Impact of 4 weeks of interval training on resting metabolic rate, fitness, and health-related outcomes

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017 Oct;42(10):1073-1081. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2017-0268. Epub 2017 Jun 20.


Resting metabolic rate (RMR) and substrate oxidation (respiratory exchange ratio; RER) are important indicators of health. The effects of interval training on RMR have not been thoroughly investigated, which was the purpose of the present study. Thirty men and women (mean ± SD age and maximal oxygen uptake: 28.8 ± 7.6 years and 33.0 ± 8.3 mL·kg-1·min-1) completed 4 weeks of Wingate-based sprint interval training (SIT), repeated 1-min high-intensity intervals (HIIT), or served as controls. Before and after training, RMR, resting RER, maximal oxygen uptake, body composition, physical activity, and energy intake were recorded. Data were analyzed using a repeated-measures ANOVA. RMR increased in response to 4 weeks of SIT training (1789 ± 293 to 1855 ± 320 kcal·day-1; p = 0.003) but did not increase after HIIT (1670 ± 324 to 1704 ± 329 kcal·day-1; p = 0.06). While SIT increased RMR by ∼2× the magnitude of HIIT, the difference was not significant (p = 0.5). Fasting substrate oxidation and RER did not change (p > 0.05). Maximal oxygen uptake increased, and small changes were also observed in percent body fat and fat mass (p < 0.05 for all). In conclusion, SIT provided a time-efficient stimulus to increase RMR after 4 weeks in healthy adults. However, the clinical relevance of the changes observed in this study remains to be determined. Further studies should be conducted in obese individuals and those with diabetes or insulin resistance to examine if interval training (≥4 weeks) influences resting metabolic rate in magnitudes similar to that reported here.

Keywords: entraînement par intervalle; interval training; métabolisme de repos; oxydation des substrats; quotient respiratoire; respiratory quotient; resting metabolic rate; substrate oxidation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Alabama
  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Time Factors
  • Waist Circumference
  • Young Adult