Phil Campbell's Experimentation With a Workout Program Impacts Thousands Over 3 Decades.
In Part 2 of our discussion with Coach Phil Campbell we explore a natural form of medicine only available as a result of executing a certain workout protocol.
In part 1 we documented Coach’s Phil’s work around speed technique training. This week, we follow up with Campbell’s lifetime of work around the powerful Sprint 8 workout program.
As we age, we have a lot of questions about our health. Ok, I do. (lol!).
How can I stay strong?
How can I hedge my chances on staying healthy?
How can I boost my immune system?
Keep energy high?
Keep a positive outlook on life?
Stay focused throughout my busy days?
We live in an age of information overload. We are told to exercise regularly but it is often confusing on what to do and why. Some of us work with athletes, most of us admire them, and wonder how it is that they train and practice the way we do and is there a way we can transfer that to us average folks?
We know there is no such thing as a magic pill. There is nothing on the market that can replicate the benefits of exercise.
If we look at our health, I think of the term medicine. What medicine can I take to help me with the above questions? What can I do to build myself up so that life and age do not break me down?
The answer starts with education. With knowledge. Even just a little bit. Let me explain.
Medicine is defined as the art, science, and practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment or palliation of their injury or disease.
That is the definition when we google it. That definition looks ok.
In our culture, medicine has taken a pharmaceutical form and is often reactive. Either in prescription or over the counter. Pain meds are found at the drugstore. Depression, anxiety and management of mental health have prescribed medicine.
At the same time, our culture has a fascination with high profile sports and athletic achievements. Those who develop their physical and mental skills to the point of mastery in a competitive setting are rewarded handsomely in many ways.
What do preparation of athletes and prescription medicine have in common?
The commonality is what goes on behind the scenes.
In the case of prescription medicine, synthetic solutions are provided to assist with ailments.
In the case of the athlete, the preparation behind the scenes is a lifetime in the making following a focus on routines and progressions that would leave most of us bewildered, bored, injured or all of the above.
What if there were way for the average Joe and Jill to get the best of both worlds in as workout program, without the side effects?
This is where coach Phil Campbell’s Sprint 8 program comes into play. In years of coaching, teaching, studying human performance and fitness have I ever come across a more impactful exercise program.
Phil is an expert at taking complex medical subjects and making them understandable and practical. He calls this approach "street level applied science."
Last week we mentioned Coach’s Speed technique book, but his first book was on Sprint 8. Sprint 8: Cardio Protocol is the results of 30+ years of self-monitoring, coaching, medical testing, and academic research focused on finding the optimal exercise training program.
Yet most people will not ever do it, or try it even if they have heard about.
What is Sprint 8?
Sprint 8 is an efficient, fat-burning sprint interval workout that gives you a complete exercise experience, including warm-up and cool-down, in just 20 minutes. For maximum benefit it is recommended 3x per week and is used by thousands of athletes and non-athletes alike.
The idea of sprint 8 is that the maximum effort intervals trigger a list of benefits to the body including training all 3 muscle fiber types and releasing high levels of human growth hormone. The same hormone that declines in productivity as we age. The same hormone that is linked to muscle growth and regulates body composition, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism and possibly heart function. The same hormone that can be produced synthetically, however Sprint 8 releases HGH naturally which eliminates the side effects.
Training all 3 muscle types?
This is the same type of training that sprinters go through. In fact, Coach Campbell shared research findings of different athletes and the fiber types that their training focuses on. Sprint 8 allows for the recruitment of the 3 muscle fiber types and condition both processes of the heart muscle aerobic and anaerobic.
In athlete training, it is referred to as conditioning. Preparing the body for the demands of competition. For you and me, Sprint 8 covers everything in 20 minutes, 3x per week.
For the average person, Sprint 8 is most effective on a low impact or no impact piece of equipment. Activities such as swimming work well, but not always accessible. Sprinting on a treadmill or outside works well but very taxing on the body. To perform 3x per week, 20 minutes, low impact is key. This is the training bike, the elliptical, the recumbent bike, a rower etc.
The key to success with Sprint 8:
There are 2 aspects that are essential for Sprint 8 to become beneficial and part of our routine. The first is education. The 2nd is recognizing the exercise paradox.
Phil’s research has found that not understanding the science means we will not do perform Sprint 8 according to protocol and therefore not maximize the benefits.
Why do most people not do it?
The Exercise Paradox.
Research has also found that your brain will also try to get us to take the easiest way. The brain will signal us to conserve energy. Phil mentions the example of when faced with stairs vs elevator option…the brain will always push us to take the elevator. Conserve energy.
Understanding the science behind Sprint 8 is so important. Your brain will never want you to do the workout. (Trust me, after almost 6 years of love/hate with the workout, this is true!).
To get the benefit of human growth hormone release, and recruitment of all 3 muscle types, and to push beyond hard to maximum effort for 30 seconds, we must understand the science.
Another great note from Coach Campbell is that the focus required to push through the intervals is exactly like the focus an elite athlete has in practicing their craft. This is where we take from an athlete’s practice habits and apply it to ours.
These are 2 very important principles from Coach Campbell in 30 years of developing and coaching Sprint 8.
1. Understanding the science.
2. Exercise Paradox.
Let’s get back to benefits:
Training like sprinter to get the results, but in a low impact environment. As we get older, structural damage accumulates and limits what we can do in full impact activities. The cost of sprinting is often too high, so adjusting becomes key to something body friendly.
Sprint 8 research has found, we will typically drop 27% body fat in 8 weeks without changes to our diet. That is almost 1/3 of body fat just by going through the program. If diets are cleaned up a bit, even better results can be expected.
In fit individuals and athletes, Coach Campbell has found -13% in body fat and add 2 lbs of muscle. Coach has also found that physical performance in any event will improve with Sprint 8 regardless of age. Even in our 40’s , 50’s , 60’s and older. The reason for this is the hormone impact on the body. Sprint intervals releases huge amounts of growth hormone. Coach reminds us however, that lifestyle impacts this a ton as well. Clean diet of course but also sleep are keys to maximizing benefits.
Coach C talks about 75 year-olds adding muscle because of Sprint 8. He also references Tom Boyd as an example: an 83 year old who does Sprint 8 3 x per week and gets better results than when he was lifting weights regularly. The impact is so significant that Coach Phil will be including Mr. Boyd’s physician’s testimonial letter in his next book.
We get back to the magic pill concept. The benefits go beyond just the physical, but also the mental. All the variables mentioned earlier as concerns are addressed with Sprint 8 3x per week.
The barrier is the hard work required.
From writer Jerry Bowyer who has written about Phil’s work and Sprint 8 on Forbes.com :
“It's hard. It's very hard. By the 2nd sprint I find myself wishing I had never read this book. But after I've completed my 8th and caught my breath, I find myself liking Campbell again and blessing him for his research. This pleasant glow hangs around for a couple of hours and I still feel some of it for the rest of the day. The next day I'm usually somewhat sore; not injured, just sore.”
Coach Campbell’s life work and passion is around Sprint 8. It is used by athletes and non-athletes alike. It is a workout program appropriate for those of all ages, but please know:
Don't do this without talking to your doctor first. Also, don't jump into the entire grueling program all at once. Campbell has trained many elite athletes and found that almost none of them, no matter how fit they thought they were before, were able to complete the total workout the first time around. You probably can't, and even if you can, don't try. Campbell's book outlines ways to ease into it.
From personal experience, I can tell you that once you get into the groove, it is worth it. My lab results are proof along with thousands of others.