Sprint interval exercise improves several health markers but the appetite and energy balance response is unknown. This study compared the effects of sprint interval and endurance exercise on appetite, energy intake and gut hormone responses. Twelve healthy males [mean (SD): age 23 (3) years, body mass index 24.2 (2.9) kg m−2, maximum oxygen uptake 46.3 (10.2) mL kg−1 min−1] completed three 8 h trials [control (CON), endurance exercise (END), sprint interval exercise (SIE)] separated by 1 week. Trials commenced upon completion of a standardised breakfast. Sixty minutes of cycling at 68.1 (4.3) % of maximum oxygen uptake was performed from 1.75–2.75 h in END. Six 30-s Wingate tests were performed from 2.25–2.75 h in SIE. Appetite ratings, acylated ghrelin and peptide YY (PYY) concentrations were measured throughout each trial. Food intake was monitored from buffet meals at 3.5 and 7 h and an overnight food bag. Appetite (P < 0.0005) and acylated ghrelin (P < 0.002) were suppressed during exercise but more so during SIE. Peptide YY increased during exercise but most consistently during END (P < 0.05). Acylated ghrelin was lowest in the afternoon of SIE (P = 0.018) despite elevated appetite (P = 0.052). Exercise energy expenditure was higher in END than that in SIE (P < 0.0005). Energy intake was not different between trials (P > 0.05). Therefore, relative energy intake (energy intake minus the net energy expenditure of exercise) was lower in END than that in CON (15.7 %; P = 0.006) and SIE (11.5 %; P = 0.082). An acute bout of endurance exercise resulted in lower appetite perceptions in the hours after exercise than sprint interval exercise and induced a greater 24 h energy deficit due to higher energy expenditure during exercise.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Babraj JA, Vollaard NBJ, Keast C, Guppy FM, Cottrell G, Timmons JA (2009) Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males. BMC Endocr Disord 9:3
Bahr R (1992) Excess postexercise oxygen consumption–magnitude, mechanisms and practical implications. Acta Physiol Scand Suppl 605:1–70
Blundell JE, King NA (1999) Physical activity and regulation of food intake: current evidence. Med Sci Sports Exerc 31:S573–S583
Borg GA (1973) Perceived exertion: a note on ‘history’ and methods. Med Sci Sports 5:90–93
Børsheim E, Bahr R (2003) Effect of exercise intensity, duration and mode on post-exercise oxygen consumption. Sports Med 33:1037–1060
Boutcher SH (2011) High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. J Obes 868305
Broom DR, Batterham RL, King JA, Stensel DJ (2009) Influence of resistance and aerobic exercise on hunger, circulating levels of acylated ghrelin, and peptide YY in healthy males. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 296:R29–R35
Burgomaster KA, Cermak NM, Phillips SM, Benton CR, Bonen A, Gibala MJ (2007) Divergent response of metabolite transport proteins in human skeletal muscle after sprint interval training and detraining. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 292:R1970–R1976
Burgomaster KA, Howarth KR, Phillips SM, Rakobowchuk M, Macdonald MJ, McGee SL, Gibala MJ (2008) Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. J Physiol 586:151–160
Callahan HS, Cummings DE, Pepe MS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, Weigle DS (2004) Postprandial suppression of plasma ghrelin level is proportional to ingested caloric load but does not predict intermeal interval in humans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 89:1319–1324
Cummings DE, Weigle DS, Frayo RS, Breen PA, Ma MK, Dellinger EP, Purnell JQ (2002) Plasma ghrelin levels after diet-induced weight loss or gastric bypass surgery. N Engl J Med 346:1623–1630
Durnin JV, Womersley J (1974) Body fat assessed from total body density and its estimation from skinfold thickness: measurements on 481 men and women aged from 16 to 72 years. Br J Nutr 32:77–97
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 24:38–48
Frayn KN (1983) Calculation of substrate oxidation rates in vivo from gaseous exchange. J Appl Physiol 55:628–634
Freese EC, Levine AS, Chapman DP, Hausman DB, Cureton KJ (2011) Effects of acute sprint interval cycling and energy replacement on postprandial lipemia. J Appl Physiol 111:1584–1589
Ghigo E, Broglio F, Arvat E, Maccario M, Papotti M, Muccioli G (2005) Ghrelin: more than a natural GH secretagogue and/or an orexigenic factor. Clin Endocrinol 62:1–17
Hagberg JM, Mullin JP, Nagle FJ (1980) Effect of work intensity and duration on recovery O2. J Appl Physiol 48:540–544
Hagobian TA, Braun B (2010) Physical activity and hormonal regulation of appetite: sex differences and weight control. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 38:25–30
