The object of the study was to investigate the sequential changes of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle during establishment of obesity, considering muscle typology. Adult Wistar rats were fed a standard diet for 16 weeks (C; n = 14), or a high-fat, high-sucrose diet for 16 (HF16; n = 14) or 24 weeks (HF24; n = 15). Body composition was measured using a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scanner. The fractional synthesis rates (FSRs) of muscle protein fractions were calculated in tibialis anterior (TA) and soleus muscles by incorporation of l-13C-valine in muscle protein. Muscle lipid and mitochondria contents were determined using histochemical analysis. Obesity occurred in an initial phase, from 1 to 16 weeks, with an increase in weight (P < 0.05), fat mass (P < 0.001), muscle mass (P < 0.001) and FSR in TA (actin: 5.3 ± 0.2 vs. 8.8 ± 0.5% day−1, C vs. HF16, P < 0.001) compared with standard diet. The second phase, from 16 to 24 weeks, was associated with a weight stabilization, a decrease in muscle mass (P < 0.05) and a decrease in FSR in TA (mitochondrial: 5.6 ± 0.2 vs. 4.2 ± 0.4% day−1, HF16 vs. HF24, P < 0.01) compared with HF16 group. Muscle lipid content was increased in TA in the second phase of obesity development (P < 0.001). Muscle mass, lipid infiltration and muscle protein synthesis were differently affected, depending on the stage of obesity development and muscle typology. Chronic lipid infiltration in glycolytic muscle is concomitant with a reduction of muscle protein synthesis, suggesting that muscle lipid infiltration in response to a high-fat diet is deleterious for the incorporation of amino acid in skeletal muscle proteins.