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5 Running Workouts To Do the Impossible: Lose Fat And Gain Muscle

5 Running Workouts To Do the Impossible: Lose Fat And Gain Muscle


There's a myth that cardio— in any way or form— is destructive for muscle-building. For this reason, some bodybuilders prefer to walk on an inclined treadmill rather than increasing their pace. On the other hand, those who want to lose weight (like me), tend to resort to slow and long jogs. Whatever your fitness goal is, high-intensity interval training might be the way to go. Recent research found that when you throw high-intensity workouts into the mix, physiological adaptations are greater.  It turns out that aerobic exercises and muscle-building are very far from being incompatible, and that high-intense interval training (HIIT) helps you build more muscle and lose more fat. With HIIT, it's possible to lose fat and gain muscle. Here are 5 running workouts to help you // The PumpUp Blog

But what exactly is high-intensity interval training?

PumpUp has covered its principles before, but in essence, HIIT is can be described as “short, high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest or low-intensity activity”. Believe it or not, you can make a fine workout for yourself in 4 minutes. It works because you’re able to incorporate lots of short vigorous exercises into your routine, all of which would be impossible to sustain for long periods of time if each individual exercise were to be performed on its own.

Research has suggested that the higher the intensity and shorter the duration of work and the rest period, the better.

How HIIT affects muscle building // The PumpUp Blog

HIIT and running are best friends

As far as running goes, higher intensity translates into a faster pace. You won't be able to maintain a fast pace for long because you’re gasping for air. This means you are near your maximum oxygen uptake and heart rate. If you're alarmed about higher intensity running workouts, check out the curative powers of HIIT: one study demonstrated that HIIT can play a role in preventing heart diseases.

Intense running workouts can improve your strength, muscle growth, metabolism (even after your workout), and build the endurance. But there are different forms of high intensity running workouts that can give you more results for less. Here’s how can you introduce High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into running with huge results, starting with moderate-intensity Fartlek and Tempo runs, and ending in style with the full-fledged high-intensity Interval Training, “All-out” Sprint-Interval Training and 400-meter sprints used by bodybuilders.

  1. Fartlek

Swedish “Fartlek” or speed-play, is a training method that became popular in the 1940s. Swedish runners almost broke the 4-minute mile record. It consists of randomly selecting visual landmarks that you accelerate to— the next tree or a house, for example— followed by a recovery period. You can do it alone or in a group, with each person taking turns to choose the landmark and the pace.

It’s a great way to get back in shape and test your limits, while having some fun.

  1. Tempo

Tempo runs consist of continuous high-intensity sprints that last for 20 to 40 minutes or over a predetermined length. Professional runners use “tempos” to build endurance and to mimic a slightly more rapid pace but close enough to their competition pace - a “comfortably fast” pace. Sprinkling a “tempo” in your workout develops your aerobic system, stamina and efficiency.

To prepare you for faster paces of serious HIIT (as you’ll see next), you can throw a “short” burst of super-maximal intensity, every 5 minutes.

  1. Intervals

This is the most popular type of training the running world. Like Fartlek, it involves bouts of running between easy and very hard paces. However, in this case, you determine how fast you run and for how long, as well as the duration of rest period and how many times you repeat your intervals. According to Jonathan Savage, owner of running resource Fellrnr, the right pace for your intervals (which greatly varies) is the fastest you can run in 6 minutes.

An example of an workout would be 30s-1 minute at your fast pace, followed by half of the time recovering, and repeat it 5 times. Intervals should not last more than 5 minutes (excluding the rest period).

You won’t be able to recover from each fast interval. This is done on purpose, to build up the aerobic stress in your system. Research indicates that active recovery contributes to superior performance because of metabolite washout and lactate utilization. If it's hard at first, don't worry. You’ll get stronger!

