Sprinting to Your Weight Loss Goal?

February 9, 2011

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Photo: Courtesy of Mens Health

In a perfect world, losing weight would be as easy as snapping your fingers...eat right, hit the gym a few days and you’ve reached your ideal weight loss goal. Unfortunately, it is not that easy and sometimes it seems no that matter how many cookies we pass up in favor of carrots, and how many hours we log at the gym, the scale won’t budge! Weight loss professionals are claiming there is a solution - high intensity interval training has been shown to help those who have reached a plateau and need an extra push to reach their goal.

How can periods of sprinting and rest really help you shed fat and lose weight more than a workout that consists of running the entire time? Incorporating high intensity intervals into your workout requires your body to increase fat oxidation to fuel your body. According to a study reviewed by Livestrong.com, “eight healthy weight women who engaged in 10 four-minute bursts on a stationary bicycle followed by two-minute rest periods” had a 36% increase in fat oxidation.

The Men’s Health article titled “All About Intervals” explains effectively just how helpful interval training can be. Aside from the physiological reasoning behind high intensity intervals, incorporating sprints into your workout fuels your metabolism more than walking or running at a regular pace. This helps keep your body burning calories for hours after a workout. Your body will have more recovering to do after the frequent contraction of muscles and depletion of energy that you will be burning more fat post-workout. Aside from helping you shed pounds, intervals have been shown to decrease cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and increase your oxygen capacity.

Professionals agree that you should not rush into intervals but start slow if you are not as active in order to avoid injury. Intervals can be incorporated into a workout whether it is running, cycling, swimming, or something else. Start slow by walking for a few minutes to warm up. Next, pick up the pace to where you are struggling or would not be able to hold a conversation during your exercise - this might be a full sprint for the super fit or even a jog for those who are beginners. This period of high intensity should last 1-2 minutes and then slow back down to a walk for about two minutes until you have caught your breath. Repeat this sequence 5-10 times and hopefully you will see weight loss just as fast your sprints!

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I have really be reading a great deal about sprinting and how it is good for building muscle and shedding body fat.  I think what makes it so good is that you are not doing it for very long, yet you burn more calories in that short time than if you would have been running for a long distance.  I have an ectomorph body type, so after I do build up enough muscle and it is time to shed the fat, I try and keep as much of the muscle as I can.  Doing steady state cardio has a tendency to cause more muscle loss than something like sprint training does, and actually you can end up building muscle by sprinting. 

Good post enjoyed reading it :)

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