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Metabolism. 2012 Jun;61(6):860-8. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2011.10.015. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Effects of resistance exercise and obesity level on ghrelin and cortisol in men.

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Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


Resistance exercise (RE) is increasingly recommended by health organizations as a weight management tool. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an acute high-volume, whole-body RE protocol on the glucoregulatory and ghrelin response in sedentary obese and lean men. Five World Health Organization (WHO) class 1 obese (body mass index [BMI], 30.00-34.99) (age, 21.6 ± 2.5 years; height, 176.3 ± 3.7 cm; body mass, 97.8 ± 8.58 kg; body fat, 34.7% ± 2.95%), 5 WHO 2 (BMI, 35-39.99)/WHO 3 (BMI, ≥40) obese (age, 20.0 ± 1.4 years; height, 177.7 ± 5.15 cm; body mass, 120.8 ± 10.49 kg; body fat, 40.5% ± 5.82 %), and 9 lean men (age, 20.1 ± 2.1 years; height, 177.8 ± 8.7 cm; body mass, 71.7 ± 5.8 kg; body fat, 14.7% ± 3.54 %) completed an acute RE testing protocol (6 exercises, 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 85%-95% 10-repetition maximum with 120- and 90-second rest periods); and blood samples were collected pre-, mid-, and immediately postexercise and during recovery (+50, +70, and +110). Resistance exercise produced differences over time in cortisol, insulin, and glucose. Group differences were observed for ghrelin, with the WHO class 2/3 group having significantly greater ghrelin levels than the lean group (d = 0.28, P = .009) and the WHO class 1 group (d = 0.39, P = .002). Higher ghrelin was significantly associated with lower cortisol only in obese individuals. In addition, higher growth hormone was associated with lower ghrelin in lean individuals. Results suggest that glucoregulatory homeostasis is altered with increasing levels of obesity and that these alterations may mediate the response of cortisol and ghrelin in response to RE.

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