There are few forms of exercise that can transform your body composition and power output like sprinting. The demand sprinting puts on your body will torch calories while having a full body strengthening effect.
But don't rush into them. The last thing we want is a muscle tweak that puts you on the sidelines for a few days. There are two ways I like to introduce sprinting each year when it's time to push the pace.
My number one go to are hill sprints. Find a steep hill (or hop on a treadmill and jack up the incline) and you are set. Don't worry about the length in the beginning though a hill lasting 30+ yards would be ideal.
The incline of the hill naturally slows you down, lowering the intensity and resulting in less force production which reduces the risk of an injury. This natural intensity limit is beneficial for us, especially as we are just getting started as our bodies aren't use to this style of exercise.
The steeper the hill the better in the beginning in my opinion. Over time feel free to lower the incline (if on a treadmill) or look for a flatter hill. Unless you are a sprinter though I wouldn't worry too much about sticking with a steep angle.
The amount of reps will depend on the length of the hill and your fitness level. I've done anywhere from 2-20 reps in a workout. The 2 repper was a steep hill of ~160 yards that left me about to puke upon completion. The 20 repper was a steep hill of probably 20 yards. I'd aim for 4-6 sprints going about 70-80% effort the first week or two. From there gradually build up both your effort level and the numbers of sprints until you are challenging yourself sufficiently.
The other option to add sprinting into your program is to start with Charlie Francis' "Tempo Runs" on a football or soccer field. Tempo runs are typically 50-400 yards in length. They are ran on soft surfaces like grass to reduce the impact forces (preventing injury) at an effort level of 60-75%.
This may mean a beginning workout consists of a few 100 yard runs at a fast jogging pace. Once again do not rush into sprinting. Take a few weeks to let your body adapt to the exercise before pushing your limits. With tempo runs I like to perform about 1000-2000 yards per workout. In the beginning I'd recommend people start in the 400-800 yard range.
If you want to spice up your tempo training feel free to put some push-ups, crunches, or other exercises in between your sprints. This is a great way to build up your work capacity and train efficiently.
Sprinting is one of the biggest bang for your buck exercises there is.
For someone looking to change their lives by beginning a few new habits here is one way, along with a few habits, to do so. It's a 3 month progression adding 1 new behavior each month. The goal is to perform each habit as many days as you can per month. Then you add a new habit on top of the old one and continue. After 3 months hopefully the behaviors become second nature.
For beginning exercise:
Phase 1: Bodyweight Squats x 25
Phase 2: Push-Up or Plank (25 Push-Ups or 60 Seconds of Planking)
Phase 3: 3 x 10 Minute Walks spread out through the day or one 30 minute walk
So after the 3 months of progressing you're walking for 30 minutes and performing squats and either push-ups or planks on a daily basis.
Adding a morning routine to your day:
Phase 1: Drink 1 glass of water first thing in the morning
Phase 2: Write 3 things you are grateful for
Phase 3: Perform 1 minute of meditation or deep breathing
By the end of this your morning routine would include a glass of water, a gratitude practice, and some meditation.
For someone looking to cut back on poor eating habits? Cut out ONE poor choice each month until you are happy with your diet.
Anytime you are trying to add or take something from your life it is typically best to start small. Change is hard, but small changes are manageable.
The sun is out in its full glory today. Soon the heat will push everyone to the pools and lakes we are fortunate enough to have around us.
When that happens many of us will critique our bodies. We'll wish we had more defined arms, less abdominal fat, and be better able to fit our swimsuits of the past.
If you're worried you may fall into this category do yourself a favor and start working on it now.
Take your current body weight and multiply it by 12. You are to consume no more than this number in calories on a given day. If you want to be more aggressive go with 10 instead of 12.
Download an app such as myfitnesspal and begin tracking your calories. Make sure you are as accurate and honest in tracking your foods as possible. You are only cheating yourself if you aren't doing a thorough job.
Next you will implement an eating window of no more than 12 hours. If you eat breakfast at 7am you must be done with dinner and snacking by 7pm. If you are able, I would suggest shooting for an 8 hour window.
I want you to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night. This is a minimum. I'd prefer 8-9 if possible.
I want you to walk for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. This can be done by performing multiple walks throughout the day (say 3 10 minute walks) or all at once.
Finally you will be performing strength training three times a week. Each workout will follow the below outline:
Upper Push (Push-Up, Chest Press, Bench, Etc)
Upper Pull (DB Row, Chin-Ups, Lat Pulls, Etc)
Squat (Bodyweight, Goblet, Any barbell variation, Etc)
Unilateral (Step-Ups, Lunges, etc)
Hinge (Deadlifts, Single Leg Deadlift, KB Swing, Etc)
Day 1 you will shoot for 4x8 on each movement.
Day 2 you will shoot for 3x12 on each movement.
Day 3 you will shoot for 5x10 on each movement.
If you stick to this set-up for 8-16 weeks then your body composition will change. It requires discipline and consistency, but that is what change takes.
As Spring brings about better weather my exercise routine begins to evolve. As warmer days present themselves I start to crave training the athlete inside of me.
I want to be explosive, powerful, and fluid. I want to jump, throw, and sprint to regain the dynamic abilities I once possessed.
I start searching for fields, hills, and tracks where I can run through a routine of power speed drills from my track days, throw medicine balls as far and as high as I possibly can, and perform a variety of jumps and sprints up a hill.
The added benefit of escaping the gym for fresh air and plentiful amounts of sunshine is a boost to the mind and body.
Spring through fall is my favorite time to train. The ability to take a few pieces of equipment, be it kettlebells, dumbbells, bands, or medicine balls, and have an amazing workout outdoors is hard to beat.
As the weather begins changing for the better I highly encourage you to utilize the great outdoors for your workouts. I think you will find yourself energized, happy, and tapping into new results if you do so.
We are Amber and Jordan Kirbey. We are excited to share our experiences and ideas with you!