An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Features : Display
NEWS | July 16, 2013

Lifestyle fitness: Weight lifting and weight loss

By Airman 1st Class Austin Harvill 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

After properly setting up a diet and preparing for a workout, it is time to hit the gym and start building a better body.

Tony Arroyo, the exercise physiologist at Langley Air Force Base's, Va., Health and Wellness Center, and Bob Ornelaz, the Fit-to-Win instructor at Fort Eustis, Va., provided the tools for anyone to build lean muscle and trim body fat.

"Everyone is different when it comes to what a specific diet and exercise plan will do," said Arroyo. "However, there are a few guidelines to building lean muscle mass and simultaneously losing fat."

Arroyo stressed the importance of weight lifting for both fat loss and muscle building, and explained how resistance can be used to burn fat, not just build muscle.

Weight lifting can be divided into three different categories: maximum strength, hypertrophy or endurance training, said Arroyo. Power training is a variation of maximal strength training, however it utilizes slightly different exercises.

Maximum strength is ideal for athletes wishing to increase their overall strength and pack on more lean muscle. Max-strength workouts consist of four to six sets of one to five repetitions. Lifters should be lifting 85 to 100 percent of the one-repetition maximum in order to get the best benefit from these workouts, and they should rest three to five minutes between each set.

Max strength lifting is great for muscle building, but Arroyo suggests it may not be for everyone.

"Lifting extremely heavy weights can be dangerous for someone unfamiliar with workout, so I usually don't recommend these workouts for a newer lifter," said Arroyo.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, endurance training utilizes lighter weights and more repetitions. A typical endurance-focused workout consists of one to three sets of 12 to 25 repetitions each, said Arroyo. Athletes should lift around 40 to 70 percent of their one-repetition maximum and rest for a short 30 to 60 seconds. Endurance training benefits more cardio-centric athletes who typically exercise for an hour or more at any time.

"Marathon runners can really benefit from these types of exercises," said Arroyo. "Without weight training, they might experience more fatigue not in their legs, but in their cores and other parts of their body."

In addition to aiding runners, endurance training can help newer lifters get more accustomed to different exercises and build a strong foundation for future weight lifting, said Arroyo.

Hypertrophy training combines the two types of training into a more jack-of-all-trades routine. Hypertrophy routines consist of three to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Lifting about 70 to 85 percent of the one-repetition maximum yields the best results, and lifters should give themselves 45 to 90 seconds of rest.

"Hypertrophy is great for athletes just looking for a good, all-around workout routine," said Arroyo. "Combining a hypertrophy routine with a steady cardiovascular program can lead to a toned physique over time."

Ornelaz explained the simplicity of cardiovascular strengthening exercises individuals can use to partner with their muscle building routine.

"Exercising for 20 minutes or more at 65 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate will help build cardiovascular strength," said Ornelaz. "This will also help you lose fat, improve lung capacity and make your entire cardiovascular system stronger, not just your heart."

Cardio exercises are numerous, and any exercise that brings the heart rate to the appropriate level counts as a cardio-intensive exercise.

"A lot of people think of running when they need to lose weight," said Arroyo. "But that just isn't necessarily true. People can do interval training, cycling, swimming, rock climbing and whatever else to get the results they desire."

Arroyo said he recommends mixing up cardio-instensive workouts by switching his equipment every so often. For instance, run for 10 minutes, cycle for another 10 and then end workouts with the rowing machines.

Understanding the aspects of fitness can help anyone can lead a healthier lifestyle. More so, adhering to fitness as a lifestyle provides Service members the tools most critical to success in every mission: themselves.