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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018 Jul-Aug;58(7-8):1052-1062. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07297-8. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

Effect of periodized high intensity interval training (HIIT) on body composition and attitudes towards hunger in active men and women.

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Department of Kinesiology, CSU-San Marcos, San Marcos, CA, USA -
Department of Kinesiology, CSU-San Marcos, San Marcos, CA, USA.
Department of Kinesiology, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA, USA.
Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, AL, USA.



High intensity interval training (HIIT) increases maximal oxygen uptake similar to aerobic exercise. However, changes in body composition are equivocal in response to HIIT. We examined changes in body composition and dietary restraint in response to 20 sessions of HIIT varying in structure.


Thirty nine active men and women (age and VO2max=22.5±4.4 years and 40.1±5.6 mL/kg/min) were randomized to one of three periodized HIIT regimes performed on a cycle ergometer. Before and after training, body composition was assessed using skinfolds (SKF), circumference measures, and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) following standardized procedures. Hunger, restraint, and disinhibition were also measured using the 3-Factor Eating Questionnaire and Power of Food Survey. Control participants (N.=32, age and VO2max=25.6±4.4 years and 40.6±4.9 mL/kg/min) matched for age and fitness level underwent all testing but did not complete HIIT.


There was no change (P>0.05) in body mass, circumferences, or BIA-derived body fat in response to HIIT. However, SKF-derived body fat declined (P=0.04) with HIIT, and gender x time (P=0.03) and gender x time x regimen interactions (P=0.04) were shown in that women but not men exhibited significant reductions in body fat. Hunger was reduced from baseline to post-training (P=0.028), but this response was not different in response to HIIT compared to controls.


Twenty sessions of low-volume HIIT reduce body fat in women but not men, but do not alter perceptions of hunger.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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