© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Background Low cardiorespiratory fitness has been established as a risk factor for cardiovascular-related morbidity. However, research about the impact of fitness on lipid abnormalities, including atherogenic dyslipidemia, has produced mixed results. The purpose of this investigation is to examine the influence of baseline fitness and changes in fitness on the development of atherogenic dyslipidemia. Methods All participants completed at least 3 comprehensive medical examinations performed by a physician that included a maximal treadmill test between 1976 and 2006 at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas. Atherogenic dyslipidemia was defined as a triad of lipid abnormalities: low high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol ([HDL-C] <40 mg/dL), high triglycerides ([TGs] ≥200 mg/dL), and high low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol ([LDL-C] ≥160 mg/dL). Results A total of 193 participants developed atherogenic dyslipidemia during an average of 8.85 years of follow-up. High baseline fitness was protective against the development of atherogenic dyslipidemia in comparison with those with low fitness (odds ratio [OR] 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37-0.89); however, this relationship became nonsignificant after controlling for baseline HDL-C, LDL-C, and TG levels. Participants who maintained fitness over time had lower odds of developing atherogenic dyslipidemia than those with a reduction in fitness (OR 0.56; 95% CI, 0.34-0.91) after adjusting for baseline confounders and changes in known risk factors. Conclusions High fitness at baseline and maintenance of fitness over time are protective against the development of atherogenic dyslipidemia.