Forced sustained swimming exercise at optimal speed enhances growth in many fish species, particularly through hypertrophy of the white skeletal muscle. The exact mechanism of this effect has not been resolved yet. To explore the mechanism, we first subjected wild-type zebrafish to an exercise protocol validated for exercise-enhanced growth, and showed that exercised zebrafish, which indeed showed enhanced growth, had higher cortisol levels than the non-exercised controls. A central role was therefore hypothesized for the steroid hormone cortisol acting through the Glucocorticoid receptor (Gr). Second, we subjected wild-type zebrafish and zebrafish with a mutant Gr to exercise at optimal, suboptimal and super-optimal speeds and compared them with non-exercised controls. Exercised zebrafish showed growth enhancement at all speeds, with highest growth at optimal speeds. In the Gr mutant fish, exercise resulted in growth enhancement similar to wild-type zebrafish, indicating that cortisol cannot be considered as a main determinant of exercise-enhanced growth. Finally, the transcriptome of white skeletal muscle tissue was analysed by RNA sequencing. The results of this analysis showed that in the muscle tissue of Gr mutant fish a lower number of genes is regulated by exercise than in wild-type fish (183 versus 351). A cluster of 36 genes was regulated by exercise in both wild-type and mutant fish. In this cluster, genes involved in transcriptional regulation and protein ubiquitination were overrepresented. Since growth was enhanced similarly in both wild-type fish and mutants, these processes may play an important role in exercise-enhanced growth. Overall design: Deep-sequencing transcriptome analysis of white muscle samples derived from wild-type (++) or glucocorticoid receptor (Gr) mutant (--) Danio rerio specimens that were exposed to either a resting (REST) or a swimming (UOPT) regimen: wild-type resting (REST++; n=3), Gr mutant resting (REST--; n=3), wild-type swimming (UOPT++; n=3), Gr mutant swimming (UOPT--; n=3).