This story was updated in February 2019.
Just a few months ago, I was running around the house trying to get my dog to stop chewing my tennis ball when an unfamiliar feeling struck me. I stopped and realised I was panting heavily and perspiring around my neck. My dog took advantage and ran away with the ball. I was too weary to chase him. My stamina was down in the dumps.
I started exercising the next day and could barely run for about five minutes before I started huffing and puffing. We all agree that running after you have had no physical exercise for a while is reasonably tough. The reason: lack of stamina.
Soon, I was looking at ways to build my levels of endurance and I ran my first 10K five months after I started working out! Want to know how I was able to increase my workout stamina from a mere five minutes of running to fifty? It took a proper diet, regulated exercise and rest.
In plain words, stamina is the energy we need to exert ourselves in a particular task for an extended period of time. It is the level of endurance we need for physical activities, sports and exercise.
If you have just started exercising you will know the value of improving your workout stamina, not just in your exercise routine, but also in your daily lives. According to a few studies, an increase in your level of stamina is beneficial to improving your attention span, getting more proactive at work or studies and increasing your mental well-being.
That said, building stamina takes times and effort. You can surely build your levels using a few dietary supplements, but these are only short-term solutions. You should always look to build your stamina naturally for better long-term benefits. Here we have some best ways to increase stamina through physical exercise ,food and diet.
People mostly focus on cardio workout routines to build up their stamina. However, it is equally important to improve your strength. This will lead to your muscles building greater endurance levels and ultimately improve your workout stamina. Here are a few more pointers to keep in mind:
As enthusiastic as you are, in order to become Wonder Woman’s crime-fighting compadre you need to give it a while. Everyone knows that the key to developing endurance and stamina is time. Take it easy the first couple of sessions and don’t jump straight to intense cardio sessions without giving your body time to adapt.
It is way easier to push yourself to increase your stamina doing things that you actually like. Too many people make the mistake of taking of exercises that they are not interested in and drop out after a few attempts. If you choose cycling or swimming which are more easy and fun form of workout , then you can look at ways to make it a larger part of your workout routine.
A steady pace is great for consistency in workouts, but if you’re looking to build endurance over time, look towards doing short intervals of exercises - biking, burpees, push-ups, running at sprint pace. No matter the exercise, you’ll know if the intensity has been increased when you run out of breath and feel the burning sensation when your muscles are being worked!
A short, but, effective burpee can go a long way in burning all those calories than taking long breaks between repetitive sets. Make sure you’re not only going all out one day per week but that you're doing three to five workouts weekly, each for 20-plus minutes, at least.
When you’re committed to doing just one kind of workout repeatedly, over time your body gets used to the intensity and pace you put into it and hence, becomes easier as you move on. To get a better understanding of what your endurance is like, switch up your workouts when you find it becoming easier than when you started off.
The human body is capable of the most amazing feats. All you need to do is challenge yourself every chance you get. For a good example of a compound exercise, try jumping pull-ups, a squat with an overhead press, or even lunges with bicep curls. All these workouts take two isolated exercises and combine them to give you the best burns!
Training hard is fantastic, but training hard everyday might eventually lower the intensity of your workout with each passing day. Take breaks between extreme gym sessions to do something not as strenuous. A swim, a yoga class, or a steady jog every now and then is a good way to ensure you don’t drop the ball on your endurance training.
In 2006, an article in the Journal of Strength Conditioning and Research mentioned that less resistance, more repetitions and resting for 30 seconds, or less between exercises were optimal for building stamina. For muscle endurance, it helps to keep your recovery time anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds between sets. If you’re weightlifting, take the weights down a notch too, while you’re at it.
An early mistake a lot of people end up making is not keeping a track of their exercises. Monitoring your daily progress will help you set targets for the next time you attempt that routine or activity. You can also break down your cardio workouts through the week, which should help you hit your targets on time.
Having difficulty hitting your stamina targets? Involve a friend or even your boyfriend in your workout routines. Workout with your friend or your partner alongside will motivate you. They will encourage you during a routine and give you a substantial boost that can help you over the line. Your workout buddy can also be a work colleague or someone in your neighbourhood. Alternatively, you can also join a group in your gym and make some workout buddies there as well.
If your body is an engine, then food is the fuel that powers it over the hill. If you miss out on the correct foods and diet plans, you will climb up the slope and eventually run out of gas. So, here are a few dietary pointers to stay aware of if you are looking to improve your stamina:
1. Keep Your Sodium Intake In Check
Sweating during workouts can make your body lose a significant amount of sodium, so it’s important that you don’t let the levels fall dangerously low. An electrolyte imbalance in your body can make you dizzy and light-headed. This is when you can opt for a moderate amount of energy drinks that supply a healthy dose of electrolytes to replenish your body’s stock.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
This has been reiterated in thousands of health articles and still is the most common mistake committed by beginners who want to get into shape. When it’s a component that makes up 70% of the human body, it goes without saying that water is the most essential nutrient your body can get. It keeps your cells healthy, without which, they can start shrinking, leaving your muscles weak and worn out. So, now that you know, H-2-GO!
