^ A study sponsored by the ACE (American Council on Exercise), conducted by researchers in the Department of Exercise Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Previously sedentary, beginner trainers were stratified into three groups for an 8-week study. One group performed steady state cardio, one performed Tabata (HIIT) intervals and one did moderate intensity aerobic intervals.
All three groups experienced significant improvements in VO2max, power output and exercise capacity. The individual stats/graphs are laid out in the study, but the tl;dr version is that the changes were largely statistically identical between groups.
An interesting and noteworthy discussion takes place as to the "Enjoyment Scale" of exercise, postulating that personal preference should be taken into consideration (personality and goals of the individual) when selecting an exercise modality. As has often been discussed in exercise threads here, the "best" workout is the one you'll actually do - and continue to do. Here is an excerpt from the discussion regarding enjoyment scale and adherence (emphasis added):
One day during each week of the eight-week program, study participants completed the Exercise Enjoyment Scale (EES) (Stanley, Williams and Cumming, 2010). The EES was administered before, during and after training to determine the subject’s perceived level of enjoyment (on a scale of 0 to 7).
The major finding was that the EES declined progressively across the duration of the study for all three groups. Additionally, the EES was lowest during the most intense training scheme (i.e., the Tabata Group). Stated simply, the subjects were significantly less likely to enjoy the most intense training protocol, and their enjoyment of all of the protocols declined over time.
Tabata-type protocols (very high-intensity intervals with very short recovery periods) are so physically challenging that they are unlikely to be perceived as pleasant. Regardless of how effective an exercise training program might be, adherence over any meaningful period of time is unlikely in programs that are not enjoyable.
The fact that the participants’ level of enjoyment was declining over the course of the study in all three training groups should be highly concerning to health and fitness professionals, as it is likely that most of these newcomers to exercise would drop out of their programs in the coming weeks if their enjoyment of exercise continued to wane (and it is certainly possible that being part of a research study is all that kept some of them on board). Given that dropout is a primary concern for all new clients, identifying the most enjoyable program, rather than the most effective one, could be an important focus of future research.
March 5, 2017 4:27PM
edited March 2017