Study Shows HIIT Exercise And Intermittent Fasting May Benefit Women Who Want To Reduce Fat

Intermittent fasting can help you burn fat by restricting the number of hours you eat daily (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you lose fat, lower blood sugar, and improve your aerobic capacity through its quick bursts of intense exercise (via Healthline). What if both these methods were combined in a weight-loss program? A recent study in Cell Metabolism looked at just that.

Researchers recruited 131 women with an average body mass index (BMI) of 32 and split them into four groups. One group restricted their eating to 10 hours a day, and another group did 35 minutes of HIIT three times a week. A third group restricted their eating to 10 hours a day and did HIIT three times a week, while one group served as a control. At the beginning of the study, the researchers measured glucose levels, body fat, and VO2 peak. They then measured the participants again after seven weeks.

Compared to the control group, the group that combined HIIT with time-restricted eating reduced their blood glucose levels. This group also lost twice the amount of body weight and fat mass as the HIIT and time-restricted eating groups. The groups that included HIIT also improved their cardiovascular fitness.

Combining HIIT and time-restricted eating is effective and simple

The researchers noted that the time-restricted eaters ate less during the day. By delaying their first meal by two hours, they ate 200 fewer calories per day on average compared to what they ate before the study. No groups changed any of their eating patterns, such as the type of macronutrients.

Trine Moholdt, the senior author of the study published in Cell Metabolism, said in a news release that the results show that diet and exercise combined are the fastest and simplest way to improve overall health.

"[Time-restricted eating] is a less tedious and time-efficient method to lose weight compared with daily calorie counting, and HIIT is tolerable and safe for previously sedentary individuals and can be completed within 30-40 minutes," Moholdt said.

According to Healthline, you can benefit from HIIT exercises in as little as 10 minutes, and it will keep your metabolism active hours after your workout. HIIT reaps the same benefits as moderately intense exercise in less time. Johns Hopkins Medicine says that time-restricted eating also steers you away from unhealthy habits, such as late-night snacking.