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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2015 Oct 21;10(10):e0138853.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138853. eCollection 2015.

High Intensity Interval- Vs Moderate Intensity- Training for Improving Cardiometabolic Health in Overweight or Obese Males: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Free PMC article
Randomized Controlled Trial

High Intensity Interval- Vs Moderate Intensity- Training for Improving Cardiometabolic Health in Overweight or Obese Males: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Gordon Fisher et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Purpose: To compare the effects of six weeks of high intensity interval training (HIIT) vs continuous moderate intensity training (MIT) for improving body composition, insulin sensitivity (SI), blood pressure, blood lipids, and cardiovascular fitness in a cohort of sedentary overweight or obese young men. We hypothesized that HIIT would result in similar improvements in body composition, cardiovascular fitness, blood lipids, and SI as compared to the MIT group, despite requiring only one hour of activity per week compared to five hours per week for the MIT group.

Methods: 28 sedentary overweight or obese men (age, 20 ± 1.5 years, body mass index 29.5 ± 3.3 kg/m2) participated in a six week exercise treatment. Participants were randomly assigned to HIIT or MIT and evaluated at baseline and post-training. DXA was used to assess body composition, graded treadmill exercise test to measure cardiovascular fitness, oral glucose tolerance to measure SI, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to assess lipoprotein particles, and automatic auscultation to measure blood pressure.

Results: A greater improvement in VO2peak was observed in MIT compared to HIIT (11.1% vs 2.83%, P = 0.0185) in the complete-case analysis. No differences were seen in the intention to treat analysis, and no other group differences were observed. Both exercise conditions were associated with temporal improvements in % body fat, total cholesterol, medium VLDL, medium HDL, triglycerides, SI, and VO2peak (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Participation in HIIT or MIT exercise training displayed: 1) improved SI, 2) reduced blood lipids, 3) decreased % body fat, and 4) improved cardiovascular fitness. While both exercise groups led to similar improvements for most cardiometabolic risk factors assessed, MIT led to a greater improvement in overall cardiovascular fitness. Overall, these observations suggest that a relatively short duration of either HIIT or MIT training may improve cardiometabolic risk factors in previously sedentary overweight or obese young men, with no clear advantage between these two specific regimes (Clinical Trial Registry number NCT01935323).

Trial registration: NCT01935323.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: Drs. Fisher, Brown and Bohan Brown report receiving grant support from the Coca-Cola Foundation through their institution. Dr. Allison reports serving as an unpaid board member for the International Life Sciences Institute of North America; receiving payment for board membership from Kraft Foods; receiving consulting fees from Vivus, Ulmer and Berne, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, Garrison, Chandler Chicco, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, National Cattlemen's Association, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Frontiers Foundation, Orexigen Therapeutics, and Jason Pharmaceuticals; receiving lecture fees from Porter Novelli and the Almond Board of California; receiving payment for manuscript preparation from Vivus; receiving travel reimbursement from International Life Sciences Institute of North America; receiving other support from the United Soybean Board and the Northarvest Bean Growers Association; receiving grant support through his institution from Wrigley, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Vivus, Jason Pharmaceuticals, Aetna Foundation, and McNeil Nutritionals; and receiving other funding through his institution from the Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Red Bull, World Sugar Research Organisation, Archer Daniels Midland, Mars, Eli Lilly and Company, and Merck. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Consort Flow Diagram of Study.

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