Even among professional athletes, very few people look as lean and ripped as a competitive sprinter.
And there’s a good reason for that:
People who do intense and explosive exercises naturally develop ripped bodies.
Sprinters training routines mainly consist of sprint interval training on the track. (Of course, at the highest level some weightlifting and other types of training will also be involved.)
The reason this kind of training sculpts your body is because sprinting doesn’t just make you faster, it changes your hormonal profile.
It increases testosterone levels and increases growth hormone secretion.
As someone who loves intensive, quick and fuss-free training sessions, sprinting has become a foundation in my training.
I only need to spend around 20 minutes in the park every other day and don’t need any special equipment.
I’ve been following Joe LoGalbo’s Anabolic Running Program which I’ll talk about later on.
What Is Sprint Interval Training?
Sprint Interval Training sounds quite fancy but it just means doing a series of sprints with short breaks in between.
You need to be doing sprints in intervals because your body needs a chance to replenish oxygen after each sprint.
As a form of intensive anaerobic exercise, sprint interval training is high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in its purest form.
HIIT has been shown to increase your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours after the workout, meaning your body passively burns more energy (calories) at rest.
A Simple Sprint Interval Training Workout
Here is a simple but effective example of a sprint interval training workout:
- Stretch and warm up with some light cardio for 5 minutes
- Sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds (or 200 meters)
- Slow down and walk until you feel fully recovered (~2-3 minutes)
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 another 4x.
- Cool down at a nice and easy pace for 5 minutes
Benefits of Sprint Interval Training
For whatever reason, very few people do sprints. I know plenty of people who go jogging, hit the gym to lift weights or do some TRX, but sprinting? No one.
It’s no doubt in part due to the multi-billion dollar health and fitness industry popularizing elaborate training programs and fancy training equipment.
Which is a MASSIVE shame because something as simple as sprinting opens up a whole new world of benefits:
Increases your anaerobic threshold
Your anaerobic threshold (AT) is the point at which your body begins to use your anaerobic system and burn glucose without oxygen.
If exercise is low intensity, your body won’t resort to the anaerobic system. It will just use the aerobic system which is more efficient and sustainable.
If you lack anaerobic training, you will have a low AT. This means just by doing moderate exercise (say, climbing the stairs), your body will use the anaerobic system and you’ll quickly be out of breath.
Sprint interval training significantly increases your AT which means that you’ll only feel out of breath or experience cramps when you’re doing truly intensive exercises.
Increases your VO2 Max
VO2 max is essentially how efficient your body is at getting oxygen from the air you breathe to your muscles. If you have a high VO2 max, you are able to draw in more oxygen during exercise.
That means you can burn more glucose with oxygen (aerobically) and won’t go out of breath. VO2 Max is one of the biggest indicators for a person’s fitness.
High intensity interval training which raises your heart rate by over 70% of its maximum is the only way you can increase your VO2 max. Sprinting is a surefire way to breach that threshold.
I think it’s safe to assume that every guy on the planet wants high testosterone levels.
Not only does it make you stronger, leaner and healthier, but it has other far-reaching benefits such as increasing your confidence and sex drive.
Multiple studies have shown that sprinting elevates testosterone levels without increasing cortisol. It’s not just a temporary boost either, the testosterone levels remain high hours after working out.
Out of all the natural testosterone boosting methods, sprinting (or similar exercises) and dietary changes are ranked to be the most effective.
Releases Growth Hormone
Growth hormone isn’t just something prescribed to kids with growth deficiencies, it is a natural protein that your body utilizes to build muscle, strengthen bones and burn fat.
When we sprint, our body is subjected to stresses its typically not used to. Connective tissue is worn, muscle cells are damaged and bones endure more pressure. As a result, the brain signals the hypothalamus which in turn signals the pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone.
A famous study showed that sprinting in 30 second intensive resulted in HGH levels 530% higher than the control group, staying elevated for around 2 hours.
Lower Blood Pressure and Improve Cardiovascular Health
Most people typically assume classic ‘cardio’ workouts like jogging or some time on an exercise bike is the key to fantastic heart health.
However, studies have shown that between endurance and interval training, interval training has significantly better outcomes.
One study involving overweight women in 2011 showed reduced resting heart rate and increased stroke volume as a result of a month of interval training.
Why You Should Avoid Long Distance Running
Contrary to popular belief, long distance running can actually end up doing more harm than good, especially in males.
A scientific study on males found that endurance athletes had lower levels of testosterone than untrained individuals.
As a real-life example, U.S. half-marathon record holder Ryan Hall retired from competitive running, citing the harmful effects it has had on his body.
Endurance running had caused his testosterone levels to plummet. While he was still capable of smashing marathon records, he had chronic fatigue, low sex drive, low muscle mass and became injury prone.
Joe LoGalbo’s Anabolic Running Program
Anabolic Running is a comprehensive sprint training program that is, in my opinion, a great way to get started.
While sprint interval training is as about as simple as exercising can get, the fact remains there is still a right and wrong way of going about it. Anabolic running features a solid training plan and instructional videos to make sure you’re not left guessing.
Meet your personal instructor, Joe LoGalbo
The program’s author, Joe LoGalbo, is a fitness trainer and ex-marathon runner that decided to switch things up after realizing the negative effects of endurance running.
Like Ryan Hall, years of training for long distance running had made him ‘skinnyfat’, lethargic and testosterone deficient.
Endurance running is fundamentally catabolic – it increases cortisol and decreases testosterone. That means it actually ends up breaking down muscle.
On the other hand, sprinting is fundamentally anabolic, it promotes building lean muscle and burning fat.
To maximize the anabolic effects of sprinting, Joe LoGalbo conducted thorough research to devise the perfect sprint interval training workout.
In the program, he goes over the results he had as a result of sprint interval training. It’ll give you a bit of a taster of what you can expect.
The Lactic Acid Threshold
If you’ve ever done an explosive bout of exercise, you’ll be familiar with the feeling of cramp that can result.
Cramp might seem undesirable, but it actually plays a big role in increased testosterone and IGF-1 production. And of course, that’s what you need for the muscle strengthening and bone strengthening benefits.
That’s why Joe’s program places a lot stress around listening to your body and breaching the lactic threshold. As they say, no pain no gain.
A Closer Look
Anabolic Running isn’t an unnecessarily big program. At its core it’s just 25 pages long. However, you’ll also have access to how-to videos and bonus content which are worth a read.
Joe pays extreme attention to detail, from the way you should breathe during sprints to the amount of time each sprint interval should last. He also justifies each suggestion with scientific reasoning, so everything makes a whole lot of sense.
The actual sprinting part only involves 16 minutes of sprints a week. That might sound too short to be effective, but bare in mind that a sprinter like Usain Bolt would be sprinting 9.6km in that time!
Additionally, there are warm up and cool down routines, as well as supplementary exercises that reduce risk of injury and improve running form. Examples of these extra exercises include high leg kicks, jump rope and lunges.
Sprint Interval Training gets my vote as the purest and most satisfying form of HIIT.
There’s something primal about running as fast as you can and it leaves you with a great runner’s high. It’s a lot more approachable than those over-engineered crossfit or metcon routines that promise hold the secret to your dream body.
Right now Anabolic Running 2.0 is being sold at a pre-release discount price of $15. You can get the deal here. Even if you don’t end up using the program, I’d still urge you to take up (or at least try) sprint interval training.
Thanks for reading.