Effective Tips on How to Increase Stamina

The term stamina is another word for “endurance” and in a fitness context refers to the human body’s ability to withstand pressure and strain, mostly physical in nature. If one says that they are looking to increase stamina, they are most likely referring to increasing their body’s strength and conditioning status to a higher level; this is done with the help of a number of carefully-customized exercise programs that will target core strength training rather than mass building.

The Importance of Increasing Your Stamina

The primary benefit of increased stamina is that it allows the body to endure more activity without causing you to feel fatigued. A majority of strength training programs are known to address this need by incorporating various workout regimes that will boost your body’s ability to withstand strain, while giving you that much-coveted lean silhouette if you are female, and that perfect v-shaped back if you are male. If you boost your stamina, you can be assured of a range of benefits including increased immunity and a better response to challenging exercises.

Another benefit, should you decide to boost your stamina, is that your confidence levels will increase; there are a number of other reasons pertaining to health, wellness, and even an improved sex drive which should encourage you to enroll at the nearest gym.

Boost Your Fitness Level with These Simple Action Plans

In the event that you want to increase your stamina in order to become healthier, you will need to examine your diet and organize your eating habits to achieve your goals. It is recommended that a nutritionist be consulted, who will offer professional advice on the correct amount of food and liquid to be consumed, while offering additional advice for those looking to increase stamina for a specific purpose, such as sports or weight loss. These goals will be met more efficiently if the desire to increase stamina is complemented with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

One of the most important things you can do to increase your stamina levels is to get the right kinds of exercise. To give your stamina a boost, you must increase your body’s ability to hold and use more oxygen. The right combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises will help you achieve this quickly. Aerobic exercises include jogging, swimming, jumping rope, and rowing machines. Anaerobic exercises are interval workouts that combine intense cardio activity with short periods of rest. An example of this is to do sprints for 30 seconds and rest for one minute. To increase stamina most effectively, seek advice from a certified personal trainer.

A Boost in Stamina will Boost Confidence

Your confidence levels are sure to soar as you increase stamina, due to your improved physical appearance and elevated levels of health. A strong, healthy body is not only aesthetically pleasing, but adds to your overall aura as someone who values themselves enough to invest time and energy into living a healthy life.


5 Ways to Build Lean Muscle

Building lean muscle mass is one of the most important things you can do to achieve a lean and toned physique. Having toned arms, chiseled abs and shapely legs not only have aesthetic appeal but the additional strength also has functional benefits, increases your metabolism, protects against injuries and much more. However, when it comes to actually building the muscle, many people limit their progress by making a few simple mistakes. By following these steps, you will improve your stamina, rev up your metabolism and create the lean, robust body you want.

Plan a Balanced Muscle Building Program

When trying to build muscle, many people tend to hit the gym and start lifting weights without any plan in place. Without a proper plan in place, it can lead to uneven muscle development, overtraining injuries, as well as frustration and disappointment over unmet goals. So if you’re currently lifting weights or going to start soon but don’t have a plan in place, now is the time to make one.

To create a structured muscle building plan, start by choosing some exercises that work all your main muscle groups – Chest, back, shoulders, abs, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, arms, and calves. If you’re struggling, a personal trainer will be able to help you with this or you’ll be able to find plenty of suitable exercises online.

Once you have your list of exercises, you then need to decide how many days per week you can commit to strength training workouts and divide the muscle groups across these days. So if you can commit to two days per week, with a day of rest in between (e.g. Tuesday & Thursday), you’ll want to train your whole body on each day. If you choose three days per week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday and Friday), you can target your upper body on Monday, your abs on Wednesday and then your lower body on Friday. As you get stronger, you can spread it out four days and maybe work your shoulders and triceps on day one, your back on day two, chest and biceps on day three, and then finish off with your legs on day four.

Then, all you need to do is stick with this plan, be consistent and you’ll enjoy maximum muscle growth.

Use Free Weights

Weight machines do have their benefits, and when you’re just getting started with strength training, they’re an ideal way to learn the exercises and target certain muscle groups without having to worry about balancing the weights. However, if you’re relying solely on weight machines to build muscle, then you’re going to limit your muscle growth.

Free weights require you to balance the weights as you lift and by doing this, they target additional muscles that weight machines cannot. Therefore, for maximum muscle growth, free weights need to be part of your strength training routine.

