Putting Sprints into Your Diet

By Maurice Harris – April 9, 2013
Photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

With sprinting and speed training exercises, the body increases its ability to store oxygen and improve the efficiency of muscles during exercise. So what does this really mean? It means that when you incorporate short, high-intensity sprint drills into your workout, you will burn more calories and see faster results. Here's why it works and HOW TO GET IT DONE.

Coach Mo's Four Reasons to Incorporate Sprint Training 

Changing Your Body Type. Take a moment and think about what most sprinters look like. Most are lean and muscular with great posture. Sprinters also have incredible endurance and strength. Now what does lean look like? There is a difference in what most of us consider lean: Skinny isn’t lean, and lean muscle isn't bulk! The human body is designed to be lean and strong to accomplish any task that is presented. Now, take a moment and think about which body you’d like to have—skinny or lean?

Burning More Calories. Interval training burns a high number of calories and sprinting is considered the highest level of interval training. You use every muscle in your body when you are sprinting. To get the most out of your strength training, you should add some type of sprinting routine to the beginning or end of each workout and evaluate the benefits over a period of time. The sprinting portion could be something as easy as sprinting for five yards, then back peddling back for five yards. Sprint and back peddle for 20 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Beginners can repeat this routine two to three times. You will discover that you burn more fat when adding sprinting to your strength training routine.

mo-0007Doing Less for Best Results. Distance running causes long-term wear and tear on your body. Injuries like runner's knee, stress fractures, and shin splints are just a few of the more common injuries distance runners experience. You can get the same endurance benefit with sprint training as you do with distance running. Try doing ten 100-meter sprints with the goal of completing each sprint within 16-20 seconds. Give yourself 30 seconds of rest between each repeat, and you will see that it is better than running three miles. If you don't have access to a track, you can do interval running on a treadmill. Sprint for 60 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds.

Cutting the Equipment. All you need is your positive attitude! Sprinting does not require much room, and speed training can be done both indoors and outside. Twenty feet of space is ideal for a great short distance sprint program. Sprint training also is great for boot camp instructors looking for creative ways to help their clients see faster results. Boot camp instructors can make it fun and challenging by adding sprinting relay races. Clients love (and hate!) it when trainers spice things up with something new.

It is important to remember that a proper warm-up is a must when doing sprint training. The warm-up helps the body with the transition from rest mode to active mode. In active mode, you’re increasing body temperature and getting blood flowing to the necessary places in order to prevent injury. Your warm-up could be a light 400-meter jog followed by plyometric movements such as high knees, butt kicks, high kicks, lunges, etc.

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