Training and Detraining

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Training and detraining are responsible for gains and losses, respectively, in fitness levels. Training according to the FITT Principle guidelines will lead to optimal fitness benefits. On the other hand, decreases in fitness due to detraining occur at twice the rate of training gains when physical activity stops completely. Table 4-1 lists some changes in fitness measures due to training and detraining.

Table 4-1. Training vs. Detraining


Fitness Component



Heart and lung function



Resting heart rates


Muscle strength and endurance


Resting metabolism



Muscle fuel (glycogen) stores



Ability to sweat and dissipate body heat


Detraining only takes 1 - 2 weeks! However, this can be minimized by maintaining your usual exercise intensity, even if the frequency and duration of workouts is decreased. This concept is important for Navy sailors to understand, as you may have limited time and fitness equipment available while deployed for extended periods. Ironically, it is in these situations that you depend most on your physical fitness to perform your duties. Therefore, learn the basic training principles and how to work around equipment, space, and time limitations (see Chapter 10).

Cardiorespiratory Training

In this chapter you will learn about:

  • The physiology of the heart and lungs.
  • Benefits of cardio-respiratory training.
  • The FITT Principle guidelines for cardio-respiratory training.
  • Aerobic training program design and progression.

Cardiorespiratory activities make up the bulk of the physical activities in Levels 1 and 2 of the Physical Activity Pyramid (Chapter 4, Figure 4-2). These activities improve health and fitness by increasing the work capacity of the heart and lungs. Other terms used to describe these activities include cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, and aerobic exercise.

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