Compound & Isolation Exercises

Compound exercises and isolation exercises are both essential for muscle building and have their own unique benefits. Compound exercises work multiple joints and muscle groups and are great for building overall size and strength. Isolation exercises engage single joints and muscle groups and are ideal for focusing on specific muscles and strengthening weaker areas of your body.

Despite this, many people stick to just compound exercises or just isolation exercises and stunt their muscle growth. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your strength training, make sure your routine includes a mixture of compound exercises (such as dumbbell chest presses and squats) and isolation exercises (such as bicep curls and tricep extensions).

Eat Protein with Every Meal

Protein is an essential nutrient that builds, maintains and repairs your muscles. Therefore, if you’re trying to build more muscle, you should consume protein-rich foods such as fish, beans, eggs and lean meats with every meal so that your body has the necessary fuel to build bigger, stronger muscles. The current recommendation is that 10 to 35 percent of your calories should come from protein. Based on the standard 2,000-calorie diet, you should consume 200 to 700 calories, or 50 to 175 grams, of protein per day.

Get Enough Sleep Every Night

Sleep is very important when it comes to muscle growth. When you sleep, your body releases growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth and allows your muscles to recover and grow between workouts. However, getting less than six hours of quality sleep each night inhibits the release of growth hormone and prevents your muscles from recovering properly between workouts. So, if you’re serious about muscle growth but not currently getting at least six hours of sleep per night, start making some changes today to ensure that you get enough sleep going forward.



How Intensely Should You Work Out?

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You probably know that you need to exercise on a regular basis, but maybe you aren’t really sure how hard you need to push yourself to achieve optimal results. Your workout intensity mainly depends on your current fitness level; what’s good for one person may be too difficult for someone else. You need to monitor your heart and your body to decide which level works best for you.

Exercise intensity is different for each person, so what seems like a really hard exercise routine to one person may feel fairly easy to someone in better physical condition. It’s important to pay close attention to how you feel while working out to determine the most appropriate intensity level. When you exercise at a moderate intensity, it should quicken your breathing but not leave you gasping for air. Even at a moderately intense level, you should still be able to carry on a conversation. If you can sing, you are not working hard enough. You should also expect a light sweat after exercising for about 10 to 15 minutes. Exercising at a vigorous intensity, however, should produce sweat within 5 minutes and expect your breathing to feel deep and rapid. You won’t be able to say more than a few words at a time at this level.

To get the best health benefits from exercise, it is generally recommended that adults engage in moderately intense exercise for roughly 150 minutes per week or a minimum of 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. You may want to break up your exercise routine into 30 minute sessions, 5 days a week to make it easier to stick with your routine, especially if you’re short on time. Alternating between hard-easy workout days is also a good idea to allow your muscles to recover and rebuild. You may increase the amount of exercise when you feel ready to do so. The suggestions above signify the least amount of exercise needed to experience positive health benefits.

Next, you need to figure out your target heart rate to more accurately measure your exercise intensity. Start by subtracting your current age from 220 to find your maximum heart rate. This number basically tells you what your heart can safely handle during exercise. Your target heart rate should stay between about 50 to 70 percent of your heart’s maximum rate for moderately- intense exercise. For more vigorous activity, however, you should aim for a heart rate of 70 to 85 percent of the maximum. Once you have determined your target heart rate, you should measure your pulse during your workout to keep track of your heart rate.

If you’re just starting an exercise routine, remember to begin slowly and gradually work your way up to more intense exercise as your fitness level improves. You can start with swimming or brisk walking, then slowly build up to more vigorous exercise routines, such as aerobics or running. Also, don’t go beyond what your body can handle by pushing yourself too hard, too soon, which can lead to injury, burnout and other health issues. Listen to your body and stop exercising immediately if you’re in pain.

Exercise Band Workouts for Your Hips and Thighs

The hips and thighs are difficult to slim and trim, second only to trimming belly fat. You can squat, lunge and extend and still have not get the results you want. Adding an elastic exercise band to your workout might be just the thing that helps improve your workout. Adding extra resistance to your exercise routine improves the effectiveness of your workout. To burn fat, you have to reduce your calories and do aerobic exercise, such as running, jogging, swimming or bicycling.  Do strength training exercises to improve your muscle tone and to add lean muscle mass while strengthening your muscles.

