Interval Sprint Programs for Rapid Fat Loss and Muscle Growth
With Eric Serrano, MD
Most strength athletes would rather go through an all night torture session listening to pop music while being forced to eat tofu instead of doing “cardio.” Have no fear because you don’t need steady-state cardio to reach your fat loss, performance, and conditioning goals! There isn’t any need for leg warmers, headbands, or tights. However, implementing the program below with Prowlers® and sleds will put you on the fast track to fat loss. In reality, steady-state cardio does little for relatively lean people, and your time is much better invested into performing a large variety of interval sprints.
Benefits of interval sprints versus steady-state cardio
When making the judgment call as to what type of cardio to include in your program, look at this evidence on the strengths of interval sprints:
- Increases rates of fat burning for longer periods of time following the workout than steady-state cardio
- Burns more fat as fuel during the exercise session than steady-state cardio
- Builds functional muscle, power, and stamina
- Prevents fast-twitch muscle fibers from down regulating to slower habits
- Builds muscle instead of breaking it down when proper pre-/post-nutrition strategies are employed
- Takes much less time than steady-state cardio
- Allows for the implementation of Prowlers®, sleds, and other tools that have cross training benefits to improve maximal strength and performance
- Can more easily involve the entire body in sprint intervals to burn more fat
- Can be done without equipment when necessary
- Creates less of a stress hormone response than an equivalent time period of steady-state cardio helping to prevent overtraining
No time to waste
One of the best things about intervals that our clients have enjoyed is the short sessions. You can get a great workout in only 10 minutes if you push yourself. More advanced trainees will require a more thorough warm up and can have interval workouts lasting closer to 30 minutes after they build a strong base. Sometimes 10 minutes is all you have available, so make the most out of it instead of bypassing a workout all together. You can also do a quick sprint session at home on any patch of grass, such as your kids sports practice, saving commute time to the gym as well. Yes, other parents will look at you funny when they see you sprinting while practice is going on. They can stick to texting the pizza man while you’re getting ripped!
Prevent overtraining and overlap
We all have a limited amount of time in which we can productively train due to practical time constraints and our capacity to optimally recover. Strength athletes must spend time in the gym perfecting their craft. This alone is taxing on both the nervous system and the muscles. Adding in too many workouts outside the gym can tip the scales toward overtraining, which brings progress to a grinding halt. Football players in particular must devote time to the weight room and functional training to improve on field performance. An all out war with the Prowler® can help them work on blocking skills while improving their conditioning at the same time, all in about 30 minutes instead of in two separate 30 minute sessions. The net result is more time to recover, which in the long run prevents injuries while improving performance and body composition.
Too tired to train? Sprints wake you up!
A quick interval session can help wake you up and give you physical and mental energy to carry you through the rest of the day and night productively. Even a short 10-30 minute workout can do wonders for fat loss by providing a significant metabolic and hormonal activation.
Sprinting for unrivaled definition
Sprints aren’t only great for fat loss. They’re also great for improving muscle definition and size. Check out the chiseled physique of a sprinter versus a distance runner. One hundred percent of the time the sprinter has a great deal more lean body mass while having very low body fat levels in comparison to endurance athletes. The high threshold of work required for sprinting will efficiently recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers with the greatest potential for muscle growth.
Feed muscles for rapid body composition improvement and accelerated recovery
The interval sprint plan below will be taxing from both a metabolic (muscles) perspective and a neurological perspective. Unlike a simple running session, you’re adding load to the equation, which kicks up the lactic acid. This is similar to a car engine running out of motor oil. The moving parts—in this case, your muscles—seize up fast. Lactic acid is a precursor to growth hormone, which is a potent fat burning hormone. So the more the merrier! Amino loading with 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis forces the body to use more stored fat as fuel while helping muscles effectively deal with high lactic acid levels and increasing tolerance for exercise discomfort.
Would you like to be able to walk the day after training?
To avoid feeling like your legs were beaten by baseball bats, we suggest that you use the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis 30 minutes before and immediately after training to make your soreness all but disappear so that you can keep on track with training. Based on years of patient trials, Dr. Serrano’s proprietary ratios load muscles with their ideal ratios of raw materials for accelerated growth and repair. The development process included thousands of hormonal blood work reviews, strength/body composition testing, performance reviews, muscles biopsies, and more.
Kill as many birds as you can with one stone!
Every strength athlete needs to do functional work to correct weaknesses. Why not pack that in with an interval session to make the most out of your time? We often assign backward sprinting while dragging a sled for extra hamstring work followed by a lower intensity backward walk while performing strap external rotations. The goal here is to keep moving to drive up fat loss hormones with every productive second of work.
Sounds easy? Give it a try!
Sprint interval workout #1
Equipment: Sled or Prowler® (straps and weights if needed)
- Perform a 5 to 10 minute warm up and dynamic stretch to break a sweat and prepare for the workout.
- Do 5-20 yard external rotation walks.
- Perform 50-yard sled drag sprints or Prowler® pushes for seven to ten seconds.
- Walk back to the starting line and keep moving. This should take no more than fifty seconds.
- Repeat the sequence ten times.
- Perform a 5-10 minute cool down.
Have a need for speed?
Naturally, a competitive person is going to want to pack the sled with weight to make the sequence harder, but in this case, we have a need for speed. We don’t want to replicate intensity zones that we routinely train in the gym. The idea here is to get moving as quickly as possible to provide some stimuli for the body, which will drive body fat loss and improved conditioning. Yes, you will be breathing heavy. Over time your capacity to sprint will drastically improve as your cardiovascular system adapts to the stimuli.
Sprint interval workout #2
Equipment: Sled or Prowler® (straps and weight load if needed)
- Perform a 5 to 10 minute warm up.
- Perform 50-yard push or pull sprints for 6 to 10 seconds.
- Jog back to the starting line and stay in constant motion for about 40 seconds.
- Repeat this five times.
- Take one minute of rest.
- Sprint 50 yards without any equipment.
- Jog back to the finish line. This should take no longer than 40 seconds.
- Repeat this five times.
- Perform a 5 to 10 minute cool down.
Infinity Fitness INC provides training, fitness, and nutritional information for educational purposes. It is important that you consult with a health professional to ensure that your dietary and health needs are met. It is necessary for you to carefully monitor your progress and to make changes to your nutritional and fitness program to enjoy success. Infinity Fitness does not employ dieticians or health professionals and assumes no responsibility or liability for your personal health and condition.
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