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There are many misconceptions about the most effective way to burn calories and lose fat. Study’s have shown that performing sprint intervals will help you lose more fat, altering body composition, while training for 1/18th of the time required to lose a comparable amount from continuous endurance exercise (like running on the treadmill). High-intensity interval work is more effective for body composition and fat loss than aerobic exercise. Lumbering your way through mile after mile with the hope of losing fat is far less efficient than short sprints. Armed with this knowledge we can see the effectiveness of our Kickboxing and Fast Track Classes here at X3!

What are sprint intervals? Sprint intervals are a type of high intensity workout that helps build endurance, increase your anaerobic threshold and burn more calories and fat both during and after your workout.

The Proof
“The study, published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise compared the effect of a sprint interval program that included 30-second sprints with an endurance running program at 65 percent of maximal for 30 to 60 minutes over 6 weeks. Participants in the sprint interval group increased their volume from running 4 sprints with 4 minutes rest per session to doing 6 sprints per session by the end of the study. The endurance running group increased run time by 15 minutes every 2 weeks to reach 1 hour of training time per session.”

“The sprint interval group lost an impressive 12.4 percent body fat and an average of 2 to 3 kg of fat mass after 6 weeks. They spent a total of .75 of an hour actually sprinting compared to the endurance group that spent 13.5 hours running. That’s right—the sprint interval group spent 1/18th or 5.5 percent as much time training as the endurance training group! The total time required to complete the workouts including rest intervals was 6.75 in the sprint interval group compared to the 13.5 hours for the endurance group.”

The endurance training group was able to lose about half a kilo of fat, which was likely due to the caloric deficit coming from greater energy expenditure while running. Why are the sprint intervals so much more effective? The sprint interval group likely increased their post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), more effectively elevating their metabolic rate and energy use after the sprint workouts. Sprints also burn a lot of calories fast, and they enhance the use of enzymes and proteins that are involved in using fat for fuel.

Both groups increased performance by an average of 5 percent on a 2000-meter time trial. This indicates that sprints are just as good as endurance training in preparing you for an aerobic sport. If you’re planning on running a 5K race, you don’t necessarily have to labor through all those slow miles to prepare. Just do sprint intervals, lose fat, save time, and you’ll increase speed as well!

Training status and experience will play a role in whether you choose to run sprints or opt for another mode such as cycling or rowing. Researchers say running may be better than cycling for fat loss. Please use caution if you are a novice trainee when you get on a treadmill at top speed. Treadmill Sprints are even more so, attempting to sprint on an Elliptical, which is just dangerous and ineffective, are far less effective than actual sprints.

How This Knowledge Applies to X3
Use the above valuable information while you’re in class at X3! Going through the motions, pacing yourself, and trying to coast through multiple classes in a row will not get you to your goals! GO HARD!! When John Q yells out your Combo, GO HARD!! When he says “Everybody bouncing while I’m talking!” that’s your recovery so you can GO HARD on the next series of combo’s! Combo’s are your sprint intervals! When you’re doing Sprints on the turf in a Fast Track class, or doing 10 reps of Kettlebell Swings, there’s your intervals folks. You get rest time in class for a reason. Recharge so you can GO HARD!!!

Take away from this study the understanding that unless you are passionate about spending multiple hours a week doing endurance exercise, high-intensity intervals are a better choice. With the extra time you save on conditioning by doing sprints, you can add in strength training and lose fat even faster.
“There’s no protocol for suck!” – Derek Woodske.


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Macpherson, R., Hazell, T., et al. Run Sprint Interval Training Improves Aerobic Performance but Not Maximal Cardiac Output. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2011. 43(1), 115-121.

Poliquin, Charles

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