You can find exercise bands in most sporting goods stores or even at your local gym.  They are generally inexpensive, compared to other exercise equipment, and come in a variety of strengths. Beginners should start using bands that offer the least resistance and gradually move to more resistant bands as your strength increases. You can find bands that have handles or no handles. You can attach them to a door frame or a permanent wall anchor. Circular bands that wrap around your ankles or thighs are great for working your lower body while leaving your hands free.

Wrap a circular band around your ankles and lie down on the floor to do band leg extensions. Lie on your back with your legs extended. Squeeze your abs and lift one leg straight up toward the ceiling, stretching the band as you lift your leg. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds and then lower your leg back to the floor. Do 10 to 15 repetitions on each side. As your legs grow stronger, hold the lift up to 10 seconds or do more repetitions. Increase the resistance or the number of repetitions when you can do 12 repetitions without experiencing muscle failure.

Increase the effectiveness of your regular set of squats by adding a medium resistance exercise band. You can use two bands, one secured to each leg, or stand on one long band and hold each end in your hands. Move to your squat position and hold the handles of the exercise band with your palms up (or wrap the band around your hands) until there is slight tension on the bands. Push yourself up from the squat but keep your hands about waist level with your elbows bent and your palms upward. This exercise will not only add resistance to your lower body workout, it is also a great way to strengthen your arms and shoulders. Do 10 to 15 repetitions and then rest for one minute before doing another set of 10 to 15 squats.

Have a seat for this next exercise that will work your inner and outer thighs. Sit in a sturdy chair without arms and wrap an exercise band around your legs just above your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Spread your knees apart pushing against the resistance band. Hold the position for 2 seconds and then relax. Repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions.

Pumping Iron Over 60

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If you’re over 60 and you’ve decided to start lifting weights, you’ll enjoy many health benefits, including stronger muscles and bones. You can strengthen your body using free weights, such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. Beginners, no matter your age, should start slowly with light weights and focus on proper form to reduce your risk of injury. You should seek instruction by a qualified fitness trainer if you decide not to use a gym. See your doctor for a complete checkup before you start any exercise program. Always warm-up before working out and cool-down afterward.

Beginners should design a workout routine that works all your muscle groups in 2 workouts each week. Don’t lift weights on consecutive days because your muscles need at least one day to rest and recover. Train a different muscle group at each workout to avoid overuse injuries. Work your upper body one day and your core and lower body at the next workout. Lift slowly and focus on your form. Improper form or lifting too quickly can cause injuries. Begin by doing 8 repetitions of each exercise followed by 1 minute of rest. Do another set of 8 repetitions after you rest. Increase the number of repetitions, the number of sets, or the amount of weight when you can do 3 sets without becoming fatigued.

You can use dumbbells to work your upper and lower body. Dumbbell squats work your core, hips, quadriceps and calves. Shoulder shrugs work your arms, shoulders and upper back. Biceps curls are easy for beginners to perform and work your biceps and forearms. If you really want to focus on your upper body and chest, do dumbbell overhead press exercises. Simply holding a set of dumbbells when you do exercise, such as lunges and crunches, adds extra weight resistance.

Barbells are versatile free weights that train the most muscle tissue in the shortest amount of time. People over age 60 should start working with barbell weights slowly with light weights and focus intently on form. Never hold your breath when lifting weights because holding your breath can cause your blood pressure to increase rapidly. Squats, deadlifts and presses are functional lifts that mimic the movements you make when you reach, lift, bend over, sit down and stand up. You can easily add and remove weight to a barbell to suit your fitness and strength level.

Kettlebells are large, heavy weights with a handle. These weights can be used in a number of ways to help strengthen your entire body. Begin with the lightest kettlebells available and gradually work your way up to heavier weights. Kettlebells can be used to work your entire body. Exercises that beginners can do include the half Turkish get up, kettlebell squats, deadlifts, and two-arm swings. Do 8 repetitions of each exercise, rest for as long as you need to and repeat the set.


Is Weight Training For You?

Maybe you watch people at the gym, huffing, puffing, grunting and sweating at the weight machines or free weights and think, “No way I want to do that!” You’re not sure you would benefit from lifting weights, especially since you have no desire to look like a body builder.

