What’s Best for Weight Loss: Sprints, HIIT, or Steady-State Cardio?

New research pulls in data from 36 studies to answer the question.

By Danielle Zickl


  • Interval training could help you lose more weight than a continuous moderate-intensity workout, according to a new review and meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
  • Interval training may make your body more efficient at burning fat, the researchers believe.
  • Still, because interval training is more taxing on your body, you need two to three days of recovery between sessions. So you shouldn’t do them daily.

As cyclists, we’re always looking for ways to get faster—and incorporating interval training into our regular routines definitely helps. But new research shows that interval training can do more than just give your performance a boost: It can also help you shed pounds, if that’s your goal.


In the review and meta-analysis, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers crunched the data from 36 previous studies involving 1,012 people that compared the effects of interval training with continuous moderate-intensity exercise over at least four weeks’ time.

Study authors split interval training into two categories: HIIT and sprint interval training. They defined HIIT as exercise that’s done at 80 percent or more of your max heart rate, and sprint interval training as exercise that’s equal to or higher than your VO2 max (in oth

er words, an all-out effort). While the protocols for each varied among the studies, the most widely-used HIIT routine included 4 minutes of high-intensity work followed by 3 minutes of recovery. As for sprints, most used 30 seconds of “all-out” effort alternated with 4 minutes of recovery, or 8 seconds of work with 12 seconds of recovery.

Moderate-intensity exercise is defined as a continuous effort that where you hit 55 to 70 percent of your max heart rate or 40 to 60 percent of your VO2 max. Again, steady-state routines varied, but ranged from 10 to 60 minutes, with those of 40 to 45 minutes, and 29 to 35 minutes, as the most common.

The findings? While people lost weight and body fat from both types of interval training (HIIT and sprint) and continuous moderate-intensity exercise, interval training as a whole was more effective. Those who did either kind of interval training lost about 29 percent more weight than those who did continuous moderate-intensity exercise.

“Interval training seems to change your metabolism, and higher intensity exercise seems to promote many physiological changes that might favor long-term weight loss,” study coauthor Paulo Gentil, Ph.D., a professor in the department of physical education and dance at the Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil, told Runner’s World. In other words, it makes your body more efficient in burning fat.”

Moderate intensity, on the other hand, doesn’t cause the same changes to your metabolism as higher intensity training does, according to Gentil.

“While [moderate-intensity exercise] burns fat and calories during its performance, it’s been shown that, after its cessation, there are metabolic changes that might make fat loss difficult and favor fat accumulation,” he said. “While that does not mean that low to moderate intensity exercise will make people gain fat, it suggests that the metabolic adaptation to this form of exercise might, at least partially, compensate for the fat [burned] during exercise.”

But just because the research found that intervals are better for weight loss, it does’t mean more intervals are even better. Because these kinds of workouts are more taxing on your body, you shouldn’t do them as often as you do easy runs.

So if you did a really tough speed workout, for instance, that depleted most of your glycogen stores, you will need two to three days of recovery time before you do another one, according to Gentil.

And if you do have a weight-loss goal, you also need to pay attention to what you’re putting on your plate in addition to what kind of exercise you’re doing. Gentil also points out that healthy eating is an important part of weight loss, too, and that pairing a good diet with interval training is the best way ensure weight loss success.

From: Runner's World US



90-Year-Old Spin Instructor...Can You Keep Up

90-Year-Old Spin Instructor Will Take You on a ‘Destination Ride’ in a Class You Won’t Forget

Don’t expect Bob Mendelson to go easy on you: His hill climbs are killer.

By Kelly Laffey




Bob Mendelson sits at the front of the class at the Wellbridge Athletic Club in St. Louis. As the pedals start spinning, music from every era of his 90 years on earth plays over the speakers: legendary Broadway composer Cole Porter, recordings from the Stanford University marching band, and even Top 100 tunes.

