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Metabolic Adaptations to Short-Term High-Intensity Interval Training

Continuing from my discussion of Exercise Efficiency, I want to dip back into the research and look at the metabolic adaptations to high-intensity interval training (HIIT).  Specifically I want to look at the following review.

Gibala, MJ and SL McGee. Metabolic Adaptations to Short-Term High-Intensity Interval Training: A Little Pain for a Lot of Gain. Exerc Sport Sci Rev (2008) 36: 58-63.

Which looks at the research (as of 2008) on the adaptations seen with HIIT.   In this regard the researchers state:

High-intensity interval training (HIT) is a potent time-efficient strategy to induce numerous metabolic adaptations usually associated with traditional endurance training. As little as six sessions of HIT over 2 wk or a total of only approximately 15 min of very intense exercise (approximately 600 kJ), can increase skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and endurance performance and alter metabolic control during aerobic-based exercise.

My Comments

It’s long been felt or argued that the only way to reach the pinnacle of endurance performance is through years of grinding effort, usually involving absolute piles of low-intensity training.… Keep Reading

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EPOC: Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption After Exercise

One of the primary bases upon which the superiority of HIIT is based is the idea of the calorie afterburn that occurs after training.    Technically this is called the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC.   Since it relates to the topic of steady state vs. interval training, I want to examine it here.

LaForgia et al. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. J Sports Sci. 2006 24(12):1247-64

Recovery from a bout of exercise is associated with an elevation in metabolism referred to as the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). A number of investigators in the first half of the last century reported prolonged EPOC durations and that the EPOC was a major component of the thermic effect of activity. It was therefore thought that the EPOC was a major contributor to total daily energy expenditure and hence the maintenance of body mass.

Investigations conducted over the last two or three decades have improved the experimental protocols used in the pioneering studies and therefore have more accurately characterized the EPOC.… Keep Reading