Last week I just got done writing about the benefits of a high intensity workout and how it can save you time in the gym. This week I am going to go over another sprint workout that was shown to help reduce body fat. With summer approaching you will be outside much more, but that doesn't mean you should take a break from exercise, rather, you should switch your workout to one that accommodates your lifestyle. The easiest way to do this in a time efficient manner is through sprint training. When it comes to sprint training you don't need much, and this was proven in my previous post on interval training (click here). But not everyone enjoys that type of interval training, so I decided to search pubmed until I found one that seemed suitable. I came across a study that showed sprint training induced fat loss in women. The study consisted of 15 women and each participant completed six weeks of sprint training. The training regimen consisted of four to six 30 second “all-out” sprints on a self propelled treadmill with four minutes of rest (walking) performed three times per week. After the six weeks were over, training decreased body fat mass by eight percent! (2)
Now that is substantial fat loss (yes it will work for males too), but it is important to realize that these sprints are mentally and physically demanding. You will not get the results from the study if you are only pushing yourself 60 to 80 percent effort. When doing these sprints, or any other sprint, you need to push yourself to maximum effort. This is why you are given a four minute rest break in between each set, do not skip or shorten this rest break, even if you feel that you are ready to go. Remember, when it comes to sprinting you are using energy systems that take time to recover. When done correctly, you will need every second of that four minute walk to reap the benefits of sprinting.
And yes, I understand that the study was done on treadmills, but the same can be done outside. Set a timer for 30 seconds and run as far as possible in that 30 seconds and then take the four minutes to walk yourself back. If you don't have enough room then the treadmill or a shuttle run is a great option. For the shuttle run, you will do 15 to 25 yard shuttles for the entire 30 seconds and then rest for four minutes. To perform this correctly you will set two lines 15 to 25 yards apart and run back and forth between the two marked points until the 30 seconds comes to an end.
There you have it, if you are willing to push the intensity then your exercise duration can be much lower. However, it is important to realize that when doing high intensity interval training, you have to push your body to the limit, physically and mentally. These sprint workouts are designed to make you very uncomfortable, after all, change can only occur with discomfort. So get yourself in the right mindset and push yourself to the limits.