES!
Well if the taste is anything to go by it ought to! Remember medicines as a child? You just knew that they were going to work because scientists just wouldn’t make anything that taste that way unless they had to in order to make it work. Well Beet-It is nowhere near as bad as that but its taste is certainly not nice (then again neither is a hard training session!). The first few times it was ok but I gradually got to dread the taste. Or maybe it was the psychology of knowing that a hard session or race was about to follow? Probably!
For me, I am 100% sure that there is a difference in my performance after having beetroot juice. The person that recommended it to me swears similarly. However two people, to whom I have suggested using it, reported back that there was no difference. I’ve glanced through some of the scientific literature and that seems to say Beetroot Juice works too. I’m no scientist though.
Can I quantify the improvement in me? I’d say at least 1%. For those of you looking for tiny incremental gains then 1% is a LOT. But you already knew that.
What is the theory then?
Why SHOULD it work?
If you know anyone in your family who has blood pressure problems then check out their medications. Quite a few BP medications are based on NITRATES…and that (NITRATE or ‘NO’) is the ‘active ingredient’ in Beet-IT; well that which occurs naturally in beetroot juice anyway. The regular Beet-It ‘shot’ is a concentrated organic product derived from natural beet root (the sports shot is not organic). Medical nitrates cause the arteries (the ones taking blood/oxygen TO your muscles) to dilate (expand) or maybe become more flexible. Your heart stays the same size and strength, obviously, and so is able to push more blood around more quickly than it could previously as resistance is lowered. So there you go improved circulation/flow and/or lower blood pressure. More oxygen = more power. Well that’s my take anyway.
If this is true then clearly it will help you race better and also will help you train harder. If…
So where’s the catch?
It turns your wee pink or a day or so and, as I said, the taste is not so great even though it comes mixed with a bit of lemon juice.
Really in itself there is no catch that I can see.
However this is a natural, albeit concentrated, product. I really don’t know if this pushes it towards the realm of some sort of medicine. You might want to check out what your GP says if you are in any doubt.
I tested Beet-It in a 10K race. I would suggest never testing anything new on an important race and this one was a C race. I guess I could have used it in training but I didn’t. I went straight in and tried it in the race. I was more than 30 seconds faster than I had been for a long time..and I’m OK at 10k. I ACTUALLY FELT DIFFERENT AFTER TAKING IT (the first time at any rate).
Looking back at my training; sure I could attribute some of that to being fitter and tapering better but I am pretty sure that it made a difference. At the pace I was running I just felt less tired/stressed after 2k than I would at a comparable point before. Noticeably so.
If you look at the Beet-It website then you will clearly see that there are quite a few athletes across quite a few endurance sports that swear by it. The triathletes there are Age Group standard like me and there are some pro athletes as well.
My only concern would be if you have a heart or blood pressure condition. Even if not serious. I would really check with your GP as I said before.
- Beet-It say take one within an hour of the start and another at some earlier time in the previous 12 hours
- Others say there is a loading effect and you should take it over time (hmm and buy more product)
- Others say take 2x shots 2-3 hours before the start eg Exeter Uni
- I tried one 2 hours before and one 3 hours before. That worked for me. I’ve not tried the Beet-It recommendation properly yet.
- There is a Sport High Nitrate Concentrated Shot (non-organic) and a concentrated Shot (organic). I would guess if you have two of either the result will be the same.