High-intensity interval training is the exercise that burns fat the fastest, new research suggests.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short bursts of maximum effort, followed by periods of rest.
People lost 30 percent more weight doing interval training than those who exercised continuously at a lower level.
Twenty minutes or so of interval training reduces weight as much as twice as long spent exercising moderately.
Interval training comes in a variety of guises: sometimes on a bicycle, other times running, jogging or speed walking
Typically, it involves exercising at maximum intensity for 30 seconds and then taking four minutes to recover.
This cycle is then repeated a few times.
Interval training is a good way of fitting an exercise session into a shorter period of time.
The conclusions come from research that reviewed 36 separate studies, including 1,012 people.
The results showed that both interval training and continuous workouts were effective for weight loss.
However, those doing interval training lost 28.5 percent more weight, on average.
The study’s authors write:
“It is important to be aware of the possible risks and caveats associated with higher intensity training.
For example, it might increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress.
Adherence should also be examined as higher intensity protocols can result in higher discomfort.”
However, they included a wide variety of studies which…
“…makes it difficult to generally recommend that one particular protocol is ‘best’ for modulating body adiposity.”
Exercise, of course, has a variety of other benefits, many psychological.
One study found that long-term memory is boosted by interval training.
Another found that exercise makes people more extraverted and agreeable.
Exercise also increases people’s conscientiousness and makes them more open to experience.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Viana et al., 2019).