We assessed the ingestion of a beetroot juice supplement (BR) on 4-min laboratory-based kayak performance in national level male (n = 6) athletes (Study A), and on 500 m on-water kayak time-trial (TT) performance in international level female (n = 5) athletes (Study B). In Study A, participants completed three laboratory-based sessions on a kayak ergometer, including a 7 × 4 min step test, and two 4 min maximal effort performance trials. Two and a half hours before the warm-up of each 4 min performance trial, athletes received either a 70 ml BR shot containing ~4.8 mmol of nitrate, or a placebo equivalent (BRPLA). The distance covered over the 4 min TT was not different between conditions; however, the average VO2 over the 4 min period was significantly lower in BR (p = .04), resulting in an improved exercise economy (p = .05). In Study B, participants completed two field-based 500 m TTs, separated by 4 days. Two hours before each trial, athletes received either two 70 ml BR shots containing ~9.6 mmol of nitrate, or a placebo equivalent (BRPLA). BR supplementation significantly enhanced TT performance by 1.7% (p = .01). Our results show that in national-level male kayak athletes, commercially available BR shots (70 ml) containing ~4.8 mmol of nitrate improved exercise economy during laboratory-based tasks predominantly reliant on the aerobic energy system. Furthermore, greater volumes of BR (140 ml; ~9.6 mmol nitrate) provided to international-level female kayak athletes resulted in enhancements to TT performance in the field.
Peeling is with the School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia. Cox and Burke are with the Sports Nutrition, Australian Institute of Sport, Belconnen. Canberra. Bullock is with the Dept. of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport. Belconnen. Canberra.