The effects of different forms of daily exercise on metabolic function following short-term overfeeding and reduced physical activity in healthy young men: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

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Background: 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. Methods/design: 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. Discussion: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number199
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018



  • Exercise
  • Overfeeding
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Arm crank
  • Breaking sitting
  • Moderate-intensity exercise
  • Metabolism
  • Adipose tissue
  • Skeletal muscle
  • energy imbalance

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