The 90-year-old St. Louis native discovered spin classes 20 years ago at a now-shuttered health club he used to go to. There was a dark room filled with bikes that everyone kept going into. One day, he decided to join them. “It took me awhile to get used to the moves,” he says. “At the beginning, it was just work. I didn’t start off with a natural spinning talent.”

Still, he kept going. And soon after starting, some friends from the club approached him. They wanted the now-retired professor at the front of the class.

“A couple of the people there said, ‘You know a little bit about music,’ and ‘You’ve taught, so why don’t you teach spinning?’” Mendelson says. “So I got certified, and when that club closed, some of my friends went over to Wellbridge. They mentioned my name to the people who are running the show, and they wanted to meet me, and that’s it. That was six years ago.”

Mendelson took his years as a urban planning professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and adapted what he learned there to the studio. That’s why he does more than just play music and shepherd his classes through workouts: He takes them on destination rides—journeys from his life.

Using his knowledge of urban planning, he takes class through history lessons about the landscapes of some of his favorite places: Boston, where he was stationed as an officer in the Coast Guard during the Korean War; Pittsburgh, where a dear friend lives, as well as through San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and, of course, his hometown of St. Louis.

I don’t spend time saying your head’s too low, your body is this, your body is that. The great athletes I know aren’t dictated by form. They’re great athletes because of their spirit.

Similar to a lesson plan, each ride begins with a drawing, where Mendelson maps out the sections of the specific city he’d like to incorporate. He then divides the journey—both around the city and down memory lane—into five segments.

“Each segment is a type of topography, and then I work very hard to have four or five songs that fit that [landscape],” he says.

Then his creations come to life in the studio. Take St. Louis for example. One of the rides hosted “there” is called “Eastern European Immigrants, 1880-2018,” where he tracks his family’s journey from Latvia to Missouri. Proud of his Jewish heritage, he features music written or performed by people of Jewish ancestry for that ride.

“I started out with the dances from West Side Story and Hava Nagila,” he says. “Then I did Paula Abdul and Lady Gaga and Drake and contemporary young singers. I loved it!”


For six years, Mendelson has enjoyed the community he has fostered at the athletic club. Fitness classes often have a propensity for becoming individualistic endeavor; it’s all too common for workout enthusiasts to spend an hour in the darkness with their heads down and their heart rate up.

In contrast, Mendelson speaks excitedly about all of his students, like the who told him that her grandfather went to his same high school. Or 1984 Olympic gold medal cyclist Mark Gorski, a friend of his son, who was in class the other day. “He was terrific and he wanted to come back, so I gave him a pass,” Mendelson says.

These experiences speak to the inclusive environment that the nonagenarian’s classes radiate. His teaching philosophy emphasizes a rider’s tenacity over perfect spin posture.

“I don’t spend time saying your head’s too low, your body is this, your body is that,” he says. “The great athletes I know aren’t dictated by form. They’re great athletes because of their spirit.”

But the rides aren’t just a study in geography. They double as a lesson in the power of the human spirit. Mendelson works out for 2.5 hours each day and teaches at least one spin session a week.

And don’t be fooled by his upbeat attitude or his age. That just masks how challenging the classes can be. At an age where most people have slowed down, Mendelson encourages his riders up rolling hills and down steep terrain. When things get tough—both in class and out—he’ll remind students that, “the big events come to us. We don’t create them. What we have control over is how we face them.”

Mendelson celebrated his milestone birthday in Boston two months ago, and he has no plans to retire from spin any time soon. He’s learned that you have to take life as it comes to you, and he gains satisfaction from facing the challenges head-on. “Life is work,” he says. “When you feel terrible or you feel like staying in bed, you get up and keep going forward.”



Ride Your Way to Some Serious Anti-Aging Benefits

Your favorite form of exercise actually protects your DNA, so get ready to ride for the long haul.

By Elizabeth Millard

Dec 19, 2018