Meta-study compares interval training with traditional endurance training
When it comes to respiratory fitness, short but intensive interval training is more effective than traditional time-consuming endurance training. But when it comes to fat loss, interval training is just as effective as traditional endurance training. This is the result of a meta-study that Australian researchers, affiliated with the University of Sydney, published in Sports Medicine.
The Australians selected 47 studies that compared the effects of classical endurance training with the effects of interval training. The researchers limited themselves to studies that lasted at least 4 weeks.
The test subjects were often overweight or obese, but sometimes had a healthy weight. When the studies started, the subjects often had a sedentary lifestyle, but sometimes the studies also used physically active individuals as test subjects.
The Australians combined the results of those studies and analyzed them again.
Interval training improved respiratory fitness more than traditional endurance training. Classical endurance training also brought about a significant improvement in fitness, but interval training was just a bit more effective.
Regarding body composition, it did not matter how the subjects trained.
In this meta-study, both forms of training were not particularly effective in terms of reducing fat mass. In most other meta-studies, interval training and traditional endurance training do reduce fat mass, but the effect is usually not so great there either.
"Low-volume high-intensity interval training, therefore, appears to be a time-efficient treatment for increasing fitness, but not for the improvement of body composition", the researchers summarize.
Sports Med. 2019 Nov;49(11):1687-721.
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