If you want to cut body fat, and long hours on the cardio machines seem more like torture than exercise, then sprints may be the answer to your needs. Apparently, this research was based on a very specific program called LifeSprints. Here is some information from their site:
LifeSprints exercise has been developed from research conducted in the Medical Faculty at the University of New South Wales. This research has shown that a 20-minute workout consisting of 8 seconds of sprint exercise, followed by 12 seconds of easy cycling, resulted in much more fat loss than 40 minutes of steady state cycling (three times a week for 15 weeks).This is an easy way to begin doing interval training. When 8/12 gets easy, you can go to 10/15, then 15/25, and so on - the longer the sprint portion, the better the results. As the sprint portion gets larger, the recovery portion will need to expand - for example, my sprint program aims for 30/60.
LifeSprints also resulted in big increases in aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Subjects showed significant decreases in fasting insulin and also increased leg and abdomen muscle mass. This form of exercise gives a more complete muscle fibre workout and the brief 20 minute sprint session makes it easier to fit into busy, modern lifestyles.
One hour of sprinting per week can significantly cut the visceral fat in the abdomen.
The University of New South Wales
Friday, 29 June 2012
Men can significantly cut the visceral fat in their abdomen with one hour of interval sprinting per week instead of relying on seven hours of jogging a week for a similar result, according to new Australian research.
Just 20-minutes of sprints on an exercise bike, three times a week, is all that’s required, the University of New South Wales researchers found.
“Sprints are a very time efficient form of exercise,” says Associate Professor Steve Boutcher, who led the UNSW Medicine research.
“The sprint program, LifeSprints, reduced visceral fat with seven times less exercise time and has a much greater impact on cardiovascular and metabolic health than reductions of subcutaneous fat stores in the legs and arms.”
Men who participated in the research lost two kilograms of body fat, 17 per cent of visceral fat, and put on 1.2 kilograms of muscle in their legs and trunk after the 12-week exercise bike sprints program.
“Other studies using aerobic exercise, such as continuous jogging, have found that the amount of exercise needed to produce a similar decrease in visceral fat was around seven hours per week for 14 weeks,” Professor Boutcher says.
The team of researchers has previously studied the impact of the sprinting program on women, which also showed a significant loss of body fat from stationary cycling for 20 minutes, three times a week.
LifeSprints were also good for those who wanted to boost muscle mass.
“Participation in regular aerobic exercise typically results in little or no gain in muscle mass, whereas moderately hard resistance exercise over months may increase muscle mass. The amount of LifeSprints exercise, however, needed to significantly increase muscle mass appears to be much less,” Professor Boutcher says.
The research was carried out by UNSW Medicine PhD candidate Mehrdad Heydari, with body composition assessment by Professor Judith Freund from St Vincent’s Hospital’s Nuclear Imaging Department. It was funded by Diabetes Australia and is published in the Journal of Obesity.
Editor's Note: Original news release can be found here.