News: 2 Minute Sprints Burn Fat Like 30 Minute Workouts
There’s been no shortage of articles touting the benefits of quick, intense exercise. A new study in the International Journal Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism just dug a little deeper to compare oxygen consumption — an indication of metabolism speed — between athletes who performed sprint intervals versus longer bouts of endurance exercise.
The researchers asked eight male students to partake in 30 minutes of steady-state cycling, four 30-second cycling sprints with four minutes active recovery in between each, and no activity (the control) three times a week for six weeks. Researchers measured their oxygen consumption (VO2) over three separate 24 hour periods — during and after 24 hours of exercise. The results revealed their VO2 was 150 percent higher during endurance exercise than sprinting intervals, yet after 24 hours the overall amount of oxygen consumed between athletes was nearly identical.
Can We Trust It?
The study suggests that when it comes to exercise and metabolism, intensity may be just as important as how long we’re hitting the roads. For those who don’t have 30 minutes to spare, two total minutes of (now here’s the key!) intense sprinting with a proper warmup and recovery period will effectively boost metabolism over the next day. It's worth pointing out, however, that the intense exercise was bookended with significant periods of (less intense, but still some) activity — so the results might not be as shocking as the study title might suggest. Intense exercise is more efficient and boosting metabolism than steady state cardio, but only to a certain degree.
Also, the results are based on a super small sample and only included males subjects. Caveats aside, there is enough science to say that aerobic exercise will help people get healthy and happy, so make sure to squeeze in some heart-pumping cardio, no matter how many minutes long.
Article updated 8/22/12
Do you think these results are legit? What do you prefer: short intervals or longer bouts of cardio?
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I'm not sure if you're saying if you haven't got 30 minutes a day, you can just stick on some shoes, and run like a lion is chasing you for 2 minutes...
In that case, does that mean when I do interval training on the treadmill absolutely maximise metabolism? I'm not sure what the best times for interval training are but I do 1 minute of full sprinting, and then 2 minute quick walking. and repeat for at least 20 minutes to 30 minutes.
@Jay_Carter In all my personal testing of different cardio approaches, the way you're doing it garnered the best results for me. Steady state cardio had me in a plateau for a long time. When I started really going low and then very intense.. repeating for the entire workout, I started seeing instant results again. As for running 2 minutes straight, hard as possible.. I'd like to see the individuals try this. Can you imagine? 1 minute of "hard as you can" is going to take really being in shape. But 2 minutes? Most people would fall over dead. Interesting study though!
@LeanGainsGuide I do endurance too and weight training. I would call myself pretty fit. I basically chose 1 minute all out sprint and 2 minute rest because honestly when I really am doing all intensity I can't go longer than 1 minutes.
@LeanGainsGuide I agree, two minutes all out is not practical. Most will start to lag after one minute. I have been doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for the past 1-2 years and it works. I sprint all out for 30 seconds and walk for one minute for rest. I usually do two miles this way. Yes this method will burn far more fat faster than stead state cardio.
Can you do this kind of training on stationary bike? Need low impact after total knee replacement.
Just from my own experience, doing HIIT has really made my quadriceps pop, but there are tons of confounding variables in my experiment.
@laurenislost Forgive me, I'm new here. HIIT??
@JackieAdams High Intensity Interval Training, it usually doesn't even last for 2 minutes, 50 second on, 10 second off repeat for about 12 minutes.. You can find these types of workouts on youtube or if you have a smartphone, they can be applications. Happy fitness!
@JackieAdams @laurenislost Hey Jackie and Lauren,
Thanks for reading! Just wanted to pop in and share this infographic we posted a while back all about HIIT. It should explain anything and everything you need to know! http://greatist.com/fitness/interval-training-complete-guide/. Let us know if you have any questions, too!
30/60 That's what i did during Army training. you start off with a very light jog around the track (1lap.) after you complete your 1st lap start with sprinting 30sec. long then walk it out for 60sec. repeat that 4-8 times. eventually you can move up to 60/120. 60 sec. sprints 160 walk.
We had the same report in England of which two of my friends tried this system and ended up with minor injuries! I'm not saying it doesn't work full stop but so far I fail to see who this will benefit. 30 minutes down to 2 minutes is a massive drop surely the figures are wrong. If 30 minutes is too long then try 20, if you take away some of that TV watching time that should do the trick.
