The BBC today reported that the team of Leicester City have been using beetroot shots as a performance enhancer. Yesterday, we wrote about the research from Kingston University regarding the 17% performace boost gained from consuming 40g (that’s half a bar of our pure organic AMMA Chocolate) of dark chocolate daily.
Dark chocolate, like beetroot, contains flavonoids which aid vasodilation, reduce the oxygen costs of exercise, and thereby boost performance. Whilst experiments are most often been performed with cyclists (for example, see Clifford et al., 2015; Patel et al., 2015; Cermack et al., 2012; Lansley et al., 2011), presumably due to the straightforward way in which their performance can be quantified (distance travelled during time trials), these same benefits would extend to any high-performance exercise, including weight lifting.
Whilst performance gains may be only a few percentage points, when it comes to highly explosive activities like outrunning a defender or moving onto a higher weight in the gym, a small boost in performance makes for big gains. What’s more, Leicester began their programme before the research of Patel et al. (2015) came to light; their work has shown the benefits from dark chocolate to be potentially even greater than that of the beetroot juice used by Leicester City FC.
Leicester City combined the latest sports nurtition knowledge available to them at the time with monitoring and recording technology on all of their players. This gave them feedback on how each player’s body was performing, their strengths and their weaknesses. Even simple monitoring devices like pulse oximeters can supply useful biofeedback to the athlete, including pulse rate and oxygen saturation levels.
Finally, the team also trained in advanced sports clothing, including weighted vests now popular amongst most top-flight football teams.
It was this application of the very latest in sports science knowledge and research, combined, of course, with a fantastic team mentality and psychology, which resulted in this historic sporting success. The triumph of Leicester City is an inspiration to all, demonstrating the power of focus, determination, good nutrition and training technologies.
Cermak N., Gibala M., van Loon L. (2012). Nitrate supplementation’s improvement of 10-km time-trial performance in trained cyclists. Int. J. Sports Nutr. Exerc. 22.
Clifford, T., Howatson, G., West, D., Stevenson, E. (2015). The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease. Nutrients. 7(4): 2801–2822.
Patel, R., Brouner, J., Splendiff, O. (2015). Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12:47.
Lansley K., Winyard P., Bailey S. et al. (2011). Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 43.