High-intensity Interval Training Frequency: Cardiometabolic Effects and Quality of Life

Int J Sports Med. 2018 Feb;39(3):210-217. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-125074. Epub 2018 Feb 2.


The effects of high intensity interval training (HIIT) frequency on cardiometabolic health and quality of life were examined in 35 healthy inactive adults (age: 31.7±2.6 yrs, VO2peak: 32.7±7.4 ml·: kg-1 ·: min-1). Participants were randomly assigned to a control (CON) and two training groups, which performed 10×60-s cycling at ~83% of peak power, two (HIIT-2) or three times per week (HIIT-3) for eight weeks. Compared with CON, both training regimes resulted in similar improvements in VO2peak (HIIT-2: 10.8%, p=0.048, HIIT-3: 13.6%, p=0.017), waist circumference (HIIT-2: -1.4 cm, p=0.048, HIIT-3: -2.4 cm, p=0.028), thigh cross-sectional area (HIIT-2: 11.4 cm2, p=0.001, HIIT-3: 9.3 cm2, p=0.001) and the physical health component of quality of life (HIIT-2: 8.4, p=0.001, HIIT-3: 12.2, p=0.001). However, HIIT-3 conferred additional health-related benefits by reducing total body and trunk fat percentage (p<0.05, compared with CON), total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (p<0.02, compared with CON) and by improving the mental component of quality of life (p=0.045, compared with CON). In conclusion, performing HIIT only twice per week is effective in promoting cardiometabolic health-related adaptations and quality of life in inactive adults. However, higher HIIT frequency is required for an effect on fat deposits, cholesterol and mental component of well-being.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness / physiology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / methods*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Time Factors
  • Waist Circumference


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Insulin
  • Cholesterol