  1. “All-out” Sprint Interval Training or Wintab

Shorter and very intense intervals are the ones that perform better. You cannot get more a intense workout than the WinTab protocol. It involves 20 seconds of an “all out” running sprint followed by 10 seconds rest, for 8 repetitions. The results are remarkable:

A 2014 study tested this program for 6 weeks (3 times a week) on 15 active women. It resulted in an average body fat mass decrease of 8% and a waist circumference reduction of 4%, while increasing muscle mass by 1.3%, peak running speed by5% and maximum oxygen consumption (an endurance metric) by 9%. All of this happened without a change in the athletes' food intake.

  1. 400-meter Sprint Program

This is bodybuilder trainer Christian Thibaudeau’s favorite workout for fat loss. He says that it has a “high fat-burning potency.” He found that his athletes were getting leaner and stronger after this programme.

The workout consists of 400m sprint repetitions followed by at least 1 minute and half of rest. This exercise is so intense that he recommends doing just one time per week.

See his guideline table for a recommended 8 week plan that can be adjusted for different fitness levels.

After such high-intensity running workouts, you can rest assured that your post-workout cookie will hardly affect your system. After all, you deserved it.

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What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed - PumpUp Success Stories

What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed - PumpUp Success Stories


PumpUp member @alyssa_a_ford needed a major dose of positivity in her life when she joined the app in November 2014. "I started to use PumpUp because it is such a positive place to be. It's an environment that is inspiring and it is something that I've always wanted to be a part of," she said gleefully. Alyssa wanted a rapid departure from the habits that she adopted in her younger years. "We ate whatever we wanted...all the junk food and soda," recalled Alyssa. "I ate like a piglet. Though my family grew to be more health-conscious, I only exercised because I was enrolled in sports. I wasn't very competitive at them. Besides walking around, I didn't do much. I didn't really care before."  What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed | PumpUp Success Stories

Once Alyssa joined the PumpUp community, she gained the motivation that she needed to push her limits as far as exercise was concerned. "Everyone on PumpUp is so nice, helpful and inspiring," she mused. "It's somewhere that anybody can go to if they need motivation. It's amazing what we can do if we work together." Alyssa indeed worked together with the PumpUp community to achieve all sorts of health and fitness goals. She became much more health-conscious and fell in love with running. Not only does she strive to visit the gym every day for at least 45 minutes, Alyssa began to incorporate short runs after her workouts. "I accomplished quite a lot on PumpUp. I lost 25 pounds and began to love my body and treat it the way it should be treated," she shared. "I have gained confidence, which I never thought was possible. I truly love PumpUp and the family it creates for anybody who takes the time to reach out and ask for help. I hope to inspire others and help them when they need it." 

Her best advice for others looking to lead a healthy lifestyle is to be persistent. "I'm a small 5'2 girl at 115 lbs," she began. "I weighed 150 lbs at my heaviest and I was a train wreck. Now I take my motivation from what I want to achieve." Alyssa particularly likes to draw inspiration from motivational quotes. Lucky for her, PumpUp has a wellspring of quotes and photos that encourage others to lead a healthier lifestyle.

More recently, Alyssa has been shaving a lot of time off of her running pace. She can now run a mile at a speed of 6 minutes and 40 seconds and tracks all of her progress on the app. "Sweating makes me feel confident. I love the way I feel so accomplished after every workout," she said emphatically.

What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed | PumpUp Success Stories

Motivational Mantra

My quote is a verse from Shakespeare: "And though she be but little, she is fierce." This is part of who I am and is my motivation.

Alyssa's Meals

My breakfast consists of a granola bar or granola mixed with  either yogurt or milk.  The food that I eat is mainly organic. I do eat gluten free often and I do not drink dairy unless it is my only option. I prefer almond and coconut milk.

Biggest motivation

My biggest motivation is my boyfriend. He is loving, caring and can be a bit of a know-it-all. However, he helps me to achieve things I didn't believe I could do. This man pushes me to do my best and never sell myself short. (Although he is always making jokes about my height!!)

What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed | PumpUp Success Stories

More about Alyssa

I'd love to open a bakery that specializes in healthier versions of normal baked goods. I love to be in the kitchen, it is my 3rd home (after the gym!!)

Keep Alyssa pumped and check out her PumpUp profile @alyssa_a_ford! Have any questions for her? Let us know in the comments below!