Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 99–104 | Cite as

Can short-term high-intensity intermittent training reduce adiposity?

  • Valéria Leme Gonçalves PanissaEmail author
  • Elaine Domingues Alves
  • Gabriela Pires Salermo
  • Emerson Franchini
  • Monica Yuri TakitoEmail author
Original Article



To compare the effects of 6 weeks of high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) and moderate intensity continuous exercise (MICT-control group) on body composition, hunger and food intake.


Twenty-three previously untrained women (28.43 ± 12.53 years) were randomly assigned to a HIIT (n = 11) or MICT group (n = 12). The HIIT group performed 15 1-min bouts at 90 % of maximum heart rate (HRmax) interspersed by 30-s active recovery (60 % HRmax). The MICT group performed a continuous exercise at 70 % HRmax equalizing the training load method proposed by Edwards (1993) to a similar value achieved by the HIIT group. Training for both groups was performed three times per week for 6 weeks. All subjects performed the Astrand cycloergometer test to estimate maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) 1 week before and after the training period, as well as body composition, which was estimated through circumferences and skinfold thicknesses. For all training sessions heart rate, visual scale of hunger and internal load were recorded. In the first and last week of training subjects were asked to record a 24-h food diary for 3 days.


Both training induced significant pre- to post-decreases for fat mass, fat percentage, waist circumference and sum of seven skinfolds. However, only the sum of skinfolds differed between protocols with a higher mean percentage change for HIIT compared to the MICT. As expected, estimated VO2max increased in both groups. There were no differences for hunger, energy intake and body mass.


HIIT resulted in a greater fat loss compared to moderate continuous aerobic training.


Hunger Food intake Exercise intensity Women Body composition 



We would like to thank the Institutional Program of Scientific Initiation CNPQ (100595/2015-4). Valéria Leme Gonçalves Panissa is supported by FAPESP (2011/22862-9).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest relating to the publication of this manuscript.

Ethical approval

All subjects provided written informed consent and all procedures were approved by the institutional ethic review board.

Informed consent

Informed consent in writing was obtained from each subject enrolled in the study.


