The insulin/IGF-1 signalling pathway is a key regulator of metabolism and the rate of ageing. We previously documented that systemic inactivation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) p110α, the principal PI3K isoform that positively regulates insulin signalling, results in a beneficial metabolic effect in aged mice. Here we demonstrate that deletion of p110α specifically in the adipose tissue leads to less fat accumulation over a significant part of adult life and allows the maintenance of normal glucose tolerance despite insulin resistance. This effect of p110α inactivation is due to a potentiating effect on β-adrenergic signalling, which leads to increased catecholamine-induced energy expenditure in the adipose tissue. Our findings provide a paradigm of how partial inactivation of an essential component of the insulin signalling pathway can have an overall beneficial metabolic effect and suggest that PI3K inhibition could potentiate the effect of β-adrenergic agonists in the treatment of obesity and its associated comorbidities.