So let's start from the beginning.
About 6 weeks ago I was at my gym talking to one of the other trainers (who's like 5x more fit than me, hip thrusts 405 pounds, etc), and I told her that I don't know what the EF to do because I still have some cellulite on the back of my legs. I lift heavy and often, I eat clean, I live an active lifestyle where I'm standing 10-12 hours out of my day so like WTF. Welllll, to my surprise she immediately said “ME TOO!”.
I was shocked. Especially coming from the girl who can do SUCH heavy hip thrusts and has ass for days and is lean on every square inch of her body – you know?
The next day I asked one of the other trainers (male, football player, long time trainer and coach) what he suggests if I want to get rid of cellulite. He asked my how often I do regular sprints, uphill sprints and stair sprints&
Oh – yeah uh, NEVER?
He said to do that 2x's a week and said I would probably drop some body fat within weeks.
Two weeks after that I randomly got invited to attend the VIVE Performance Genesis – a conference in Dallas TX – where one of the main speakers and Co Owners of the VIVE gym is an elite trainer of 8+ years. I did a full blog post on everything I learned at that conference here.
His main focus was teaching us the mechanics of sprinting, why it's beneficial, how to execute it properly and how to warm up for it.
SO since I've been back from Dallas I have been ramping up my sprinting game and I've been LOVING it. Aside from moving quickly, doing short workouts and having a sore ass the next day, I've been becoming more and more obsessed with learning about all of the benefits.
I know since I've been posting about it a lot more on my ig, you guys have been getting out there and trying the uphill sprints as well so I figured I'd do a breakdown on the benefits of sprinting + how to get started with sprinting so that you guys are more motivated to keep going!
5 BENEFITS OF SPRINT INTERVAL TRAINING:
Improve your body's ability to burn fat:
What better way to get lean than to make your body a fat burning machine, amiright?? We want to have the body be efficient at mobilizing and burning fat so that when we need energy, we can quickly use stored fat instead of feeling like we need to #carbup. According to this article, doing 4 30 second sprints increased fat burn by 75%!
Builds a lean physique and increases BMR (basil metabolic rate):
Your BMR is how many calories your body burns at rest. The more strength training you do, the more muscle you build, and in turn RAISES your BMR so now you're burning more calories at rest! THE DREAM!! AND GUESS WHAT – so does sprint interval training.
Try to coordinate both strength training and interval sprint training into your week. If you feel like you need help and live in LA, be sure to set up a free assessment with us over at Show Up Fitness in WEHO, Santa Monica or San Diego!
Sprint interval training helps to develop lean legs:
Doing sprint intervals correctly allows you to tap into your type II muscle fibers which are the muscle fibers that want to GROW. Through sprint interval training we are able to grow the muscles in the legs while also burning fat! When we do endurance training we are primarily only using type I muscle fibers which are designed to do tons of work without growing very much. SO if you only do endurance training, chances are you are actually breaking down MUSCLE which is leading to an overall lower BMR ie, burning LESS calories at rest.
Abs become more noticeable:
I know a lot of you want to do crunches for days to get your abs to be more defined but a better idea would be to shed the fat on top of your abs! Like I mentioned above, sprint interval training is AMAZING for blasting fat because it restores your metabolism, reduces inflammation, and gets your body better adapted to using it's stored energy (fat) for fuel!
Increase testosterone and human growth hormone levels:
Human growth hormone plays a key role in growth, body composition, cell repair, and metabolism. It also helps you recover faster from injury and disease while assisting in growing muscles, boosting strength and improving exercise performance. Sprinting is one of the most effective ways to raise HGH and maximize fat loss.
Testosterone gets a lot of attention as being a primary male hormone but woman actually have a small amount of it as well. Not only does it play an important role in female health but increasing testosterone leads to improved muscle mass.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH SPRINT INTERVAL TRAINING:
How you start is going to depend on where you are in your training.
If you haven't worked out in years then try starting with walk/jog intervals. Jog or cycle for 10-20 seconds, followed by a normal pace walk or cycle until you feel like you've caught your breath.
If you're fit and want to lean out, moderate or all out sprints 1-3 times a week would be great for you.
If you're over weight elderly or have high blood pressure walking intervals would be a good place to start. Speed walk for 30 seconds to a minute followed by 2-3 minutes of normal walking.
Here's how I've been getting started:
Weeks 1 & 2 I did 5 50 yard uphill sprints outside twice a week. I would end up sprinting for about 14 seconds then would take a 3 minute rest and go again.
