It’s made with beets. It’s extreme. It’s Beet Extreme.
But can this new, natural performance-enhancing powder made with beets and kale improve your aerobic endurance on the bike?
San Francisco’s Jo Celso (SDBC/Emerald Textiles p/b UC Cyclery), a Cat 1 racer of road and fixed-gear fame and Phoenix’s Henry Svenblad (Veloworx Nationwide), a pro mountain biker, put Beet Extreme to the test to see if it could beat fatigue.
Celso is an endurance badass – she has won the first women’s Red Hook Crit and was crowned this year as Redlands Best Amateur Rider. Svenblad’s mountain bike team won every endurance race in Arizona, and he has braved the notorious Belgian Waffle Ride, Whiskey Off-Road and 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.
How does beet juice work with endurance?
Beet Extreme bases its product off the UK’s University of Exeter study that showed that cyclists who drank beet juice increased time to exhaustion by 16 percent and were able to complete the same work with 19 percent less oxygen.
Beet Extreme points out that beets are high in nitrates, which boost nitric oxide levels in the body. Elevated nitric oxide levels result in vasodilation – the relaxing and opening of blood vessels. Vasodilation results in greater oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles and more efficient removal of metabolic waste products that cause fatigue.
Beet Extreme, a powder blend made with certified organic non-GMO beet and kale juice, is “formulated specifically to improve aerobic endurance.”
Beet Extreme contains five ingredients: organic non-GMO beet juice powder, organic non-GMO kale juice powder, super cordyceps, pomegranate juice extract and maltodextrin. It is certified drug-free.
So, my initial impression of Beet Extreme: the mix, despite my friends’ general warnings about beet juices and extracts, was surprisingly palatable. I mixed mine with a glass of water.
The one drawback I did observe was a very root cellar-y smell that seemed to mismatch the actual flavor. It smelled like an old basement where your grandma may have been canning or something.
I took the powder between 30 minutes to an hour before the beginning of my workouts. I experimented with the mix a handful of times, both in training and races to see where it seemed to make the most difference.
Aside from long sustained efforts seeming easier – case in point, I found myself asking “was tonight slower than usual?” at our local Thursday night practice race on Fiesta Island – I noticed that I seemed to be putting out the same power at a lower heart rate.
I rode with my boyfriend, who climbs much better than I do, up a 5,000ft climb and felt unusually chatty over the hour or so of ascent.
I also tried it at the Shortline Criterium in Long Beach and found myself in a two-woman break off the front of a stacked race and a couple hundred dollars richer at the end; I’d like to think the Beet Extreme helped.
Additionally, workouts at a high level of fatigue (i.e. following one long hard day up with another) seemed to be more manageable.
All in all, between reading up on the science behind the product and actually trying it out, I definitely think I perceived a performance increase from the product itself and found myself to be going faster and producing more sustained power at a lower level of exertion.”
Anyone who knows me knows how skeptical I am of all sports “performance” supplements.
I’m a very big believer in just eating real food. Period.
For example, I prefer to use dates and salt instead of gels and I usually make my own water mix with citrus, honey and electrolytes. So, it’s fair to say, I approached Beet Extreme with a heavy dose of skepticism.
I am already a big fan of beetroot juice and foods high in nitrates due to the improved cardiovascular performance. These benefits have been documented in numerous clinical studies, but more importantly in my own n=1 tests.
Unfortunately, finding quality beetroot juice and bunches of organic kale when traveling for bike races is hit-and-miss – usually miss. So, I was curious if this product could provide the same benefits with the added convenience of a mixable powder.
Beet Extreme exceeded my expectations.
It was super easy to use, the taste is as good as my own juicing, and I felt like my performance benefited from the extra nitrates it delivered. It helped me excel in a tough month of racing at the Belgian Waffle Ride, Whiskey 50 and finally the Chino Grinder.
I feel like my form is coming on stronger than ever and I will keep Beet Extreme as one of the few products I can confidently use and recommend.