Exercise training-induced visceral fat loss in obese women: The role of training intensity and modality

Haifeng Zhang, Tomas K. Tong, Zhaowei Kong, Qingde Shi, Yang Liu, Jinlei Nie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Visceral fat loss in response to four-cycle ergometer training regimens with explicit differences in exercise intensity and modality was compared. Fifty-nine obese young women (body fat percentage ≥ 30%) were randomized to a 12-week intervention consisting of either all-out sprint interval training (SITall-out, n = 11); supramaximal SIT (SIT120, 120% (Formula presented.) O2peak, n = 12); high-intensity interval training (HIIT90, 90% (Formula presented.) O2peak, n = 12), moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT, 60% (Formula presented.) O2peak, n = 11), or no training (CON, n = 13). The total work done per training session in SIT120, HIIT90, and MICT was confined to 200 kJ, while it was deliberately lower in SITall-out. The abdominal visceral fat area (AVFA) was measured through computed tomography scans. The whole-body and regional fat mass were assessed through dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Pre-, post-, and 3-hour post-exercise serum growth hormone (GH), and epinephrine (EPI) were measured during selected training sessions. Following the intervention, similar reductions in whole-body and regional fat mass were found in all intervention groups, while the reductions in AVFA resulting from SITall-out, SIT120, and HIIT90 (>15 cm2) were greater in comparison with MICT (<3.5 cm2, P <.05). The AVFA reductions among the SITs and HIIT groups were similar, and it was concomitant with the similar exercise-induced releases of serum GH and EPI. CON variables were unchanged. These findings suggest that visceral fat loss induced by interval training at or above 90% (Formula presented.) O2peak appeared unresponsive to the change in training intensity. Nonetheless, SITall-out is still the most time-efficient strategy among the four exercise-training regimes for controlling visceral obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-43
Number of pages14
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • abdominal fat
  • continuous training
  • interval training
  • lipolytic hormones
  • obesity


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