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The Secret Power of Beets

food Mar 13, 2024

This humble veggie can slim you down and speed you up. 

More powerful than the spinach that Popeye used to eat, beets are a performance-enhancing powerhouse. 

I’m all for finding ways to enhance my own personal performance (and yours). If a food can help me run farther and faster, feel like I’m using less effort, and help me recover faster, I’m in!

And, before you start wondering…I’m no super athlete. I’m a slightly better than average, mid-life, lifelong active person. I’m a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach by trade, so while I’m consistently doing something, I’ve never been a champion athlete, but often place top third in my age category for running races. 

I’ve always known “beets are good for you.” They’re vegetables, so of course they’re good for you. 

I started hearing the buzz about them in athletic circles maybe 8 years ago. I was intrigued and, admittedly, didn’t dive in because, “ew, beets.”

I am now a beet lover and beet evangalist. 

What changed? 

  • I learned about the truly amazing benefits of these humble veggies. 
  • I tried them, and they weren’t as bad as I anticipated.
  • I experimented with new recipes and found a few that I LOVE. 

What’s So Great About Beets?

Beets have some “superfood” qualities that you can’t find in other veggies. Let’s dive in. 


Nitrates are found in especially high numbers in beets. 

Nitrates are compounds comprised of nitrogen and oxygen and are found in plants. Plant-based nitrates are the powerhouses that make beets so remarkable. When you eat foods high in plant nitrates, the nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in our bodies. 

Nitric oxide dilates your blood vessels, increasing blood flow to your muscles, including your heart.

What this means for you.

You will be able to go farther, faster, or lift heavier without feeling as fatigued. If you’re feeling less fatigued, you’re more likely to return to your sport, work harder, and continue to increase your strength/speed/capacity. Exercising consistently may aid your weight-loss efforts.

This benefits you whether you are a competitive athlete or a beginner just trying to survive a workout. 

For elite-level athletes, tiny advantages mean the difference between winning big prizes and coming in second place. 

If you’re new to exercise though, the first weeks of working out can be discouraging. There’s nothing like walking into a gym at 50-something, trying to do what you did in your 20s, and failing miserably.

Adding beets to your pre-workout routine won’t have you lifting or running like a 20-something. What you will find is that you can complete your workout and feel tired instead of dead. 


Beets are high in betalains. Betalains have especially potent antioxidant qualities. This means that they can reduce inflammation and minimize damage done to your muscles from exercising (cardio or strength training).

What this means for you. 

Faster, better recovery from your workouts. You’ll feel less sore from tough and not-so-tough workouts. 

Less soreness means you can exercise more often if you choose to, accelerating your weight loss or strength gains without risking injury because you will recover in less time. 

It also means you’ll enjoy your workouts more because you won’t spend the days following your workout popping ibuprofen.

How you can fall in love with Beets.

Can I tell you a secret? Up until about 3 years ago, I had never eaten a beet. I assumed that I didn’t like them because “no one likes beets.”

I know, I know. This is not at all true. You may be a big fan of beets.

In my experience, beets are as polarizing as pineapple on pizza. People LOVE beets or HATE beets.

You can change. 

I changed. I went from “beets, ew, gross!” to “OMG! I LOVE beets!”

It started with some education.

I learned that beets are nutritional powerhouses. Not only that, they enhance athletic performance. A lot!

According to this study, “Beetroot juice increases levels of nitric oxide (NO), which serves multiple functions related to increased blood flow, gas exchange, mitochondrial biogenesis and efficiency, and strengthening of muscle contraction.”

In plain terms, drinking beet juice gets more oxygen to your muscles, which results in you being able to run farther, faster, or lift more weight without feeling fatigued. And that’s just drinking beet juice.

If you consume the whole food, you also get additional fiber, helping you to feel fuller because you’re eating a whole food.

Benefits for regular people.

You don’t have to be an Uber-athlete to enjoy the benefits of beets. Beets can be especially helpful if you’re just starting an exercise routine.

When you’re starting out, everything can feel difficult. Go for a walk, you may feel tired. Make it a run and you’re gasping for air. Lifting weights can feel even more daunting.

Beets are your secret weapon. 

Eat 1/2 cup of beets or drink a 1/2 cup of beet juice or a smoothie about an hour before your workout, and you’ll complete the same work without tiring out so quickly.

There’s nothing more encouraging than completing your workout and thinking, “Wow, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.” You’ll be encouraged to come back for the next workout and work harder, getting stronger and moving faster.

For me, a single recipe started my love affair with beets and completely changed my thoughts about them. Get the recipe when you download my free Quick & Easy Plant-Based Recipes e-book.




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