Beets are great for enhancing your exercise performance. Learn about the different beet root benefits for resistance training.
According to a recent study, beet juice can reduce heart rate variability and perceived exertion, which may benefit strength-focused athletes. The work comes from researchers associated with various Spanish universities and their study appears in the journal Nutrients.
They note that there has been a long association between drinking beet juice or beet extract products and endurance exercise benefits. Beets are known to stimulate the production of nitric oxide (NO), a potent vasodilator that can help deliver oxygen to the muscles that need it.
Beets and Strength Training
Athletic training has some unknown factors that make it difficult to study. For example, even though different athletes may perform identical workloads, they may respond differently; even the same athlete may respond differently when performing the same workload over time.
However, the researchers of this study quantified this through the concept of “internal load”, which is the perceived rate of exertion. By finding ways to better manage internal loads, athletes may possibly experience better training outcomes. In addition, they may find it easier to avoid overtraining and suffering overuse injuries.
Heart Rate Variability and Internal Load
Measuring the variability in an athlete’s heart rate is proven to be useful when it comes to assessing internal load. To analyze the cardioprotective effects of higher NO levels on strength-focused athletes, researchers used the RMSSD technique. The RMSSD technique is sensitive to high-frequency heart period fluctuations in the respiratory frequency range. It’s also been used as an index of vagal cardiac control.
Participants included 11 men familiarized with strength exercises and were told to refrain from using any other supplements for three months. They also couldn’t brush their teeth or use mouthwash 24 hours before the test. They drank their beet juice supplement two hours before the researchers visited them.
Beet Supplement Benefits
After drinking their beet juice, participants did a warm-up routine and then proceeded to do a one-repetition maximum lift in back squat and bench press exercises. The group was blindly randomized into placebo and intervention (beet juice) groups. Researchers also measured their blood pressure before and after, with their heart rate being monitored throughout using a wearable device.
While the researchers didn’t find any effect on blood pressure, they did find a difference when using the RMSSD technique. According to them, there was a clear benefit for the beet juice group.
“Specifically, a decrease in RMSSD during exercise was observed with BJ (beetroot juice) consumption… therefore, we conclude that BJ is a useful supplementation tool increasing the parasympathetic regulation in RT and thus decreasing the internal load,” concluded the researchers.
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