Sprinting is the apex predator of all conditioning exercises.
I’ve done bodyweight conditioning, heavy Prowler runs, and even widowmaker style squats. All of these things are very tough and require a lot of internal fortitude to complete.
But in no world are they as tough as doing repeat 300-meter sprints in the middle of July.
Sprinting can kick your tail but sprinting offers benefits that traditional “cardio” cannot.
There is a stark difference between the physique of someone who sprints and lifts relatively heavy weights vs. someone who does machine “cardio” and lifts light weights. It is as evident as the sky being blue on a clear day.
Sprinting and lifting relatively heavy weights is vastly superior for getting real results. I have talked about this before, but it is important to me that the discussion continues.
Based on the amount of people I see sprinting on the track (minimal) vs. the amount of people I’ve seen on treadmills (too many), this conversation needs to continue. I want you all to get the maximum benefits from training.
There are three primary benefits that lifters and athletes will receive from consistently sprinting.
1) Time Management
The “cardio” section at a commercial gym is where lifters dreams of getting into great shape die a slow, boring death.
I trained in commercial gyms from 2003-2016. I never once saw any evidence back in the “cardio” section that inspired me to want to spend hours on a treadmill going nowhere fast.
Let me ask you this: do you truly want to stay on a soul-draining device like a stair master or elliptical for 1-2 hours just to have the machine tell you that you burned 85 calories?
Why not do more work in a fraction of the time? Why not get more benefits from working smarter and harder?
A full sprinting workout for fat loss will average anywhere between 15-25 minutes if you perform it correctly. A sprinting workout for speed development will take longer but that subject is for another day.
Sprinting takes advantage of EPOC which is also known as excess post oxygen consumption.
This afterburn effect allows you to burn more calories in the days after you sprint (typically up to about 24 to 48 hours). You do not get that effect after slogging through the “cardio” section for an hour.
When you combine sprinting and the effect it has on your body post-workout, you have a recipe for building a lean and athletic body.
Now, while you are performing this sprint training you will be decimating body fat, building high glutes of steel, and developing thick hamstrings.
I have never met anyone in life who could not appreciate glutes that sit up high and tight like a military fade. You cannot achieve this in the “cardio” section.
2) Muscle Gains And Fat Loss
When most lifters and athletes start a fat loss program the most common plan of action is to eat dramatically less and workout dramatically more.
On paper, this seems like a good idea as your body does require a caloric deficit to lose body fat.
But when you are in a significant caloric deficit and you combine it with misguided high rep, light weight lifting and excessive cardio, you will also lose muscle mass.
When a trainee spends hours doing “cardio” at some point you begin to sacrifice that muscle mass. When you sacrifice muscle mass you start to get smaller, but not in a good way.
Sacrificing muscle is never the goal when it comes to physique building. When you lose muscle, you start to look like the Scarecrow from Batman.
When your conditioning is short and intense like sprints are, you will build and retain your muscle mass while kicking body fat in the rear.
Sprinting is similar to lifting relatively heavy weights in that the contractions of the muscle during the exercise are intense. This makes sprinting a superior muscle builder when compared to traditional “cardio.”
With all that said you can still lose muscle with sprinting and relatively heavy lifting if your diet is not in order. Super low calorie/carb diets are the death knell for muscle and performance.
You should not rely on a gimmick, low-calorie diet to reach your goals. A variable diet plan, that adjusts the amount of calories/macros based on your activity is the answer.
3) You Will Develop Mental Toughness
Overall, today’s generation in the iron game is soft.
You have many social media “fitness influencers” performing “hard” workouts that are complete bull jive.
You have many pro athletes doing workouts in the gym that are devoid of iron, but littered with bands and machines as the main workout. Are you kidding me?
Watching these folks “train” makes my eyes bleed. I always think “How much better would this person be with a real training, nutrition, and recovery program?”
Mental toughness is required to consistently sprint because sprinting can be that dang unbearable at times.
There is no worse feeling then these things happening:
• Your heart is beating out of your chest
• At the same time your glutes and hamstrings are pumped up beyond belief
• While that is happening your abdominals are cramping and you are getting a side stitch
• As you round the turn your shoulders are getting tight
• Your mind wants to quit
• And you still have 100 meters to go on your 3rd of 4 300’s for the day
I have trained with many training partners over the years.
At some point, we will sprint. It is the crown jewel of my training program.
But the vast majority of these lifters, athletes, and trainees never returned after one session.
I do not say this to brag, but I say this to let you know that you need mental toughness to consistently perform sprint workouts.
I have been involved with sprints competitively and non-competitively since the 4th grade and I know for a fact that my mental toughness is much greater because of those heinous workouts over the years.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit I lost over 50 percent of my gym revenue within a few short weeks. It was like taking an unexpected, but strong body shot from Joe Frazier in his prime.
It dropped me to my knees. 10 years of building my business only to watch the community and revenue get cut deeply within a few short weeks hurt real bad.
As I was on the mat struggling to breathe, I made the decision to get up and continue the fight. I did not panic.
I had to make adjustments. It has not been easy, but my gym is still here.
I attribute being able to withstand that devastating body shot to all those sprinting workouts I’ve done over the last 20 years. Without mental toughness, you will fold at the first sign of adversity.
These three main benefits of sprinting will completely change your mind, body, and performance.
When choosing between sprinting and traditional “cardio” the choice is clear.
If you want a full comprehensive guide on sprinting, please download your copy of my groundbreaking eBook, Use Speed To Get Lean.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,