When I was a kid running around playing tag, little did I know all that sprinting was actually the best workout I was giving my younger self. If you’ve been hitting the gym a lot, lifting weights and doing a lot of cardio but still can’t get over that plateau that you’re on, then perhaps what you need is to start sprinting. Sprinting also has a host of other benefits and not just for your weight.
While marathon running (and friends committing to running half and full marathons on Facebook) has become the workout du jour, sprinting is actually better for long-term weight loss than regular long distance running. A simple example is to look at the athletes for each sport. Long distance runners are skinny, lack muscle mass and have a higher fat percentage than sprinters who usually have higher muscle mass and low fat percentage. This isn’t to say that long distance runners are unhealthy. In fact a great in-depth article by Jason Fitzgerald debunks five myths on long distance running.
It’s all about what your end goal is. Like I said, if you’ve been at it for a while but have hit a plateau then it’s time to take the intensity up a notch. And there is no better way than to add some sprint training.
Long term weight loss
Aerobic workouts are great if you’re just starting out, but aerobic workouts train the body to work efficiently, so the body adapts to the workout quickly thus slowing down weight loss unless you keep increasing your intensity. Sprinting on the other hand increases anabolic hormones (for men) and boost Growth Hormones (GH) in women – both hormones that help build muscles and burn fat. Not only that, sprinting burns calories while you’re working out but also increases metabolism so you’re also losing weight when you’re not sprinting.
By working out, we are training our body to improve endurance capacity and increase oxygen uptake and sprinting is shown to be an effective tool to do just that. Aside from that, sprinting also improves the efficiency of muscles during training so you conserve more glycogen and burn more fat – great for weight loss!
Being an anaerobic exercise, sprinting works out your muscles the same way that weight training does – by producing short bursts of energy that increases muscle strength. That’s why athletes in sports that require sprinting are so much more muscular than athletes that don’t sprint. In fact…
Best bang for your buck: According to this study sprint intervals is probably the most well rounded form of workout. It’s doesn’t take up much time, it works out the whole body, you’re not in agony after and it gets the job done!
So if you haven’t already incorporated some sprint intervals, whether it’s running, cycling or even swimming into your regular workout, we hope that this article convinces you to do so! Good luck!