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Which Workout Burns More Fat? High-Intensity Interval Training or Longer, Moderate

Short bursts of high intensity interval training have long been held as the best way to burn fat. But the research supporting these findings has been small and short-term. A new review pulls together as much data available from all the highest-quality studies looking at interval training, moderate training, and their respective effects on body fat in hopes of finally drawing conclusive results.

The Review

The researchers reviewed 36 studies comparing interval training to endurance training—totaling 1,000 participants. The former training consisted of intervals lasting a few minutes at almost maximum effort with short breaks (long described as high intensity interval training or H.I.I.T.) Sprint-interval training or S.I.T., which is all-out, maximum exertion for a few seconds, was also included in the review. These interval routines were compared against moderate exercise routines—consisting of endurance-style workouts generally lasting 40 minutes.

The Results

Researchers compared the results and found that both forms of exercise contributed to a reduction in body fat that was absolute (meaning people shed actual fat mass) and relative (meaning people lowered their body mass that was fat). And what’s more, there was evidence that people were shedding fat while gaining muscle.

The difference, in absolute terms, between interval and endurance training? Intervals contributed to 3.5 pounds of fat loss while moderate exercise contributed to 2.5 pounds—a one pound, negligible amount.

The takeaway?

Because these routines are similar, it’s really about planning the type of workout that suits your schedule and preferences. There is no advantage to doing longer, easier workouts or short, intense ones. Simply work out how you like. The benefits for both are quite similar.

If you are interest in HIIT training, check out Rise’s 7-Minute HIIT workout designed by Dr. Sonja Stilp.

Source: New York Times

Sonja Stilp M.D. is a doctor and founder of RISE. She is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician with fellowship training in interventional spine and sports medicine.  Dr. Stilp has advanced training in regenerative medicine and orthobiologics for the treatment of spine and sports injuries. Schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Stilp at RISE in Boulder, Colorado.

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