You can’t grow stronger if you can’t work longer. Here are 5 things to remember when attempting to build up your physical stamina:
1. FUEL = FOCUS
Food is at the foundation of fitness. And in this case, keeping your body nourished with a healthy, well-balanced diet is key to priming it for long, intense stretches of exercise. Stick with low-fat foods like fruits, veggies and lean meats, along with plenty of whole wheat starches and carbohydrates. You can also add in snacks like nuts and dried fruit to make sure you’re always riding a steady wave of energy throughout the day.
2. REDUCE REST
No, not sleep—we’re talking time between sets. And for most, that typically ranges between 60 and 90 seconds. So if your intra-set rest time falls within that oh-so common span, consider cutting it to around 30 to 45 seconds, and even lowering the weight to give your workout a faster, more cardio-driven feel.
3. MIX IT UP
When it comes to making gains, routine is often your strongest ally. But if greater endurance is your goal, you’ll need to keep your body guessing if it’s going to grow. That means, every so often, switching up your exercises, resistance level, rest time and volume, among other factors. You could even go so far as trying a totally different method of exercise: hop off the bench and onto a bike, or swap out the punching bag for a yoga mat. Subjecting yourself to different types of stress forces your body to adapt and become comfortable using different muscles for different functions—a key element of enhanced endurance.
4. TUNE IN
If you aren’t already dialed into your go-to pump-up playlist come gym time, you’re missing out on what’s essentially free energy. Keeping your nervous system flooded with feel-good tunes can aid you during exercise by either delaying the feeling of fatigue, or motivating you to work even harder. So whether it’s an extra dose of determination – or just a simple distraction – a single song can have a profound effect on your performance.
Both natural and safely formulated dietary supplements can provide a much-needed boost. If you’re just starting to experience the effects of waning workout energy, a standard cup of coffee 20 to 30 minutes prior to exercise should do the trick. Or if you find the herbal route more appealing, you can try ashwagandha: an ancient medicinal herb proven to reduce mental and physical stress, and increase energy levels. Or if you prefer something more scientific, there’s RSP Nutrition’s AminoLean – an all-in-one, zero-calorie pre-workout powder formulated with 5 grams of amino acids for anytime energy – and TrueFit: a protein supplement packed with 25 grams of grass-fed protein and 8 grams of prebiotic fiber to help you recover for what’s next in your regimen.
And there you have it: 5 surefire ways to get yourself lifting harder and going further. Now get after it!