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Effects of Exercise on Triglycerides Levels

Posted on:February 27, 2021

I received the lab report for my blood work today. Not many surprises, which is a good thing.

The only thing that I noticed was that my triglycerides level had almost doubled from about 15 months ago when I last did my blood work. I entered the results into a spreadsheet where I’ve been tracking my lab report numbers for the past 3 years. Since the first time I started tracking my lipid profile in March 2018, which reported my triglycerides level at around 100mg/dl, it dropped to 64mg/dl in the September of that same year, and dropped further to 56mg/dl for the entire year of 2019. My current level is back to around 100mg/dl.

I thought about what could have possibly caused this drastic change in triglycerides levels, and realized it corresponds almost uncannily to the period when I was doing HIIT exercise. I first started doing HIIT around July 2018 at Ritual, before switching to F45 in 2019. After I moved to San Francisco for work in 2020, I stopped exercising anywhere as intensely. I don’t like to exercise, and not having access to classes nor the gym meant that I had close to no motivation for exercising.

What’s also interesting to find out is that my triglycerides level experienced its most significant decrease after just 2 months of exercise (recall that I only started HIIT in July 2018, and measured my levels again in September), and only decreased slightly more even after ramping up and maintaining a high level of exercise intensity over 2019.

TLDR: Doing HIIT cut my triglycerides level by almost half.

I hope this longitudinal study of N=1 might be helpful to others, especially those tracking their triglycerides/HDL ratio levels.