The fat mass (FM) and obesity-associated (FTO) gene is the first obesity-susceptibility gene identified by genome-wide association scans and confirmed in several follow-up studies. Homozygotes for the risk allele (A/A) have 1.67 times greater risk of obesity than those who do not have the allele. However, it is not known whether regular exercise-induced changes in body composition are influenced by the FTO genotype. The purpose of our study was to test whether the FTO genotype is associated with exercise-induced changes in adiposity. Body composition was derived from underwater weighing before and after a 20-week endurance training program in 481 previously sedentary white subjects of the HERITAGE Family Study. FTO single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs8050136 was genotyped using Illumina GoldenGate assay. In the sedentary state, the A/A homozygotes were significantly heavier and fatter than the heterozygotes and the C/C homozygotes in men (P = 0.004) but not in women (P = 0.331; gene-by-sex interaction P = 0.0053). The FTO genotype was associated with body fat responses to regular exercise (P<0.005; adjusted for age, sex, and baseline value of response trait): carriers of the C allele showed three times greater FM and %body fat losses than the A/A homozygotes. The FTO genotype explained 2% of the variance in adiposity changes. Our data suggest that the FTO obesity-susceptibility genotype influences the body fat responses to regular exercise. Resistance to exercise-induced reduction in total adiposity may represent one mechanism by which the FTO A allele promotes overweight and obesity.