Weeks 3 & 4 I am focusing on sprinting 3x's a week but changing some variables throughout the week. So for example, Sunday I'll do 30 minutes worth of uphill sprints; 10 seconds all out followed by a 2 minute rest. Tuesday I'll do 5 all out sprints at for 15 seconds with a rest time of 2-3 minutes. Thursday I'll do 15 5 second all out sprints followed by a 1 minute rest.
Weeks 5 & 6 I will stick to the week 3 & 4 schedule but I will try adding in a little bit of extra work/movement during my rest time to make it more of a circuit. For example, on Thursday I might sprint for 5 seconds, followed by 10 push ups, followed by a 45 second jog, then jump back on for sprint #2.
I'm currently on week 3 so I'll keep you guys updated! Remember that sprinting can be done anywhere and interval training doesn't HAVE to be sprinting. It can be cycling, swimming, rowing, etc. Just give it your all for 5-30 seconds then rest.
HOW LONG SHOULD I REST WHEN DOING INTERVAL TRAINING?:
Everyone's rest time is going to be different depending on how in shape each person is. A 15 second sprint for one person might require 5 minutes of rest where as a 15 second sprint for someone else might require 45 seconds of rest. Make sure you walk around after each sprint and take deep breaths through your nose and think about expanding that breath into your back until you feel like you're back to a normal breathing pattern.
With that said – if you're like me and prefer more of a concrete, structured answer to that question, refer to this chart.
For example: if you do a sprint as fast as you possibly can and you go for 5 seconds, you should rest 12x's the amount of time that you sprinted (5 seconds x 12 seconds = 60 seconds, or 1 min.
If you say try to run your fastest mile since high school and it takes you 6 minutes, then you would be in the oxidative energy system and you should consider resting for 6-18 minutes before trying to hit another 6 minute mile.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT ENERGY SYSTEMS?
First of all I think it's important to understand why we WANT to know about the energy systems. Knowing how each one functions allows us to better understand how we fatigue and will give us a better idea of what system we're using when we're exercising + the results we'll get from it.
It can be a little confusing but I'll break it down.
Second thing to know before we briefly dive into the systems is this little thing called ATP. ATP is a molecule that allows for every single muscle contraction or force exertion that we do, k? SO we gotsta have it, but we have a limited storage of it.
Now imagine that you and two of your friends are on a basketball court. One friend is under one hoop, the other is in the middle of the court and you're under the other hoop. Your sprinting all out as fast as you can. Your girlfriend in the middle is doing a minute of sit ups, and your other friend is just walking for 5 mins.
SO you're all using ATP but which energy system are each of you in? And what are the different benefits?
SYSTEM 1: ATP-PC ENERGY SYTEM (HIGH POWER/SHORT DURATION)
This is what you're using while you Sprint. This system fires immediately and doesn't need any oxygen to function but lasts for only +- 12 seconds. For just a couple seconds beyond that, the phosphocreatine (PC) system kicks in to help and then after that, you get shifted to another energy system. It is estimated the ATP-PC system can burn approx 36 calories per minute. For example 10 minutes of work in this system could burn approx 360 calories. ZAYUM.
SYSTEM 2: THE GLYCOLYTIC SYSTEM (MODERATE POWER/MODERATE DURATION)
Once the ATP-PC system is tapped out, we start pulling energy from here. We get glucose from the carbohydrates we eat which then is circulated through the blood or it gets turned into glycogen and gets stored in our muscles and liver. While training in this energy system, the body will take the blood glucose or stored glycogen and make ATP. SO if you have been on a low carb diet for a while and try to do a couple all out sprints for 30 seconds, it's likely that you won't preform as well because you will shoot through this energy system and shift down to the next one. It is estimated that this system burns about 16 calories per minute so 10 minutes of work here would burn around 160 calories.
SYSTEM 3: THE OXIDATIVE SYSTEM (LOW POWER/LONG DURATION)
Think about the oxidative system as the system we use when we're working a 8 hour shift at a grocery store, running 6 miles, or walking. Because of the way ATP is created in this system there is pretty much an unlimited supply available, although the process of making it is a little complicated. Just know that you can do hours of work at a low level in this system and you burn appx 10 cals per minute.
My tip would be to take 3 photos of yourself today (front, side and back) in a bathing suit and then schedule your first sprinting session on your own if you're super disciplined OR schedule a session with a friend. Figure out what your starting point is and make a plan for the next 6 weeks like I did.
Take the same before and after photo every 2 weeks and compare your body composition at the end of the 6 weeks!! Let that 6 week picture be your starting motivation to keep going and set a new 6 week goal!! Don't forget that pairing this kind of training with strength training is going to get you the best results.
Visit our gym in LA or SD if you feel like you need accountability and want to see how having a trainer can really take you to the next level.