For many years, the Randle glucose fatty acid cycle has been invoked to explain insulin resistance in skeletal muscle of patients with type 2 diabetes or obesity. Increased fat oxidation was hypothesized to reduce glucose metabolism. The results of a number of investigations have shown that artificially increasing fat oxidation by provision of excess lipid does decrease glucose oxidation in the whole body. However, results obtained with rodent or human systems that more directly examined muscle fuel selection have found that skeletal muscle in insulin resistance is accompanied by increased, rather than decreased, muscle glucose oxidation under basal conditions and decreased glucose oxidation under insulin-stimulated circumstances, producing a state of "metabolic inflexibility." Such a situation could contribute to the accumulation of triglyceride within the myocyte, as has been observed in insulin resistance. Recent knowledge of insulin receptor signaling indicates that the accumulation of lipid products in muscle can interfere with insulin signaling and produce insulin resistance. Therefore, although the Randle cycle is a valid physiological principle, it may not explain insulin resistance in skeletal muscle.