Send to

Choose Destination
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2006 Jun;16(3):209-14.

Whole-body fat oxidation determined by graded exercise and indirect calorimetry: a role for muscle oxidative capacity?

Author information

Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre, Department of Medical Physiology, The Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


During whole-body exercise, peak fat oxidation occurs at a moderate intensity. This study investigated whole-body peak fat oxidation in untrained and trained subjects, and the presence of a relation between skeletal muscle oxidative enzyme activity and whole-body peak fat oxidation. Healthy male subjects were recruited and categorized into an untrained (N=8, VO(2max) 3.5+/-0.1 L/min) and a trained (N=8, VO(2max) 4.6+/-0.2 L/min) group. Subjects performed a graded exercise test commencing at 60 W for 8 min followed by 35 W increments every 3 min. On a separate day, muscle biopsies were obtained from vastus lateralis and a 3 h bicycle exercise test was performed at 58% of VO(2max). Whole-body fat oxidation was calculated during prolonged and graded exercise from the respiratory exchange ratio using standard indirect calorimetry equations. Based on the graded exercise test, whole-body peak fat oxidation was determined. The body composition was determined by DEXA. Whole-body peak fat oxidation (250+/-25 and 462+/-33 mg/min) was higher (P<0.05) and occurred at a higher (P<0.05) relative workload (43.5+/-1.8% and 49.9+/-1.2% VO(2max)) in trained compared with untrained subjects, respectively. Muscle citrate synthase activity and beta-hydroxy-acyl-CoA-dehydrogenase activity were higher (49% and 35%, respectively, P<0.05) in trained compared with untrained subjects. Both lean body mass and maximal oxygen uptake were significantly correlated to whole-body peak fat oxidation (r(2)=0.57, P<0.001), but leg muscle oxidative capacity was not correlated to whole-body peak fat oxidation. In conclusion, whole-body peak fat oxidation occurred at a higher relative exercise load in trained compared with untrained subjects. Whole-body peak fat oxidation was not significantly related to leg muscle oxidative capacity, but was related to lean body mass and maximal oxygen uptake. This may suggest that leg muscle oxidative activity is not the main determinant of whole-body peak fat oxidation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center