Fast lane to weight loss and lean muscle – Sprinting, Epoc, & Hiit

Here is the inside scoop to a few methods that have been gaining more attention for providing quicker results with Fat loss. Whether it’s the latest men’s or women’s fitness, or new class at the gym everyone is trying out the current trends of HIIT (high intensity interval training) to get that EPOC (EPOC, informally called afterburn ) effect.

Gyms like Barry’s Boot camp out of LA and New York has everyone in Hollywood using this method to ignite metabolisms and torch fat… Getting some great results! The gyms provide the coaching and workouts to get you out of our comfort zones. A similar approach with Orange Theory Fitness based out of Florida with gyms in Arizona, Colorado, New York, are growing rapidly using heart rate zone based training. Orange Theory uses wireless heart rate monitors to guide clients (in a class) to work at their “orange zone” which is around 85% of their max heart rate, thus creating (Prepare for some science) EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) which is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake that follows strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s “oxygen debt.” Thus giving you a metabolism boost. (EPOC) is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. These include: hormone balancing, replenishment of fuel stores, cellular repair, innervation and anabolism. Post-exercise oxygen consumption replenishes the phosphagen system. Another use of EPOC is to fuel the body’s increased metabolism from the increase in body temperature which occurs during exercise. EPOC is accompanied by an elevated consumption of fuel. In response to exercise, fat stores are broken down and free fatty acids (FFA) are released into the blood. In recovery, the direct oxidation of free fatty acids as fuel and the energy consuming re-conversion of FFAs back into fat stores both take place

Whoa… Say What?!

Some examples of reaching this EPOC zone are sprinting, circuit training, or tabata intervals

Let’s focus on Sprinting and why you should give it a try..

Aside from proper nutrition, there’s nothing more effective than hill sprints for fat loss. And if you’re not doing them you’re missing out on huge benefits. Don’t waste your time on cardio machines. They suck. Get outside and find a hill instead. Even the greats like Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, and Walter “The Sweetness” Payton used sprints to keep themselves at an optimal level.

Some benefits of Sprinting

Sprinting is an interval or anaerobic workout and it has many benefits than simply jogging on the road using a treadmill. Sprint exercises feature high intensity and short repetitions with long recoveries. These short 20-30 minute workouts can be more than twice as effective as a typical cardio workout. Here are some examples of benefits of sprinting. University studies have proven:

  • Strengthens muscle
  • Enhances growth hormones
  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Enjoyable  and efficient
  • Improve insulin action

If you are new to sprinting you need to take it easy when getting started

Where to get started: Work on Mechanics and warm up – Leaning forward as you accelerate and then chest high. Ease into it to prevent a hamstring injury. Some basics on form –

  • knee lift and activate hip flexor
  • Only the front portion of the foot should strike the ground; the heel should never make contact. When the ball of the foot makes contact with the ground think of yourself as an animal pawing at the ground and rapidly pulling it behind you.
  • Running takes place on the ground, sprinting takes place above it. If you do it right you should feel minimal impact or stress and should feel like you are flying effortlessly. If you’re taking a lot of pounding and it feels like a lot of work, you’re doing something wrong and should consider having someone watch or video tape you for some feedback.

Find a local track or field. My favorite is running barefoot on fresh grass, this is a corrective method for form and posture. OR step up your game for quicker results by doing Hill Sprints.

Hill sprints place your body in a safer position than flat ground sprints because of the angle, so there is far less impact. The risk of pulling a hammy or popping an Achilles or something in your knee is greatly reduced. Another great thing about hill sprints versus other fat loss methods is that they also build muscle at the same time. Hill sprints bring out something that you can’t really get in the weight room, something that you really can’t get on the track. Working out on a hill gives you that edge whether you are seeking performance or physical results.

Try finding a hill and do 10 Sprints with rest in between (try sprinting and walking back or time yourself with an even amount of time to recover. To get maximum results, pick distances or time periods that keep you working for 15-20+ Seconds. This will help you reach your Max heart rate zone earlier.

These are some basics and you can fine tune your method as you progress.

If sprinting isn’t an option, try the same principles on a bike, rower, or with weight circuits…

The Science of EPOC and Weight Management
Because the body continues to expend energy after exercise, EPOC plays a supplemental role to an exercise program in weight management. The evidence suggests that a high-intensity, (interval training) has a more pronounced effect on EPOC (Haltom et al. 1999). Also, it appears that resistance training produces greater EPOC responses than aerobic exercise (Burleson et al. 1998). The research suggests that high-intensity resistance exercise disturbs the body’s homeostasis to a greater degree than aerobic exercise. The result is a larger energy requirement after exercise to restore the body’s systems to normal (Burleson et al. 1998), and thus an explanation for the higher EPOC. The underlying mechanisms that cause the higher EPOC observed in resistance exercise include elevated blood lactate, and an increase in circulating catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) and anabolic hormones.
Inspecting the data from several investigations, it appears that EPOC accounts for postexercise expenditure of 51 (Haltom et al. 1999) to 127 (Burleson et al. 1998) kilocalories. Since a pound of fat is equal to 3,500 kilocalories, the effect of EPOC on weight control must be regarded in terms of a cumulative effect over time.

Get out there and try something new, Our bodies are the best tools that we will ever have, we have a sports car and should use it. Be grateful that we have the ability to move and get out there to see what you are capable of!

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