Freediving is a form of underwater diving that relies on divers’ ability to hold their breath until resurfacing rather than use breathing apparatus such as scuba gear. I interviewed PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and Advanced Freediver Instructor, Liz Parkinson on the benefits of freediving, and how you train yourself to become stronger in order to go deeper!
What are the A-B-C’s of freediving for those that have never tried it before?
“When you freedive, the air that you carry with you in your lungs is all you have, similarly to scuba diving, you carry the air you will use on your back, utilizing this to your maximum potential will absolutely improve your performance,” says Parkinson. “How often do you hear in a stressful situation people saying, ‘just breathe’? Being in tune with your yourself, and having the control of your own breath and heart rate does not only help in training, I believe it is a vital life skill.”
How can you train to become a stronger freediver?
“Hitting the gym or using your natural weight as a means to build muscle and strength is one way I break up my training days,” says Parkinson. “My daily life style of lifting scuba tanks and diving weights, to actively jumping in and out of the water helping people and generally working in the outdoors, is sometimes all the training I need for that day.”
“Growing up as a competitive swimmer working out with a personal trainer in the gym or using short aggressive 20-minute push up and pull up routines always stuck with me,” says Parkinson. “I know the gym is not for everyone, but there are so many short intense workouts out there that you can do in your living room or backyard that really can help in your fitness level and help you get that body you want!”
Where does eating habits factor in the sport?
“Living a healthy active lifestyle is one thing, but the food you consume is just as important if not more so,” says Parkinson. “I do love good food but am also very conscious of the food that I put into my body. I get asked a lot, because of the conservation work I do, if I am a vegetarian or a vegan and the answer to that is “No.” However what little meat I do consume I like to know where it comes from and how it has been raised. That being said I do love my green veg and fruit.”
“I eat a lot of fish, and being a good British girl, I do enjoy my tea!” laughs Parkinson. “In the world we live in today it is so much easier to be a healthy eater, but sometimes it is just more convenient to jump in on the unhealthier option to save time, money or satisfy a craving. I am by no means a Jamie Olivier or even enjoy spending time in the kitchen but there is no point hitting it hard in the pool or on the road if you are just going to trash your body at the other end and not eat right!”
Photos: Property of Liz Parkinson