Several studies have found that HIIT can lower appetite and is associated with less unhealthy foods than continuous aerobic exercise. Studies have found that HIIT results in a decrease in exercise-induced hunger and desire to eat and a decrease in fat intake compared with continuous aerobic exercise following four and six weeks
HIIT TRAINING MAY LEAD TO BETTER APPETITE CONTROL SUMMARY
- Hunger increased to a greater extent in the continuous cardio group compared to the HIIT group.
There are no differences in fat loss or weight loss when calories are controlled.
Experts have been recommending high-intensity interval training or HIIT for fat loss and improved lean muscle mass for several years. We define HIIT as exercises performed at a peak heart rate of 80% or more. During HIIT, individuals engage in high-intensity exercises in short bursts, then follow them with a brief recovery period at a slower pace. Common examples of HIIT include spin classes or treadmill programs with maximal sprints and short rest intervals.
Moderate-intensity continuous exercise is defined as the exercise performed less than 80% of a peak heart rate and performed over a more prolonged period of time (i.e., cycling or walking for 45 minutes). Some people advocate HIIT as superior for fat loss to other forms of exercise.
HIIT is advantageous for the following reasons:
a.) it burns more calories in a short amount of time
b.) HIIT can improve anaerobic performance and may improve lean muscle mass.
c.) It can provide health benefits in a shorter period.
FAT LOSS COMPARING HIIT TO STEADY STATE CARDIO
In 2017, a literature review found that fat loss was similar between high-intensity interval training and steady-state cardio.(1) The meta-analysis of 56 studies examined the effects of HIIT vs. moderate-intensity continuous cardio for fat loss and lean muscle mass. The results were: a.) HIIT was not superior to moderate-intensity continuous exercise for fat loss. b.) HIIT was not superior to moderate-intensity continuous exercise for increasing lean muscle mass. The review found that the exercise intensity and duration of cardio had minimal impact on the rates of fat loss. Thus, individuals should choose the form of cardio that best suits their needs for fat loss. (2) The author concluded, “Our findings provide compelling evidence that the pattern of intensity of effort and volume during endurance exercise [i.e., interval training vs. continuous training] has minimal influence on longitudinal changes in fat mass and fat-free mass, which are likely to be minimal, anyway.”
HIIT MAY REDUCE APPETITE MORE THAN CONTINUOUS CARDIO
Several studies have found that HIIT can lower appetite and is associated with less unhealthy foods than continuous aerobic exercise. Studies have found that HIIT results in a decrease in exercise-induced hunger and desire to eat and a decrease in fat intake compared with continuous aerobic exercise following four and six weeks. (3) Researchers had overweight men and women follow a HIIT or a continuous aerobic protocol for 12 weeks and measured body composition and appetite score.
The HIIT protocol consisted of alternating high- and low-intensity efforts performed at a ratio of 1:4 with an active recovery period (60 seconds of low-intensity cycling) between efforts. The moderate-intensity cardio consisted of continuous cycling at 60% of their maximal power. Pre and post-exercise (i.e., 12 weeks later), they performed exercise and were allowed to eat at a buffet, and then they were allowed snacks (e.g., fruit, chocolate, salted chips/crisps) for several hours after the exercise bout.
At the end of the 12 weeks, there was no difference in weight loss, fat loss, or lean muscle mass. However, hunger increased to a greater extent in the continuous cardio group compared to the HIIT group.
- After one year of training, strength gains slow down substantially.
- Lifters may need to adjust the volume by adding more sets to increase neuromuscular adaptations to strength training.
- You can lose fat with both HIIT and moderate-intensity exercise. Caloric restriction will be the determining factor for fat loss.
- Some people have personality traits that gravitate towards high-intensity exercise, whereas others do not. Find out which form of exercise best suits your needs and schedule.
1. Keating SE, Johnson NA, Mielke GI, Coombes JS. A systematic review and meta-analysis of interval training versus moderate-intensity continuous training on body adiposity. Obes Rev. 2017;18(8):943-64.
2. Steele J, Plotkin D, Van Every D, Rosa A, Zambrano H, Mendelovits B, et al. Slow and Steady, or Hard and Fast? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Studies Comparing Body Composition Changes between Interval Training and Moderate Intensity Continuous Training. Sports (Basel). 2021;9(11).
3. Alkahtani SA, Byrne NM, Hills AP, King NA. Interval Training Intensity Affects Energy Intake Compensation in Obese Men. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2014;24(6):595-604.
4. Beer NJ, Jackson B, Dimmock JA, Guelfi KJ. Attenuation of Post-Exercise Energy Intake Following 12 Weeks of Sprint Interval Training in Men and Women with Overweight. Nutrients. 2022;14(7).