A lot of people think that a low intensity workout such as jogging or walking is a good way to lose weight and a good form of cardio exercise compared to sprinting. While low intensity workouts can burn calories to some extent, the most effective form of exercise is sprinting for fat loss and overall toning. High level sprinting not only burns off calories fast, it can also improve blood circulation, balance glucose levels, ward off stress and depression, and promote a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.
High Intensity Sprinting vs. Jogging
Recent studies have shown that high intensity sprints offer a more effective way to lose fat and tone the physique. Experts say that by doing 4 to 6 short sprints that are no longer than 30 seconds can actually burn twice the body fat than jogging 3 times a week. Sprinting also taps into EPOC (also called the “after-burn effect”) which is the ultimate for revving up your metabolism because it forces your metabolism to increase in order to recover the lack of oxygen and to recover to its resting state. EPOC stands for Excessive Post-Exercise Consumption and it’s when your body burns a greater number of calories after strenuous exercise, just like what happens after a high intensity sprint workout!
While sprinting can be a more effective cardio workout because of the amount of energy involved, it can also release growth hormones that help tone your muscles. This is evident when comparing the physiques of marathoners to sprint athletes. Generally, high intensity sprinters have a much more toned and muscular build than long distance marathoners who are mostly seen as “gaunt” and thin.
While sprinting for fat loss is better than jogging, below are a couple of techniques that can be used to achieve even better results. Remember that these are high intensity workouts and may not be suitable for everyone.
Suicide Sprint Drills
As the term suggests, this involves strenuous physical activity and most endurance athletes call this technique the “Suicide Sprint Drill”. This technique starts off with touching the baseline before sprinting a couple of meters from it. After reaching the first two meters, touch the baseline and sprint back towards the starting point and touch the baseline again. Repeat the same steps and extend the distance by a couple of meters until you reach 10 to 15 meters in distance. As you complete the cycle, rest for about 5-10 minutes and repeat the exercise. Doing at least 3 to 4 sprints of this high intensity activity will give you a great workout for burning up calories and fat.
Stair Sprint and Jump Rope
This involves running up and down a staircase and then jumping rope. The intensity of the exercise is very high and it can easily burn a lot of fat in just a matter of minutes. Start off by sprinting up and down 3-5 sets of stairs for about 1-2 minutes and then jump rope for about 2-3 minutes at a super high intensity level. Rest for a few minutes and then repeat the exercise. Increase the number of steps and the duration of the jump rope. As with the suicide drill, this form of exercise is very effective for fat burning and getting your heart pumping!
High Intensity Sprinting vs. Low Intensity Walking
While both forms of exercise can burn calories, low intensity walking may not be as effective as high intensity sprinting if you are looking for an effective weight loss program. A 60 minute walk burns approximately 400 calories. From these 400 calories, half of these are from fat. So in effect, you burn 200 calories from fat. On the other hand, a 60 minute run at an 8 MPH pace burns approximately 1,000 calories. Even if 50 percent of these calories are from fat, you are still only burning 500 calories from fat. Most people don’t have the conditioning level needed to run for an hour at a fast past so it’s much more effective for a short duration workout like sprinting to be used for a quick 15-20 minute workout to burn maximum calories and fat.
During the cool off period from your sprinting activity, your body replenishes calories from stored energy within your body. What this means is that you basically boost your metabolism to keep burning your calories for an extended period of time after your high intensity sprint workout (remember the EPOC system we covered earlier?). On top of this you would have worked out your circulatory and muscular system to a much greater extent than you would have from low intensity walking.
While sprinting for fat loss can be an effective weight loss exercise, it may not suit everyone trying to lose weight because of the intensity involved. It is always best to seek medical advice or be guided by a professional trainer before entering into any weight loss program.