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Does being overweight inhibit muscle growth?

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Scientists at Loughborough University are hoping to discover whether being overweight impacts on an individual’s ability to grow muscle.

Muscle mass plays a major role in controlling blood sugars and preventing type 2 diabetes, but animal studies have suggested that being overweight can impair muscle growth, making exercise less effective.

Dr Carl Hulston in the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences is looking to recruit volunteers for this study. Specifically, he is looking for men aged 18-40 with a BMI over 30 who consider themselves to live a sedentary lifestyle (taking part in less than three 30 minute bouts of exercise a week).

Participants will need to visit the Loughborough lab twice, to take part in some short resistance exercise training, and have measurements and some muscle biopsies taken. 

This is the first study of its kind to determine human muscle growth in response to exercise within an overweight population.

Dr Hulston said:

“We want to understand whether there are underlying factors linked to obesity that stop exercise being as effective as it should be.

“It may be that once people reach a certain percentage body fat it is harder for them to grow muscle, which in turn impacts on their ability to exercise.

“We hope this research will uncover important information to help address the current obesity epidemic.”

The study is funded through the Society for Endocrinology.

Anyone interested in taking part should contact Dr Carl Hulston on 01509 226 449 or email


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 13/170

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. It has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league, and in recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 11 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.


Amanda Overend
Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491

PR team

Telephone: 01509 222224