Resting energy expenditure (Resting-EE), EE with treadmill exercise, and post-prandial thermogenesis were continuously monitored by indirect calorimetry during a 24 h recording session in control (CT) and CLA-treated (CLA) (1% CLA in the food, by weight) C57Bl/6 male mice. After 15 days of CLA treatment, the fat content of CLA mice had fallen to 20% of that in CT mice. CLA mice were able to face the energy challenge of exercise but used less lipid than CT mice. Resting-EE values fell during the post-exercise period. The thermogenic response to a calibrated test meal given 5 h after the run abolished the differences in EE and substrate oxidation between CT and CLA mice. However, 2.5 h after ingestion of the test meal onward, CT mice gradually increased their lipid oxidation to sustain resting-EE levels. In contrast, CLA mice did not increase their lipid oxidation and their resting-EE levels fell significantly until they entered into torpor. Blood leptin was low but similar in CT and CLA-treated mice suggesting that leptin is not critical to induce torpor. We suggest that the durable inhibition of lipid oxidation in fasting CLA mice was an adaptive behaviour devoted at sparing the residual adipose deposits.