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When I was at Iowa State University, I learned the real power of sprinting and sprint training, but it was not from sprinting myself. It started with my girlfriend (who is now my wife) when asked if I would put together a program to help her lose weight. I was glad to help.

She needed something that would not take a long time but would get the job done, so I knew it needed to be intense. When most people start working out, the go-to for cardio is always doing mileage. They will either start walking or running, and I hate it!

Now, that type of running works well for some people, but most people would enjoy sprinting much more. Here is what I discovered.

“No matter how far you think you are ahead of me, I’m going to catch you. That’s my mentality that I go out there with.” – Usain Bolt

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Why You Need Sprinting: The Intensity

Here is the problem with going for a pleasant evening stroll, it lacks intensity. It does not shock your body into making changes because it doesn't need to. When you walk or go for a slight jog, you're still in your comfort zone. 

When I put together a program for my wife back in college, I started her off slow by giving her my warm-up for practice. At the time, I was in the best shape of my life and a year away from making the Olympics in 2012. 

The warm-up consisted of the following: 

  • Jogging
  • Striding 
  • Arm Swings
  • Active Stretches
  • Running drills 
  • General Strength Exercises
  • Faster Strides 

Everything sprinters do in their warm-up and sprint training is to prepare the body to go balls to the wall. When you sprint, you're running at least 80% of your fastest. If you run the 100m as I did, then you're going full tilt. The way that 

 When you walk or go for a slight jog, you're still in your comfort zone. 

Most People Only Know Jogging

I had to convince her that this would work because sprinting is foreign to most people. We see more people walking and jogging for exercise than we ever see people sprinting. The assumption becomes that it must be a better way to do it.

Why run for an hour when you can do 4 x 120m sprints? The four sprints are going to take much more out of you. There is a good reason that you see sprinters are both fit but also can carry muscle mass.

What most people desire is to be healthy and fit. That is not always just being skinny like a distance runner. Many people also want to look strong, and this makes sprinting an attractive option. My wife was sold on why she needed to sprint.

What most people desire is to be healthy and fit. That is not always just being skinny like a distance runner. Many people also want to look strong, and this makes sprinting an attractive option.

The Results Were Undeniable, and Friends Joined In

My wife was most shocked by where she lost weight. She knew by how intense the workouts were that the pounds would come off. But she was able to tone her entire body. Her core, her legs, and arms all saw improvements in the definition.

The downside was she hated the workouts because everything she did was high intensity. No easy jogging. It was either you're resting, or you're going all out. I also added in annoying exercises like burpees, bear crawls, and low walks.

Her friend then came to me and asked for a similar program, and I gladly gave her. She was a taller gal and had gained a lot of lower body weight. I asked her the same question, have you ever seen a sprinter with fat legs?

She came back to my wife and me after three months and could not believe the results. At this point, I knew sprinting and sprint training was a form of exercise that the world was missing out on.

 It was either you're resting, or you're going all out. I also added in annoying exercises like burpees, bear crawls, and low walks. 

Sprint Like an Animal is Running After You

Think about when we were hunter-gathers. Sprinting had to be a part of daily life. You needed to sneak up on an animal and then run full speed to get close enough to make the kill. Sprinting is innate to being human.

At the same time and even more importantly, sometimes you had to sprint to get away from danger. Most people today could not run away something if they tried. They have not run full speed since being little kids.

Imagine if twice a week and run like a wild tiger is chasing after you? No holding back, you just give everything you got to travel 20 - 150 meters to safety before that tiger jumps on your back and eats you.

I sprinted like this from age 7 -24, and it changes you. You learn what it means to give everything you have. A lot of people think they are providing 100%, but they are not. You realize that you never knew what 100% was until you imagine that tiger running after you.

Imagine if twice a week and run like a wild tiger is chasing after you? No holding back, you just give everything you got to travel 20 - 150 meters to safety before that tiger jumps on your back and eats you. 

How to Sprint Safely

Going 100% has some benefits, but there are also some drawbacks, and the biggest one is that it's much easier to get hurt. You're going to need to build some new habits to make sure that you're keeping your mind and body in check. 

Drink Water

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to prepare your body for sprint workouts. I remember getting massages as a kid, and people could feel my muscles being dehydrated because they did not move well. 

When you're dealing with the maximal effort, you want to give your body every advantage you can or risk injury. 

Drinking a lot of water also helps you avoid sugary drinks: the less sugary drinks you have, the better you get lean. 

Stretch and Foam Roll 

Anytime I would watch TV, I would always foam roll and stretch. If I wanted to watch TV, I had to do that because my stretching and foam roll routine helped me stay healthy. 

When you sprint fast, you develop small trigger points in your muscles that need to be released because they compromise muscles. Mentally, stretching helps you to relax after an intense workout. 

Take Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium is the one supplement I took that made a massive difference. I could feel it right away. If I stopped taking it, my muscles did not feel as good. You don't have to take it, but I strongly suggest you do. 

Live to Fight Another Day

When I was a young sprinter, I struggled with this the most. I always wanted to prove myself and be tough, and it only got me injured. 

The best thing you can do is back down when its not your day. If you feel something hurting a bit or just feel a bit zapped, don't sprint on that day. 

Take Rest Serious 

Lastly, you have to take your rest seriously. It could be rest between sets at practice or rest days. Rest is the fundamental building block to running fast. 

Think about a Cheetah for a second. It does not run around all day. It lies down and rests most of the day, so it has the energy to do so when its time to run.

Why You Need Sprinting - It Works!

Sprint training works because its an effective way to workout without spending all day at the gym. Sprinting will have you burning fat, and it compliments weight room workouts, unlike long runs.

Sprinting requires that you be mindful, and you feel it throughout your entire body. It burns fat and tones your body all at the same time.

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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