Crossfire, bodybuilding, endurance and yoga athletes, what do they all have in common? It’s hard to actually find a common point. Is it core strength? No. What about muscle size? Definitely not. The key strength quality that connects all of them is endurance.
I know, it’s not the most attractive thing but endurance is a strength quality that every athlete, regardless of how they train, needs to develop. Endurance classifies both the ability to do more reps for a longer period of time or to maintain any sustained level of activity. A Crossfit athlete doing a overhead squat for time needs endurance just like a yoga practitioner needs endurance to maintain a pose.
So how can you increase your endurance?
#1: Just Get Stronger
Odd, I know but in reality, the stronger a muscle and its corresponding ligaments, tendons and soft tissue connectivity strength becomes then the more that muscle is going to be able to do. You can gain muscle without gaining body fat or a lot of weight since I know weight can be counter productive in certain sports but gaining muscle is a big factor. Branched chain amino acids are a nutritional supplement that by pass typical amino acid digestion and is taken up directly by the muscle cells so they can be beneficial in helping you gain muscle with the added bulk, look for a natural BCAA without artificial sweeteners.
#2 Lose Body Fat
Notice I still haven’t said anything about endurance training or specific training methods yet? They don’t work, that’s why. Losing body fat not only reduces joint inflammation and wear and tear but it increase your strength to weight ratio which is an important metric for endurance athletes. Just dropping 5 pounds will increase your ability to go longer harder. Even with no running or any endurance training you can significantly boost your VO2 max by dropping some body fat.
#3: Lower Your Inflammation
It can be fish oil or curcumin or any anti-inflammatory supplement but reducing joint inflammation not only improves joint health and performance but it creates a healthier environment for performance increases. Often times athletes make the mistake of ignoring one specific aspect of their training. Not sleeping enough raises inflammation which can increase weight gain and sugar cravings. Not drinking enough water can raise the stress hormone cortisol.
If you want to perform better then you must optimize every aspect of your life. Lowering inflammation via reducing diary, soy, trans fats and gluten in your diet can have a profound impact on not only your inflammation but your body fat and mental health.
#4 Know What Your Goal Is
The goal to just improve endurance isn’t enough. You have to have a metric. Are you trying to increase your planks for longer? Are you trying to improve your 400 meter run? What are you trying to improve? Just boosting endurance doesn’t help you case. What you need to do is focus on one single goal and make it happen. Measure, track and improve.
Jimmy Smith is the founder of Physique Formula all natural supplements and a nutrition coach.