High-Intensity Interval Training, better known as HIIT, burns more calories than a steady pace on a treadmill or a bicycle.
A team of researchers analyzed data from 41 smaller studies in order to examine weight lost from interval training (a mix of intense exercises with brief recovery periods) and moderate intensity continuous programs (jogging, cycling). The found that, while both types of workout resulted in weight loss among men and women, those who did interval training lost more weight and body fat.
A paper detailing the analysis and findings appear in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Interval Training Better For Weight Loss
According to the researchers, on average, men and women who did HIIT programs lost 1.58 kilograms (3.5 pounds) over four to 16 weeks. In comparison, those who did moderate intensity jogging, cycling, or walking lost an average of 1.13 kilograms (2.5 pounds) over the same period.
"Losing weight is not only about how many calories you burn during exercise, but also how your body reacts during the hours and days after exercise," said Paulo Gentil of the Federal University of Goias in Brazil, the senior author of the study, in a statement to Reuters. "We found that interval training promotes higher fat loss and sprints interval training might be particularly efficient at this."
Due to the nature of the analysis, the researchers could not determine a training program most effective for weight loss. The exercises varied from study to study but, according to the paper, interval training programs lasted for an average of 28 minutes while sprint interval sessions went for 18 minutes and 38 minutes for continuous moderate intensity workouts.
In total, the studies involved 1,115 participants.
Not For Everyone
The researchers, however, warned that, while HIIT programs have shown better results for weight loss, it might not be suitable for everyone. These workouts involve bursts of high-intensity exercises and then brief periods of rest.
"HIIT might increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress," they stated.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity for adults per week or 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.