European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 113, Issue 12, pp 3039–3047 | Cite as

The impact of high-intensity intermittent exercise on resting metabolic rate in healthy males

  • Benjamin Kelly
  • James A. King
  • Jonas Goerlach
  • Myra A. NimmoEmail author
Original Article



High-intensity intermittent exercise training (HIT) may favourably alter body composition despite low training volumes and predicted energy expenditure (EE).


To characterise the acute impact of two common HIT protocols on EE and post-exercise oxygen consumption (11 h EPOC).


Oxygen consumption (l min−1), respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and EE were measured in nine healthy, lean males over 12 h under three conditions: control (CON), HIT1 (10 × 1 min high-intensity cycling bouts followed by 1 min rest) and HIT2 (10 × 4 min high-intensity cycling bouts followed by 2 min rest).


Total exercise period EE during HIT1 (1,151 ± 205 kJ) (mean ± SD) was significantly lower than HIT2 (2,788 ± 322 kJ; p < 0.001). EE within the 60 min after exercise was significantly albeit marginally higher after HIT1 (388 ± 44 kJ; p = 0.02) and HIT2 (389 ± 39 kJ; p = 0.01) compared with CON (329 ± 39 kJ), with no difference between exercise conditions (p = 0.778). RER during this period was significantly lower in HIT1 (0.78 ± 0.06; p = 0.011) and HIT2 (0.76 ± 0.04; p = 0.004) compared with CON (0.87 ± 0.06). During the ‘slow phase’ of EPOC (1.25–9.75 h), there were no significant differences in EE (p = 0.07) or RER (p = 0.173) between trials.


Single HIT sessions notably increases EE during exertion; however, the influence on metabolic rate post-exercise is transient and relatively minor.


Interval training EPOC Energy expenditure Energy balance 



Analysis of variance




Carbon dioxide


Energy expenditure


Exercise period


High-intensity intermittent exercise


High-intensity intermittent exercise training


Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption


Heart rate


Respiratory exchange ratio


Resting metabolic rate


Rapid phase (EPOC)


Slow phase (EPOC)

\( \dot{V} \)O2peak

Peak oxygen uptake



The research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit based at University Hospitals of Leicester and Loughborough University. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Kelly
    • 1
  • James A. King
    • 1
  • Jonas Goerlach
    • 1
  • Myra A. Nimmo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Health SciencesLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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