Sports Rocket Launcher

At this stage in the smoothie challenge we’ve looked forward to recovery from training by considering options for effective nourishment after exercise. Keeping us fuelled in advance I’m pleased to introduce my friend and functional sports nutrition colleague Eifion Weinzweig a retired professional cyclist, current high level athlete and Director of CISM in Wales. I’ll leave you in the extremely capable hands of Eifion for now and I’ll be back on Thursday with the last smoothie recipe…


CISM Image

Ever wondered what some of the Tour de France cyclists are eating not long before hitting the gruelling alpine ascents? Its simply a beetroot and rocket smoothie. Though the magic with this smoothie, is that the foundations of this smoothie are simple, but you can adapt it as much as you want. The recipe can be adapted for cold weather, warm weather, or adding a little spice it’s a very simple smoothie to give you that extra alpine edge.

Research shows that other than a large capacity of antioxidants, beetroot contains a large amount of nitrates. Through a chain reaction, the body converts the nitrates to nitric oxide, a compound that can enhances blood flow throughout the body and helps lower blood pressure providing us with a larger capacity to improve blood flow and oxygenated red blood cells to the working muscles. A 2009 study found that having beetroot juice prior to a sports performance improved endurance and duration of exercise by 16%.



The key factor in achieving this rocket launcher effect is the timing of when to drink the smoothie.

  • Approx. 1-2hrs  prior to the event or training session consume 250ml of the smoothie that includes 3 or 4 tablespoons of natural yogurt .
  • 45mins prior to the start of the event consume 150ml of smoothie. Do not include yogurt with this smoothie.



  • 1x 150g beetroot
  • 1x medium sized apple
  • 1 x Handful of Rocket
  • 1 x Lime
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of yogurt
  • Pinch of rock salt
  • 100ml of water – you can add more depending on personal preference.

1. Par boil the beetroot to soften then leave stand to chill for 20mins, or place back into the fridge. 2. Cut the lime and place into the blender 3. Add a pinch of rock salt 4. Add a handful of Rocket into the blender 5. Add 50ml of water into the blender and blend for 30 seconds. 6. Cut and add the beetroot as well as the yogurt and rest of the water and blend until smooth.   For the non-yogurt smoothie, redo step 6 but without adding the yogurt.   These smoothies can be premade days in advance and frozen in the correct containers.



  • If the weather is lower than 10*C then add 5 or 6 slices of root ginger or 10-20g of ginger.
  • If the weather is above 17*C then you may want to add 4 or 5 drops of Elite Electrolyte sports drink.
  • To add to the taste you may want to add cherries or blueberries.
  • If in a rush you may substitute the 45mins prior smoothie with 100ml of water and 30ml of Beetit Juice