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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2011, Article ID 868305, 10 pages
Review Article

High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss

School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

Received 3 June 2010; Accepted 5 October 2010

Academic Editor: Eric Doucet

Copyright © 2011 Stephen H. Boutcher. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat is negligible; however, other forms of exercise may have a greater impact on body composition. For example, emerging research examining high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) indicates that it may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise. The mechanisms underlying the fat reduction induced by HIIE, however, are undetermined. Regular HIIE has been shown to significantly increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. HIIE also significantly lowers insulin resistance and results in a number of skeletal muscle adaptations that result in enhanced skeletal muscle fat oxidation and improved glucose tolerance. This review summarizes the results of HIIE studies on fat loss, fitness, insulin resistance, and skeletal muscle. Possible mechanisms underlying HIIE-induced fat loss and implications for the use of HIIE in the treatment and prevention of obesity are also discussed.