Sprinting is the ultimate Primal workout. It is the purest way to stimulate the fight-or-flight response that served us so well throughout evolution and became a center piece of our human genome.
If we regularly abuse the fight-or-fight response, as is very common in the western world; hectic work schedules, 24/7 "stress", high carb/insulin rollercoaster diets, we fail to reap the benefits of the acute spikes in our fight-or-flight response and become burnt out, stressed, sick and fat.
Getting your lifestyle under control is always going to be step one towards success; A great diet, adequate rest and relaxation, sun exposure, play, lifting heavy things once in a while, is a sure fire way to reduce this burn out and chronically stressed body. Once you foster this positive environment, success will follow.
Then we throw in some sprinting. You will reap so many benefits from the adaptive hormone response, lean muscle development, anti-aging benefits, improved energy and cognition. Sprint like a saber tooth tiger is trying to take a chunk out of your ass - kind of sprinting. 100% effort, nothing less.
1 - It Burns Fat Like No Other Exercise
Sprinting cause a stimulation like no other. It comes in at a 30 Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET), and therefore sends a powerful adaptive signal to your body to reduce body fat. The body will not be able to function as well (sprint as fast) when carrying unnecessary body fat, so the penalty for doing so, is severe.
A properly conducted sprint workout can increase fat oxidation post workout by 75%, and also doesn’t come at the cost of potential muscle wasting, that can occur with endurance “cardio” training. In fact, sprinting is anabolic (see below), so it will only help you build muscle, and get lean.
Take a look at people who sprint regularly and pay attention to how lean they are. The starting line of a sprint, vs that of a marathon, is a telling tale..
2 - It Can Increase Your Amount Of Mitochondria
Mitochndria are the power plants inside the cells of the human body. More mitochondria means more power available to the brain and body, better utilization of oxygen, more fuel burned and more energy produced (Increased metabolism).
A single bout of 4×30 second all-out cycling sprints activated mitochondrial biogenesis in the skeletal muscle of human subjects in one study.
It is a great idea to try and have bountiful mitochondria. Longevity experts and scientist are always looking for ways to increase mitochondrial saturation, as so many degenerative diseases are associated with low/poorly functioning mitochondria. It is a safe bet that if you want to live a long and healthy life, then you should be looking to build more mitochondria, and sprinting is a sure fire way to so.
3 - It's Anabolic
Acute bouts of sprinting have been shown to be highly anabolic in humans. In fact, sprinting may be more anabolic in women, than it is in men. Which could have great implications for reducing unwanted body fat and replacing with lean muscle (Think that "Toned" look the fitness industry is constantly talking about). In this study protein synthesis increased by over 200% in women and only 43% in men.
This study showed that Dihydrotestosterone was increased in young men that under took a sprint protocol, whilst this study showed that sprinting increased lean muscle mass in the legs and trunk of participants.
If you don't want to sift through the literature, one look at the starting line of an olympic sprinting event will tell the tale.
4 - It Can Dramatically Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity
A great marker for longevity and health is to be insulin sensitive. Sprinting has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity time and time again. Sprint training is a sure fire way to make yourself more insulin sensitive, and increase your efficiency at becoming metabolically efficient - reduced post prandial glucose response, increased fat oxidation, decreased body fat, increased lean muscle mass.
You're running out of reasons NOT to be sprinting!
5 - It takes 20 Minutes
A properly conducted sprint workout, with a dynamic warm up and cool down takes 20 minutes. I know this because I do my sprint workout in this time frame. 5-10 minutes spent on dymnaicm warm ups, preparation and mobility, 5-10 minutes of sprint work, and an easy cool down stroll and you're done.
All of those amazing benefits in so little time.
The best bit? You can take your sprint workout ANYWHERE. No equipment needed, no track needed. Nothing. Go to the local park, find a hill and do hill-sprints, head to beach and sprint barefoot, walk outside your house and run like a possessed person down the street.
Get creative with your sprints. Running is the best option to improve bone density, but sprinting on a bike, or a rower, an elliptical - it all works.
Just do it! Start sprinting and start seeing your body change before your eyes.
How Much/How Often Should I sprint?
Aim for one sprint session every 7 - 10 days, on days were you feel fully rested and ready to take on the world. Conduct 5-8 sprints of anywhere from 8-30 seconds. Rest fully, until your breathing has returned to normal and you feel ready to take on the next sprint, and repeat until you have conquered the session.
Let quality be the measure by which you call it quits - if your pace starts to drop of massively on sprint 4, you're done for the day. Don't push through for the sake of it. Quality is better than quantity, and it is the quality that will get you the results.
Get out there and get yo sprint on!
If you're interested in joining the Peak Primal movement, schedule a complimentary 30 minute discovery call with me by clicking here.
Yours in health,