Dr Niels Vollaard

Lecturer in Health and Exercise Science

Sport University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Niels Vollaard

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About me

About me

I completed an MSc in Human Movement Sciences at the University of Maastricht, followed by another MSc at the University of Aberdeen (this time in Sports Nutrition). I then returned to Maastricht for a one-year spell as a research assistant, looking at the validity of bioimpedance for assessing body composition. I subsequently did my PhD in Exercise Physiology at the University of Essex, investigating the effects of oxidative stress in exercise, endurance training, and tapering. My first lecturing position was at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh (2003-2011), after which I spent 5 years at the University of Bath (2011-2016). I joined the University of Stirling as a Lecturer in health and Exercise Science in October 2016.

Research (1)

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.

Projects

Novel wellbeing interventions for newly diagnosed cancer patients
PI: Dr Niels Vollaard
Funded by: The Nuffield Foundation

Outputs (43)

Outputs

Article

Metcalfe RS, Williams S, Fernandes GS, Astorino TA, Stork MJ, Phillips SM, Niven A & Vollaard NBJ (2022) Affecting Effects on Affect: The Impact of Protocol Permutations on Affective Responses to Sprint Interval Exercise; A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Pooled Individual Participant Data. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 4, Art. No.: 815555. https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2022.815555

Article

Metcalfe RS, Atef H, Mackintosh K, McNarry M, Ryde G, Hill DM & Vollaard NBJ (2020) Time-efficient and computer-guided sprint interval exercise training for improving health in the workplace: a randomised mixed-methods feasibility study in office-based employees. BMC Public Health, 20, Art. No.: 313. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-8444-z

Article

Thomas G, Songsorn P, Gorman A, Brackenridge B, Cullen T, Fitzpatrick BL, Metcalfe RS & Vollaard NB (2020) Reducing training frequency from 3 or 4 sessions/week to 2 sessions/week does not attenuate improvements in maximal aerobic capacity with reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT). Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 45 (6), pp. 683-685. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2019-0750

Article

Innes AQ, Thomson G, Cotter M, King JA, Vollaard N & Kelly BM (2019) Evaluating differences in the clinical impact of a free online weight loss programme, a resource-intensive commercial weight loss programme and an active control condition: a parallel randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 19, Art. No.: 1732. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8061-x

Article

Nalcakan G, Songsorn P, Fitzpatrick BL, Yüzbasioglu Y, Brick N, Metcalfe R & Vollaard N (2018) Decreasing sprint duration from 20 to 10 s during reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT) attenuates the increase in maximal aerobic capacity but has no effect on affective and perceptual responses. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 43 (4), pp. 338-344. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2017-0597

Commentary

Vollaard N, Metcalfe R & Williams S (2017) Response to: Sprint Interval Training: What are the Clinical Implications and Precautions?. Commentary on: Sprint Interval Training: What are the Clinical Implications and Precautions? Verney, Julien; Duclos, Martine; Thivel, David, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: November 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 11 - p 2361–2362. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 49 (11), p. 2363. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001365

Article

Phillips B, Kelly B, Lilja M, Ponce-González JG, Brogan R, Morris D, Gustafsson T, Kraus WE, Atherton PJ, Vollaard N, Rooyackers O & Timmons JA (2017) A Practical and Time-Efficient High-Intensity Interval Training Program Modifies Cardio-Metabolic Risk Factors in Adults with Risk Factors for Type II Diabetes. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 8, Art. No.: 229. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2017.00229

Article

Ruffino JS, Songsorn P, Haggett M, Edmonds D, Robinson AM, Thompson D & Vollaard N (2017) A comparison of the health benefits of reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT) and moderate-intensity walking in type 2 diabetes patients. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 42 (2), pp. 202-208. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2016-0497

Commentary

Vollaard N & Metcalfe R (2016) Do not write off supramaximal exercise just yet. Commentary on: Crosstalk 26: High intensity interval training does/does not have a role in risk reduction or treatment of disease, Journal of Physiology (2015), 593 (24), pp. 5215-5225.. Journal of Physiology, pp. 2-3. http://api.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/asset/v1/doi/10.1113%2FJP271041/asset/supinfo%2Ftjp6894-sup-0001-Comments.pdf?l=HcpXeTMYfB1JrsbXTzl7oj3zaUc6EAV1mx77shTCc7czFpfRZV5tmL1cJEfokFrAS1ZrS7qXr5VW%0AAuYVriFArg%3D%3D

Article

Metcalfe RS, Tardif N, Thompson D & Vollaard N (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. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 41 (11), pp. 1117-1123. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2016-0253

Article

Songsorn P, Lambeth-Mansell A, Mair JL, Haggett M, Fitzpatrick BL, Ruffino JS, Holliday A, Metcalfe R & Vollaard N (2016) Exercise training comprising of single 20-s cycle sprints does not provide a sufficient stimulus for improving maximal aerobic capacity in sedentary individuals. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 116 (8), pp. 1511-1517. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-016-3409-8

Other

Gustafsson T, Lundberg T & Vollaard N (2015) Intensiva intervaller en hit för konditionen. Svensk Idrottsforskning, 24 (4), pp. 8-11. http://centrumforidrottsforskning.se/paper/svensk-idrottsforskning-4-2015/

Article

Timmons JA, Knudsen S, Rankinen T, Koch LG, Sarzynski MA, Jensen T, Keller P, Scheele C, Vollaard N, Nielsen S, Akerström T, MacDougald OA, Jansson E, Greenhaff PL & Tarnopolsky MA (2010) Using molecular classification to predict gains in maximal aerobic capacity following endurance exercise training in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology, 108 (6), pp. 1487-1496. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.01295.2009

Article

Vollaard N, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Fredriksson K, Rooyackers O, Jansson E, Greenhaff PL, Timmons JA & Sundberg CJ (2009) Systematic analysis of adaptations in aerobic capacity and submaximal energy metabolism provides a unique insight into determinants of human aerobic performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 106 (5), pp. 1479-1486. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.91453.2008

Article

Deurenberg PR, Andreoli A, Borg PT, Kukkonen-Harjula KT, De Lorenzo AD, Van Marken Lichtenbelt WD, Testolin G, Viganò R & Vollaard N (2001) The validity of predicted body fat percentage from body mass index and from impedance in samples of five European populations. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 55 (11), pp. 973-979. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601254

Teaching

Teaching

Module co-ordinator:

SPSU912 (Introduction to Sport Studies II)

Module contributions:

SPSU9R7 (Readings in Sports Studies)

SPSU9RS (Research Project in Sports and Exercise Sciences)

Research programmes

Research centres/groups

Research themes