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Overdoing Your Endurance Training, Beetroot for Cognitive Performance and Steroids in CrossFit

Welcome to our weekly summary of the latest research from the world of sports nutrition.

In this week’s summary: 


Does Overdoing Endurance Training Impair Your Sleep?

Mountain biker riding through the forest

This meta-analysis examined whether overreaching from endurance-based training affects sleep quality. Overreaching involves intense training that can sometimes lead to reduced sleep quality. The study reviewed 805 articles and included 14 in the final analysis, finding that a period of intense training lasting at least 6 days significantly decreases objective sleep quality when measured by sleep efficiency, but did not affect subjective perceptions of sleep quality. While more high-quality studies are needed, the findings suggest that intense endurance training can impair actual sleep quality even if individuals do not feel their sleep is affected.

Our thoughts: This research suggests even a one-off bout of pushing your limits can wreak havoc on your body, yet temporary overreaching is often considered necessary for performance progress. How can we overcome this? Perhaps consistent, targeted supplementation can play a role.


The Effects of Chewable Beetroot Supplements on Cognitive Performance

Bunch of red beets

This study investigated the effects of a chewable beetroot-based supplement on cognitive performance. Researchers conducted a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial with 44 participants who took either the supplement or a placebo. After a washout period, participants switched treatments. Cognitive tests showed that those who took the beetroot supplement had significant improvements in their memory consolidation and frontal lobe functions, while there were no significant changes in verbal memory, working memory, or information processing speed. The study concluded that a single dose of a chewable beetroot supplement can enhance certain cognitive functions, particularly memory and frontal skills, in healthy adults.

Our thoughts: This is the first time we’ve seen beetroot supplementation used for cognition and the results look interesting. We already know that beetroot supplements like Beet It Sport improves mitochondria efficiency in the muscles, so perhaps it's doing the same thing in brain cells. We can’t wait to see more studies on this topic!


The Motives and Perception of Steroid Use in Professional CrossFit Athletes

Set of barbell weights

This study investigated the use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) among professional CrossFit athletes, focusing on their motives, perceptions, and safety. An anonymous survey revealed that 33.3% of participants used AAS, with most users being men aged 30-39, having had higher education and training for over five years—their main motive for AAS use was to enhance performance. Older and more experienced competitors were more likely to use AAS, with testosterone being the most common. Despite 61.3% of users reporting adverse effects, many obtained AAS through drugstores or illegal means and believed the benefits outweighed the risks. This highlights a higher prevalence of AAS use in CrossFit athletes compared to the general population.

Our thoughts: Every year the discussion around doping in CrossFit jumps into the spotlight, usually in the lead-up to the CrossFit Games, when without fail, a handful of qualifiers fail drug tests. CrossFit isn't a high-paying sport, which means the motives to dope run deeper than a simple paycheck.


That’s all for this week. We hope you learned something new that you can incorporate into your training!   If you want to know more about the latest in sports nutrition, head to our blog and check out our list of weekly research summaries.


— Train hard!


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