I’m typically pretty cautious when reports of a particular ingredient or 'super' food are linked to boosts in athletic performance, but like others, I’m intrigued by the possible endurance benefits of drinking beetroot juice. If you haven't been following the topic and this is the first you're hearing about the potential power of beets, here's the quick gist: A handful of studies performed over the past several years have found that consuming beet juice lowers the oxygen cost of exercise, due to the high concentration of nitrates found in beets(1-3, 5-8, 15).
The full brunt of summer has finally arrived, bringing high temperatures, stifling humidity and lots and lots of sweat. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a large amount of carbohydrate/ electrolyte sport drinks in the recycle bins at our neighborhood tennis courts as well as clutched in the hands of many runners and cyclists, who have been told time and time again to, “Make sure to replace those electrolytes in this heat so you don’t cramp”. But is this really necessary? Are you putting yourself at risk by skipping the electrolytes and just drinking plain water or a simple carbohydrate beverage? No, actually. Contrary to what you’ve seen advertised on TV and billboards for decades, the scientific literature doesn’t contain solid evidence supporting the notion that electrolyte supplementation during exercise prevents muscle cramps.
When Geoffrey Mutai crossed the finish line at the 2011 Boston Marathon in the fastest time ever run (2:03:02) he gave a glimpse of the unthinkable. Although his performance was aided by a tailwind, the fact that Mutai was only a few seconds from 2:02 territory more solidly shifted the possibility of a human covering 26.2 miles in less than 2 hours from a question of 'if?' to 'when?'. While some people think we're still generations away from witnessing the feat, others envision it happening much sooner. I'm on the latter side of the fence and believe we'll see it occur in the next twenty years.
Energy Gel Central was an idea I had several years ago and my hope is that it continues to evolve into a resource that endurance athletes can come to for up to date information on the ever changing sport nutrition market, specifically in the area of energy gels and other cutting edge fuels. I'll also be including interesting topics that encompass the endurance sports world.