I understand if you run for a mental release, a meditative change or for cardiovascular activity; however, if you are running for physique reasons, let me make a recommendation, stop. Sprints are far more effective in burning fat, improving the mid-section (i.e. abs), building lean muscle and improving overall health when compared with running. I know this may come to a surprise for some but it doesn’t change the fact that sprints are more effective.
Length of time… sprints take significantly less time than running. If you are on a time crunch or frankly you do not want to spend a lot of time doing steady state cardio, choose sprinting. Regardless, you can burn far more calories and fat in a shorter period of time… while preserving lean muscle.
Improve Insulin Sensitivity… the majority of health complications in our modern-day society results from sugar, think diabetes. This has everything to do with your cells inability to respond to insulin. Sprinting not only helps lower insulin levels but it even improves muscle glucose (blood sugar) sensitivity. More simply stated, insulin sensitivity is required to burn fat and lose weight so you want to improve this.
Shreds Belly Fat… before you begin a sprint program measure your mid-section and track the progress over 4 weeks. The repeated impact of the movement combined with the work intensity really does a number on the shredding up the mid-section.
Builds Lean Mass… you are made up of fat mass or lean mass, and bodyweight should always be second to body composition. When you add sprints in to your training regimen you can help increase the growth of lean muscle mass, particularly when you are doing it with resistance (up a hill, for example).
Programming sprints in to training should be based on the individual, since it requires high rates of exertion. High intensity is required but the speed will vary based on the individual as well. The take away, sprints are challenging and require 100% effort. Here are a few examples of sprint protocols:
Ø Sprint: 100-200-300-400-300-200-100 meters or yards
Ø Rest: 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 minutes
b. Double Rest
Ø Work to Rest Ratio… 1 work to 2 rest
Ø 10sec sprint to 20sec rest
Ø 20sec rest to 40sec rest
c. Straight Forward
Ø Sprint 100 or 200yards or meters
Ø Walk Back for rest
Regardless of how you incorporate sprints, I suggest adding them in to your training program 2-3 days per week. Track your progress from the start date of when you add them in and you will be shocked with how much sprints burn fat!