Can 40 Seconds a Day Make You Healthier, Smarter, and More Energetic?

You’ve probably heard of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), but what about SIT (Sprint Interval Training)?

SIT intervals are done at an all-out pace – think being chased by a lion – whereas HIIT intervals are done at 80-90% of maximum. SIT workouts are also generally shorter than HIIT, with only 2-3 sprint intervals spaced between 2 minute recovery periods.

What’s the Big Deal about Sprint Interval Training?

What if 2×20 second sprints a day could:

  • Increase Your VO2 Max
  • Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity
  • Improve Your Blood Pressure
  • Reduce Your Glucose Levels
  • Increase Your BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor – think Miracle Grow for your Brain!)
  • Improve Your Energy Levels Through Better Mitochondrial Function
  • Increase Calorie Expenditure After the Workout

And what if these 2×20 second sprints could REPLACE your traditional workout?

Could this shorter, no sweat SIT workout possibly create even MORE health benefits than a traditional, much longer, workout?

Some Exercise and Sports Scientists are making this case and have published a paper on the topic in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: “Reduced Exertion High-Intensity Interval Training is More Effective at Improving Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Cardiometabolic Health than Traditional Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training.”

In this fascinating research, they show that 2×20 second sprints a day is the minimum effective dose of exercise for the laundry list of benefits above.  The study divided participants into two groups, one group performing a traditional moderate-intensity workout for 30 minutes each day, 5 days a week, while the other group did a 10-minute SIT workout (brief warmup followed by 2 sprint intervals with 2 minutes of recovery in between and a cool-down). The SIT group increased their calorie after-burn effect 2-3 TIMES that of traditional workout group.

Are you doing that math?  You read that last paragraph correctly.  The SIT group got significant (in some cases multiple times) more benefit from 40 minutes a week vs. the 150 minutes a week for the traditional workout participants.  That’s just one of the surprising findings in this paper.  SIT participants also found more favorable changes in blood pressure and waist circumference from their 40 minutes per week vs. the 150 minute group.

Of course, the natural results of all of these benefits could be drastic reduction in chronic disease,  better functional fitness, and potentially improved public health. Curious?  Read the article for yourself.

Rather listen than read?  Check out to this eye-opening podcast interview on Dave Asprey’s  BulletProof Radio Episode 657, where he discusses the findings with one of the lead scientists on the project.

Have you ever tried Sprint Interval Training?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash