Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

As a 30 year old part time professional athlete with no children, no student loans, and a 9-5 job down at the button factory, I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to fill the uncountable hours of free time I have every day.

If you’re in the same boat (or, wish you could be), I’ve finally found the perfect way to kill all that free time your friends and family are always telling you you’re wasting.

Why don’t I get a real job Dad? I’ll tell you why. Because I’m too busy


Whole grains? Coffee? Beet Juice?
Do you have time for this kind of
performance enhancing nonsense every day?

If you were picturing me with Jose Canseco’s arms and a bronzed SoCal mojito bar meets EPO physique while you were waiting for the rest of my article to load, I’m sorry to disappoint. We’re talking about an entirely different type of juicing. We’re talking about beet juicing.

I’ve been thinking about beet juice a lot lately. And little more than a lot following this Outside Magazine article on the performance enhancing properties of beets.

A quick summary of the article: Beets have nitrates, which help your body create nitrogen dioxide, which helps your red blood cells “vascularize” oxygen at a higher rate – aka. more O2 crosses into your blood than it ordinarily would. Sometimes as much as 10-15% more. And, in a world where the average athlete can expect to see 2-5% gains PER YEAR of solid training, 10-15% is like hitting the fast forward button and leaping 3 years into the future.

There is a price to pay though. As my wife quickly pointed out after seeing my first take on creating my own performance enhancing concoction at home: “Isn’t that what Bella Swain drank for her vampire baby?” Yes, I’m pretty sure it is. At least it tastes like it probably is.

Let me tell you one thing. Beet juice is TERRIBLE. Beets are gritty. Beets are dirty. Juicing a beet will stain your hands. It will stain your walls. It will suck away your precious free time and leave you with a sink full of juicer paraphernalia and a grody glass of movie prop blood.

So, just when I was looking for something do do with all my excess free time, I found it. Beets.

The eternal question remains though. Ask this of yourself in a particularly old-man voice before you sit down to juice your next beet:

“Is the juice worth the squeeze???”

I’ve had three glasses so far. The first made me gag. The second I added apples to and found it to be a lot more palatable. And the third I served over ice with a little sloe gin fizz to cap the perfect 80 degree after-work after-workout afternoon here in the Upper Valley. I have to say, it’s starting to taste a lot better.

And I’m doing hill intervals holding my breath.

Gered Dunne, USAT Professional Triathlete

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