Saturday, July 23, 2011

Burst Training on the Treadmill

Last night I told myself I was going to run, but as usual the heat was miserable and I didn't feel like having to deal with almost passing out. I headed to the YMCA and the original plan was to do an easy 4-6 miles dependent on more boredom level.

Boredom set in quick, so about 1.5 miles into the run I decided I would finish out my interval run to 2 miles, then try out some burst training I always tell my members about trying to vary their workouts, increase their caloric expenditure, and burn more fat (yet I don't always practice what I preach)

For those who aren't aware of burst training or the benefits:

The bursts itself involve exercising at 90-100 of your maximum for 30-60 seconds, followed by 30-60 seconds of low impact exercise for recovery.


  • The obvious benefit is it cuts down your workout time drastically since you are doing intensity moves (in my case running / sprints) 
  • Upon completion of your burst training session- your body has burned through your glycogen stores, and while your body is working to replace it, fat is used as energy source for next 36 hours. 
  • For those of you that like more detailed explanations: burst training turns on your fat-burning 'switches'- both epinephrine and growth hormone stimulate fat breakdown by triggering hormone-sensitive lipase, which is an enzyme that helps release fat from the cells. Burst training fires up your CNS (central nervous system) which then ignites your metabolism allowing the above process to happen. 

So what did this look like for me???

I had no real plan other than I was going to do 4 bursts of 30 sec each (when doing an exercise other than weight training, its suggested between 4 and 6 bursts)

I started the TM at a comfortable 7.0 mph for a few minutes, then cranked it up to 12.0 mph and sprinted for 30-40ish seconds, decreased speed to 4.5mph to walk and catch my breath for 1 min, then cranked it back to 7.0 mph for 2-3 min. REPEAT 3x.

The first one felt great to be able to legitimately all out sprint on a TM- It is a RARE occurrence when I can really open up and use my full stride--- almost feels like I'm stretching haha. After the second one I was winded, so on and so forth for the last two. My entire tank top was drenched at the end of the workout, and it took a long time to stop sweating.... that doesn't normally happen for a 1.7 mile run!

I was worried I might be sore the next day, so I showered off and stretched in the hot tub- proud to say that today I feel GREAT!

I will definitely be aiming to do this at least once a week to help with my speed and naturally to burn more fat :)

Have you ever tried any type of burst training??
this was actually my first time applying it to running

What do you to beat boredom during workouts??
normally I just stop the workout haha, I'm working on my discipline. Generally if I'm at the gym I'll switch machines or do weight lifting. If i'm out on the run I just will head back to car or home rather than push through it


  1. I sorta do "sprints" at the end of a workout, but have never tried burst training. I have to just be immune to boredom. Treadmill is it 99% of the time, so I just have to deal. Listen to my iPod and people watch mostly. 12 mph?? I'd fly off the treadmill. Anything over about 8.5 and I'm headed toward a heart attack :D

  2. I haven't done that I guess. The closest I get is if I'm doing a long run I usually sprint when I see I'm near the 5, 10, 15K mark. I like to just see "if this was a race, how fast would that distance have been."

    For me, and I need to get back to this, my best way to beat boredom is to listen to podcasts while running. Adam Carolla is my preference. The time flies by with him and I sometimes forget I'm actually out there running!

  3. Hi Lisa, I found your blog looking for other people talking about burst training. I own a personal training studio down in Charleston, SC and have built an entire business model around the concept. After 20 years in the industry I've found that nothing works better for fat loss and improving metabolic endurance. I would encourage your readers to definitely give it a try. I love your blog by the way. I see you were a Miami, Oh grad. I went to Bowling Green back in the day. I won't hold it against you that you're a Redskin! Ha...Talk to you- Shane