Cardiovascular exercises such as jogging, stair climbing and the elliptical machines are a staple in many people's workout regime. But they might be missing out on a valuable exercise that not only burns calories, but burns more fat: sprinting.
In a recent Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise publication, a study of 10 runners and 10 sprinters who worked out over a 6 week period revealed that the sprinting group lost 6.6% greater fat mass than the running group.
The sprinting group put on their sneakers to workout 3x per week for 6 weeks (they same weekly frequency as the runners). They sprinted at their maximum effort for just 30 seconds, and took a 4 minute recovery. They did this Sprint :30/Rest 4:00 routine 6 times per workout session. At the end of the 6-week study, they lost 12.4% fat mass.
The running group's exercise duration was longer - anywhere between 30-60 minutes per workout session - but at a moderate intensity of about 65% of their VO2MAX. At the end of the 6-week study, they lost 5.8% fat mass.
Why does sprinting work?
At Ultimate Bootcamp we use sprinting in various ways...but all ways are used to push you into an anaerobic exercise state. During anaerobic activities, instead of relying on carbohydrates, fats and proteins - all of which require oxygen to create the energy to contract muscles - your body is finding energy to perform activities in the absence of oxygen. Your body only has a limited supply of energy that can be created in the anaerobic state, which is why our bodies can only sprint for a few seconds at a time.
These high intensity, anaerobic exercises only burn about 40% fat for energy vs 50% fat for energy in aerobic activities. So how do we burn more fat performing anaerobic activities?
Exercising in an anaerobic state burns fat for energy for longer durations...even after you stop exercising! This is one of the reasons why the Sprint 30 second Workouts burned more fat than the Running 30 minute workouts.
Jill Tomich is the busy Co-Founder of Ultimate Bootcamp and a Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant who would rather sprint for 180 seconds than run 30 minutes any day of the week.