Welcome to our weekly summary of some of the latest research updates from the world of sports nutrition. This week we discover the best way to take beet juice for strength, if low oxygen or mask-altitude training works, and what the Japan High Performance Sport centre had to say about supplementation.
How to Drink Beet Juice for it to Best Impact Your Strength
This systematic review investigated the impact of dietary nitrate supplementation on muscle strength with training. It included 12 studies with a total of 1,571 subjects and found that you require a minimum dose of 400 mg of nitrate from beetroot juice consumed 2-2.5 hours before exercise to increase strength. These findings suggest that the appropriate dose and timing of nitrate supplementation can enhance muscle performance and efficiency during physical activity.
Our thoughts: This is what most studies on beet juice concluded in terms of impact on endurance performance (hence why we launched our Beet-It product), but this is new data for strength.
Holding Your Breath (or using an "altitude mask") May Improve Your Sprint Performance
This study aimed to compare the immediate and 4-week effects of sprint training in hypoxic (low oxygen levels) conditions on the performance of team-sport players. The results showed that hypoxia significantly improved sprint performance, with a 5-week regimen maintaining the improvement better than a shorter 2-week regimen.
Our thoughts: Hypoxia training, using a mask, is nothing new in elite sport, so why don't more recreational athletes use it in their training? The results can be pretty impressive... we just hope you aren't claustrophobic.
6 Reasons Why a Real Food Diet May Not Be Enough for an Athlete
Earlier this year the Japan high performance sport center posted this position stand identifying 6 situations where athletes would benefit from supplements outside of their recommended "real food first" approach.
They included: (1) nutrient deficiency because of personal dietary restrictions; (2) interruption of meals due to disease; (3) inaccessibility of quality food during athletic travel; (4) difficulty preparing food due to societal restrictions; (5) having a meal before, during, or after exercise is difficult; and (6) achieving targeted intake of performance-enhancing ingredients is not practical.
Our thoughts: All athletes should start with real food first. It will have more impact than any supplement. Once that adjustment is made, supplements offer a number of nutritional advantages - especially if you can find the ingredients that will have an impact. We pride ourselves on doing that research for you.