Aims: To investigate the effects of interval aerobic training combined with strength-endurance exercise (IASE) and caloric restriction (CR) on body composition, glycaemic and lipid profile and inflammatory markers. Methods and results: Thirty-two Zucker diabetic fatty rats were randomised into 4 groups (sedentary + CR; sedentary + adlibitum; IASE + CR; and IASE + adlibitum). Training groups conducted an IASE programme in the same session, 5 days/week for 2 months. Body weight, fat and muscle mass and body water were measured using a body composition analyser. Plasma total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, phospholipids, triglycerides, insulin, adiponectin, tumour necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 1 and 10 were measured. Blood fasting and postprandial glucose were assessed. Body weight was lower in the CR compared to the adlibitum groups (p <0.001). Fat mass was lower in the CR compared to the adlibitum (p <0.05) and in the IASE compared to the sedentary groups (p <0.001), but IASE increased lean mass (p <0.001). Triglycerides were lower in the CR compared to the adlibitum groups (p <0.001) whereas total and LDL-cholesterol and fasting glucose were reduced only in the IASE groups (all, p <0.001). Phospholipids decreased in the CR compared to the adlibitum (p <0.05) and the IASE compared to the sedentary groups (p <0.001). The area under the curve after oral glucose tolerance test, insulin and homoeostatic model assessment were lower in the IASE and the CR compared to the sedentary and adlibitum groups, respectively (all, p <0.001). Adiponectin was lower in the CR groups (p <0.001). Conclusion: Overall, IASE as well as CR were both useful interventions, especially when combined. However, IASE showed greater improvements on body composition, inflammatory and glycaemic profile than CR did. (C) 2016 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.