Interval training is defined as cardiovascular exercise which involves repeated brief bursts of intense effort interspersed with short recovery periods. This could be for as little as 30 seconds apiece for 4 minutes. A typical example could be cycling as hard and fast as possible for 30 seconds and then much slower for 30 seconds.
These workouts were compared with longer continuous moderate intensity workouts lasting 30-45 minutes.
This is not in line with the current NHS recommendations that individuals do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (cycling or brisk walking) every week.
All participants in the study exercised for at least four weeks. Although everyone lost weight, HIIT achieved a 28.5% greater weight loss.
The researchers advised caution in that HIIT may not be suitable for everyone and may increase the risk of injury or imposing a too high cardiovascular stress on susceptible individuals.
Ideally this type of HIIT workout should be introduced and taught by an experienced personal trainer.
The results of the study are counter-intuitive because more calories tend to be burned during longer moderate exercise
Two possible explanations have been proposed for this outcome
There can be a misguided tendency to believe that after exercise one can safely eat more – and actually overcompensate for the calories that have been burned.
If you go on a treadmill for 30 minutes, burn 120 calories and then lie around afterwards whilst tucking into a muffin, there won’t be any positive change in weight.
So if HIIT not only boosts metabolism but effectively suppresses your appetite you can effectively lose weight – without spending hours in a gym.
One of the pillars of the Temple Vie weight loss programme involves learning about the role of physical activity in both losing and maintaining weight. A common perceived barrier is finding time to exercise when modern life already feels too busy. Incorporating short HIIT sessions could indeed provide the magic bullet.
For more information on how Temple Vie can help check out our personal training page.