Sprinting does wonders for your body. It pushes your muscles and cardiovascular system to their maximum fat burning potential. Unfortunately, most workouts that allow for sprint-like exercise also involve a lot of impact. That means that, while you're undoubtedly doing some major fat burning, you may also be doing damage to your joints and bones.
This workout takes the cake (how cruel of me to mention cake in a workout routine post). It can be done on any stair master that will monitor your heart rate (or you can use a heart rate monitor). The great thing about this workout is that you can get all of the benefits of sprinting for over ten minutes... without the impact.
In addition to an amazing sprint period, this workout maximizes your fat burning potential. Most of us skip over our body's fat burning phase and settle into aerobic or steady state workouts... yet, the most crucial parts of burning fat are hitting your fat burning phase and your anaerobic phase. This workout ensures that you burn fat the entire time, both before and after your sprint.
Here's the workout!
- Begin at level 5. Watch your heart rate slowly climb as you increase the speed (but try to stay between 5 and 8). Your goal should be to meet your 50-60% mark, then keep it there.
- Begin at level 8. Watch your heart rate slowly climb as you increase the speed (but try to stay between 8 and 10). Your goal should be to meet your 60-70% mark, then keep it there.
- Begin at level 10. Each time you increase the speed, your heart rate will slowly rise for a bit, then it may plateau and begin to fall again. This is normal. Watch for your heart rate to start slowing down, then speed the machine up by 1 level. Try to stay between 10 and 12, aiming for the lower part of your Anaerobic zone (but if you're climbing higher and have the energy, feel free to let this blend into the next segment).
- Begin at level 12. Each time you increase the speed, your heart rate will slowly rise for a bit, then it may plateau and begin to fall again. This is normal. Watch for your heart rate to start slowing down, then speed the machine up by 1 level. Try to stay between 12 and 16, aiming for the higher part of your Anaerobic zone.
- Keep the level somewhere between 5 and 8. This will allow your body to cool down while keeping it in fat burning mode to burn the fat cells just released by the intense segments of the workout. Your heart rate may initially speed up, as your body realizes it no longer needs to conserve energy for the rest of the workout. By the end of the 4 minute cool down, however, your heart rate should be slowly but steadily dropping.
Some Notes:This workout is based on spending time in your fat burning zone (50-60% of your Max Heart Rate), then swiftly moving up into your aerobic zone (60-70% of your Max Heart Rate) and anaerobic zone (70-80% of your Max Heart Rate), then coming back down into your fat burning zone.
I have included some basic numbers that predict your zones based on age, but keep in mind that an extremely fit 30 year old's heart rate zones will be higher than an unfit 30 year old. This is because heart rate zones are based on what you are capable of doing with your body and heart... and the more truly fit you are, the more you will be capable of doing with your body and heart.Your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) starts at 220 beats per minute and falls by one beat per minute every year after birth. Once you reach age 30, the rate of decrease is .5 instead of 1. To calculate your maximum heart rate...
- If you are <30 Years Old: 220 - Age
- If you are >30 Years Old: 190 - .5(Years Over 30)
To make it simpler, here are some brackets (these are only estimates):
- If you are 20-25: 195-200bpm
- If you are 25-30: 190-195bpm
- If you are 30-40: 185-190bpm
- If you are 40-50: 180-185bpm
- If you are 50-60: 175-180bpm
- If you are >60: 160-175bpm
*Many thanks to CalculateNow for the heart rate zone image.
**As usual, you should consult a physician before starting any exercise regimen. I am not a doctor nor a certified trainer, so please don't sue me**