Eat more, exercise more. Isn’t that what we should do to lose weight after the holidays? Not quite, at least if you want to see faster results. More and more research is finding that long slow bouts of cardio aren’t t as effective as was once thought. According to Speed, Strength and Conditioning Coach Phil Campbell, “With regular cardio, people end up having to exercise longer and longer until they find themselves having to do at least one hour three times a week to see very little change in body weight or composition.”
Campbell, author of “Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness”, is the creator of Sprint8, an intense but short workout that involves eight sets of what he refers to as “cardio sprints”, which involve short bursts of intensity interspersed with timed rest periods. The beauty of the workout is that it takes only 20 minutes, three times a week. “Of that, only four minutes is hard, demanding anaerobic exercise,” explained Campbell who holds two advanced degrees and is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine CPT.
“With Sprint8, participants are working the aerobic and anaerobic processes, therefore challenging the heart and making it stronger on both levels. This is how we were meant to exercise. You are really stepping out of a ‘counting calories burned’ role to go into that of ‘injecting’ human growth hormone (HGH). The whole focus is not targeting calories. When you exercise this way, the body releases HGH. ” Campbell is indeed referring to the same hormone that many women pay thousands for in an effort to lose weight. HGH injections conducted in a doctor’s office result in about a 14.4% overall loss in body fat. However, a six-week study showed that inducing HGH through exercise, specifically cardio sprints results in a whopping 27% reduction in body fat and a 60-point drop in cholesterol—without any changes in diet.
Peter Sharer, 53 has been doing Sprint8 three times a week for the last year at The Riekes Center. “A lot of times, I don’t have an hour to work out so I really look for efficiency when I exercise,” said the Menlo Park resident who travels a lot for business. “Sometimes the elliptical machine is all you can find in a hotel gym. I know in 20 minutes, I can get a really challenging work out if I do Sprint8.” Sharer is pleased to say that he has increased strength in his legs, gotten leaner and has more energy from the short bursts of cardio sprints.
The program consists of a three-minute warm up, then a 30-second all-out cardio segment followed by a 90-second active recovery. Any sprint will work, for instance swimming 25 meters or running 60 meters. Time, intensity and recovery are key components in reaping the full benefits. “You really don’t want to rush the recovery because it keeps you from putting the intensity into it that is needed for all eight sprints,” Campbell warned.
As intimidating as it might sound, Campbell believes that anyone can do Sprint8. “It’s like scientific play. It’s what do little kids do regularly. They run, sprint, they get winded. It’s great because I have seen senior adults do well in the program as well as beginning exercisers and well-conditioned teens.”
To learn more about Phil Campbell or Sprint8, visit readysetgofitness.com, riekescenter.org or call (650)364-2509 to find out about Sprint8 classes