I like that sh*t.
If I can do something in less time and get the same (or better) results, I’m all for it; and I’m sure that most of you out there reading this feel the same way.
That’s why I’m here to tell you that if your goals are to burn fat, build muscle, and get in ridiculously good shape, you need to stop jogging – I believe it’s a soft J – and start sprinting!
Sprinting is one of the most basic and essential human movement patterns.
It’s how we survived.
We sprinted to either catch dinner or to avoid becoming dinner.
It was part of everyday human life, and is something our bodies are designed to do – yet no one does it anymore!
Everywhere I look, I see overweight and out of shape people pounding the pavement or the treadmill for miles and miles each day.
No matter how long or how far they run each week, they look exactly the same; and on top of it all, they look miserable doing it!
Unless your goal is to run marathons, there is really no good reason to run long distances.
What I mean by that is that unless your goal is ONLY to be able to run for long periods of time, or you care nothing about how you look, feel and/or perform, you shouldn’t be running for sustained periods of time.
However, if your goals are to get stronger, leaner, faster, healthier and just plain look like a Greek god, sprinting should be your main tool for conditioning and burning body fat.
Not only will sprinting yield better results for the goals listed above, but it will do so in a fraction of the time.
In a study conducted by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism, researchers found that just 2 minutes of sprinting, 3 times per week, yielded the same amount of fat burning effects as 30 minutes of jogging, 3 times per week.
Let me repeat that:
The researchers concluded that 6 minutes of sprinting had the same metabolic effects as 90 minutes of jogging!
Still want to head out for that 5 mile jog this afternoon?
Didn’t think so.
So just why is sprinting more effective than longer runs for fat loss purposes?
The main reason is INTENSITY.
The intense nature of sprinting places huge demands on your muscles and Central Nervous System.
Because of this, there is an anabolic effect that takes place during and after sprinting; sprinting builds muscle which in turn helps you burn more body fat while at rest.
Also, there is an “after-burn effect” that takes place similar to that of weight training.
After an intense sprint session, the body’s metabolism is elevated for the next 24-48 hours – that just doesn’t happen after a long run or jog.
So how do you start?
If you are very overweight or injured, I recommend starting on a stationary bicycle.
Peddle calmly anywhere from 3-5 minutes to warm up.
Once you are warm, increase the intensity on the bike and peddle as hard as you can for 10-30 seconds – I always recommend starting on the low end.
Once the interval is over, decrease the intensity and peddle calmly for 30-90 seconds while you recover.
Obviously, the shorter the sprint the less recovery time needed.
I would do no more than 3-5 sprints for the first few sessions.
You may gradually work up to 8 sprints; you can do this 2-3 times per week, incrementally looking to lengthen the duration of each sprint.
If you are healthy and injury free, I recommend starting on a hill or field.
A hill will be the best option, as it will shorten your stride and slow you down.
This will decrease the injury risk drastically, especially if you haven’t sprinted in a while.
Make sure you warm up properly with a dynamic warm up and 2-3 lower intensity sprints.
Start with no more than 30-40 yards.
Once you are warmed up, sprint the desired distance as hard as you can and then rest anywhere from 60-120 seconds.
I would do no more than 5 sprints on the first day.
Gradually look to increase the distance and the amount of sprints performed over time.
You may do this 1-2 times per week depending on your goals, and it will work best in conjunction with a strength based training program.
Sprinting is hard work.
I will be the first to admit that.
This is probably why so many of us rather run or jog for an hour than go to a football field or hill and sprint for 20 minutes.
I promise you, however, that the results you’ll get from adding sprinting to your routine will be well worth the pain and effort accompanying them.
Start sprinting today, so that tomorrow you will look like Michelangelo, himself, carved you out of a block of marble!