Lecturer in Health and Exercise Science, University of Stirling

My main research interests are in the health benefits of exercise in general, and the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIT) in specific. HIT has rapidly gained in popularity over the past decade, and is often promoted as a time-efficient alternative to aerobic exercise. However, although the health benefits of HIT in lab-based studies are generally at least as good as or better than those associated with aerobic exercise, commonly used HIT protocols are less time-efficient than generally suggested and far too strenuous to be viable as exercise interventions for sedentary populations. In my research I address the question why HIT is so effective at improving health markers, and I use this information to attempt to ‘optimise’ HIT protocols by making them shorter and easier while retaining the health benefits. Our current working hypothesis is that the rapid glycogen breakdown during ‘supramaximal’ sprints is one of the main stimuli for the adaptations to HIT, and that therefore fewer and shorter sprints should be effective. Based on this hypothesis, we have developed an effective HIT protocol that is genuinely time-efficient (10 minutes per session / 3 sessions per week) and manageable (ratings of perceived exertion similar to those with moderate intensity exercise). This protocol, termed reduced-exertion HIT (REHIT) has great potential to remove many of the barriers that prevent sedentary individuals from reaping the benefits of exercise.

Experience

  • –present
    Dr, Lecturer

Education

  • 2004 
    University of Essex, PhD
  • 1999 
    University of Aberdeen, MSc
  • 1997 
    University of Maastricht, MSc

Publications

  • 2017
    Effect of Number of Sprints in a SIT Session on Change in VO2max: A Meta-analysis, Med Sci Sports Exerc
  • 2016
    A comparison of the health benefits of reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT) and moderate-intensity walking in Type 2 diabetes patients, Appl Physiol Nutr Metab
  • 2016
    Effects of a novel neurodynamic tension technique on muscle extensibility and stretch tolerance: a counterbalanced crossover study, Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
  • 2016
    Changes in aerobic capacity and glycaemic control in response to reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT) are not different between sedentary men and women, Appl Physiol Nutr Metab
  • 2016
    Exercise training comprising of single 20-s cycle sprints does not provide a sufficient stimulus for improving maximal aerobic capacity in sedentary individuals, Eur J Appl Physiol
  • 2016
    No Acute Effect of Reduced-exertion High-intensity Interval Training (REHIT) on Insulin Sensitivity, . Int J Sports Med
  • 2016
    No effect of acute and chronic supramaximal exercise on circulating levels of the myokine SPARC, Eur J Appl Physiol
  • 2015
    Physiological and molecular responses to an acute bout of reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT), Eur J Appl Physiol
  • 2012
    Towards the minimal amount of exercise for improving metabolic health: beneficial effects of reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training, Eur J Appl Physiol
  • 2011
    A transcriptional map of the impact of endurance exercise training on skeletal muscle phenotype, J Appl Physiol
  • 2010
    Using molecular classification to predict gains in maximal aerobic capacity following endurance exercise training in humans, J Appl Physiol
  • 2009
    Systematic analysis of adaptations in aerobic capacity and submaximal energy metabolism provides a unique insight into determinants of human aerobic performance, J Appl Physiol
  • 2009
    Extremely short duration high intensity training substantially improves insulin action in young sedentary males, BMC Endocr Disord
  • 2007
    Using systems biology to define the essential biological networks responsible for adaptation to endurance exercise training, Biochem Soc Trans
  • 2006
    Exercise-induced oxidative stress in overload training and tapering, Med Sci Sports Exerc
  • 2005
    Exercise-induced oxidative stress: myths, realities and physiological relevance, Sports Medicine
  • 2005
    A new sensitive assay reveals that hemoglobin is oxidatively modified in vivo, Free Rad Biol Med
  • 2004
    Bodybuilders' body composition: effect of nandrolone decanoate, Med Sci Sports Exerc
  • 2004
    Body composition changes in bodybuilders: a method comparison, Med Sci Sports Exerc
  • 2002
    Exercise, free radicals and oxidative stress, Biochem Soc Trans
  • 2001
    The validity of predicted body fat percentage from body mass index and from impedance in samples of five European populations, Eur J Clin Nutr
  • 2001
    Body composition and anthropometry in bodybuilders: regional changes due to nandrolone decanoate administration, Int J Sports Med

Grants and Contracts

  • 2016
    Novel wellbeing interventions for newly diagnosed cancer patients
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Nuffield Health
  • 2014
    A comparison of the effects of high-intensity interval training and moderate / vigorous intensity walking on glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Diabetes UK
  • 2013
    A comparison of the health benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIT) and walking in men with metabolic syndrome
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Bath R&D

Professional Memberships

  • BASES
  • The Physiological Society