Ask The Ripped Dude: What's The Best Way To Do Cardio?
Why train and do cardio for an hour or two when you can get a great workout in 30 minutes? By implementing sprints into your weekly cardio routine, you get twice the benefits in half the time.
I know, I know. You're probably tired of hearing me preach about how great sprinting is, but the benefits are so incredible, I'll never stop talking about it. I know that my lean physique is a byproduct of all the years I spent as a college-level sprinter. I stay ripped because I continue to incorporate sprinting into my cardio regimen.
Aside from killer fat burn, the benefits of sprinting are multifaceted:
1 / Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)
Yes, you burn a lot of calories while you're sprinting, but you also burn a lot of calories after you're done. This magical effect is known as EPOC. After you train, your body works hard to return to its normal state. Your body requires energy to restore blood lactate levels, normalize blood temperature, and bring the heart rate down. The harder you work the more disorder you bring to these systems. Your body then has to work harder to bring them back to normal. All that energy requires calories. Burning calories leads to a leaner body.
2 / ATP Storage
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is your body's most basic energy currency. When muscles contract, they spend ATP as energy. To continue moving, your muscles require more and more ATP. Not only does your body need to produce it, but it also must replace it.
If you sprint, your hamstrings and glutes must use it and reproduce it at a fast rate. If you run out of ATP, you reach failure. Sprints help your body grow efficient at using and producing ATP. This means you'll be able to recover more quickly and train for longer before reaching fatigue.
3 / Beating Lactic Acid Legs
Sprinting makes your body more efficient at using and storing energy, and it also helps your muscles tolerate lactate. Strenuous aerobic activity produces lactate, and lactate can cause pain and fatigue. So there's value in developing tolerance.
During high-intensity activity, a chemical process called "buffering" reduces the acidity of your muscle fibers. Sprint regularly and your body gets better at buffering lactate. Less lactate means less fatigue. If you're not tired, you get to spend more time on the track being awesome!
I hope I've convinced you. Now, you need a great sprint workout to reap all those crazy benefits.
Warm up and stretch for 15-20 minutes before you begin sprinting. This workout isn't going to be easy, but it is an incredible cardio workout that will burn a lot of calories. I do this workout three days per week, usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
After each sprint, walk back to the starting line. After you walk back, begin the next step of the ladder. Run at about 70 percent speed.
- 100 meters
- 200 meters
- 300 meters
- 400 meters
After 5 minutes of rest, begin the second ladder.
- 400 meters
- 300 meters
- 200 meters
- 100 meters
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I found sprinting to do wonders for my physique. Before I would do moderate cardio but now I do HIIT cardio which I walk a minute then sprint a minute for 10-15 mins. Check out how I have transformed my body. Awesome article!
Perhaps if you were going to be either doing sprints or standard LIT, sprints would be better, but if you're already lifting then the majority of the benefits you see from sprints are overshadowed by the benefits of weightlifting.
My point is that if you're already weightlifting, sprint training is less likely to happen than just standard jogging, and since both are being used as extra calorie burners, stick with the one you're more likely to do consistently.
If you're just running though, I agree with this article, sprints are great.
I totally agree with this. If I'm totally honest I've never utilised cardio of any form to any real extent and I've noticed results just fine! I just keep my training in the gym extremely varied and intense and I've gained muscle and lost fat that way over the past couple of years, obviously alongside a healthy diet. On the occasion that I do run however, I do sprints in order to help burn fat, however nothing beats a nice long, steady run for helping to clear your mind. I think people focus too much on the negative side of working out i.e. I NEED to do this in order to lose fat etc... rather than actually enjoying what they are doing.
Ya I feel like for somebody trying to gain muscle, especially an ectomorph, sprinting is just going to contradict your muscle gains. I feel like tightening up your diet and maybe adding some Low intensity cardio is the better way to go. But maybe just stick to no cardio at all? IDK what is best for somebody trying to gain muscle.
What do you guys think?
If I were trying to purely build muscle, and wasn't concerned about fat gains i.e. on a bulking/cutting cycle, I would consider totally leaving cardio alone. Obviously cardio has benefits, but my understanding is that it would be counter-productive, as you are expending calories, thus diverting them away from your goal i.e. to build muscle.
Again, from everything I've read low intensity cardio is not the best way to go. High intensity interval training has been hyped all over the place, using the comparison of bodies such as Usain Bolt and other sprinters again marathon runners. I know which body I'd rather have! The HIIT has been stated to burn 7 times for calories from FAT, and can be completed in a third of the time, which has helped it gain it's notoriety.
Like I said, I rarely do cardio, and have noticed some good gains, but I am pretty tight on my diet, and religious and varied in my training.
I'm by NO means an expert, but I do my best to read as much as possible (I wish I read as much for me degree as I have done about fitness!) so if you want any tips/help, PM me and I'll try and give you a hand the best I can, and point you in the direction of some interesting articles.
Great article, sprints and HIIT as a whole have been really helping me burn the extra fat.
Just one thing, would that workout sum up to a total of 2km? I usually sprint 4-5km in 30 minutes with a "sprint for 45s, rest 2min" routine. That's also fine, right?
The most important part of this article is that the runs are performed around 70%. This is a tempo workout for those that are familiar with track.
Try and do this workout going all out and you will probably not come close to finishing or will hurt yourself.
The effort required to run 70-80% gets my heart rate up enough to make it a beneficial HIIT workout.
You dont have to sprint all out for HIIT to be effective! Now if you are on a bike or elliptical..that's a different story.
First, you don't burn fat whilst sprinting, you burn fat AFTER the sprint workout if you depleted your glycogen store so the body has to rely on fat. Second, you can't run out of ATP, the body just uses another system to replenish it
Seems like a nice routine. I'd like to try it for some variation. My favorite sprint routine is to sprint the length of a football field, walk back, and repeat for a total of 10 times. 100% speed/effort/intensity.
That started getting too easy to where I could do 11 or 12 though, so now I'm using an interval timer to sprint 30 seconds, walk 1 min 30 sec, repeat for a total of 6 times. For those ones I go at about 90-95% intensity.