The study didn’t recommend any particular exercises.
However, the two most common forms are high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training, such as running, jogging, speed walking, and cycling.
Regardless of gender or starting weight, both moderate exercise and interval training reduced weight and body fat over a four-week period.
However, interval training produced 28 percent more weight loss, with sprint interval training shown to be the most effective and efficient way to reduce body weight quickly.
Alternating four minutes of jogging with 30 seconds of all-out sprints is an example of sprint interval training.
Other workouts can incorporate hill climbing and varying the length of sprinting and running intervals as well as the number of sets performed.
Among the major sports, hockey comes closest to giving a sprint interval training workout with its short, high-energy shifts on the ice alternating with brief rest periods on the bench.
Experts say you don’t have to totally overhaul your current workout if you want to burn fat more quickly.
“Interval training can be performed doing the same exercises you are already doing, whether it’s running outside, doing cardio in the gym, lifting weights — anything that is already steadily elevating your heart rate,” Adam Padgett, a certified personal trainer from Rancho Cucamonga, California, told Healthline.
“However, to perform interval training you need to be focusing on alternating your pace and intensity,” he explained. “If you are running outside, instead of just running at a steady pace most of the way, run as fast as you can for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by maintaining a jogging or walking pace, or just stopping completely depending on your skill level. If you’re lifting weights, line up two to four exercises to perform back-to-back without resting, before again resting or slowing the pace. A recommendation would be perform four to five intervals before stopping.”
Emma Green, PhD, a certified personal trainer in London and online fitness coach, cautioned against overstating the study findings.
“Although the difference in weight loss was statistically significant, the actual amount was tiny,” she told Healthline. “Interval training resulted in 1.58kg fat lost (less than 4 pounds) and steady state cardio resulted in 1.13kg lost (less than 3 pounds).”
“It’s important to note that because interval training is so tough on the body, it is not suitable for those who are beginners or those who are injured,” said Green.
The study authors also advised consulting a doctor before beginning interval training, noting that it carries a risk of injury and greater cardiovascular stress.