The independent effects of exercise training (without weight loss) on glycemic control are controversial, and the influence of exercise intensity is not well understood. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of 12 weeks (4 sessions/week) of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) without weight loss, on “free-living” 24h glycemic control using continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Eighteen obese adults (33±3 kg·m-2) performed HIIT, involving 10 x 1 min intervals at ∼90% HRmax interspersed with 1 min recovery (n=8), or MICT, involving 45 min at ∼70% HRmax (n=10). CGM was performed under standardized dietary control for 48h before and after training. After training, subjects exercised the day before, but not on Day 1 of CGM measurement. On Day 2 of post-training CGM data collection, participants performed their regular exercise session (HIIT or MICT) before breakfast. This approach allowed us to assess the effects of exercise training on glycemic control on a day with and without exercise. On Day 1 post-training, 24h glucose area under the curve (AUC) was modestly lower than pre-training in both groups (HIIT: 130±11 vs. 126±7 mM·h-1 · 24h; MICT: 138±7 vs. 133±7 mM·h-1 · 24h, p=0.02). There were no differences between HIIT and MICT (p=0.22). The improved 24h glycemic control after training was primarily due to modestly lower postprandial responses to breakfast (p=0.03) and dinner (p=0.002), with no differences between HIIT and MICT. On Day 2 post-training, which included a session of exercise, glycemic control remained better than pre-training in both groups (p=0.006), but interestingly was not improved further by the acute exercise session (p=0.82 for Day 1 vs. Day 2 post-training).

In conclusion, exercise training improved 24h “free-living” glycemic responses in the absence of weight loss, and in general, the intensity of exercise training did not impact this improvement in glycemic control.


M.W. Schleh: None. B.J. Ryan: None. J.B. Gillen: None. A. Ludzki: None. J.F. Horowitz: None.

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