E.R. Dunston, A.J. Coelho, K. Taylor

Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA

The appropriateness of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for inactive individuals has been questioned due to its challenging nature and potential low adherence. Yet, little is known about changes in measures of competency across a period of training which may be related to long-term adherence. PURPOSE: To determine the effect of 6 weeks of HIIT and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) on measures of psychological and physiological competence. METHODS: Physically inactive young adults (n=11; 21.5±1.9 years) were randomized to the HIIT or MICT training group. Before and after the intervention, all participants completed an incremental exercise test on a cycle ergometer. Participants completed a total of 18 training sessions over 6 weeks, with the first 3 weeks of training supervised and the latter 3 unsupervised. Perceived competence, autonomy, and self-efficacy were measured after the first, ninth, and eighteenth training sessions. Differences were analyzed using 2 (group) x 3 (time) repeated measures ANOVAs for psychological variables and 2 (group) x 2 (time) repeated measures ANOVAs for physiological variables. RESULTS: Adherence to the intervention was good (HIIT: 99%; MICT: 100%). There were no significant differences in perceived competence (p=0.13), autonomy (p=0.22), or self-efficacy (p=0.99) due to time. However, MICT (96.5±4.3) had significantly higher self-efficacy scores than HIIT (84.0±3.2; p=0.04). There were no group differences in competence (p=0.13) or autonomy (p=0.36). Peak oxygen uptake (p<0.01) and peak power output (Pre: 225.1±20.7 watts; Post: 239.4±27.4 watts; p<0.0001) improved significantly across the training intervention with no differences between groups (p>0.05). CONCLUSION: Physiological measures of competency improved across the intervention irrespective of training group; although, there were no differences in psychological competency due to time. Our findings suggest that both HIIT and MICT may improve physiological competency over 6 weeks in previously inactive, young adults. However, psychological competency may change at a different rate and could be more sensitive to training intensity. Future research may be important to determine the effects of prolonged training on measures of psychological competency in inactive individuals.

Supported by an ACSM Northwest Student Research Award.

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