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AM vs. PM workouts:

‘Beeting’ performance losses with beetroot juice

A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has shown that ingestion of a single dose of concentrated beetroot juice can offset losses in physical performance associated with training in the morning (AM) versus the afternoon (PM).

Training at the crack of dawn can be a challenge for many people, especially when you consider that research has shown physical performance suffers in the AM versus the PM. Athletes often change their behaviour and dietary intake to prevent the loss of performance at non-optimal times of the day.

Professor Christopher Ballmann and colleagues at Samford University, USA, tested whether the well-known performance enhancing properties of beetroot juice could prevent the losses in physical performance in the AM.

Ten trained sprinters from the Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) completed three randomised exercise tests: 1) Morning 8am with placebo, 2) Morning 8am with beetroot juice, and 3) Afternoon 3pm with no supplementation. The exercise test involved of 3 x 15 second Wingate anaerobic tests (anaerobic power and capacity) separated by 2 minutes of rest. For the AM tests, participants consumed a single dose of single dose of concentrated beetroot juice (Beet It Sport Nitrate 400 shot) or placebo (blackcurrant cordial) 2 hrs before the trial.

Findings revealed that muscle power output, anaerobic capacity and total work suffered during the AM versus the PM. However, beetroot juice intake before exercise in the AM prevented performance losses during the AM and restored performance to similar levels as PM.

These findings have important implications for athletes and coaches looking to optimise training and prevent performance losses during the AM.

Link to published study:

Dumar et al (2021). Acute Beetroot Juice Supplementation Attenuates Morning-Associated Decrements in Supramaximal Exercise Performance in Trained Sprinters. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 18, 412.