You may be an ultra-runner or a weekend warrior, a lap swimmer or a triathlete, a full-time member of the local gym or someone who loves to hike in the mountains. What you and me have in common is that we get tired, we’re not as motivated as we’d like and frequently feel like giving up. But if you’re reading this, you’re one step closer than those who usually give up.
To master and truly rejoice the sporting activities you take part in, you would have to build and maintain your mental and physical endurance and strength. Today I’ll share with you my favorite combo for first class mental and physical endurance.
Nutrition for Energy
One of the most the significant components of building mental and physical endurance is nutrition. We all need a certain level of food intake and specific food nutrients to sustain and grow our bodies.
Calorie intake varies depending on age, body size, occupation, and gender among other factors. For example, people who weigh less may require fewer calories per day than those who weigh twice or three times as much because energy requirements increase with the body size. If you introduce physical activity into the picture, the calorie intake also goes up significantly. Not only are calories important in fueling the body, but the calorie type also makes a huge difference.
CARBOHYDRATES – Are the best food source for short and strenuous endurance workout routines. They are high in glycogen and take a shorter time to digest; a fast and frequent supply of energy allows the muscles to recover quickly from exhaustion.
PROTEINS – Are a valuable tool in muscle development and tissue recovery. Enough proteins in the diet mean that old worn-out cells would be exchanged for new ones much faster. Developing new muscle cells you can be sure to perform optimally in physical activities.
FATS – It takes time to digest fats, and most of the fat gets stored anyway providing energy for times of rest and less intense activities. When your body has exhausted all its immediate energy source, it will turn to your fat stores. Fats contain many times more energy than carbohydrates and are very useful for long-term endurance activities and situations such as marathons.
Yoga for concentration and breathing
This one is an absolute game changer. Dean Karnazes, a well-known participant in many ultra-marathons, uses yoga as a tool to maintain both his mental and physical stamina. The ability to control his breath allows his body to utilize the maximum amount of oxygen possible, thereby hyping his overall activity level.
It works like a performance enhancement drug, but it’s all natural and… legal! If you master conscious breathing, you will be able to control your breathing during intense physical activity. You take in more air when your body needs it and slow down your breathing intermittently so as not to exhaust your lungs.
Low impact workouts
Low impact workouts like walking for fitness, hiking, road running, swimming, cross-country skiing, biking or spinning are great and safe ways to begin a daily fitness routine. They help you build stamina and endurance in the long term. Don’t underestimate the importance of low impact workouts! Working out on a home spin bike is especially beneficial for the following reasons:
- Flexibility: It improves the flexibility of joints and strength of bones without the risk of getting hurt or tearing muscles in the process; therefore your stamina runs up consistently.
- Stronger muscles: As your bones and muscles get stronger, your joints and ligaments function better. Spin repeatedly over an extended length of time and you’ll see greater endurance levels.
- Cardiovascular health: Without a strong heart, blood does not get to be delivered to all parts of the body efficiently. Fatigue sets in quickly thus your performance is lowered. Spinning reduces the chances of coronary artery diseases by opening your blood vessels. It gets rid of unhealthy fat storage and improves overall circulation.
- Limited stress: Spinning releases endorphin’s which in turn release mental stress from the body. A relaxed state of mental well-being is necessary for physical and mental endurance.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
This one is a maker or a breaker. Before starting on any endurance training, you should check with your physical therapist because such workouts can put immense pressure on your heart and lungs. This can be dangerous under certain health conditions. A detailed guide to endurance training tailored for absolute beginners can be found here.
So the first step is to access your current fitness level by recording the following:
- Do sit-ups and push-ups up to your exhaustion limit and record the number;
- Run a mile and record the time it takes
- Walk or run a mile and record your pulse rate before and after
Once your self-assessment is complete, you can start your mental and physical endurance training with the goal of beating those first recorder numbers. Just make sure you:
- Always begin with simple workouts like walking and running. Don’t stress yourself out. Even though you might be feeling excited to outperform, you should allow your body to adapt first.
- Pulled muscles can be tiresome and extremely painful. They would interrupt your workout routine and delay your endurance build up. Avoid them by doing simple stretching routines and warm-ups. Your training should always begin and end with these stretching methods.
- A higher number of repetition at the gym is a very efficient way of increasing endurance. Try lifting weights for as many times as you can instead of focusing on lifting more weight. Challenge yourself by keeping a record of the number of weights lifted and aim at increasing them daily.
- Leg squats can build your endurance and physical strength at astonishing speeds. Squats focus on the gluteal muscles, the quadriceps, and hamstrings. When doing them, separate your feet slightly while standing up, put one leg in front of the other, lean forward until your knee is leveled, return to starting position and repeat the procedure with the other leg. Do this exercise in bunches of five or ten as your endurance improves.
- Bench step-ups can improve your running speeds and your legs’ endurance significantly. Stand to face a bench that is about as high as your knee and start stepping up and off it. Repeat twenty times and when you feel that it’s no longer strenuous, hold dumbbells while working out.
- Do hope workouts to coordinate the movements of your ankle, calf, foot and hip muscles. These group muscles are the same ones used in running. Start hopping as fast as you can for about twenty seconds, then switch your legs for the same amount of time. Extend your hoping time periods or hold dumbbells in your workout to improve endurance.
The most powerful HIIT workouts are done for 20 seconds straight followed by 10 seconds of rest, then 20 more seconds of workout in repetition. According to the study, you should not do HIIT workouts more than 3 to 4 times per week because of their high-impact nature. Endurance training is the quickest and safest way to lose excess body fat.
Hopefully, this combo for first class mental and physical endurance building will become your favorite as well. You do not need to be a professional athlete to start your mental and physical endurance training.
Such workouts help you stay healthy, in shape and give you are an incredibly strong heart. With an improved level of endurance, you’ll have more energy and mental fatigues would become less frequent. It is an excellent way to lead into a relaxed and healthier lifestyle.