Similar perceptual responses to reduced exertion high intensity interval training (REHIT) in adults differing in cardiorespiratory fitness
Abstract Reduced exertion high intensity interval training (REHIT) is an extremely low-volume approach of sprint interval exercise (SIE) that increases maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and reduces body fat. However, there are concerns regarding implementation of SIE including REHIT in untrained populations due to generation of supramaximal power outputs and potential feelings of displeasure. This study examined perceptual responses to a single REHIT session in adults with above (n = 43, VO2max = 41 ± 6 mL/kg/min) and below average VO2max (n = 42, VO2max = 33 ± 5 mL/kg/min). Initially, incremental exercise was completed to determine VO2max. Subsequently, participants completed REHIT consisting of two 20 s “all-out” sprints at resistance equal to 5 % body mass. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE), affective valence, and physical activity enjoyment (PACES) were determined. Tolerance and preference to exercise intensity were also measured to examine if they moderated the responses. Compared to participants with below average VO2max, those with above average VO2max revealed similar change in affective valence (p = 0.86), RPE (p = 0.41), and enjoyment (p = 0.64) despite attaining significantly higher peak and mean power output in response to REHIT. The lowest value of affective valence ranged from 1.0 – 1.5, representing “fairly good.” Overall, one session of REHIT elicits positive affective valence and similar pleasure:displeasure and enjoyment responses in individuals having diverse cardiorespiratory fitness, although we recommend that REHIT should be individualized for each client as greater frequency of aversive responses was shown in our participants with low fitness.