To investigate how a change in VO2max induced through 6 weeks of high intensity aerobic interval training affects daily total energy expenditure (TEE), active energy expenditure (AEE) and mitochondrial function in people not previously exposed to structured high intensity aerobic interval training (AIT).


Thirty healthy males (39±6 yrs) not exposed to structured exercise training were randomized to either 1x4 min AIT (1-AIT), 4x4 min AIT (4-AIT), both at 90-95% maximum heart rate (HRmax) or 47 min of MCT at 70% HRmax. TEE, AEE, number of steps, active time, sedentary time, VO2max and mitochondrial function in m. vastus lateralis were measured before and after intervention.


TEE increased 14% (p=0.014) and AEE increased 43% (p= 0.004) after MCT. There was no change in TEE or AEE after 1-AIT or 4-AIT, but 1-AIT had significantly lower TEE (p=0.033) and step-count (p=0.011) compared to MCT post intervention. VO2max increased 7% after 1-AIT (p= 0.004) and 9% after 4-AIT (p=0.004), with no change after MCT. No change was observed in maximal mitochondrial respiration (VMAX) or Citrate Synthase (CS) activity within or between interventions. Basal respiration (V0) increased after 1-AIT (p=0.029) and 4-AIT (p=0.022), with no significant change after MCT.


AIT interventions that increase VO2max, do not stimulate subjects to increase TEE or AEE. The intensity of exercise seems to play apart, as MCT increased TEE and AEE and AIT did not. Emphasis should be placed on the importance of maintaining everyday activities when introducing structured exercise training to untrained individuals.

Keywords: high intensity training, VO2max, daily energy expenditure, mitochondria.
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