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23-24 March 2010 | BAE Systems Theatre, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE SPACE SEMINAR 2010
February 4, 2010
Getting going in 2010
WHETHER a seasoned ath-
lete, an occasional fitness
participant, or a beginner
with a New Year's resolu-
tion to get fit, many sailors will return
to work and vigorously engage in a
One of the key causes of injury
when returning to training and sport,
as well as being a major motivation
buster, is the "bull at a gate" syndrome.
People feeling refreshed from leave
or under pressure to pass a fitness
assessment decide to take the plunge
and get stuck into their fitness rou-
Training diligently every day for
an hour, many push hard to reach their
goals. Unfortunately, this approach
often leads to failure as the body and
mind tire rapidly. For some, motiva-
tion is lost, while for others who push
through mental warning barriers, over-
training and injury await.
The key step in avoiding these pit-
falls and ensuring a successful return
to physical training is knowledge.
Fact 1: Detraining
As physical activity is reduced over
the festive season, physical fitness
declines. Some research has shown
that as much as one per cent of VO2, a
measure of aerobic fitness, is lost each
day following inactivity.
In performance measures, this
equates to an increase in a 2.4km
run time of around one minute or a
decrease in shuttle run ability of seven
levels per week of inactivity.
When it comes to strength, although
the loss is not as drastic, muscle
strength is also lost due to inactivity.
Fact 2: Weight increase
Often over the leave period, the
reduction in physical activity combines
with an increase in food and alcohol
consumption. The outcome of this
equation -- of calories out versus calo-
ries in -- is an increase in body weight.
This increase in weight reduces the
aerobic fitness of the body, reduces
the body's relative strength and, most
importantly, increases the weight your
body must now carry.
The two combine to have a notable
impact on fitness and injury potential
as a now less-fit body must carry addi-
You really pigged out over the break! Now it's
a mad scramble to get fit but, according to LT
Rob Orr, the best thing you can do is take it
one step at a time and slow down.
For those who were very active
before leave, this effect on fitness is an
Often members expect to be able to
perform at the same level of fitness on
return to activity. Many simply con-
tinue with their training program as if
they had never taken a break.
For those few able to exercise at
the same pace and volume, the cost of
performing at this same level is high-
er than it was pre-leave and soon the
body fatigues or an injury occurs.
Those who fail to start training at
the same level will lose motivation and
in all probability cease training.
Conversely, some members will
attack their training with even more
vigour in an attempt to rapidly return
to pre-leave fitness levels.
Again, the outcome of this
approach can often be fatigue and/or
For those beginning with a new
training program, a similar trap exists
where they suddenly begin their exer-
cise program with over-enthusiastic
high-volume training every day .
Regrettably, the progressive
increase in body stress begins to over-
whelm the initial enthusiasm.
Waking every morning with muscle
soreness and fatigue leads to a loss of
motivation and soon one day of train-
ign is missed, then two, then a week
and soon training is forgotten.
TOO MUCH TOO SOON:
Beware of over training.
Photo: LSIS Paul Berry
For the first two weeks
train no more than three to
four times a week. Then,
if comfortable with train-
ing frequency, increase to
no more than five times a
Train at a low intensity -- no
more than 80 per cent of
Train for no more than 40
minutes (excluding warm
up and cool down).
Try as many different activ-
ities as possible. Rotate
through different weight-
training exercises, try
different cardio machines,
run different routes.
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