Short-term overfeeding combined with reduced physical activity impairs metabolic function and alters the expression of key genes within adipose tissue. We have shown that daily vigorous-intensity running can prevent these changes independent of any net effect on energy imbalance. However, which type, intensity and/or duration of exercise best achieves these benefits remains to be ascertained.
Forty-eight healthy young men will be recruited and randomly allocated to one of four experimental conditions for 1 week: (1) to ingest 50% more energy than normal by over-consuming their habitual diet whilst simultaneously restricting their physical activity below 4000 steps day−1 (i.e. energy surplus; SUR group); (2) the same regimen but with a daily 45-min bout of vigorous-intensity arm crank ergometry at 70% of maximum oxygen uptake (SUR + ARM group); (3) the same regimen but with a daily 45-min bout of moderate-intensity treadmill walking at 50% of maximum oxygen uptake (SUR + MOD group); (4) the same regimen but with the addition of intermittent short bouts of walking during waking hours (SUR + BREAKS group). Critically, all exercise groups will receive additional dietary energy intake to account for the energy expended by exercise, thus maintaining a matched energy surplus. At baseline and follow-up, fasted blood samples, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue and skeletal muscle biopsies will be obtained and oral glucose tolerance tests conducted.
This study will establish the impact of different forms of daily exercise on metabolic function at the whole-body level as well as within adipose tissue and skeletal muscle in the context of a standardised energy surplus.
ISRCTN, ISRCTN18311163. Registered on 24 June 2015.