Why Sprinting is the Best Way to Burn Fat

sprinting up a mountain

Have you ever seen an over-weight sprinter or a sprinter with any visible fat at all? I haven’t, and that’s because sprinting is the best way to burn fat, period. It’s not weight training or even cardio; it’s the sprinting that melts the fat and builds lean muscle. 

It’s been a while since we’ve all seen some world-class sprinting action, which is a shame, as sprinting is so exciting to watch. Now with the Olympics canceled, it’s, unfortunately, going to be a while longer. That’s sad indeed, as are many things at present.

However, we must stay motivated and positive to get through this! The current situation is hard for everyone to deal with world-wide, and I don’t think there are any exceptions. Emotions can be all over the place due to the uncertainty and financial strain the crisis is causing. 

So why am I writing about sprinting and fat burn? Well, if we don’t take care of ourselves during these crazy times, we potentially risk losing more than our jobs or income, but our health and our minds too. That’s why it’s even more critical now, no matter how hard it is, to work on staying positive and getting healthier and fitter. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, we need to make decisive action plans, which include improving our health and fitness.

What do we need to achieve those goals? Motivation. 

swim sprining in a small pool to burn fat
Mini-Pool Sprints

And that’s why sprinting is so valuable. A single sprinting session can make you feel so much better in body and mind. A sprint workout motivates you to push yourself to be more creative in dealing with the daily challenges.

Why and how does this work? 

Sprinting triggers a mass release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Many forms of exercise have a similar effect, but sprinting, due to its high-level intensity, tops the list. Endorphins help reduce stress and depression by making you feel happy, and can also reduce pain and inflammation in the brain. Sprint training also supports mental toughness, and we certainly can all do with a good dose of that these days! 

sprinting in a park to burn fat
Outdoor running sprints, great fun but you need space!

But where to sprint these days, is the question? 

Yes, that’s a bit of a problem, seeing we are not supposed to go out unless we have to, and all public places are closed. Sprinting can, therefore, be a slight challenge, one would think, so it may be easier not to bother. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way! As the old saying goes. 

Indoor and outdoor sprinting options.

If you can get outdoors and safely exercise alone in a park or somewhere else in nature, that’s great. In that case, you can go for the classic 100-meter dashes, times four to eight reps, depending on your fitness level. 

As staying indoors is the most like scenario for most reading this, for now, I have a few sprinting options for you to try at home. These can all be performed either in a living room, a staircase, or the stairwell of a building. 

Indoor sprinting options:

1. Staircase

It doesn’t matter how long or short the stairs are, run up and down as fast as you can (cautiously when coming down), for 20 to 30 seconds each sprint. Rest for 60 seconds, repeat 4 to 8 times. 

2. Stairwell building sprints. 

If you live in an apartment building, chances are you have an elevator and stairs. Tip: Start using the stairs (always) for heart health and fitness benefits! 

The routine: Dash up the stairs, as many floors as it takes, for 20 to 30 seconds. Walk back down slowly to your starting point; repeat 4 to 8 times.

You can gauge the number of sets you can safely complete by paying attention to your condition. Once you feel fatigued (muscles and/or out of breath) and can’t bound the steps safely anymore, it’s time to stop, and call it a day.

Please don’t push too hard and risk injury.

3. The living room on the spot sprints.

The same concept applies as above. Sprint as fast as you can on the spot for 20 to 30 seconds, rest for 60 seconds, repeat 4 to 8 times. Don’t raise your knees too high, keep the impact to a minimum to not damage your knees. Aim to sprint as fast as possible on the balls of your feet, activating the fast-twitch muscles in your legs. 

4. Living room sprints 

Set up a mini track in the room, clear of any obstacles, and race as fast as you can to one end touching the ground, then sprint back and repeat. Keep this up for 20 to 30 seconds, rest for 60 seconds and repeat 4 to 8 times. 

Round it up. 

There you have four ways to sprint without leaving your home or apartment building that will significantly burn fat, build lean muscle, and make you feel motivated and happy throughout the day. 

More good news.

The fat burn and elevated mood will continue for most of the day after a sprinting session; it’s called afterburn, or EPOC (excess-post-exercise oxygen consumption). After a high-intensity workout, the body burns more calories and fat, as it consumes more oxygen. 

The same goes for the so-called “runner’s high feeling; the more intense the workout, the longer the endorphins are released into your bloodstream. 

The Finish Line.

I generally advise to sprint one or two times per week, as you don’t want to be pushing your heart rate to your maximum too often. That would be bad for your heart and, therefore, counterproductive. 

A single sprinting session, with a ten-minute warm-up and five-minute stretch at the end, will take only 30 minutes. The benefits you can reap from a single sprinting session, however, are tremendous, for body and mind. 

Sprinting is a fantastic way to burn fat, build lean muscle, free your mind, and motivate you to push on and succeed!

Swim Sprints are Fun!

In Summary: The Amazing Benefits of Sprinting

Builds overall body strength.

Sprints are an anaerobic exercise; this means that they will trigger muscle building, increasing the size and strength of the powerful, fast-twitch fibers. Studies show sprinting can enhance protein synthesis pathways by as much as 230 percent! 

With the right nutrition and recovery, this will lead to muscle building, allowing your body to become leaner and enabling you to run (sprint) faster, longer, and more efficiently.

Burns fat intensively.

Sprint training is one of the most efficient conditioning exercises that can create significant fat loss. Compared to long and steady aerobic training, like running or jogging, sprinting enables you to lose body fat.

In contrast, in aerobic exercise, you are more likely to lose body mass – which includes fat, but also water weight. When wanting to lose weight and become healthier, you should aim to burn fat.

Check the science:

A Nutrition journal study conducted in 2004.

Sprints improve your endurance and stamina.

Sprinting will improve your general stamina. Sprinting is one of the most efficient ways to build your endurance, as your cardiovascular system’s capacity expands with sprint training.

Sprinting improves heart health.

Sprinting comes with great cardiovascular benefits. It can help lower your blood pressure. The fast-twitch muscles that you are building with sprints strengthen your heart health and function. 

Build mental toughness through sprints.

Sprints are a challenging workout. There may be moments of uncertainty in the middle of your workout that challenge your ability to finish. Pushing through the discomfort will enable you to break your limits and build your confidence in your emotional and physical skills.

Reducess stress.

Sprinting triggers a mass endorphin release, which reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Saves time.

Sprints are quick bursts of movements. You can complete a sprint workout in 15 to 20 minutes, and as such, it’s more time-effective than jogging or biking for an hour. Plus, you burn fat, build lean muscle, and improve your cardiovascular system, all in one.

Improves glucose control/insulin.

A 2009 study by BMCEndocrine Disorders found high-intensity workouts substantially improved insulin levels and could reduce metabolic syndrome risk factors, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abdominal body fat.

Thank you for reading, and please get those sprints done. They are simple, easy, and quick to complete, and the rewards are amazing! Stay motivated, stay positive, and healthy!

Rob Hourmont

Former Olympic Athlete & Certified Health Coac

“It is my mission to help people lose weight and build a healthy, strong heart, body, and mind, supporting a longer life.”

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