Woman running across track

Here's How To Increase Your Stamina

So you’re all set. You’ve got your sports bra, your yoga pants, your sweatband, and your athletic sneakers. You’ve even got a cool pair of those cut-off gloves to help you grip the equipment better. You’ve got it all planned out. Ten minutes on the treadmill, a few lifts, ten minutes on the stationary bike, and a few reps on the elliptical. Start with a few stretches, check yourself in the mirror, you’ve got this. You step up on the treadmill, start it up, two minutes later, you’re ready to hit the showers. If you want to make your investments in workout gear and gym memberships pay off, it’s probably in your best interest to be able to use them for more than ten minutes at a time, and that means you need to build stamina. Stamina is the body’s ability to partake in physical activity without fatigue or having to quit before reaching your goals. If you need to increase your endurance and make your investments pay off, here are some exercises that may help.

Balance
Balance is key to endurance. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, improving balance is a crucial component of stamina building. Training tools like a balance pillow, balance disc, foam roller, balance board, or a stability board are all great for building balance. If you’re using a balance disc, try to stand or sit on it while keeping your body steady.

Woman lifting dumbbells

Free Weights
Free weights can increase stamina while increasing your muscles size and boosting overall health levels. Use hand-held barbells for lifts, focusing on the legs, torso, and upper body. One to three sets of 15 to 20 reps should help with building muscle endurance.

Intervals
Interval training entails alternating between short bouts of high-intensity exercise with longer bouts of lower intensity ones. Research published in the journal “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,” found that while subjects who engaged in moderate cycling for an hour a day for six weeks showed improved physical endurance, they showed no such change in anaerobic endurance. In contrast, cyclists performing eight sets of high-intensity 20-second intervals with 10 second rest periods for six weeks improved not only aerobic endurance but also increased anaerobic stamina by 28 percent.

Woman working out

Circuits
Circuit training refers to the use of three to twelve different exercise stations that combine strength training with cardiovascular exercise, putting all muscle groups to work. Because circuit training challenges both anaerobic and aerobic endurance, it is a great way to build stamina. Aim to perform each exercise for thirty seconds, giving yourself a 30-second break in-between. As your stamina increases, try reducing rest periods to 15 seconds while increasing work time to 45 seconds.

Medicine Balls
Working out with medicine balls is another way to lengthen staying power, and are great for doing V-ups. V-ups require lying on your back with your arms outstretched overhead holding a medicine ball with your legs down. Raise your legs into a V-position while using your arms to raise the medicine ball over your head. Lower your arms and legs and repeat.

How are you working to improve your stamina? Let us know how your lasting longer to reach your goals!

Woman drinking green tea

Secrets To Pumping Up Your Metabolism

“Oh, I just have a fast metabolism.” Heard that one before? To many of us, a fast metabolism is some kind of body double that lives inside a select few people exercising and burning calories while their perfect outer shells sit and pig out on the couch. Well, that’s not far from the truth. Metabolism does work on its own to burn calories and shed fat, and the faster it runs the more calories you burn. However, it’s not only a select few that can reap the benefits. The truth is that you have a huge amount of control over the rate of your metabolism. And to prove it, here are some things that you too can sit back and let your fast metabolism do the work.

Green Tea
Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, calls green tea “the closest thing to a metabolism potion.” Green tea contains a fat burning plant compound called ECGC. One study showed that people who consumed three to five cups a day of the brew for 12 weeks showed a 4.6 decrease in body weight; other studies suggest that consuming two to four cups of the tea can burn an extra fifty calories daily – five pounds a year, if you do the math.

Dairy
Did you spend last night binge watching “Empire” with an open bag of chips on hand? You can redeem yourself with an eight-ounce glass of milk or a six-ounce container of low-fat yogurt. Calcium boosts metabolism by increasing the rate at which your body disposes of waste, says a University of Copenhagen study. Supplements will not do the job, so let’s hope you like milk.

Iron
Women lose iron when they ovulate, a loss which does not bode well for your metabolic speed. Iron carries oxygen to your muscles. When there is a deficiency of oxygen, your energy levels tank and your metabolism hits the brakes. Shames advises stocking up on iron with beans, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereal.

Working Out

Woman working out

Interval training
If you want a quick metabolism boost, and to save some time in the process, increase the intensity of your workout. One Australian study pitted two group of female stationary bicyclists against each other. One group rode for 40 minutes at a moderate pace, and one group rode for 20-minute intervals, alternating 8-second sprints with 12 seconds of low-impact pedaling. After 15 weeks, the interval trainers lost three times as much body weight as the other group. Lead researcher, Ethlyn Gail Trapp, PhD, suggests that whatever method of exercise you choose, your should start with an 8-second sprint followed by 12 seconds of easy exercise. Aim to work up to 10 sprints in 20 minutes.

Fish Oil
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, popping fish oil supplements when you exercise can stimulate your fat burning enzymes. Volunteers who took six grams of fish oil daily and worked out three times per week reported an average loss of 3.4 pounds over 12 weeks, while non-pill poppers saw minimal effects. Take two pills containing 300 mg EPA and 200 mg DHA per capsule two hours before you workout for best results.

Woman and child making salad

Diet
According to the National Institutes of Health, fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines send “I’m full triggers to your brain, eliminating cravings. Another word to the wise, skip the cocktails. Two mixed drinks can slow down the calorie burn by 73 percent. Researchers from the University of Berkeley say that this is because the liver converts alcohol to acetate and uses that as fuel instead of your stores of fat. Another word of advice? Sleep well. It will help you regulate hormones that regulate energy use.

Got it? Now get out there and speed up that metabolism! Let us know how it goes for you. We love to get your stories!