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Interval training may be best for weight loss reported on research published February in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that concluded, “interval training may result in greater weight loss than continuous exercise, with sprint interval training (SIT) the most effective.” In addition, “interval training also may be easier for obese and older individuals to perform.”

This conclusion, by researchers at the Federal University in Goias, Brazil, was the result of a systematic review and meta-analysis, which compared weight loss achieved with interval training – high and moderate intensity – versus moderate-intensity, continuous training (MOD).

According to Medscape, “after pooling results from over 1000 individuals, they found both interval training and MOD led to significant reductions in both total body fat percentage and total absolute fat mass.” But, “interval training was associated with a reduction in total absolute fat mass that was more than 28% greater than that seen with MOD, with the greatest reductions seen with SIT.”

In December 2018, published research in Frontiers in Physiology compared the effects of 8 weeks of two types of interval training – (SIT) and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), on anthropometric measures – height, weight, BMI, and percent body fat – and cardiorespiratory fitness in healthy young women.

The HIIT group performed four intervals of four minute duration at 90-95% of peak heart rate (220-age) on a stationary cycle – with three minutes of active recovery (light cycling) at 50-60% of peak heart rate, while the SIT group performed four intervals of “all out,” thirty second cycling – with four minutes of passive (complete rest) or light cycling with no load.

It was determined that, “eight weeks of HIIT and SIT resulted in improvements in anthropometric measures and cardiorespiratory fitness, even in the absence of changes in dietary intake.”

In addition, the SIT protocol caused larger skinfold reductions compared to the HIIT. Both protocols appear to be time-efficient interventions, “since the HIIT and SIT protocols took 33 and 23 min (16 and 2 min of effective training) per session, respectively.”

The Brazilian researchers point out that SIT may increase the injury risk and increased cardiorespiratory stress in certain populations, who may not be able to adjust to the higher intensity level. However, they also point out that, “for obese people, virtually everything involves high intensity, because of their low fitness level and because they have to carry a heavier load.”

The Brazilians also say, “older people also might have difficulty sustaining exercise for longer periods, which might make interval training a good alternative.”

From my experience supervising comprehensive weight management programs and research for my book, The Fat Burning Bible, it was obvious as to the benefits of either HIIT or SIT, when combined with circuit resistance training – moving from one exercise to the next, alternating between the upper and lower torso. Those benefits included: an increase in resting metabolic rate; a reduction in total body fat; and, an increase in cardiorespiratory fitness over a three-month period.

Using heart rate monitoring during the training, after measuring the weight loss participant’s maximum endurance capacity – VO2 Max – and determining the anaerobic threshold, we identified the optimum target heart rate training zones to accelerate fat loss in the shortest training period – with HIIT or SIT.

Life is an endurance event with intermittent sprints – moving toward a finish line pushed way down the line. The objective is compressed morbidity, the shortest period of illness pushed to the end of life.

After years of testing hundreds of individuals – both athlete and non – of all ages and sizes, I reached the point of being able to speculate – based on the results in adults of the VO2 max and the anaerobic threshold test– who might survive the first hour after a heart attack.

It all came down to HITT or SIT. What’s in your future?

Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise, diet, or nutritional supplementation program.

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