Head for the Hills and Burn Fat in 12 Minutes!
As I’ve written about previously, high intensity cardio is the most effective and efficient cardio for fat loss.
What better way to get a quick and powerful cardio workout is there than sprinting?
The 12 Minute Workout, of course. Sprinting uphill!
Why choose hill sprints?
Cardio Intensity and Variety With Hill Sprints
Not only do hill sprints increase your cardio intensity, but they also give you a chance to add variety to your workout.
When sprinting uphill, you’re shifting the emphasis of work on the muscular system, increasing the demand on different muscles that normally wouldn’t be emphasized.
Obviously the name of the game here is to lose weight (more specifically, bodyfat).
The biggest benefit, weight loss- wise from uphill sprinting is the increase in EPOC.
What Is EPOC?
Here is a great explanation by Eugene:
“EPOC – Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, which is the additional oxygen your body takes in to “right itself” after an exercise bout. If we liken your muscles to a car engine, when you run a car engine, it continues to “burn hot” long after you shut off the ignition. This is akin to the increase in metabolism your body undergoes after performing an exercise bout. As a result of EPOC, you burn additional calories as a result of increased metabolic activity post-exercise.”
Now that you’re fired up and want to stoke your EPOC fat burning furnace, let’s get to hill sprints.
Here’s the simple uphill sprint routine that I do, and you can easily fit into your regular routine, or you could take one of your cardio days and replace them with hill sprints.
I have some steep-hilled streets in my neighborhood, and I perform at least one sprint cardio session per week there.
I’ll throw on the Airpods and jog down to the hilly area, which is about a 5- minute warm- up. Once there I’ll lightly stretch my legs, preparing them for action.
I estimate the hills near me are about a 40 yard sprint up hill. Try to pick the steepest hill you can find.
(Continue reading even if you don’t have access to hills- I have some alternate suggestions.)
Step 1: Do a light jog up the hill a few times to get warm and loosened up. Remember, the point here is to warm up the muscles and mentally prepare yourself. You’re not trying to break speed records. Yet.
Step 2: Crank up your favorite song (some research says playing your favorite music loud during exercise helps manage pain and fatigue).
Unscientifically, I found that yes… it does work.
Step 3: Set your stop watch for 12 minutes and choose a finish line up the hill. It could be a tree, it could be a parked car if you’re sprinting on a sloped street. Choose a goal about 40 yards away.
Step 4: Start the timer and sprint at top speed up the hill, taking full strides until you reach the top. Then once you hit your goal, slowly jog down to the bottom. Wait 10 seconds, then sprint again.
Do this continuously for a total of 12 minutes. That’s it! Stretch your legs lightly, and go home and have your post-workout recovery drink.
“12 minutes? My warm up usually takes 12 minutes!”
Well, try this uphill sprint cardio routine, and then tell me you’re not ready to go home after 12 minutes.
Sprinting is a primal exercise. You can push yourself to the limit. It’s also great to get out in the fresh air and challenge yourself.
Adding this uphill sprint workout 1 time per week on top of your regular workouts will burn bodyfat like nothing else. It’s a great leg workout, and great for the lungs and overall conditioning.
It’s also a great workout for those of us who travel a lot, or simply don’t have much time.
Isn’t it nice to be able to be out the door, workout, and be back in 20 minutes?
I know I love it.
“But what if I don’t have no stinkin’ hills by my house?!”
Ok, if you’re on a coastline, you can get your sprints done on the beach. Try running in the softest sand you can find.
Not only is it easy on the joints, but it’s brutal work, picking em’ up and putting em’ down in soft sand.
Remember, the key point here is intensity. You want to ramp up the metabolic rate so that you’re burning calories long after the workout. (Remember EPOC?).
It doesn’t matter which modality of cardio you use, just push yourself to get the most out of it.