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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