We’re all looking for the best things to optimize our workouts. Whether it’s a good pre-workout, a steaming cup of coffee, or the latest and greatest strength supplements, it’s always a hunt.

But while most people may gravitate towards supplements like caffeine and creatine, we have something different: beetroot and ashwagandha.

A powerful nitric-oxide booster and adaptogen, it’s one of the newest and most innovative performance blends you can get. Although it may not light up your energy as a stimulant would, this power duo offers plenty of other benefits.

Ready to dive in? We’re unlocking the performance benefits of red beetroot powder and ashwagandha—what they are, their benefits, and how they can supercharge your workouts.

The Benefits Of Beetroot For Performance

Did you ever think beetroot would make it to the top of the list of performance enhancers? It did—and there’s a good reason for it.

While beetroots are rich in many important compounds, they’re an especially concentrated source of dietary nitrates, which can naturally increase nitric oxide levels in the body.

Nitric oxide is a small but incredibly volatile compound that serves as an important chemical messenger and the biological jack-of-all-trades.

It plays a role in many biological functions - immune function, cardiovascular health, athletic performance, sexual health, etc.—but because of its free-radical structure, it’s also highly reactive 1.

But when it comes to performance, NO is a superstar. In the vasculature, nitric oxide regulates vascular tone and blood flow by activating soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) in the vascular smooth muscle 2.

The result? Better blood flow and a bigger muscle pump.

How Nitric Oxide Can Supercharge Your Workout

As we said, beetroot is a rich source of inorganic nitrate that has powerful effects on vasculature via the ‘nitrate‐nitrite‐nitric oxide (NO) pathway’ 3.

It offers benefits for reducing blood pressure, inhibiting platelet aggregation, improving endothelial dysfunction, and enhancing exercise performance.

But the true benefit of NO, and therefore beetroot, for exercise performance lies in its vasodilation effects and subsequent ability to improve blood flow. In the presence of NO, blood vessels dilate (relax and widen), allowing for better blood flow.

Better blood flow also means greater oxygen delivery to active muscle tissue and a decreased demand on the heart and skeletal muscles.

When blood flows more readily without resistance, it also supports the muscle’s ability to contract and transport metabolic waste out of the muscles, thereby enhancing work capacity and preventing fatigue.

On top of that, nitric oxide is also a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals 4. Because vigorous and high-intensity exercise increases the generation of free radicals, having a solid antioxidant defense system is key to eliminating them before they can cause damage.

As a natural source of nitrate, beetroot has been a source of study for boosting blood levels of NO—and the results are promising.

Here are some studies on the benefits of beetroot for performance 5-9:

  • A 2007 study found three days of nitrate supplementation (sodium nitrate) reduced oxygen consumption during submaximal exercise workloads of 45–80% of peak power.
  • A 2010 study found that a moderate dose of dietary nitrate can significantly reduce VO2 max during maximal exercise with a trend toward increased time to exhaustion.
  • A 2009 study had participants consume 500ml of beetroot juice for six days and found it reduced O2 uptake during moderate exercise by 19% and increased time to exhaustion by 16%.
  • A 2010 study using 500ml of beetroot juice resulted in a 20% reduction in oxygen cost via reducing the ATP cost of muscle force production during both low and high-intensity exercise, along with a 16% improvement in time to failure during high-intensity exercise.
  • A 2010 study using 500ml of beetroot juice for 15 days decreased steady-state VO2 by 4% and increased peak power and work rate.

Is that enough to convince you that beetroot can improve your performance? And when you combine it with ashwagandha, you’re in for a treat.

What Is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera or Indian Ginseng, is a small woody evergreen native to India and North Africa.

Anyone unfamiliar with the herb will likely look at you like you have two heads after hearing the name, but it’s nothing new to Eastern medicinal practice—it’s been used for over 3,000 years in Ayurvedic medicine.

The active compound in ashwagandha offers powerful effects for reducing stress, neuroprotective, immunomodulation, and rejuvenating effects thanks to its interactions with the nervous, endocrine, and cardiopulmonary systems, energy metabolism, and immune system 10.

It’s also suggested to possess analgesic (pain relief), antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, anti-diabetic, neuroprotective, immunoprotective, and cardioprotective properties.

But while there are several health benefits to consuming ashwagandha, where performance is concerned, it’s the adaptogenic properties we’re interested in. Adaptogens affect the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA axis) in response to external stress 11.

There are two types of adaptogens: primary and secondary. Primary adaptogens can maintain or recover homeostasis and allostasis and can promote anabolic recovery, but they can also strengthen the function of each body system, promote optimal stress response, promote recovery of function, and regulate energy use by improving the function of the neuroendocrine system and enhancing cellular energy transfer.

On the other hand, secondary adaptogens do not directly affect HPA axis function but instead influence the function of the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems.

Although adaptogens are a staple for stress relief, they also provide many benefits for brain health, adrenal health, and ameliorating HPA-axis dysfunction.

But more recently, they’ve also shown promising results for athletes and lifters. Thanks to active compounds like steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins), saponins, and alkaloids, ashwagandha and other adaptogens offer benefits for 12-14:

  • Respiratory function
  • Smooth muscle relaxation
  • Thyroid activity
  • Cortisol concentrations
  • Testosterone levels

Performance Benefits Of Ashwagandha

Most people think about protein, amino acids, creatine, BCAAs, and the typical fitness supplements for building muscle and strength.

But what about ashwagandha? While it may not immediately hit your radar, there’s much to learn about this herb and its power for performance.

Curious as to why it’s so unique? Here are some of this adaptogen’s benefits for supercharging your workout:

Reducing cortisol

The adaptogenic properties of ashwagandha are promising for promoting positive effects on mitigating stress, considering that exercise is a form of physical stress on the body.

Although exercise (and proper recovery) are a form of positive stress, excessive physical activity can lead to a high-stress response and impair your body’s ability to recover—but ashwagandha may offer benefits for modulating the body’s adaptation in response to strength training 15.

Additionally, chronically high cortisol can interfere with your ability to build muscle, as cortisol is a catabolic hormone.

Because ashwagandha can reduce cortisol levels and support HPA function, it can have positive results on testosterone levels, sleep, and immune function, all of which are important for optimal performance and muscle growth.

Boost testosterone

There are plenty of natural ways to boost testosterone—exercise is a great one—but studies show that just eight weeks of supplementation with ashwagandha can increase testosterone levels, which is essential for muscle growth and repair 15.

Enhance recovery

Creatine kinase is a marker of muscle damage post-exercise; lower serum levels indicate faster muscle tissue repair, which correlates to greater recovery.

Although muscle tissue adaptation improves with continuous resistance training, supplementation with ashwagandha may accelerate recovery and improve efficiency 15.

Improve sleep

We all know that sleep is a big component of performance and recovery, but most people don’t get enough. During sleep, your body releases growth hormone and regulates testosterone production, and sleep deprivation can seriously hinder muscle growth and repair 16.

That said, ashwagandha has shown positive effects on sleep by reducing cortisol levels and improving sleep quality and onset latency, especially in people with insomnia 17.

How Beetroot + Ashwagandha Can Supercharge Your Workout

Although ashwagandha may never become your go-to supplement for maximizing gains, when paired with beetroot, they can provide a solid combo to maximize work capacity via boosting nitric oxide levels while mitigating the stress response to promote a healthier and more effective recovery.

Hard training takes a big toll, and providing your body with the proper nutrients and herbs for recovery is critical to your gains.


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