Affective and enjoyment responses to short-term high-intensity interval training with low-carbohydrate diet in overweight young women

Zhaowei Kong, Mingzhu Hu, Yang Liu, Qingde Shi, Liye Zou, Shengyan Sun, Haifeng Zhang, Jinlei Nie

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Low-carbohydrate diets (LCs) seem effective on weight reduction and maintenance. However, the affect and enjoyment of exercise during LCs is not clear. The purpose of the present study was to compare the psychological responses to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) during the consumption of a 4-week LC diet in overweight young women. With LCs (~10% carbohydrate, 65%–70% fat, 20%–25% protein), forty-three eligible women (age: 20.9 ± 3.1 years; body weight: 65.8 ± 8.2 kg) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: HIIT (10 sets of 6 s all-out cycling interspersed with 9 s of rest), MICT (30 min cycling at 50%–60% of peak oxygen consumption, VȮ2peak) or no-exercise controls (CON). Anthropometric indices and VȮ2peak were measured pre-and post-training. Feeling Scale (FS), Felt Arousal Scale (FAS), Exercise Enjoyment Scale (EES), and Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) scores were collected before and immediately after each training session throughout the study. After intervention, all three groups reduced by more than 2.5 kg of body weight whereas both exercise groups improved ~15% VȮ2peak. Participants in the HIIT and MICT group exhibited similar affect points as indicated by FS and FAS. Post-exercise enjoyment scores in PACES were lower in HIIT (73–78 points) than MICT (83–87 points) despite similarly positive responses being observed in EES (corresponding to ~4 points of a 7-point scale). Short-term LCs were effective in weight loss and exercise training had an additive improvement on cardiorespiratory fitness. The overweight young women had similar affect valence, arousal levels, and comparable pleasurable feelings to HIIT and MICT with LCs. Furthermore, as indicated by PACES, MICT was more enjoyable which may elicit better adherence, whereas HIIT with LCs seems to be more arduous despite its time-efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number442
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Adherence
  • Intermittent exercise
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Overweight
  • Pleasure
  • Repeated sprint training


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