Halle N. Brin1, Camilla L. Roy1, Baylie G. Sigmund1, Nathan D. Dicks2, Kathryn J. DeShaw3, Michael J. Carper1, Laura M. Covert-Miller1, Tanis J. Walch4, Allison M. Barry1.

1Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS; 2Concordia College, Moorhead, MN; 3Loras College, Dubuque, IA; 4University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND

The high prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity within the U.S. has become a public health crisis. PURPOSE: To examine the effects of High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT) on the perceptions and beliefs towards exercise in an inactive sample of females. METHODS: Inactive, middle-aged females (n = 8) were recruited to participate in an 8-week supervised and verified intervention (2-weeks High-Intensity Interval Training (On-Ramp), followed by 6-weeks of HIFT) three days per week. Pre- and post-assessments included: body composition (percent body fat (%BF)), strength (1RM bench press (BP), 5RM deadlift (DL)), a stage-graded exercise treadmill test (O2max), and a Health Belief Model Scale for Exercise (HMBS-E). The HBMS-E was distributed weekly to assess changes in perceptions and beliefs towards exercise, consisting of 18 questions formatted into 5-point Likert scales. The HBMS-E questions were grouped into the five sub-categories: perceived objective barriers, perceived subjective barriers, self-efficacy, perceived severity, and cues to action. Comparisons between pre- and post-assessment of the physiological components as well as the HBMS-E categories were assessed using dependent t-tests. SPSS (v. 26) was used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: The participant demographics (age: 39.2 ± 7.7 yrs), performance, and HBMS-E data are reported as pre- to post-intervention, respectively. There was no significant difference in %BF (35.2 ± 6.6% to 34.3 ± 6.0%, p > .05). There was a significant increase in 1RM BP (25.2 ± 10.1 kg to 35.7 ± 11.1 kg; p < .001, d = 2.51; 5RM DL (36.2 ± 12.3 kg to 49.1 ± 9.8 kg; p = .001, d = 1.83); and O2max (23.4 ± 4.0 ml∙kg∙min-1 to 26.4 ± 4.1 ml∙kg∙min-1 ; p = .001, d = 1.81). There was a significant reduction in the HBMS-E sub-categories of objective barriers (3.5 ± 0.7 to 1.9 ± 0.6; p = .003; d = 1.58) and subjective barriers (2.7 ± 0.8 to 1.6 ± 0.5; p = .017, d = 1.09) and significant increase in self-efficacy (3.5 ± 1.4 to 4.6 ± 0.56; p = .016; d = 1.13). CONCLUSION: There is evidence to suggest HIFT has a positive influence on middle-aged females’ perceptions and beliefs of self-efficacy and barriers towards exercise. Additionally, the HIFT intervention had a significant impact on the physiological adaptions of strength in this population.

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