Interval training in the fed or fasted state improves body composition and muscle oxidative capacity in overweight women


  • Disclosure: No conflict declared for all authors.



To investigate the effects of low-volume high-intensity interval training (HIT) performed in the fasted (FAST) versus fed (FED) state on body composition, muscle oxidative capacity, and glycemic control in overweight/obese women.

Design and Methods

Sixteen women (27 ± 8 years, BMI: 29 ± 6 kg/m2, VO2peak: 28 ± 3 ml/kg/min) were assigned to either FAST or FED (n = 8 each) and performed 18 sessions of HIT (10× 60-s cycling efforts at ∼90% maximal heart rate, 60-s recovery) over 6 weeks.


There was no significant difference between FAST and FED for any measured variable. Body mass was unchanged following training; however, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry revealed lower percent fat in abdominal and leg regions as well as the whole body level (main effects for time, P ≤ 0.05). Fat-free mass increased in leg and gynoid regions (P ≤ 0.05). Resting muscle biopsies revealed a training-induced increase in mitochondrial capacity as evidenced by increased maximal activities of citrate synthase and β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (P ≤ 0.05). There was no change in insulin sensitivity, although change in insulin area under the curve was correlated with change in abdominal percent fat (r = 0.54, P ≤ 0.05).


Short-term low-volume HIT is a time-efficient strategy to improve body composition and muscle oxidative capacity in overweight/obese women, but fed- versus fasted-state training does not alter this response.