  1. 1.
    Sijie T, Hainai Y, Fengying Y, Jianxiong W (2008) High intensity interval exercise training in overweight young women. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 52:255–262Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Freund J, Boutcher SH (2008) The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. Int J Obes 32:684–691CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boutcher SH (2010) High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. J Obes 2011:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, Franklin BA et al (2011) Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Am Coll Sports Med Position Stand Med Sci Sports Exerc 43:1334–1359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tjønna AE, Lee SJ, Rognmo Ø, Stølen TO et al (2008) Aerobic interval training versus continuous moderate exercise as a treatment for the metabolic syndrome: a pilot study. Circulation 118:346–534CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Stubbs R, Sepp A, Hughes DA, Johnstone AM et al (2002) The effect of graded levels of exercise on energy intake and balance in free-living women. Int J Obes 26:866–869CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C (1994) Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism 43:814–818CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Airin S, Linoby A, Zaki MSM, Baki H et al (2014) The effects of high-intensity interval training and continuous training on weight loss and body composition in overweight females. Proceedings of the international colloquium on sports science, exercise, engineering and technology p 401–409Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Helgerud J (2007) Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39:665–671CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gillen JB, Gibala MJ (2014) Is high-intensity interval training a time-efficient exercise strategy to improve health and fitness? Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 39:409–412CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Laforgia J, Withers RT, Gore CJ (2006) Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. J Sports Sci 24:1247–1264CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Deighton K, Barry R, Connon CE, Stensel DJ (2013) Appetite, gut hormone and energy intake responses to low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 113:1147–1156CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sim AY, Wallman KE, Fairchild TJ, Guelfi KJ (2014) High-intensity intermittent exercise attenuates ad libitum energy intake. Int J Obes 38:417–22Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Martins C, Stensvold D, Finlayson G, Holst J, Wisloff U et al (2015) Effect of moderate- and high-intensity acute exercise on appetite in obese individuals. Med Sci Sports Exerc 47:40–48CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bailey DP, Smith LR, Chrismas BC, Taylor L, Stensel DJ, Deighton K et al (2015) Appetite and gut hormone responses to moderate-intensity continuous exercise versus high-intensity interval exercise, in normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Appetite 89:237–245CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Alkahtani SA, Byrne NM, Hills AP, King NA (2015) Interval training intensity affects energy intake compensation in obese men. Int J Sport Nuth Exerc Metab 24:595–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sim AY, Wallman KE, Fairchild TJ, Guelfi KJ (2015) Effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on appetite regulation. Med Sci Sports Exerc 47:2441–2449CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Harrison GG (1988) Skinfold thicknesses and measurement technique. In: Lohman TG, Roche AF, Martorell R (eds) Anthropometric standardization reference manual. Human Kinetics Books, Champaign, pp 55–70Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Marks GC (1989) Reliability, dependability, and precision of anthropometric measurements. Am J Epidemiol 130:578–587PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jackson AS, Pollock ML, Ward A (1980) Generalized equations for predicting body density of women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1980(12):75–182Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Siri WE (1961) Body composition from fluids spaces and density: analyses of methods. In: Techniques for measuring body composition, National Academy of Science and Natural Resource Council, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Astrand PO, Ryhming I (1954) A nomogram for calculation of aerobic capacity (physical fitness) from pulse rate during sub-maximal work. J Appl Physiol 7:218–221PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Subar AF, Crafts J, Zimmerman TP, Wilson M et al (2010) Assessment of the accuracy of portion size reports using computer-based food photographs aids in the development of an automated self-administered 24-hour recall. J Am Diet Assoc 110:55–64CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Flint A, Raben A, Blundell JE, Astrup A (2000) Reproducibility, power and validity of visual analogue scales in assessment of appetite sensations in single test meal studies. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 24:38–48CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Edwards S (1993) High performance training and racing. In: Edwards S (ed) High performance training and racing. Feet Fleet Press, Sacramento, pp 113–123Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Grant S, Aitchison T, Henderson E, Christie J et al (1999) Comparison of the reproducibility and the sensitivity to change of visual analogue scales, Borg scales, and Likert scales in normal subjects during submaximal exercise. Chest J 116:1208–1217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Rhea MR (2004) Determining the magnitude of treatment effects in strength training research through the use of the effect size. J Strength Cond Res 18:918–920PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Burgomaster KA, Hughes SC, Heigenhauser GJF, Bradwell SN, Gibala MJ (2005) Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans. J Appl Physiol 98:1985–1990CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Jakicic JM (2009) The effect of physical activity on body weight. Obes 17:34–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    You T, Wang X, Yang R, Lyle MF, Gong D, Nicklas BJ (2012) Effect of exercise training intensity on adipose tissue hormone sensitive lipase gene expression in obese women under weight loss. J Sport Health Sci 2012(1):184–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Christmass MA, Dawson B, Arthur PG (1999) Effect of work and recovery duration on skeletal muscle oxygenation and fuel use during sustained intermittent exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 80:436–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Franchini E, Panissa VLG, Julio UF (2013) Physiological and performance responses to intermittent Uchi-komi in Judo. J Strength Cond Res 27:1147–1155CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Panissa VLG, Julio UF, Silva CMP, Andreato LV et al (2014) Influence of the aerobic fitness on time spent at high percentage of maximal oxygen uptake during a high-intensity intermittent running. J Sports Med Phys Fit 54:708–714Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valéria Leme Gonçalves Panissa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elaine Domingues Alves
    • 2
  • Gabriela Pires Salermo
    • 2
  • Emerson Franchini
    • 1
  • Monica Yuri Takito
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Sport, School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Human Movement Pedagogy, School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of São Paulo (USP)São PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations