If you looked across sports for the athletes with the lowest body fat percentages and the most ripped 6 packs, sprinters would have to be on the top of your list. Sprinting burns calories faster than any other activity, and that’s why it can help you get ripped abs.
Think about this. The top sprinters run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds. At that pace they would run a mile in about 2 and a half minutes (160 seconds). This is equivalent to about 50 calories burned per minute. Just for comparison, sleeping burns about 1 calorie per minute and jogging at 5.0 mph burn about 10 calories per minute.
There are 2 huge hidden benefits of sprinting besides burning tons of calories. Sprinting improves hormones and sky-rockets fat burning through EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
Sprinting can help to regulate your fat burning hormones, especially growth hormone. When you include high intensity anaerobic exercise in your fitness program, you will likely support ideal growth hormone levels.
In addition to improving your fat burning hormones, sprinting burns a ton of calories through excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. Don’t get overwhelmed by that physiology term. Basically, when you perform vigorous exercise, it takes your body many minutes and sometimes hours to recover from the exercise.
In order to recover your body needs to take in more oxygen. Oxygen is necessary for fat burning, and following intense sprinting your body will burn more fat even after you stop working out.
Some research on elite sprinters has shown that their metabolism can be raised even 24 hours after an intense sprint type workout. 24 hours is 1440 minutes. Imagine if your metabolism was 1 calorie higher each minute following an intense sprint workout– that’s an additional 1440 calories a day.
Now, just to give you more perspective, Olympic sprinters train 4-8 hours a day. There job is to workout all day, so I won’t promise that adding in a few sprints will turn you into Usain Bolt or Carl Lewis.
Before including sprinting in your workouts, you must start slowly by jogging on a regular basis. You should have at least 1-2 months of general aerobic conditioning from jogging before beginning intense sprinting.
Aim to jog or run outside 3-4 times a week for 20-45 minutes for 1-2 months before beginning sprint training. Try wind sprints. Basically this technique involves sprinting a distance and then walking back to the start. When you get back to the start, your rest is over and you should start the second set.
Because sprinting is intense, there is a high risk of injury. Listen to your body. If you’re achy, or your muscles don’t feel right, decrease the intensity or skip the sprints on that day. If you have had major leg injuries or surgeries, you should consult a health professional or strength and conditioning specialist before adding sprinting to your workout routine.
Sprinting is not the only way to burn calories, but if you sprint on a regular basis there is a much higher chance that you’ll get ripped abs.
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