To compare training load and energy expenditure during an 8-wk military basic training (BT) period among individuals having different fitness level using objective measurements in an authentic environment.
Thirty-four voluntary male conscripts (age, 19.1 ± 0.3 yr) were divided into three training groups (inactive, moderate, active) by their reported physical activity
(PA) level evaluated by the International Physical Activity
Questionnaire (IPAQ) before military service. Maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max
) and HR were determined by maximal treadmill test in the beginning and after 4 and 7 wk of BT. During BT, HR monitors and accelerometers were used to measure PA and energy expenditure. The HR data were used to calculate the training load (TRIMP, training impulse
) for each day, week, and the whole BT period.
Training load of BT was comparable to training of competitive athletes at the highest level. The training groups differed (P
< 0.001–0.05) in terms of V˙O2max
to each other (inactive, 36 ± 6; moderate, 42 ± 6; active, 48 ± 6 mL·kg−1
). The conscripts in the inactive group were the most loaded during the study period (TRIMPinactive
12,393 ± 2989 vs TRIMPmoderate
10,252 ± 1337, P
< 0.05 and TRIMPactive
8444 ± 2051, P
< 0.01). The PA intensity of different military tasks during the BT period were low or moderate (<6 METs).
The remarkable training load during BT period is comparable to the training loads of professional athletes participating 3 wk of cycling competition. The training load in BT period was, however, primarily due to duration of low-intensity activities including only some high-intensity military activities. In the future, measuring the training load during the military service is recommended to customize the physical training for conscripts regarding his/her fitness level as much as possible.