Sexy enough title for you? No? Let me put on my “I-need-readers-in-a-saturated-market” hat on for a second and try again.

< insert HIIT pun here, for example “HIIT it Hard!” or “It’s a HIIT!” >: Why high-intensity interval training is the most awesomest, easiest form of fat burning crazy-sauce you’ll ever spend almost no time doing!

Better? Hooked now? Good!

Let’s start with a bit of a confession. I planned on writing an article that provided a blow-by-blow, in-depth look at as much of the HIIT research as I could get my hands on. The more I read, however, the less compelled I felt to write such a post. Why? Because as Jeff’s recent post quickly laid out, we see our profession/industry needing a lot less WHAT and a lot more HOW. I started to feel like writing that kind of post would result in another turd floating around in the sewer of useless info.* So instead, here’s a quick overview and then a list of papers I’ve read through.

As I did in my last post, I’ll provide a one-sentence summary, this time in my own words instead of a relevant quote of a peer-reviewed paper:

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a useful, albeit much over-hyped and over-sold, form of exercise for fat loss, the recommendation for which comes with a few warnings about intensity and a realistic view of its effects on calorie balance.

The truth is that, as with resistance training and steady-state aerobic training, the fat loss benefits of HIIT pale in comparison to a calorie-restricted diet (although it seems that the high intensity of HIIT may actually decrease appetite – cool, but this also complicates the results of many HIIT studies where calorie intakes aren’t closely monitored or controlled). What is more important than the small differences between these exercise modalities is that a person chooses a form(s) of exercise they enjoy, even look forward to, and continue to do it(them) for a long time. Like, foreverz.

Below is a list of papers I’ve read through to come to these conclusions regarding HIIT. If you can read any of them thoroughly – not just the abstract – and reach a different conclusion or find anything that contributes to the big picture, please respond and correct me.


Alahmadi MA. High-Intensity Interval Training and Obesity. J Nov Physiother. 2014 4(3): 211

Boudou P, et al. Absence of Exercise-Induced Variations in Adiponectin Levels Despite Decreased Abdominal Adiposity and improved Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetic Men. Euro J Endo. 2003 149:421-424

Bouthcher SH. High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. J Obes. 2011; 2011

Heydari M, Freund J, Boutcher SH. The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males. J Obes. 2012;2012

Schjerve IE, et al. Both Aerobic Endurance and Strength Training Programmes Improve Cardiovascular Health in Obese Adults. Clinical Science. 2008 115: 283-293

Scoots, Matty. Referencing of the Self is a Useful Tool in Internet Journalism and Personal Training Certification Manuals. M Clark J of Malleolus. 2014. 1(1): 1-1000

Sijie T, Hainai Y, Fengying Y, Jianxiong W. High Intensity Interval Exercise Training in Overweight Young Women. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2012 Jun;52(3):255-62

Skelly LE, et al. High-Intensity Interval Exercise Induces 24-h Energy Expenditure Similar to Traditional Endurance Exercise Despite Reduced Time Commitment. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 20134 39:845-848

Tjonna AE, et al. Aerobic Interval Training Reduces Cardiovascular Risk Factors More than a Multitreatment Approach in Overweight Adolescents. Clinincal Science. 2009 116:317-326

Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Freund J, Boutcher SH. The Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Training on Fat Loss and Fasting Insulin Levels of Young Women. Int J Obes. 2008 32: 684-691

*This is partly the reason for my un-planned, unannounced and largely unnoticed hiatus from the blog

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