One of the most popular, beneficial and exciting forms of training that became popular a while ago, although it existed all along, is the HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. There are today, however, many variations to HIIT to suit respective population groups/ sports/ athletes with specific requirements etc.
HIIT very briefly is a combination of high intensity bouts of exercise and periods of rest. The exercises are performed at 85-100% of one’s max Heart Rate and usually these workouts end within a span of 25-30 minutes including warm up & cool down.
Dr. Izumi Tabata introduced Tabata (also a form of HIIT), long before HIIT as a form of training became known.
You may therefore realize, that some of you swimmers may be doing this as a part of your overall workout regime.
However, how many of you know how does it actually work/ help you?
There are many benefits of following a HIIT Routine. These benefits shall be divided into two parts.
The most profound benefit is that of Fat Loss & Part I shall focus exactly on that!
HIIT sessions demand higher energy at a faster rate and most of this is borrowed by the anaerobic energy system (absence of oxygen). This triggers a number of processes right from build-up of lactic acid, carbon di oxide, increase in body temperature, blood volume and pressure, heart rate, gas exchange etc. It is important for these parameters to come back to normal post the session and it often takes anywhere from 5 min to 48 hours. Getting these parameters down requires energy and most of this energy comes from fat, since we all burn fat at rest. So, doing an HIIT session helps you burn more calories through fat even at rest!
Scientifically, this is known as EPOC: Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
So, those of you especially in the off season aiming to drop body fat%, this is the perfect time to start your HIIT Program.
Word of caution: Perform HIIT only under the guidance of your Trainer/ Strength & Conditioning Coach.
Author: Mihira A R Khopkar
B.Sc. Dietetics, M.Sc. Sports Nutrition
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