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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Basic Sciences: Symposium: Metabollic Adaptations to Endurance Training: Recent Advances

Effect of endurance training on fatty acid metabolism during whole body exercise

MARTIN, WADE H. III

Section Editor(s): Coggan, Andrew R. Chair

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Abstract

Endurance exercise training increases fat oxidation during large muscle mass exercise. Although the source of this fat has been thought to be plasma free fatty acids (FFA) released from adipose tissue, the training-induced decrease in lipolytic hormonal responses to exercise is not consistent with this concept. The purpose of this communication is to review findings from our laboratory indicating that, in young healthy subjects, endurance exercise training reduces plasma FFA turnover and oxidation during moderate intensity prolonged 2-leg cycling while simultaneously enhancing depletion of triglycerides from the active musculature. Evidence is presented that metabolism of intramuscular triglycerides can explain the increase in total fat oxidation observed in the trained state during large muscle mass exercise. However, these results may not be applicable to exercise involving small muscle groups, a distinction that is likely to be important in explaining the apparent conflict between our findings and those from other laboratories where experimental conditions were different. In summary, for large muscle mass exercise up to 2 h in duration, plasma FFA are a less important fuel source in the trained state, and intramuscular triglycerides supply the major portion of the increase in oxidized fatty acids.

©1997The American College of Sports Medicine

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