For those who aren’t a fan of hitting the cross-trainer and can’t bear the idea of going on a run, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best options for getting your cardio in.
Short bursts of intense exercise alternated with rest make for a great workout and a very sweaty you. It’s a great exercise for keeping your heart healthy, but HIIT is also known for the boost it can have on your metabolism, and new research from the University of Copenhagen may have uncovered why.
Let’s take a look at the study and its results.
The aim of the study
Our skeletal muscle has proteins that are vital for energy metabolism and muscle contraction; the composition of these proteins influences how your metabolism runs.
Researchers Morten Hostrup and Atul Deshmukh wanted to understand how exercise like HIIT alters muscle protein content and how it regulates the activity of these proteins through a chemical reaction called acetylation.
Eight healthy male volunteers completed five weeks of high intensity cycling workouts. The participants did three sessions per week, alternating four minutes of cycling at a target rate of more than 90% of their maximum heart rate with a two-minute rest. They repeated this four or five times per workout.
The researchers collected tissue samples from the participants’ thighs before the study and after they finished training. They analysed these samples for changes to the composition of 3,168 proteins.
All very interesting so far, but what has this got to do with metabolism?
The researchers’ analyses showed changes in the production of the metabolism-influencing proteins mentioned before.
The results of the study confirm there are significant changes to skeletal muscle proteins after exercise, and the regulation of proteins may also have metabolism-boosting effects.
Here’s what one of the authors of the study, Atul Deshmukh, said of the results.
“Our study provides new information about how skeletal muscle adapts to exercise training, including the identification of novel exercise-regulated proteins and acetyl-sites.
“We hope our work will stimulate further research into how exercise helps improve metabolic health in humans.”
Take home message
It’s no secret that HIIT is good for you. It gets your heart pumping, clears your head, and now it seems we’re a little closer to finding out exactly what effects it can have on the metabolism.
So, just in case you needed another reason to not your HIIT session, here it is.