Leptin acutely stimulates skeletal muscle fatty acid (FA) metabolism in lean rodents and humans. This stimulatory effect is eliminated following the feeding of high-fat diets in rodents as well as in obese humans. The mechanism(s) responsible for the development of skeletal muscle leptin resistance is unknown; however, a role for increased suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS3) inhibition of the leptin receptor has been demonstrated in other rodent tissues. Furthermore, whether exercise intervention is an effective strategy to prevent or attenuate the development of skeletal muscle leptin resistance has not been investigated. Toward this end, 48 Sprague-Dawley rats (175-190 g; ∼2-3 mo of age) were fed control or high-fat (60% kcal) diets for 4 wk and either remained sedentary or were treadmill trained. In control diet-fed animals that remained sedentary (CS) or were endurance trained (CT), leptin stimulated FA oxidation (CS +32 ± 15%, CT +30 ± 17%; P < 0.05), suppressed triacylglycerol (TAG) esterification (CS -17 ± 7%, CT -24 ± 8%; P < 0.05), and reduced the esterification-to-oxidation ratio (CS -19 ± 13%, CT -29 ± 10%; P < 0.001) in soleus muscle. High-fat feeding induced leptin resistance in the soleus of sedentary rats (FS), whereas endurance exercise training (FT) restored the ability of leptin to suppress TAG esterification (-19 ± 9%, P = 0.038). Training did not completely restore the ability of leptin to stimulate FA oxidation. High-fat diets stimulated SOCS3 mRNA expression irrespective of training status (FS +451 ± 120%, P = 0.024; FT +381 ± 141%, P = 0.023). Thus the development of skeletal muscle leptin resistance appears to involve an increase in SOCS3 mRNA expression. Endurance training was generally effective in preventing the development of leptin resistance, although this did not appear to require a decrease in SOCS3 expression. Future studies should examine changes in the actual protein content of SOCS3 in muscle and establish whether aerobic exercise is also effective in treating leptin resistance in humans.