I try to keep myself in as best shape as possible. I'm working out 4 days a week, and that's just to literally be able to sustain longer sessions, and to know that my body can take the impact it's going to take.
– Ryan Sheckler
doping with beetroot: effects on your skating.
You ever thought about the connection between your skating and that nobbly purple root vegetable known as the beetroot? Well, the science bods have been looking deep into the connection and they've discovered some pretty solid performance enhancing benefits of the beetroot; ones that directly impact your skating.
why the beetroot?
So how can beetroot help your skating? Well, beetroots are very high in a compound called “nitrate” and during situations when your body is lacking oxygen, for example when you’re skating, these nitrates kick off to make your body more energy efficient. They dilate your blood vessels, allow more oxygen to travel in the blood, they improve the function of your cells and muscles, along with a load of other processes that make your body better at preserving energy and providing it to where it's needed most whilst you're skating.
The total effect of all these processes is more sustained power throughout your session. Power is the ability to create force quickly and your ability to maintain a high level of power throughout your session completely influences the quality of your skating. You'll always get to a point where you start to fatigue, your power will drop off, and skating will feel like it takes more effort, but the longer we can postpone that drop off the longer you'll skate at a better level.
how to insert the beetroot into your body.
So to get the performance enhancing benefits of the beetroot you need to consume enough beetroot to get 6.4-12.8mg of nitrate for every kilogram of your bodyweight. To make sure you're getting this amount you can simply use any nitrate measuring device you have lying around your house, for example the "nitrate-o-meter 5000" pictured below.
However, if your nitrate measuring device isn't working then about 500 grams of beetroot will give you the required amount of nitrate. This is about 4 medium beetroots or one king beetroot like the one I used in the video. If you take the beetroot before your session then you need to take it 2-3 hours before you start skating so your body has time to digest it and make the nitrate available.
Other research also showed that you can get the same positive effects by loading the beetroot a little bit everyday for 7 days. In the study they took 140 ml of beetroot juice split into two shots of 70 ml, one in the morning, one at night.
Regarding how you should put the beetroot in your face hole it apparently doesn't matter; you can cook it or eat it raw, make beetroot juice or oven-cooked beetroot chips, it really doesn't matter. You can also get the same effects from any foods that are high in nitrate, for example leafy greens like spinach and kale, so eating a diet that includes high-nitrate foods, or 140 ml of beetroot juice on a daily basis would be an alternative if you don't want to drink so much in one go. These foods also have a load of extra nutrients so getting more of them in your diet is only going to do you good. Check out this link for more on healthy eating for skateboarding.
foods high in nitrate.
how to make beetroot juice.
500 grams of beetroot
a tub for the excess pulp
The beetroot juice is super easy to make, even though I might not have made it seem that way in the video... All you need to do is:
1. Cut your beetroot up into small pieces
2. Add it to the blender with water covering all the pieces
3. Blend everything up
4. Filter out about half the pulp using the sieve
5. Put half the pulp and all the juice back in the blender, add some extra water and blend again.
6. Add more water if you want it more liquidy.
7. Drink 2-3 hours before you go skate.
best times for a nitrate overload.
A lot of the studies on beetroot showed positive effects with high intensity but not during lower intensity exercise, so it's probably not going to have much of an effect during chilled sessions, but during longer, more intense sessions, Jimmy Beetroot might be your best friend.
I think some situations where overloading on beetroot before you skate can be extra useful are:
- during longer, more intense sessions,
- if you're going to go skate in a competition and you need that extra performance boost,
- or maybe if you're going to be skating hard multiple days in a row, for example if you're on a trip or something like that.
On the other hand if you plan on adding high-nitrate foods into your diet daily then you should be covered for all of your sessions. There's some extra motivation to just start eating these healthy foods on a regular basis.
Alright so that's the beetroot evaluation done! Now go make yourself a beetroot juice and go skate!
- Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits: https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2008.27131
- Dietary nitrate supplementation improves team sport-specific intense intermittent exercise performance: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23370859
- Dietary nitrate supplementation improves rowing performance in well-trained rowers: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22710356
- Effects of a Short-Term High-Nitrate Diet on Exercise Performance:
- Nitrate and Exercise: