As part of my years main plan to get fitter, stronger and faster I’ve been sprinting twice a week. It is a severely underrated “exercise”, and I think it’s so important to anyone trying to lose fat or get in shape that it deserves its own post.
I’ve found that over the last few years, quite a few people don’t know what sprinting is. Well, let me reword that. They know what it is, but think they’re doing it when actually there only jogging fast. Asking google to define sprinting, its says that it is “Running at full speed over a short distance”, with the main two words in that sentence being Full Speed. Sprinting should not be comfortable. It should be hard. Very hard. It should make you feel like you chest is about to explode and that it will never ever stop feeling like that.
If your someone who incorporates sprinting into your routine then you already know why its worth it but if you don’t sprint on the regular you might be asking why in the name of god you would do that to yourself up to 5 times a week? Apart from the major benefits it has on your body it has a good few psychological effects that should definitely be mentioned.
One main one’s is that you feel, as the internet would put it, “like an absolute boss”. There is nothing more manly than running fast, and once you’re doing these for a while you WILL get faster (more on that below). You go out there and run your socks off. When your done you’re going to be sweating like a druid, you’re going to be completely zapped of your energy but god damn it you can be proud. You didn’t come home from work and college and slouch on the couch all night. You got out, got some air, some sunshine, and became more of a man. These days everyone can use a few more man cards in their deck.
Too much time is currently spend indoors. Be it in the office, on reddit (guilty as charged), watching tv, whatever. We don’t get out enough. Maybe its a part of being Irish. We don’t get great weather often and maybe we just get used to trying to stay dry inside. But the benefits of getting some fresh air are amazing. Its a great stress buster and it has been known to lift those spirits up after a crappy day. Listen to the birds chirping, wind blowing, all that nature has to offer. You’ll be surprised at just how nice it is
Now that’s all great but if that’s all that sprinting had to offer, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as a MUST for anyone in a fat loss program. Thankfully, it’s not all its got in its arsenal of benefits. Let’s go into them a bit!
- Sprinting involves your entire body. All those small muscles in your body that don’t really get targeted during your normal strength training program get the crap beaten out of them during sprinting. This is great. All these muscles are now getting worked out and because of that, you’re going to get stronger. Not only in terms of ‘sprinting strength’, if that’s such a thing, but with everything. All your muscles get targeted. The small stabilizer muscles, the big main ones that everyone knows, the lot. This is a huge advantage over more traditional forms of cardio such as running on a treadmill or going on a stepper, which have been proven to not only have less impact on fat loss compared to sprinting, but also can be the cause of muscle loss and serious damage to your central nervous system and joints. It can also lower your explosive power and increase levels of cortisol in the body. Traditional forms of cardio should be avoided like the plague, theres noting good about it.
- Sprinting causes a decrease in estrogen levels and an increase in testosterone production. Today, everyone seems to have excessive estrogen levels and not enough testosterone. Although estrogen has a huge amount of benefits, having too much is bad. Taking a male for an example, it can be the cause of the dreaded man boobs and spare tyre. Fixing this is necessary if fat loss is your aim. Sprinting is one way of doing this. If its incorporated into your training program you will shed pounds and pounds of body fat in no time. Also, the more you sprint, the more you correct your hormone levels. This will aid in getting the fat off, and once its gone, keeping it off (which should be controlled by your diet also).
- You become more explosive. This is great if you play sports such as american football, GAA, rugby, or anything really. After a while your reaction times will pick up and the time it takes for you to get going to 100% of your ability will be greatly reduced. A must for anyone playing sports and taking it seriously.
- Your speed will go through the roof. For sports like american football, short-range speed is a great tool to have. It can mean you avoid a tackle, or get that block in faster than anyone else. Sprinting will do that. That coupled with your increased strength and explosiveness will make you a force to be reckoned with!