From the "everyone already knew that" file comes a new meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The research group took a look at the results of a bunch of different studies that compared interval training with moderate, steady state exercise over at least a four week period.
The findings are as follows:
- Both approaches are effective at reducing weight.
- Interval training resulted in a 28.5% greater overall weight loss.
- Interval training did not outperform steady state in fat loss in any significant way.
What You Should Take Away
There are more reasons to do interval training that just weight loss (and I am skeptical about my last bullet point above).
Both high intensity interval training and steady state cardio (building a strong aerobic base) have a place in a well-balanced, general physical preparedness (GPP) program.
One thing not present in this meta-analysis are nutritional factors. No weight loss program is going to be successful without the nutritional component being locked in.
Another missing component was the presence, or lack thereof, of strength training in the overall program for the study participants.
So, to summarize, occasional extended bouts of cardio are good, high intensity interval training is good. Both are effective for weight loss, though interval training seems to be a bit more so.