This cross-sectional study compared physical characteristics, cardiovascular risk factors, and resting metabolic rate (RMR) in a cohort of 82 young women separated into three groups: sedentary (SED, n = 48), aerobically trained (AT, n = 21), and resistance trained (RT, n = 13). Body mass and fat-free mass (FFM) were not different between groups whereas percent body fat was lower in the AT (16.2 +/- 0.7%) and RT (14.7 +/- 0.8%) groups than in the SED group (21.8 +/- 0.8%). There were no between-group differences for blood pressure or blood lipids. RMRs (kJ/min) for the AT (4.31 +/- 0.06) and RT (4.25 +/- 0.09) groups were significantly greater than those for the SED group (3.99 +/- 0.05). When adjusted for differences in FFM, RMRs for the AT group (4.24 +/- 0.05) were different from those of both the RT (4.13 +/- 0.05) and SED (4.05 +/- 0.03) groups; RMRs for the RT and SED groups were not different from each other. No differences were found in cardiovascular risk in young nonobese women of differing exercise status. Aerobic training in young women seems to increase the rate of metabolic activity of resting tissues whereas resistance training does not.