High Intensity Interval Training May Help Burn More Fat

Summary: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more fat than aerobic exercise, according to a new study.

Source: Victoria University of Melbourne

“If that stubborn body fat won’t go away, consider adding high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, to your exercise routine,” says Professor Zeljko Pedisic from Melbourne University of Victoria.

HIIT increases fat burning more than aerobic exercise, finds a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

How was the study conducted?

The study authors pooled the results of 18 controlled intervention trials on the effects of HIIT on the rate of fat burning during exercise.

The intervention trials included a total of 511 adult participants who participated in a supervised HIIT, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or no-exercise control group.

The duration of the exercise interventions ranged from 2 to 14 weeks. In almost all of the studies, participants participated in three HIIT sessions per week.

What are the main conclusions?

A few HIIT sessions per week will transform your body into a fat burning “machine”. HIIT will make you start burning more fat not only during HIIT sessions, but also during other types of physical activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, and playing sports.

Fat metabolism will improve after just four weeks of HIIT, and it will continue to improve over time.

The study authors pooled the results of 18 controlled intervention trials on the effects of HIIT on the rate of fat burning during exercise. Image is in public domain

After 12 weeks of HIIT, every minute of physical activity should burn an additional 0.13 grams of fat. For someone getting 150 minutes of physical activity a week, that could lead to burning around 10 kg of extra fat in a decade.

Overweight people can expect greater increases in fat burning, compared to “normal” weight people.

Although individuals can also improve fat metabolism by engaging in aerobic exercise (eg, jogging), this would require a much longer time commitment and the improvements would be less.

Why is this important?

These findings could help more than two billion overweight people(external link) worldwide improve their fat metabolism and lose weight.

They may also help billions of other people prevent unwanted weight gain over time.

“According to the recent Global Fitness Trends Survey (link is external), HIIT is among the most popular types of training. If you’re not already doing it, maybe you should give it a try,” concludes the professor Pedisic.

About this exercise research news

Author: Press office
Source: Victoria University of Melbourne
Contact: Press Office – Victoria University of Melbourne
Image: Image is in public domain

Original research: Access closed.
Effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training (SIT) on fat oxidation during exercise: a systematic review and meta-analysis” by Muhammed M Atakan et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine


Summary

Effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training (SIT) on fat oxidation during exercise: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Objective

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To study the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training (SIT) on fat oxidation during exercise (FatOx) and how they compare to the effects of moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT).

Design

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Information source

Academic Search Ultimate, CINAHL, Networked Digital Theses and Dissertations Library, Open Access Theses and Dissertations, OpenDissertations, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, SPORTDiscus and Web of Science.

Eligibility criteria for study selection

Studies using an intergroup design, involving adult participants who were not trained athletes, and evaluating the effects of HIIT or ITS on FatOx (compared to no exercise or MICT) were included. .

Results

Eighteen studies of fair to good quality were included; nine comparing HIIT or SIT to no exercise and eleven comparing HIIT or SIT to MICT. A significant combined effect of these types of interval training on FatOx was found (mean difference in g/min (MD) = 0.08; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.04 to 0.12; p<0.001). Significant effects were found for exercise regimens lasting ≥ 4 weeks, and they increased with each additional week of training (b= 0.01; 95% CI 0.00 to 0.02; p=0.003). HIIT and/or SIT were slightly more effective than MICT ( MD = 0.03; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.05; p=0.005). Effects on FatOx were greater in overweight/obese people.

Conclusion

Engaging in HIIT or SIT may improve FatOx, with greater effects expected for longer workout regimens and overweight/obese individuals. Although some effects appear small, they may be important in holistic approaches to improving metabolic health and managing obesity.

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