HIIT is not only transforming our approach to exercise, but there is now a strong evidence that this regime – which involves short bursts of intense activity punctuated by recovery periods of less strenuous exercise –improves exercise performance, muscle recovery and muscle regeneration.
A recent study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology revealed that recreationally fit volunteers who consumed beetroot for just five days achieved significantly better scores across a number of fitness measures during HIIT style exercises, but found little difference between longer work-outs.
Dr Tom Clifford, a scientist at Newcastle University whose focus is exercise and physiology and nutrition, is one of the experts trying to unravel the mechanisms and plant chemicals which make beetroot so beneficial. He explains: “the nitrate in beetroot seems beneficial for fast-twitch muscles which we use for short bursts of rapid movement, as we do for HIIT training and competitive team sports.”
The researchers concluded that beetroot might be “ergogenic”, the scientific term for performance enhancing, “during repeated bouts of short-duration maximal-intensity exercise interspersed with short recovery periods” — or HIIT as most of us know it.
Dr Tom Clifford adds: “There is new evidence which suggests beetroot could augment some of the physiological adaptations to HIIT workouts. In other words, combing beetroot and HIIT could be useful for anyone who is trying to improve their fitness levels or performance.”
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It’s a potentially life-changing combination as HIIT is not only transforming our approach to exercise, but there is now strong evidence that this regime can reverse the ageing process.
Olivia Cooney, whose personal-training client list includes Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh, model Zara Martin, TV chef Gizzie Erskineand presenter Laura Whitmore, says: “I advise all my clients to eat something like pre-cooked and infused beetroot as snacks or in salad, before and after their workouts. There is so much variety these days, from sweet chili to balsamic infused flavors and from infused to shredded or baby beetroot products.
“When you are starting a new work-out regime, or stepping up to something more strenuous like HIIT, it’s really important to stay motivated, and anything which lifts performance and reduces muscle soreness afterwards. That’s why beetroot is brilliant.”
Ready to eat and infused beetroots are available in grocery stores, making them the perfect snack to pick-up and throw into a salad.
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