The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of easy-to-measure clinical phenotypes that serve as markers for increased risk for CVD and diabetes. There is no universal agreement as to the underlying pathophysiology of the metabolic syndrome. At its core, the metabolic syndrome is the result of energy excess; therefore treating obesity is a good strategy to reverse the clinical features of the metabolic syndrome. Hypertension is a special case, may not be part of the core pathophysiology of the metabolic syndrome, and will not be discussed. After a brief review of recent developments in the pathophysiology of the metabolic syndrome, this review will concentrate on peripheral targets in the following categories: ectopic fat and fat oxidation, intrinsic defects in substrate switching and mitochondrial biogenesis, lipolysis and lipid turnover, adipose tissue as an endocrine organ, nutrient / energy sensing systems, and inflammation. The advantages and pitfalls of these targets will be discussed with an eye towards the relevant literature.