If you want healthy body composition (less body fat and more lean muscle tissue) and you’re post menopause, sprint intervals are proven to get you there.
Visceral body fat, especially, is correlated with increased risk of heart disease. If you want to maintain your health as you age, this lesser prescribed activity may be your ticket.
You’ll want to read/listen to this.
The Power of Sprints
In fact, you may think after hearing this episode sprints are your one stop shop for fitness.
There’s proof that short sprints (really short) followed by short recovery can boost muscle mass (RARELY heard of during other cardio exercise more often associated with muscle losses).
The protocol for the study published in the Journal of European Applied Physiology in April 2019 was done on post menopausal subjects was 8-second sprints alternated with 12-second light pedaling for 20 minutes.
There was 8 minutes of light pedaling before and 8 minutes of light pedaling after the intervals for a total of 36 minute exercise sessions.
I’m inserting a video of me toward the end of this workout. You’ll see what I liken to the “ugly cry” aka the ugly workout in the Arizona heat. Because this requires a lot of control I do it on a trainer as opposed to outdoors. A stationary gym bike does not give you the same control. If you’re using bikes at the gym try to get on a spinning bike.
FYI, a trainer to put your bike on at home is around $300. You could spend more but you don’t need to and you can probably find someone selling theirs. A Wahoo trainer for the serious cyclist is about $1200. Again.. it’s up to you! For post menopause body composition, it’s about your intensity and that is not defined by the tool you use.
Subjects did this 3x per week for 8 weeks. It seems SIT = sprint interval training might be replacing HIIT for optimal changes for one big reason. It’s not just about the fat burning effect of intervals that’s been the sex appeal of High Intensity Interval Training for years.
The increase in muscle mass after 8 hours (total interval time during the 2 month study) of sprinting is higher even than that of effect of strength training shown to increase muscle by 40 g per hour.
Don’t forfeit your strength training just yet though.
With the strength and stamina provided by weight training you’ll be able to take the intensity of those sprint intervals up a notch for better results. You’ll also be reducing your risk of injury.
To further reduce injury risk, perform intervals only on exercise modes you’re already:
- Familiar with and have built a foundation of fitness with
- Specifically warmed up for
Intervals Beyond Fat Burning
The bottom line on muscle mass is related specifically to a type of muscle called Fast Twitch muscle fibers. I have done several media appearances about this topic. I’ve included a few videos below. [Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see new and newsworthy videos right away].
What else will increase your fast twitch muscle fiber?
In addition to sprint interval training and strength training (heavy or moderate weight with power being most effective), make sure your vitamin D levels are adequate. Vitamin D supports growth in fast twitch muscle fibers.
For information about ordering your own tests of your nutrition status, you can find the labs I use here. [Use Flipping50now for a crazy special –at the time of this post for $200 off the Elite Athlete panel. Other visitors, you can use Flipping50 for $20 off your first order of any kind. Click the links to the right to learn more about how the specific labs will help you.
Post menopause body composition is controllable. But it’s not the old eat less, exercise more equation. There’s both more to that and less – namely potentially, less exercise. The right exercise makes far more difference than more of the wrong exercise.
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