Aerobic fitness and resting energy expenditure in young adult males

Eric T. Poehlman*, Christopher L. Melby, Stephen F. Badylak, Jorge Calles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Ambiguous findings have been reported in previous studies regarding the relationships among aerobic fitness, resting metabolic rate (RMR), and the thermic effect of a meal (TEM). We reexamined the association among these variables in young nonobese men who exhibited a wide range of aerobic fitness levels. RMR was measured after an overnight fast and TEM was assessed for three hours after ingestion of a liquid meal. Preprandial and postprandial plasma levels of insulin, glucose, and thyroid hormones (total T3 and T4) were measured. Daily energy intake was estimated from three-day food diaries, body composition from underwater weighing, and aerobic fitness from a test of V̇O2 max. Data were analyzed with linear and curvilinear regression analysis, as well as with ANOVA to test for differences among subjects classified by fitness level (ie, untrained, moderately, and highly trained). A significant correlation was found between RMR and V̇O2 max (r = .77, P < .01). RMR adjusted for body weight and FFW was higher in highly trained men when compared to moderately and untrained individuals. However, a curvilinear relationship was found between TEM and V̇O2 max (P < .05). Subjects who exhibited moderate levels of fitness showed the highest TEM, whereas a lower TEM was noted in untrained and highly trained men. These findings were observed in the absence of differences in plasma concentrations of total T3 and T4 among fitness levels. These findings suggest that highly trained men have a high RMR adjusted for their metabolic size. TEM varied in a curvilinear manner with fitness level, with the highest thermic response found in subjects with moderate levels of aerobic fitness. These data suggest that aerobic fitness in young, nonobese men may be a factor contributing to individual variation in RMR and postprandial thermogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes


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