Introduction: Recent evidence suggests that resistance training (RT) may reduce metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk. We investigated whether overweight/class I obese individuals by BMI classification with high strength fitness exhibit cardiovascular/metabolic phenotypes similar to those overweight/obese and untrained or those normal-weight with high strength fitness.
Methods: A total of 90 young males were categorized into three groups: overweight untrained (OU, n = 30, BMI > 27 kg·m⁻²), overweight trained (OT, n = 30, BMI > 27 kg·m⁻², RT ≥ 4 d·wk⁻¹), and normal-weight trained (NT, n = 30, BMI < 25 kg·m⁻², RT ≥ 4 d·wk⁻¹). Participants were assessed for strength, body composition, central/peripheral blood pressures, arterial stiffness, and markers of cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Results: Body weight was similar in OT and OU and greater than NT (P < 0.00001), and fat mass was different in all groups (P < 0.001). Compared to OU, NT and OT groups exhibited higher relative strength (NT = 46.7%, OT = 44.4%, P < 0.00001), subendocardial viability ratio (NT = 21.0%, P < 0.001; OT = 17.0%, P < 0.01), and lower brachial/central blood pressures (NT P < 0.001; OT P ≤ 0.05); augmentation index and pulse-wave velocity were lower only in OT (P < 0.05). Total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (NT P < 0.01, OT P < 0.05), triglycerides (NT = -50.4%, OT = -41.8%, P < 0.001), oxidized LDL (NT = -39.8%, OT = -31.8%, P < 0.001), and CRP (NT = -63.7%, OT = -67.4%, P < 0.01) levels were lower and high-density lipoprotein (NT = 26.9%, OT = 21.4%, P < 0.001) levels were higher in NT and OT compared to OU. NT and OT also exhibited lower amylin (NT = -55.8%, OT = -40.8%) and leptin (NT = -84.6%, OT = -59.4%) and higher adiponectin (NT = 87.5%, P < 0.001; OT = 78.1%, P < 0.01) and sex hormone-binding globulin (NT = 124.4%, OT = 92.3%, P < 0.001). Despite greater total and trunk fat in OT compared with NT, other than glucose and insulin, which were lower in NT than in both OT and OU (OT P < 0.01, OU P < 0.001), OT did not exhibit any impaired biomarker/phenotype compared to NT.
Conclusions: These findings provide evidence that overweight/class I obese individuals with high strength fitness exhibit metabolic/cardiovascular risk profiles similar to normal-weight, fit individuals rather than overweight/class I obese unfit individuals. Strength training may be important to metabolic and cardiovascular health.