We investigated whether obesity adversities such as excessive body fat, compensatory hyperinsulinemia, metabolic endotoxemia, irregular androgenicity, and reduced cardiorespiratory and anaerobic fitness are ameliorated by high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with or without caffeine supplementation in women with obesity.
Twenty-four women with obesity (Asian cutoff point body mass index ≥ 27 kg·m−2, body fat = 40%) were evenly randomized to caffeine (CAF) and placebo (PLA) trials for an 8-wk HIIT program (10 × 1-min sprints, interspersed by 1-min rest). CAF (3 mg·kg−1·bw−1) and PLA were supplemented before each training session. Body fat was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry before and after training together with assessments of glucose tolerance (oral glucose tolerance test, or OGTT), lipopolysaccharide endotoxins, testosterone, cardiorespiratory, and anaerobic fitness.
Significant interaction between HIIT and CAF was found for OGTT glucose and OGTT insulin levels (P = 0.001 and P = 0.049 respectively). HIIT-alone increased glucose at 90 min (P = 0.049) and OGTT insulin at 60 min (P = 0.038). Conversely, HIIT with CAF decreased OGTT glucose at 120 min (P = 0.024) without affecting OGTT insulin. HIIT-alone induced 28.3% higher OGTT insulin (effect size d = 0.59 for area under the curve) and 14.5% higher OGTT glucose (d = 0.28). Conversely, HIIT with CAF decreased OGTT glucose by 19.1% (d = 0.51 for area under the curve) without changing OGTT insulin. HIIT-alone effects on glycemia and insulinemia were concurrent with a 31% increase in lipopolysaccharide endotoxins (P = 0.07; d = 0.78; confidence interval, 5.7–8.7) in the PLA but not in CAF treatment (P = 0.99; d = 0.003; confidence interval, 6.5–10.6), although endotoxin level remained within the recommended healthy thresholds. Furthermore, either HIIT alone or with CAF reduced body fat percentage (P < 0.001, ANOVA main training effects), increased muscle mass (P = 0.002), reduced testosterone (P = 0.005), and increased cardiorespiratory and anaerobic capacity (P < 0.001).
HIIT induces fat loss and decreases androgenicity in women with obesity. However, its side effects such as endotoxemia and hyperinsulinemia are ameliorated by caffeine supplementation.