Hosoda H, Doi K, Nagaya N, Okumura H, Nakagawa E, Enomoto M, Ono F, Kangawa K (2004) Optimum collection and storage conditions for ghrelin measurements: octanoyl modification of ghrelin is rapidly hydrolyzed to desacyl ghrelin in blood samples. Clin Chem 50:1077–1080
Hunter GR, Weinsier RL, Bamman MM, Larson DE (1998) A role for high intensity exercise on energy balance and weight control. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 22:489–493
Imbeault P, Saint-Pierre S, Alméras N, Tremblay A (1997) Acute effects of exercise on energy intake and feeding behaviour. Br J Nutr 77:511–521
Karra E, Batterham RL (2010) The role of gut hormones in the regulation of body weight and energy homeostasis. Mol Cell Endocrinol 316:120–128
King NA, Caudwell P, Hopkins M, Byrne NM, Colley R, Hills AP, Stubbs JR, Blundell JE (2007) Metabolic and behavioral compensatory responses to exercise interventions: barriers to weight loss. Obesity 15:1373–1383
King NA, Hopkins M, Caudwell P, Stubbs RJ, Blundell JE (2008) Individual variability following 12 weeks of supervised exercise: identification and characterization of compensation for exercise-induced weight loss. Int J Obes 32:177–184
King JA, Wasse LK, Ewens J, Crystallis K, Emmanuel J, Batterham RL, Stensel DJ (2011) Differential acylated ghrelin, peptide YY3-36, appetite, and food intake responses to equivalent energy deficits created by exercise and food restriction. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 96:1114–1121
Laforgia J, Withers RT, Shipp NJ, Gore CJ (1997) Comparison of energy expenditure elevations after submaximal and supramaximal running. J Appl Physiol 82:661–666
Laforgia J, Withers RT, Gore CJ (2006) Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. J Sports Sci 24:1247–1264
Medbø JI, Mohn AC, Tabata I, Bahr R, Vaage O, Sejersted OM (1988) Anaerobic capacity determined by maximal accumulated O2 deficit. J Appl Physiol 64:50–60
Mifflin MD, St Jeor ST, Hill LA, Scott BJ, Daugherty SA, Koh YO (1990) A new predictive equation for resting energy expenditure in healthy individuals. Am J Clin Nutr 51:241–247
Murphy KG, Bloom SR (2006) Gut hormones and the regulation of energy homeostasis. Nature 444:854–859
Rakobowchuk M, Tanguay S, Burgomaster KA, Howarth KR, Gibala MJ, MacDonald MJ (2008) Sprint interval and traditional endurance training induce similar improvements in peripheral arterial stiffness and flow-mediated dilation in healthy humans. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 295:R236–R242
Richards JC, Johnson TK, Kuzma JN, Lonac MC, Schweder MM, Voyles WF, Bell C (2010) Short-term sprint interval training increases insulin sensitivity in healthy adults but does not affect the thermogenic response to beta-adrenergic stimulation. J Physiol 588:2961–2972
Scott CB, Roby FB, Lohman TG, Bunt JC (1991) The maximally accumulated oxygen deficit as an indicator of anaerobic capacity. Med Sci Sports Exerc 23:618–624
Thompson DA, Wolfe LA, Eikelboom R (1988) Acute effects of exercise intensity on appetite in young men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 20:222–227
Trost SG, Owen N, Bauman AE, Sallis JF, Brown W (2002) Correlates of adults’ participation in physical activity: review and update. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34:1996–2001
Tschöp M, Weyer C, Tataranni PA, Devanarayan V, Ravussin E, Heiman ML (2001) Circulating ghrelin levels are decreased in human obesity. Diabetes 50:707–709
Ueda SY, Yoshikawa T, Katsura Y, Usui T, Fujimoto S (2009) Comparable effects of moderate intensity exercise on changes in anorectic gut hormone levels and energy intake to high intensity exercise. J Endocrinol 203:357–364
Warren A, Howden EJ, Williams AD, Fell JW, Johnson NA (2009) Postexercise fat oxidation: effect of exercise duration, intensity, and modality. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 19:607–623
Whyte LJ, Gill JMR, Cathcart AJ (2010) Effect of 2 weeks of sprint interval training on health-related outcomes in sedentary overweight/obese men. Metabolism 59:1421–1428
We would like to thank all of the volunteers for their participation in this study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Communicated by Klaas R Westerterp.
About this article
Cite this article
Deighton, K., Barry, R., Connon, C.E. et al. Appetite, gut hormone and energy intake responses to low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 113, 1147–1156 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-012-2535-1
- Acylated ghrelin
- Peptide YY
- Appetite-regulating hormones
- Exercise-induced anorexia
- Energy balance