High-intensity interval workouts might be a 'HIIT' but they don't fight flab

by Jessica Hill
Credit: Peter Häger/Public Domain

(Medical Xpress)—High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is touted as the fastest way to get lean, but according to ground-breaking new research from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre, only endurance exercise goes the distance if you are chasing fat loss.

The world-first controlled trial led by exercise physiologists Shelley Keating and Dr Nathan Johnson from the Faculty of Health Sciences reveals regular continuous yields better results than HIIT for looking to shed weight and achieve a slimmer waistline.

"A growing number of people are substituting HIIT for regular aerobic workouts in their exercise routine, but high-intensity interval training is not a fast track to quick fat loss if you're ," said Ms Keating.

"High-intensity burst training does deliver important benefits like increased fitness, but it doesn't have a 'fat furnace' effect if you carry weight around the middle.

"The message is if you're hitting the gym to lose weight and trim your waistline, stick with steady aerobic exercise to shift abdominal fat and see better results on the scales."

The new research from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre is the first controlled study of its kind to compare the effects of HIIT and continuous aerobic exercise on among overweight adults.

"Some trainers spruik high-intensity workouts as the most efficient training method, but this doesn't mean HIIT translates to fat loss if you're overweight," Dr Johnson said.

"Until now the only evidence to support claims for the effectiveness of high-intensity workouts as an efficient weight loss method was research examining ; younger people or people who were already lean and healthy.

"HIIT can be used as a time-efficient training method to improve fitness, but if you're overweight you can't afford to dump aerobic exercise if you want to see fat loss."

Lead researcher Shelley Keating said the study, published in the Journal of Obesity, had implications for the management of weight loss.

"Some trainers emphasize HIIT workouts over continuous exercise to target body fat and trim the waistline, but the evidence is if you're overweight you're better off focusing on continuous aerobic exercise to slim your core and positively improve your composition," Ms Keating said.

"Forget the claims HIIT workouts can whip overweight people into shape in less time than regular aerobic exercise - it's more efficient to workout regularly at a continuous intensity to achieve a fat loss goal."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Do fast workouts really work?

Jan 13, 2014

Finding time to work out in our harried lives can be one of the greatest barriers to making exercise a habit.

Recommended for you

Gut bacteria promote obesity in mice

Sep 30, 2014

A species of gut bacteria called Clostridium ramosum, coupled with a high-fat diet, may cause animals to gain weight. The work is published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiol ...

An apple a day could keep obesity away

Sep 29, 2014

Scientists at Washington State University have concluded that nondigestible compounds in apples – specifically, Granny Smith apples – may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought ...

Boosting purchasing power to lower obesity rates

Sep 25, 2014

In January, as one of the first major initiatives of the Academic Vision, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity will move to UConn from Yale University. The move will allow Rudd faculty to expand their work and build ...

Note to young men: Fat doesn't pay

Sep 23, 2014

Men who are already obese as teenagers could grow up to earn up to 18 percent less than their peers of normal weight. So says Petter Lundborg of Lund University, Paul Nystedt of Jönköping University and ...

Waistlines of US adults continue to increase

Sep 16, 2014

The prevalence of abdominal obesity and average waist circumference increased among U.S. adults from 1999 to 2012, according to a study in the September 17 issue of JAMA.

User comments