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Evaluating the effects of commercial exercise programmes and combined dietary strategies on cardio-metabolic risk

School of Psychology and Sport Science

About the Project

Research Group: Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences -

Proposed supervisory team: Dr Justin Roberts () Dr Lee Smith () Dr James Johnstone ()

Theme: Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Nutrition, Exercise and Cardiometabolic Risk

Summary of the research project

Despite evidence for increasing levels of recreational time availability in the general population, physical inactivity and obesity trends remain high in the United Kingdom (, 2014). There has been recent interest in the use of high intensity training (or HiiT) as a means to provide a solution to perceived time limitation for exercise, as well as to provide more effective support for individuals who may be less able to undertake prolonged cardiovascular exercise (Gibala et al., 2006; Burgomaster et al., 2008; Kelly et al., 2014; Weston et al., 2014). Current scientific thinking indicates that HiiT provides a type of ‘up-regulation’ of key cell proteins leading to improved fitness and metabolism over time (Burgomaster et al., 2008). However, to date, there does not appear to be any research investigating the impact of more commercial home based training programmes such as P90X™ – a 90 day intensive cardio-resistance training programme or ‘Insanity’ – a similar home based training programme designed around maximal interval training.

The research programme would aim to investigate how such programmes benefit recreational, trained and overweight cohorts, either with or without a corresponding ‘healthy eating’ programme. There is particular interest on assessment of overall cardiometabolic health, and any potential negative effects from such exercise routines.

Resources required: the programme would require access to exercise physiology laboratory space for standard exercise testing/training, as well as access to the HTA laboratory for storage of plasma samples. Additionally, access to the main analytical laboratories would be required for assessment of endotoxin and cholesterol assays. Purchase of, and training in, assay use would be required.

Where you’ll study

Cambridge (


This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website ( as they become available.

Next steps

If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Sport and Exercise Sciences MPhil, PhD ( In the section of the application form entitled ’Outline research proposal’, please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

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