Metabolism defines the energetic cost of life, yet we still know relatively little about why intraspecific variation in metabolic rate arises and persists. Spatio-temporal variation in selection potentially maintains differences, but relationships between metabolic traits (standard metabolic rate (SMR), maximum metabolic rate (MMR), and aerobic scope) and fitness across contexts are unresolved. We show that associations between SMR, MMR, and growth rate (a key fitness-related trait) vary depending on the thermal regime (a potential selective agent) in offspring of wild-sampled brown trout from two populations reared for approximately 15 months in either a cool or warm (+1.8 degrees C) regime. SMR was positively related to growth in the cool, but negatively related in the warm regime. The opposite patterns were found for MMR and growth associations (positive in warm, negative in the cool regime). Mean SMR, but not MMR, was lower in warm regimes within both populations (i.e. basal metabolic costs were reduced at higher temperatures), consistent with an adaptive acclimation response that optimizes growth. Metabolic phenotypes thus exhibited a thermally sensitive metabolic 'floor' and a less flexible metabolic 'ceiling'. Our findings suggest a role for growth-related fluctuating selection in shaping patterns of metabolic variation that is likely important in adapting to climate change.