PRESTON — Two and a half years ago I was approached by someone who was looking to become one of my clients. She informed me that her job was having a Biggest Loser contest, and she wanted to have an edge on her competition. She also felt that having a personal trainer would provide her the motivation and accountability to remain consistent with exercising. I sat down with her and gave her the same assessment that I give all of my clients before beginning a workout regiment. During the assessment she shared that she had high blood pressure, and had been on medicine for it for years. Suddenly, the Biggest Loser competition became a small battle in the midst of a huge war. This was bigger than a weight loss contest. She had come to me to add years to her life, and quality to those years.
We began working out aggressively and consistently. We changed her diet. We set small goals on the way to the big goal. And although we were focused on winning the Biggest Loser, the main goal became getting her off of those blood pressure meds.
She came in second place in the Biggest Loser competition, but her biggest victory came a couple months later when her doctor lowered the dosage of her blood pressure medicine. Roughly three months later, she decided to do another Biggest Loser competition. This time it didn’t go well. I watched her as they announced the winners. She didn’t even place. But she was genuinely happy for those who won. Afterwards, she ran to me and hugged me in excitement. I was confused. I was expecting her to be upset. She said, “I don’t even care that I didn’t win. I already had my victory for the day. My doctor took me off of my blood pressure medication.” We celebrated. The goal had been accomplished. But the danger in accomplishing a goal is that sometimes it makes you feel as if there is nothing else to accomplish. So you lose your motivation. And several months later, she was right back on the bp medicine.
I knew that she was struggling to remain consistent with working out and eating right. We tried to set new goals, but this time it seemed more difficult. To make matters worse, her elevated blood pressure was taking a toll on her. After another trip to the doctor, he decided that it was time to raise the dosage of her medication. She called me, distraught and frustrated. But it gave her the motivation to get serious about working out consistently and eating right. So she got back on her schedule. But even with working out and eating right, she wasn’t seeing a drop in her bp.
I had been telling her about juicing beets for months. She told me that even saying the word beet gave her an unpleasant taste. But I knew the power of beets. So I decided to put together a juicing recipe that would mask the taste of the beets. (I will share that recipe at the end of this article) She was desperate at this point was willing to try anything. Immediately after trying the juice she called me and said, “I cannot believe how good this juice is!” But the best part was that a week and half later her blood pressure had dropped considerably.
In addition to many other benefits, beets contain nitrates. Nitrates turn into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is extremely important to blood vessel health. It widens the blood vessels thus increasing blood flow and ultimately lowering blood pressure. Beet juice, along with exercise and healthy eating, has allowed my client to maintain normal blood pressure levels.
Editor’s note: before beginning any fitness program, diet, and/or discontinuing or starting medication or supplements it is recommended to obtain the advice of your personal physician.
Tyrell James, co-owner of Born Champions Boxing, is also the owner of Rellic Fitness where he is a boxing coach, master herbalist, and health coach. He is also a personal trainer and nutritionist.