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Paige Waehner

Burn More Calories with Sprints

By November 1, 2012

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If you've ever slogged through a long, boring cardio machine workout, you know how tedious it can be - and if you put a towel over the display to trick your mind into believing you're not really exercising, you also know that doesn't work. A towel simply doesn't not have the power to make your treadmill disappear.

Your goal may be to burn calories, but what you end up doing is wondering - How can a treadmill actually stop time and isn't this against the laws of physics?

If long, tedious workouts keep you from exercising, interval training may be just what you need. With these workouts, you work hard for a short period of time and, while working hard is...well...hard, knowing you only have to do it for a short time helps you feel better about it. During that hard interval, you're building endurance, increasing your anaerobic threshold and you end up burning even more calories for the rest of the day.

In fact, one study found that exercisers who did sprint workouts - Alternating five 30-second all-out sprints on a stationary bike with four minutes of recovery - burned an extra 200 calories in afterburn.

Here's the thing: You don't necessarily want to try all-out sprints if you're a beginner or you've never tried interval training before. In fact, all-out sprinting is very hard on the body and mind and something you should work up to gradually. The good news is, there are a variety of ways to do interval training that don't involve sprinting at all, such as this Beginner Interval Workout. Keeping your intervals aerobic can make the workouts more comfortable and help you work up to higher intensities, if that's your goal.

Now, if you want a real challenge, this Sprint Interval Workout has got it all. In this workout, your intervals do involve going all out for 30 seconds and resting for 4.5 minutes. This is an advanced workout and it's a tough one, so only try this 1-2 times a week to allow your body to recover.

Do you have a favorite interval workout? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

August 31, 2010 at 6:40 am
(1) Cheryl says:

I love interval training. I always make sure I warm up properly to avoid injury. My warm up consists of 5 mnutes walking increasing speed every minute to a jog then jog for 3 minutes then 2 minutes before first speed interval starts. Then I do 1 minute on all out sprint 30 seconds off 12 times through. As I go through the sprints I increase speed or decrease speed. Sometimes during the minute I increase speed each 10 seconds. I love having to worry only about the 1 minute!!!

August 31, 2010 at 9:42 am
(2) Gary says:

I’ve done “Interval Training” for about 14 Years…my favorite has been:
Jog / Speed-Walk:
Jog: 2-4 Minutes
Speed Walk: 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 Minutes
Back-N-Forth between the two for up to 20 + Minutes

(I like to make sure I JOG at least 10 Minutes out of the exercise session)

On my Gym quality “Stationary Bike“:
Stand Up/Peddle and put resistance on 100% for about 2-4 Minutes
Sit Down/Peddle and put resistance on about 60% for about 2-3 Minutes
Back-N-Forth between the two for at least 20 Minutes

I always do my Interval Cardio Training immediately after a Weight Lifting Workout Session.

August 31, 2010 at 10:24 am
(3) Shirley says:

I love interval training – I get bored to tears doing the same thing, and I believe it is a far more effective way of improving your fitness and your cardiac health.

I like to alternate between different equipment at the gym as well, going from treadmill to stairmaster to orbitrek to avoid boredom and interspersing these with some resistance training, and stretching exercises.

August 31, 2010 at 1:27 pm
(4) Dianne in Texas says:

I’m going to have to try this!!!

I’m a fitness noob, so I’ve really only been walking in order to get my cardio…but lately I’ve started getting just a little bit bored. This might be just the thing for me…thanks!

37 pounds down, 194 to go. Follow my progress here: Battle of the Butt

September 2, 2010 at 5:04 am
(5) Tejal says:

I tried this workout yesterday! I’ve been told not to run or do any high impact activity recently due to a bad back. I’ve been looking for other ways to get the high calorie burn. did this workout on an upright bike in the gym and it really was hard work. the 30 seconds feels like an age and you need the recovery time afterwards!

Thanks for this and please keep sharing other workouts, especially ideas for low impact.

Oh and @Dianne, my project is called Battle of The Bulge! good luck with yours too.

September 7, 2010 at 10:44 am
(6) Celeste Goff says:

I, too, love Interval Training! It’s probably one of the best workouts around. I do a few laps on the track to warm up and then hit a weight machine. Once I do two sets of 12-15 I do a quick sprint around the track then back to another machine. I do this until I’ve worked my entire upper or lower body and covered a mile or two on the track. It’s the perfect workout…cardio and strength-training!

September 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm
(7) Shane says:

Interval training is the best as part of a fat burning workout plan. Along with eating properly, you almost can’t go wrong. Unless, the interval training you do is low intensity. Low intensity and interval training is just weak.

September 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm
(8) Kelcey R says:

One type of interval workout I do on occassion is a pyramid. You can do it on any cardio machine, or I do it water jogging, especially if my bad hip flares up. You start out with a good warm-up of course. Then you do a short interval of 15 seconds and recover for 15. Then a 30 sec. interval followed by a 30 sec. recovery. 45 sec. interval and 45 sec. recovery. 1 min. interval, 1 min recover. You can continue increasing the interval length by 15 seconds as many times as you want, or you can keep your longest interval under a minutes if you want. After you reach your longerst interval, you work your way back down, 1 min. interval and recovery, 45 sec. interval and recovery, 30 sec., 15. As the intervals get shorter the intensity can go up. With longer intervals you may need to pace your self a bit to last the entire length of the interval, especially if you go above one minute. You can repeat the pyramid as needed depending on the length of a workout you want that day. If you want, you can also double up (or even triple or more) on the intervals, say 2 intervals/recovery of 15 sec., two of 30 sec., two of 45 sec., etc., and then work your way back down with 2 intervals of each length, as described above. And of course, a good cool-down and stretch after.

September 12, 2010 at 11:26 pm
(9) Interval training guide says:

I have been a fan if interval training style workouts for many years now. I have become convinced this is the most effective way to train.

March 2, 2011 at 10:29 pm
(10) 2012 olympic sprinting champion!! says:

first of all all these low intense workouts are bs. the only way to get better at anything is to give it your all. telling someone to sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 5 minutes is bs. what u need to do is sprint all out for as long as you can, give urself a 15 second break and do it again, this way you build stamina, strength, power and speed. and with the little amount of rest, it teaches the body to recover alot quicker and heal quicker, its called adaptation!!! people stop believing the bs people tell you and take control of your own life. work hard and ur body will adapt to the new lifestyle so dont listen to other people because they are only holding you back to your true potential!!! peace out!!!

September 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm
(11) Sprinter 4 Life says:

Lol. First off, it is not possible to sprint at 100% for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds and then be able to run ANY WHERE NEAR 100% for the next interval. An Olympic 200 meter runner is going at 100% for roughly 20 seconds, and they would not be able to repeat that time for at least twenty minutes, so I highly doubt the above post is actually from an Olympic athlete. 30 seconds is literally the maximum that a human being CAN sprint at full speed (running), even elite quarter mile runners who can cover that distance in 45 seconds, do it at 90%, it’s just that their 90% is a lot faster than other people’s.

If you are going to actually do this style of workout, you have to give yourself proper recovery. I would advise people to never go beyond 90% on speed endurance sprints like this, and they should still get AT LEAST five minutes recovery in between. If you don’t recover from the previous interval, you are training for regular cardiovascular endurance, not speed. In order for you to be gaining speed, you have to feel energetic on every interval, not dead dog tired.

November 1, 2012 at 10:30 am
(12) PLR says:

I use my Tabata Timer and do 8 intervals 20 seconds sprinting with 10 seconds of rest in between. Intense but quick.

November 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm
(13) Jack THE RIPPER says:




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