sprintersSprinting for fat loss may be the single most effective exercise for adding lean muscle while simultaneously decreasing body fat.

Running sprints is physiologically taxing and that often dissuades even the most enthusiastic fitness fan from continued sprinting but repeated sprint training may be the only way to break through that fat loss plateau.

Sprints also improve a number of health markers, and research is showing that it may be unmatched in it’s ability to improve a number of physiological factors while simulataneously burning fat like nothing else can.

Drop Body Fat By Sprinting

Looking for a way to bust through that plateau? It’s a fact that sprinting increases growth hormone. Repeated sprint training can burn fat in the smallest possible window of time.

A 1994 study looked at two groups. Group “A” performed steady-state aerobic training (envision those treadmill walkers reading a magazine while “working out”) and Group “B” performed sprint intervals at 30 seconds each for a total of 15 sprints.

Group B lost nine times more body fat and amazingly, 12% more visceral fat than Group A.

Further research shows that a 12-week sprinting program can decrease body fat by 10 to 20 percent. What else comes close to results like that?

In 2010 a study was conducted where participants engaged in 30-second sprints for a mere six sets. After only two weeks, there was an average waist reduction of 3cm. Additionally, fat was better oxidized and became a more efficient fuel for the body.

Sprinting Builds Muscle

Sprints increase maximum strength by releasing and elevating levels of human growth hormone (HGH). While growth hormone is in abundant supply through childhood, it decreases greatly as we age.

While jogging is a catabolic exercise, sprints use fast-twitch muscle fiber, increase VO2max and is proven to be anabolic.

What is VO2max?
Maximal oxygen consumption during exercise. Considered to be the single best measure of cardiovascular fitness. VO2max declines with age. A low VO2max score has been shown to be one of the best predictors of all cause mortality in people.

Sprinting burns fat and builds muscle like nothing else.

Try Hill Sprints For Fat Loss

I’ve never been a fan of the treadmill.. until I started hill sprints. Trying to attain maximum speed up a grassy hill makes for a nervous workout every time. The uneven ground and occasional hole puts too much focus on twisting an ankle and that translates to a natural reduction in speed.

How about sprinting on pavement?  The knees will probably be the most unforgiving, but entire body is likely to reject pavement over the course of time with repeated sprint training.

But the treadmill? I found a winner.

Here’s the workout I’m still trying to finish and the challenge I send out to anyone else (Build up to it.  Don’t just try it on day 1).

After a good 10 minute warm-up, I set my feet on the side rails, set the incline to 15% (that’s the max for the treadmills at my gym) and set the speed at 9mph.

I jump on and run for exactly 30 seconds. I grab the sides and step down, giving myself a one-minute break where I jog in place beside the machine. It’s back to another 30 seconds after that. Repeat 10X. Kick the knees higher on the first set or two so that you can make the early sets as challenging as the later sets.

After your warm-up  that’s 15 minutes of some pretty intense interval training. The steep incline means you’re still sprinting all out but at a reduced speed, which lessens your chance of injury and makes each step easier than traditional running. It’s much like jumping on a box in that we land “high” every time, allowing us to reduce knee impact.

By the end of your workout, you’ve managed to create a small burst of growth hormone that research shows will raise IGF-1, forcing your body to burn fat for energy and the HG hormone will stay in your system for the next 90-120 minutes.

No wonder world class sprinters are always ripped!

Eat More While Sprinting

I saved the best for last. Research shows that HGH creates turns your body into a fat burning machine day and night. You can greatly increase calories without gaining fat. If you’re low-carb, you can (and should) eat carbs again. A steady supply of HGH replaces the need to diet and can transform your body composition like no other fat burning method.

Forget low-carb, low calorie, jogging and traditional cardio. Sprint your way to the best body you’ve ever had.

References

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Hottenrott, K., Sebastian, L., et al. Effects of High-Intensity Training and Continuous Endurance Training on Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition in Recreationally Active Runners. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2012. 11, 483-488.

Trapp, E., Chisholm, D., et al. The Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Training on Fat Loss and Fasting Insulin Levels of Young Women. International Journal of Obesity. 2008. 32(4), 684-691.

Tremblay, A., Simoneau, J., et al. Impact of Exercise Intensity on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism. Metabolism. 1994. 43(7), 814-818.

Gunnarson, T., Bangsbo, J. The 10-20-30 Training Concept Improves Performance and Health Profile in Moderately Trained Runners. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2012. 113, 1, 1624-1633.

Heydari, M., Freud, J., et al. The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males. Journal of Obesity. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Tanner, A., Nielsen, B., et al. Salivary Steroid Hormone Response in Trained Men to Running and Circuit Training Sessions. British Journal of Sports Medicine. December 2011. 45(15), A6.

Meckel, Y., Nemet, D., Bar-Sela, S., Radom-Aizik, S. Hormonal and Inflammatory Responses to Different Types of Sprint Interval Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011. 25(8), 2161-2169.

Irving, B., Davis, C., et al. Effect of Exercise Training Intensity on Abdominal Visceral Fat and Body Composition. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2008. 40(11), 1863-1872.

Boudou, P., Sobnngwi, E., et al. Absence of Exercise-Induced Variations in Adiponectin Levels Despite Decreased abdominal Adiposity and Improved Insulin sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetic Men. European Journal of Endocrinology. 2003. 149(5), 421-424.

Macpherson, R., Hazell, T., et al. Run Sprint Interval Training Improves Aerobic Performance but Not Maximal Cardiac Output. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2011. 43(1), 115-121.

Strasser, B., Arvandi, M., et al. Resistance training, Visceral Obesity and Inflammatory Response: A Review of the Evidence. Obesity Reviews. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Ismail, I., Keating, S., et al. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Aerobic Vs. Resistance Exercise Training on Visceral Fat. Obesity Reviews. 2012. 13, 68-91.

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