I did the treadmill sprint workout that greatist suggested (5 minute jogging warmup. 30 seconds of sprinting with 45 seconds of fast walking 8 times. Cool down), yesterday and MAN do I feel it. It really made my cardio time fly by because before I could get bored, I was doing something else. Not to mention my abs are so sore so I know that this is really testing my core.
Really great stuff guys, thanks so much :)
@alexisdemetra ps-- I love doing interval sprints for the same reason, so much more interesting!
@alexisdemetra Could you possibly post a link to this please? I searched the site and didn't find it.
Thanks to Greatist's "Lifting Weights won't make you Bulky" article (http://greatist.com/fitness/ladies-lifting-weights-wont-make-you-bulky/ ) I found this gem of a workout.
Yesterday was my second day doing it and I am almost too sore to do anything today. Walking up the stairs out of the subway was tough. I may do it again today but less reps and more jogging. Either way, it really pushes me to stay on the treadmill longer. Just be careful of accelerating the treadmill too fast and not being able to catch up!
@alexisdemetra Thanks, I can't really run outside here because its 110 degrees everyday with 50% or higher humidity so I have been looking for a good treadmill workout.
@rojohnson Of course! Thank Greatist! All I did was follow the link :)
and yes, this is definitely the best treadmill workout I've done. You may feel a little silly going from sprinting to walking next to all those other people on the treadmill, but trust me, when you get off and you're SOAKED in sweat, you won't look weird anymore :)
I wish this study was as simple as the abstract made it seem, but unfortunately it's not a "2 minute workout."
Reading the full study, the sprint exercise consisted of a 7 minute warm-up followed by an 18 minute exercise session – 30 second cycling sprints at a resistance of 10% of body mass, followed by 4 min of light cycling for recovery. So yes, 2 minutes total of sprints, but 25 minutes of total exercise.
The continuous exercise was a 7 minute warm up followed by 30 minutes of cycling at a workload equal to 70% of VO2 max.
So yes, HIIT can help you become healthier and boost your metabolism – but it was a 25 minute total workout between the warm up, sprints, and light cycling for recovery. I don't think going out for a quick 2 minute run will elicit the same effect, as much as some of us might like that! :)
Thanks for reading the actual article. Abstracts are normally always not the actual result, or experiment that has gone on. Kind of annoying actually.
Ohhhh, reading the article does help. LOL. Gotta try that next time. :)
Good posts. I am one of those freaks that does interval training on treadmill weelky who also keeps the max effort (for me 2% incline at 5.24 pace) for two minutes...no kidding! We do the same on the water in sprint kayak practice regularly.
In both cases we wam-up for at least a mile easy though building, hit the hard, max effort stuff for at least three - to - six pieces, and then a nice long cool-down.
You need balance though, and have to get some longer workouts in (run 10+ miles @ 70-80%; 25k paddle @ same intensity) and hit the weights, too.
I have worked as a personal trainer for several years. I have found that HIIT, also know as Burst training, is very effective. Most of my clients, when they start training, are not in good physical condition. Therefore, I start them off with a 20 sec. burst followed by a 60 sec. active recovery. I increase the burst time to 30 seconds as my clients develop their ability to burst for longer periods of time. The whole key to HIIT/Burst training is that you "must" work at 100$% of your MAXIMUM EFFORT for the total length of the burst. You should find it hard to talk at the end of the burst. If this doesn't happen then more than likely you are not working at your maximum effort or you need to increase the time you are bursting or you need to add resistance to your burst. If done correctly, a burst will never be over 60 seconds. The recovery time is relevant to the time of the burst but should always be a least double your burst time. Bursting can be done on treadmills, elliptical trainer or stationary bike. However, I love to incorporate into my workouts mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jumping squats & lunges, burpees running in place as fast as you possibly can or any other exercise that keeps your legs moving. This also keeps you from getting bored as well as keeping your body guessing at what's coming next. One more note of importance, do not skip or shorten your recovery time. Recovery in HIIT/Burst is a very important part of the workout. Recovery along with the burst helps to assure you reach your fitness goal. My bursting sessions usually last a "total" of 20 minutes. If you do 30 second burst, with a 60 second recovery, this means you will be bursting for a total of 10 minutes(MAXIMUM EFFORT) with a recovery of 10 minutes. HIIT/Burst training should be done 3-4 times a week. Thinks this sounds easy? Try it, you will find it is quite a challenge.
The afterburn effect or EPOC is this effect called and yeah it's really promising for people who want more free time while working out.