3. Adhere To Your Diet
Exercising is futile if you don’t have your daily dose of nutrients helping the well-oiled machine in your body! Carbohydrates are just as important in your diet as minerals, fibres, high-quality trans fats, and proteins. Go all out with green and leafy vegetables, plenty of fruits, nuts like walnuts and cashews that have omega-3 essential fatty acids (you can also opt for fish if that works for you), whole grains that fill you with energy, and a healthy dose of protein to help your body build and repair muscles. Spread your diet out to includes foods like eggs for breakfast, complex carbs and greens for lunch and lean meats for dinner.
It is vital to include a balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to stay healthy. Here are some superhealthy foods to increase stamina, and also improve your overall fitness level.
Bananas are a great source of potassium, a vital element that is rarely found in other foods. It also contains a healthy amount of carbohydrates and vitamin B6, which help replenish energy after a good workout. No wonder marathon runners and professional cyclists always carry a few bananas with them during competitions.
Eggs are absolutely essential to diet if you are looking to boost your stamina. They are packed with essential vitamins, healthy fats and a good amount of protein. Scramble them, boil them or make an omelette - eggs are versatile.
Carbs are the building blocks of energy and you cannot ignore them if you are looking to build your stamina. Here’s where brown rice comes in. Filled with complex carbohydrates, fibre and vitamin B complex, brown rice is easier to digest and breaks down slowly after consumption. This leads to a steady release of energy throughout the day.
Remember when Professor Lupin gave Harry Potter a piece of chocolate after his run in with the Dementors to make him feel better? The antioxidants in chocolate have been proven to help boost oxygen circulation in your body. A bite of dark chocolate after an intense workout can help you relax and replenish your energy.
Apples are a ready source of sugar, carbohydrates and fibre. Like bananas, they are easy to carry and consume and can easily become a part of your diet through salads, smoothies or just on its own.
Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a lack of which may lead to chronic fatigue in our bodies. Fish like tuna and salmon are rich in these essential fatty acids as well as protein - two vital elements needs to increase your stamina.
If you are looking to build your stamina, then peanut butter is yet another food that you should include in your diet. It contains healthy fats, protein and complex carbs that held ward off hunger while giving you a regular boost of energy for a long time.
On hot sultry days, there is nothing like a glass of neembu paani to replenish your energy and get you active once again. It’s the Vitamin C present in lemons that give you that much-needed boost. Including citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, sweet limes and grapefruits can help build immunity and energy levels.
If you are feeling a little more tired than usual after a workout, it could be a symptom of a lack of iron in your body. Iron is required to make haemoglobin that helps carry oxygen to the cells, deficiency of which leads to fatigue. It is always advisable to get it checked out with a doctor, but in the meantime you can make a few dietary changes. Leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in iron and help blood circulation.
From office goers to Olympic athletes, everyone needs mental stamina. It is your mind’s willpower to overcome adversities. While it can be the final push that ushers you around the bend in the last parts of your workouts, it is also something that keeps you going about our daily activities at home or at work.
You can build mental stamina with sufficient training, just like workout stamina. So whether it is a workout or a work presentation, here are a few tips and tricks to improve your mental stamina.
Sometimes, just making a mental note of your goals can help. If you are preparing to run a marathon, you can close your eyes and visualise what the finish line looks like. At one of your workout sessions, it could be as simple visualising your lifting weights or doing crunches before you attempt them.
There will be times where you will fall short of your goals. It is important for you to accept these setbacks and have a plan that will help you regain your focus. This can be as simple as having a song that lifts your mood or taking a break for a short while.
Getting the right amount of sleep is as important for your mind as it is for your body. Studies have shown that the mental benefits of sleep include improved reaction time and better decision-making capabilities. You should be looking at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, especially if you are doing high-intensity workouts.
Just with any exercise routine, it is important to break your mental problems into smaller pieces. Looking at it like one big issue is more likely to stress you out. You can tackle the problem by breaking it into a series of steps or smaller tasks that can be completed quickly. Achieving these smaller goals will keep you motivated to finish the bigger tasks at hand.
Perhaps the most effective way of them all - persevere. Your mind is your strongest asset, and the sooner you convince your mind that you can always walk that extra kilometre, swim that extra lap, and drop ten more push-ups, the faster you’ll be soaring towards your goal.
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