Japanese researchers have found that when it comes to exercise and weight loss, the perceived wisdom of quantity over quality might be wrong.
Tokyo University's Kuzushige Goto recruited six healthy men and studied their metabolic response to exercise on a cycling machine. The volunteers performed either a solid 60 minute workout, two thirty minute workouts with a 20 minute rest between the two, or 60 minutes resting in an armchair as a control. Blood samples were taken regularly throughout the experiments.
Surprisingly the men showed signs of burning of more fat during the interrupted exercise regime than during the sustained 60 minute workout.
Their blood showed significantly higher levels of free fatty acids and glycerol, which are markers of fat breakdown, compared with the longer workout. Present advice given to patients trying to lose weight be exercising is to extend the length of workouts to ensure adequate fat depletion. However, this study shows that this method may not be the most effective way to enhance fat metabolism, as splitting up a long bout of exercise with a rest period burns more fat than a continuous bout of exercise.