Physiological and Health-Related Adaptations to Low-Volume Interval Training: Influences of Nutrition and Sex
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Interval training refers to the basic concept of alternating periods of relatively intense exercise with periods of lower-intensity effort or complete rest for recovery. Low-volume interval training refers to sessions that involve a relatively small total amount of exercise (i.e. ≤10 min of intense exercise), compared with traditional moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) protocols that are generally reflected in public health guidelines. In an effort to standardize terminology, a classification scheme was recently proposed in which the term 'high-intensity interval training' (HIIT) be used to describe protocols in which the training stimulus is 'near maximal' or the target intensity is between 80 and 100 % of maximal heart rate, and 'sprint interval training' (SIT) be used for protocols that involve 'all out' or 'supramaximal' efforts, in which target intensities correspond to workloads greater than what is required to elicit 100 % of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). Both low-volume SIT and HIIT constitute relatively time-efficient training strategies to rapidly enhance the capacity for aerobic energy metabolism and elicit physiological remodeling that resembles changes normally associated with high-volume MICT. Short-term SIT and HIIT protocols have also been shown to improve health-related indices, including cardiorespiratory fitness and markers of glycemic control in both healthy individuals and those at risk for, or afflicted by, cardiometabolic diseases. Recent evidence from a limited number of studies has highlighted potential sex-based differences in the adaptive response to SIT in particular. It has also been suggested that specific nutritional interventions, in particular those that can augment muscle buffering capacity, such as sodium bicarbonate, may enhance the adaptive response to low-volume interval training.
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