The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between intra-abdominal-obesity susceptibility and the adaptation of skeletal muscle metabolic and histochemical characteristics when fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for a short period of time. Twenty-four male Wistar rats were fed a HFD (39.7% calories of fat) for 5 wk. After the 5-wk dietary period, the rats were sacrificed and divided into intra-abdominal-obesity-prone (OP) or obesity-resistant (OR) groups according to the total intra-abdominal fat pads (epididymal, mesenteric, and perirenal) weights. A superficial portion of the Muscle (M.) gastrocnemius tissue obtained from 2 groups before and after feeding the HFD were analyzed to determine their hexokinase (HK), beta-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase (beta-HAD), and citrate synthase (CS) activities. Muscle fiber composition and capillary density were examined in the deep portion of the M. gastrocnemius, soleus, and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) gained after the HFD. While the OP group had more intra-abdominal fat pads and a heavier final body weight than the OR group, there was no significant difference in the energy intake between the two. Due to the HFD, the OP group showed significant increases in beta-HAD and CS activities, while the OR group did not. Change of beta-HAD activity by HFD in the OP group was significantly greater than that in the OR group. The ratio of fat oxidation. expressed as beta-HAD/CS, significantly increased in the OP group, but not in the OR group. No differences were found in either the muscle fiber composition or capillarization. These results suggest that intra-abdominal-obesity-susceptive rats may have a higher adaptation degree in muscle oxidative enzyme activities as characteristic in the early stage of intra-abdominal adipose accumulation.