There’s a saying that goes “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” Aiming for an elite level of fitness, that point where you push your body to do more than the average workout provides leaves “easy” far behind.
But nothing good ever came without a price. The cost for achieving the mental focus and the body that you want is your utmost effort and your time. Don’t expect to get what you want by giving a few minutes to a workout a few times a week.
The goal with stamina boosting exercises is to increase your metabolism and help you alleviate stress, push your body to perform better, and allow you to burn off the fuel (food) that you consume while training.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is so physically and mentally demanding that it really isn’t for those who aren’t in it with everything they’ve got. This workout consists of exercises that are done with incredible intensity followed by exercises that are less intense.
These less intense exercises are considered the break or recovery period - even though you’re still at it. The key is to keep the heart rate up. Doing this speeds up your metabolism.
When you keep the heart rate steady, you end up burning more fat than you would through a regular exercise routine. An example of the way that HIIT works would be exercises done in short bursts.
You would jog or run extremely fast for two minutes, then you would jog slowly for four. You take whatever exercise you do and you do it fast, then followed by a recovery period that’s one and a half to two times the length of the intense exercise.
You would do sit-ups, at least 40 or more, but you would do a portion of them within a certain time limit followed by slower sit-ups. The same way with squats or pushups.
If you do squats, do at least 40. For push-ups, do 25-35. Break them down between the high intensity and the recovery. Just make sure your recovery time is more than your intensity.
HITT workouts are so challenging that you might feel as if you’ve reached the point of complete exhaustion. But what these kinds of workouts do is they give you an afterburn advantage.
This means that your body is still in the process of burning calories even when the workout is finished. You can arrange a HIIT workout and tailor it according to certain days of the week as long as each week, you set a goal that helps you beat last week’s exercise.
HIIT is instrumental as part of an elite program because it builds your stamina. If you’re engaged in a career where you feel exhausted and drained much of the time, then HIIT is going to help you develop the energy you need to power through those moments.
There’s something else that builds your stamina, too - and that’s Plyometrics. You may not have even heard of this before. Plyometrics is something that you probably see often but you don’t actually realize what it is that you’re seeing.
Every time that you see an athlete perform beyond what seems possible, you’re witnessing plyometrics in action. Plyometrics can condition your body to go further.
For example, with plyometrics training, you can pick up things that weigh more than you’re used to picking up. You can jump and achieve bigger heights than before.
You can have more speed when you run. Plyometrics gives you power. It gives you this power by working with what your body already has available - and that’s strength.
What it does to take that strength above and beyond the way that you’ve been using it. These exercises give the person doing them a better range of motion in performance.
The types of movements used in plyometric exercises are similar to the ones found among certain kinds of sports such as boxing, basketball and skiing. In fact, many professional athletes use plyometrics as a way to build the stamina that they need to be able to compete and be at the top of their game.
Using plyometrics encourages the muscles to contract faster with a greater show of strength than they would normally have. There’s a scientific basis for using plyometrics to give your body an ultimate workout.
It can give you better body performance based on what’s called the stretch shortening cycle. This is the point where your muscle stretches before it contracts.
Stretching causes a muscle to then contract faster and more powerfully. Imagine it like clicking a pen. You click and the spring in the pen forces the point of the pen to extend.
When you release that click button, the pen tip immediately snaps quickly back to where it was before. That’s exactly how your muscle reacts. Though there are thousands of different plyometrics exercises, some are more commonly used than others.
Squat jumps are very popular. To perform these, you get into position with your feet just past your shoulders. Go into a squat and then jump, aiming for as much upward distance as you can possibly reach. Do as many of these squat jumps as you can in under sixty seconds.
Side lunges are also used often in plyometrics. You alternate lunging from side to side. You also do as many of these as you can in under sixty seconds. Leg hops, both single and double are also used.
Box or depth jumps require some skill. These involve jumping to and from boxes or sturdy platforms that force you to extend the length of the jump higher than you would normally aim for.
You can target plyometrics for specific muscle groups, too - depending on the exercises that you use. For example, if you use clap push-ups, then you’re using not only the leg muscles, but the forearms and biceps as well.
When you push yourself with plyometrics, you gain flexibility, more strength in your muscles and more ability with jumping.
Swimming is a great stamina booster. However, it’s the method of swimming that you do that will determine whether or not it’s helpful. Many athletes and military personnel use a certain style of swimming that helps them achieve great body fitness and a more focused mindset.
You can’t stick to the minimum and expect maximum results. You must push yourself to new heights and the key is that you don’t reach a height and then stay there.
As soon as you reach one point where you’ve pushed yourself, you have to turn around and reach for something else that seems just out of your grasp. That’s how you keep on achieving goals and how you keep an elite fitness mindset.
Sidestroke swimming builds muscle and endurance. You should swim for at least 45 minutes every time you have a swim set. Swimming should be done at least four out of the five days a week.
Though that may seem like a tough schedule to follow, you must remember that greatness is not a part time thing. You don’t schedule maximum ability like ordering takeout.
You just show up and you get the job done even if you don’t feel like it - that’s the mindset you have to have if you want to reach your full potential. For the first half of your swim time, you want to do swim sprints. These give you a cardio type burn.
But you want to break up the swim time. So do the first half with the sprints. Do 5-7 and then rest. Then 5-7, then rest until you’ve been at it for at least half of whatever time you’re in the water.
Once you give the first half of your time to the sprints or some other type of fast cardio action in the water, use the rest of the time to swim as you normally would. For the sake of safety, you should not swim alone.
This is especially important if you’re swimming as part of an elite exercise regimen - because you’ll be pushing yourself to greater lengths than you normally would.
Your goal is to eventually be able to do at least a 500-yard crawl swim in as short a time as possible. You want to aim for between 7 to 10 minutes. Remember that the more you swim, the faster you can become.
Swimming can also help you strengthen muscles you’ll use in other exercises such as running. If you don’t have a pool in your backyard, you can always find a local gym with a pool you can use to train in.
Running can help train your legs for use in various vigorous exercises. You should run often, adding miles every time that you run. As you run, you want to begin to add resistance to make the run more difficult.
An example of adding resistance can be something like running across surfaces that challenge you - such as sand. If you’ve ever seen Navy Seals train by running in their heavy boots across wet sand, this is the reason.
It adds resistance to their muscles and builds stamina. You can also run with weighted backpacks. Running in mud is another way to build stamina. The only way to master elite fitness is to keep on aiming higher every time you work out.
When you’re running, you want to make sure that you engage in timed runs, such as running a mile and then resting for two to three minutes before running again.
You can also run, rest and then hit meter sprints such as 300 to 400 meters, then moving on to 800. Take another two to three minutes to rest, and then hit another 400-meter sprint. You should aim for a 5-to-7-minute timeframe to complete your first mile.