Publication Date

Summer 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Jill Maples (Director), Rachel Tinius, and Lee Winchester

Degree Program

School of Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport

Degree Type

Master of Science


There is need for enhanced prevention and treatment methods to combat sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and chronic disease by investigating the impact of specific exercise modalities and dietary factors on human health. The purposes of this study were: 1) to assess self-selected and perceived exercise intensity during High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT) between males and females and to determine variables that predict self-selected exercise intensity (%VO2max) and/or perceived intensity (RPE) and 2) to investigate the impact of obesity on skeletal muscle metabolism in response to lipid oversupply by analyzing the responses of genes linked with fatty acid oxidation and inflammation in lean and obese subjects. Males and females were recruited to complete a 15min HIFT circuit wearing a metabolic analyzer, reporting RPE during and after the exercise bout. Obese and lean females were recruited to provide skeletal muscle cell biopsies for harvesting cell cultures from which to measure change in gene expression after exposure to a high lipid treatment. The first study results demonstrate that females exercised at a significantly higher self-selected exercise intensity while also reporting a lower RPE (p < 0.05). The second study revealed differential gene expression response and pathway activation related to lipid metabolism and inflammation between the lean and obese. In conclusion, gender plays a significant role in the intensity self-selected and the RPE reported during HIFT, suggesting HIFT may be an optimal home-based modality for female clients. Additionally, the skeletal muscle metabolic and inflammatory gene expression of the lean and obese respond differently to a high fat exposure and may provide further evidence of mechanisms linking obesity to metabolic disease.


Exercise Science | Kinesiology | Sports Sciences