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You can benefit from lifting weights even if you do it only a couple of times each week. Weight training can help improve your muscle tone, build lean muscle mass and help you lose weight. No matter how old or young you are, weight training is good for you.

As we age, we lose muscle mass. Lost muscle will be replaced by flabby fat if you don’t do something to rebuild lost muscle. Muscle tissue requires more energy to function than other tissues, therefore it uses more calories. Your metabolism will increase slightly as you gain muscle and burn fat. Increased muscle mass also means your endurance will improve. You will be able to work your muscles harder for a longer period of time. Weight training stresses your muscles causing them to adapt, which makes them grow stronger.

Start with a weight that you can lift, but tires your muscles after 10 to 12 repetitions. Beginners should start with one set of 8 to 10 repetitions of any lifting exercise. You should be barely able to lift the weight on the last repetition.  When you can do 12 repetitions without fatigue, increase the weight by adding 2 to 5 pounds.

Learn proper lifting technique before you grab the dumbbells. A fitness trainer can help you learn the correct way to lift so that you enjoy the benefits of weight training while reducing your risk of injury. Don’t forget to warm-up before lifting. Do some light exercise, such as brisk walking or calisthenics.

Rest one full day between weight training workouts. Your muscles need at least one full day to repair and recover. You can work your core, legs and thighs one day, and then your arms, chest, shoulders and upper back on the next day. Your workout can be as long as you feel comfortable exercising. You can exercise for 15 minutes, 20 minutes or longer. Adjust your workout to suit your strength, overall level of fitness and your time schedule.


Kettlebell Workout for Your Back

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Heavy weights are not just for the fellows. Women can definitely benefit from weight exercises without worrying about growing bulging muscles. Kettlebells are easier to use than you might think. Momentum is the key to a successful kettlebell workout. Grab a pair and swing your way to a firmer, stronger body by the time Spring is over. You can snatch, press, swing and row your way to a firm, toned back with kettlebells. A good kettlebell workout will include 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. Kettlebell swings can be done with one arm or two. You should start with a two-arm swing and move up to a one-arm swing when your upper back and arms are stronger. Kettlebell rows are similar to dumbbell rows. The kettlebell clean is an advanced movement that requires a degree of coordination that can come only with training and practice. Deadlifts are easy but effective to strengthen your arms, shoulders, back and legs. The Turkish get-up exercises improves your functional strength, while emphasizing load balance as you lie down on the floor and then stand up again while holding a kettlebell over your head.

 Kettlebell exercises are generally whole body workouts, but some exercises work your back muscles more than others. Alternating kettlebell rows, renegade rows, one-arm and two-arm rows target your back muscles. Grab a couple of kettlebells and bend over at the waist until your back is parallel to the floor. To do alternating kettlebells, lift one kettlebell upward toward your chest by bending your left elbow and extend your right arm toward the floor. Alternate by lowering your left arm and lifting the kettlebell with your right arm. Renegade rows are more advanced. Extend your body in a push-up position. Place your hands on the handles of two kettlebells. Alternate lifting one kettlebell up toward your shoulder and then lowering it back to the floor. Remember to exercise both arms by switching sides when doing one-arm swings or rows.

Kettlebells aren’t just for the hulks in the gym. The uninitiated can definitely benefit from kettlebell exercises. You will get a better core and back workout with kettlebells than with any other type of free weight because the kettlebell weight is off center. This makes your core work harder and it challenges every muscle in your body. According to the American Council on Exercise (ace.org), you will burn up to 272 calories in a mere 20 minutes while strengthening your muscles. Swings, cleans and snatches are easy, but effective exercises that beginners can do on the first day. Overhead presses, rows and windmills are also an option for beginners. Start with a lighter weight, about 5 to 10 pounds and gradually add more weight or do more repetitions.

 Warm-up your muscles before you grab a 25-pound kettlebell and start swinging. A thorough warm-up will reduce your risk of injuring your cold muscles and joints. Five to 10 minutes of light cardio should be enough to get your heart rate up and start you sweating. Stretch your muscles before you start doing kettlebell workouts to increase your flexibility and improve your range of motion. After your cardio and stretching warm-up make sure your shoulders, arms, neck and back are ready for the weights. Do some kettlebell exercises using a light weight to get your muscles ready for a more vigorous workout with the heavy weights.