Pre-Race Nutrition Guide for Cyclists

Beet Juice

The latest in ergogenic aids is beet juice. This super tonic can improve your oxygen efficiency, a true breakthrough in endurance sports. Go the same distance on less oxygen. Nothing else has ever been able to do this, and it's the Tour de France's best-kept secret.

Several studies have now confirmed the effects of nitrates on athletic performance including a study done at the University of Exeter's School of Sport and Health Sciences. The study looked at eight male cyclists consuming half a liter of beet juice, containing nearly 700 mg of naturally occurring nitrates for six days. The beet juice group was able to cycle an average of 16 percent longer. The time-to-exhaustion in the "severe test" was significantly extended when beetroot juice was taken compared to placebo (675 seconds vs. 583 seconds, a 16 percent improvement.)

The timing is not yet set in stone. Beet juice ingestion has been proven to work both 2.5 hours pre-event up to 30 minutes pre-event. Some studies have shown performance improvement with no loading phase while others have used a loading phase of up to six days. The bottom line is athletes are noticing the performance improvements from beet juice. I've noticed it and believe that it's the real deal.

The recommended dose is 500 ml of beet juice pre-event or 70 ml of the Beetit Sport Shot which is very convenient and doesn't create a mess in the kitchen. Some athletes experience GI upset taking 500ml close to their event, so be sure to experiment with 500 ml in training, before race day. In this case I would recommend taking 250 ml pre event and loading with 500 ml the days leading in. Loading 2-3 days before the event is a good idea based on some study protocols.


So there you have it. What to do as the seconds tick down before your event starts? Make a plan! Have everything prepared for the morning of your event. One of the biggest gifts you can give yourself as a competitor is to reduce drama, which is generally done by good preparation. Have your meal planned and your snacks, hydration, caffeine and beet juice planned. Now all you need to do is execute and perform.


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