FASTEST WAYS TO BOOST YOUR ENDURANCE
Achievement comes from persistent effort over time. Ask any high performer, no matter what field they’re in. Extraordinary results come from consistent effort.
And the key to sustained effort? Endurance. You can exercise with all the best intentions in the world, but if you don’t have the endurance necessary to keep it up, you’re not going to see the results you want. Endurance is vital to getting into good shape and performing at a high level.
When used in the context of sports, endurance means the ability to sustain prolonged effort over a period of time. Think of marathon runners or long-distance bike riders.
Many factors affect a person’s endurance level, both positively and negatively. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to increase your endurance for achieving maximum results.
Let’s look at some of the best ways to develop your body’s energy production processes in order to increase this hugely important trait:
1. EAT RIGHT
Food is your body’s fuel. As anyone with an expensive sports car will tell you, top performance requires the right kind of fuel.
We’ve all heard this before. We all know by now that we need to eat right. But it bears repeating: a well-balanced, low-fat diet composed of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats will have an enormous effect on your overall fitness levels.
When you’re actively training, it’s important to also consider your body’s energy needs. Up to a third of your diet should be composed of complex carbohydrates, preferably from whole grains. These types of foods give you the long-term energy you need to train harder.
Note that this isn’t an excuse to sit on the sofa eating potato chips. You need to use the energy that you consume if you don’t want to end up the same size as the sofa you’re sitting on. Most athletes load up on carbs before performing strenuous activities. Talking to your mother-in-law on the phone doesn’t count.
2. STEADILY INCREASE YOUR PACE
Humans are nothing if not adaptable. And the ability of our bodies to adapt to changing circumstances can be used to increase endurance over time gradually. It’s called gradual adaption, and at its core, it means steadily increasing the pace of your workout to reach higher levels.
It’s important not to rush it. No one ever went from being a couch potato to a triathlete in a single day. And training too hard, too soon is an easy way to invite injury. Set goals, and work your way towards them. If you intend to run, don’t start at 26 miles on day one. Start with a smaller distance and work upwards from there.
Your body will soon adapt to the changing demands you place on it, which is why you need to keep increasing your pace. The first time you run a mile, it will seem impossible. But before long, it will become easy. To keep your body in top condition, you need to keep challenging its limits.
3. COMBINE CARDIO AND STRENGTH TRAINING DAYS
When most people talk about endurance, they’re thinking about cardiovascular fitness. And there’s no doubt that this is an important element. But what often gets neglected is the equal importance of strength training.
Whatever activity you plan to take part in, you’re not going to get very far if you don’t have the muscle mass to participate effectively. If you do nothing but cardio training, you can actually end up lowering your endurance. Remember, it’s only through use that muscles get stronger. Try combining cardio and strength training in a single day. For instance, a couple of sets of squats followed by a short run will do more for your endurance levels than either of those things would do by themselves.
4. REDUCE YOUR AMOUNT OF REST BETWEEN SETS
No one said this was going to be easy. You may not like this next piece of advice, but it’s a valuable technique for improving stamina.
When exercising, most people take breaks between sets of around 50 to 90 seconds. Try shortening those breaks. It’s going to hurt, but it should hurt. If, by the time you finish your sets, your muscles are burning, and you’re sweating and panting, you’re doing it right. The shorter the breaks you take, the harder and more effective the workout. Keep those muscles sore, and you’ll be increasing your endurance much faster.
5. HIIT IT UP
High-intensity interval training – HIIT to its friends – is a great way to improve stamina quickly. Put simply, it’s a technique that involves short bursts of high-intensity activity that not only provide variety in a workout, but also boost endurance levels.
Time for some science. You know how, when you exercise, the muscles you use get tired and start to ache? That’s due to a build-up of lactic acid within the muscle. Lactic acid is a by product of anaerobic respiration. Anaerobic respiration occurs when your body can’t get oxygen to muscles quickly enough to convert glucose into energy.
HIIT can improve both your VO2 max and your lactate threshold. As technical as this sounds, what it really means is that you’ll have a slower build-up of lactic acid in your muscles, and will be able to better endure the fatigue the acid causes. That way, you’ll be able to work out harder for longer. Simple, really.
6. AVOID ROUTINE
The enormous adaptability of the human body can be a curse as well as a blessing. Muscles don’t like to work any harder than they have to. If you always use your muscles in the same way, they will adapt so that they can perform the routine action with as little effort as possible. In time, you’ll start to see your results plateau. And this can happen in as little as two weeks.
To avoid this, you need to vary your workouts. If you normally run, try swimming instead. If you usually exercise on a bike, try running up some stairs. If you keep your muscles guessing, they won’t be able to adapt to what you’re doing and will have no choice but to continue to grow and strengthen. Your endurance will grow with them.
7. GET PLENTY OF REST
If you’ve been following all of this advice, you’re probably pretty tired by now. All that varied, high-intensity exercise and healthy eating can really take it out of you. So this next piece of advice might be the easiest item on this list to achieve. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Sleep is your body’s time to repair itself. And it’s those nocturnal repairs that actually strengthen the muscles you’ve been working out during the day. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to all kinds of health problems, including high blood pressure, increased weight gain and depression.
You’ll never perform at the highest level if you don’t get enough rest. So make sure you’re getting between seven and nine hours of good quality sleep each night. Your body will thank you for it.
A simple 4 day training plan would be:
MONDAY – PUSH DAY (CHEST, TRICEPS, AND SHOULDERS)
1. Standing Cable Lateral Raises (3 × 15)
2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (4 × 5)
3. Seated Dumbbell Arnold Press (4 × 5)
4. Standing Cable Triceps Rope Pushdowns (3 × 15)
WEDNESDAY – LOWER BODY (QUADS, HAMSTRINGS, GLUTES)
1. Barbell Back Squats (4 × 5)
2. Walking Dumbbell Lunges (4 × 30ft.)
3. Machine Leg Press (3 × 10)
4. Romanian Stiff Leg Deadlifts (3 × 12)
FRIDAY – PULLING DAY (BACK, BICEPS, AND TRAPS)
1. Barbell Bent Over Rows (4 × 5)
2. Cable Lat Pull Downs (4 × 8)
3. Dumbbell Preacher Curls (3 × 15)
4. Dumbbell Farmer’s Walks (4 × 30ft.)
5. Dumbbell Standing Shrugs (3 × 10)
SATURDAY – CARDIO AND LEGS
1. Cardio 30 min (walking elliptical)
2. Leg Extension (3 × 10)
3. Lying Leg Curls or Seated (4 × 10)
4. Leg Press (3 × 10)
5. Dumbbell Goblet Squats (3 × 15)
If you want to see real results from your workouts, stamina is vital. No matter what your goals are – to complete a marathon, to beat a personal best time, to break a world record – it’s endurance that will get you there. So try some of these tips to build your endurance over time. When you find yourself performing at a higher level than you ever thought possible, don’t forget to come back here and say thanks!