The effect of resistance exercise on the thermic effect of food

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Sep;13(3):396-402. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.13.3.396.


Purpose: The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the increment in energy expenditure above resting metabolic rate associated with the cost of absorption and processing of food for storage. Previous studies have shown that TEF is enhanced by aerobic endurance exercise of sufficient duration and intensity. The purpose of this study was to determine if a similar effect occurs with a single bout of resistance exercise (weightlifting).

Methods: VO2 was measured in 9 healthy volunteers (3 males and 6 females) for 2 hours after ingestion of a 2760 kJ (660 kcal) carbohydrate meal with and without prior completion of a resistance training regimen (2 sets of 10 repetitions of 10 different exercises).

Results: The meal caused an immediate and persistent thermic effect in both the control and the exercise trial. Mean oxygen consumption over baseline increased 20% in the control trial and 34% in the exercise trial. TEF calculated from VO2 and RER (total area under the response curve above baseline) was 73% greater in the exercise trial compared with the control trial (159 +/- 18 vs. 92 +/- 14 KJ/2 hrs, p < .02).

Conclusion: These results indicate that TEF in response to a carbohydrate meal is enhanced following a single bout of resistance exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Respiration
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates