LA TIMES covers Phil Campbell's Sprint 8
Cardio Program

Sprint 8 Results Reviewed in the LA Times January 15 2007 in an article by Roy Wallack

LA TIMES article Highlights:

For years, Michelle Cuellar exercised five days a week. "But you wouldn't have known it by looking at me," says the 33-year-old mother of two. "I felt fit — but I was still fat."

Cuellar says she trimmed 10 minutes from her workout time simply by replacing her old steady-state 30-minute, 6-mph treadmill jog with "Sprint 8," a 20-minute aerobic session. Sprint 8, the centerpiece of the book "Ready Set Go! Synergy Fitness," by Phil Campbell, has a growing list of believers.

Gary Green, 45, a Web-based businessman from Tustin, says he halved his workout time and cycled off 25 pounds since switching to the program in August. Dan Conner, a Sacramento fitness store manager who lost 50 of his 265 pounds and 9 inches off his 45-inch waist.

Internet marketer Robert Burns of San Diego, 43, says he lost 25 pounds since May.. "I feel younger and get faster and faster every day," he said.

The phenomenon is known as the "stress adaptation response," says Leonard A. Kaminsky, director of the clinical exercise physiology program at the Ball State University human performance lab and editor of the exercise guidelines manual of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Even nursing-home populations can improve

"The human body adapts to the stresses placed on it," he says. "Challenge it, and it improves. To effect change, you need to overload your system beyond what it is accustomed to. When you go beyond your aerobic threshold [the point at which you are unable to bring in enough oxygen to support the exercise] — to where you perceive that you're getting winded — you initiate a chain of positive events that work for everyone. Even nursing-home populations can improve."

A 2005 study of competitive cyclists at New Zealand's Waikato Institute of Technology even found that intervals can speed up serious athletes in midseason form; eight to 12 sessions gave test subjects power gains of 8.7% for 1 kilometer and 8.1% for 4 kilometers over a control group of non-interval trainers.

But it is the unexpected weight loss, time savings and sense of "feeling younger" that have average exercisers most excited.

All this may help explain why Michelle Cuellar gained weight with regular exercise…"Given that resting metabolism does decline as you get older, it is not uncommon to see regular exercisers add a pound or 2 per year over time," says Kaminsky. "Either that, or Michelle was stopping at Starbucks a couple times a week" — a charge she denies.

Cuellar, now 20 pounds lighter than six months before, thinks she's gotten to that point. "My husband has offered to buy me a whole new wardrobe," she says. "But I told him to wait until I get down to a size 6."

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