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We need endurance for such things as love-making, long trips, grueling yardwork, sports, and the general satisfaction that we can go the distance. How do you keep from being winded and worn? This is not simply a benefit of youth. It is a benefit of training, nutrition, and some lifestyle choices. Here are some tips:

  • See our article on exercise, for general fitness.
  • Improve your cardiovascular condition through sprinting, not slow-paced activities that stretch out over time. While it might sound counterintuitive, the fact is you'll make more endurance gains with a series of fast short runs than one long run. The physiology behind this has a lot to do with cortisol levels and the oxygen-carrying ability of your hemoglobin. Long-distance running elevates cortisol (not good), while high-intensity exercise increases the oxygen-carrying ability of your hemoglobin (good).
  • Keep a positive attitude. Do this by conscious effort to see silver linings and what's going well. A negative attitude depresses the very hormones that give you endurance.
  • Drink plenty of water--unless you are training to endure long meetings! Water deficiencies lower your recovery ability and the efficiency of your muscles.
  • Read your labels. Avoid foods with hydrogenated oils and added sugar. Hydrogenated oils elevate the level of free radicals in your body--getting cancer is not a way to improve your endurance. Processed sugar bypasses nature's carbohydrate delivery system, and causes several negative consequences for your body.
  • Don't rely on "normal" foods for nutrition. Most food in today's supply chain is diminished in its nutritional capacity. Thus, supplementation gives you more than "a competitive edge." It gets you in the game. See the supplementation category at left, and start improving your endurance today.
  • Stay away from tobacco smoke, alcohol, and other recreational drugs. Sure, you've heard this many times. But, are you doing it?
  • Engage in relaxation activities such as yoga, meditation, and prayer.
  • When you have a goal to strive for, you empower yourself to reach it. Simply saying, "I will exercise to improve endurance" is one thing. Saying, "By the end of this month, I will double the number of pull-ups I can do" is quite another. Go for the more concrete goal.
  • Learn to focus. In some cases--such as love-making--you will need to place your entire energy into what you are doing, live in the moment. In other cases--such as enduring pain--you will need to focus your consciousness out of the moment. In other cases--such as when you must overcome pain to get out one more repetition of that barbell--you must alternate between the two. Use your judgment.
  • Stay active, but also get rest. That is, don't become a couch potato, but do give yourself enough rest.

The above information assumes you want endurance without sacrificing other physical attributes. That's a good goal for an all-round athlete or for the average person.

If you want to be an elite endurance athlete (e.g., a long-distance runner), then you will--after you reach a certain level of fitness--need to make some trade-offs to go beyond the endurance level you would obtain by following the recommendations above. Essentially, you are going to train in a specialized manner. Some of the things you will be doing:

  • Sports-specific exercises. For example, you would run long distances to train for long-distance running. You want to fine tune your technique, but you also want to fine tune your muscle development toward the sport in which you want endurance.
  • Avoid fast-twitch fiber development. These fibers give you speed. If you want to be a sprinter, you develop these. But for endurance, you focus on developing your slow-twitch fibers.
  • Limit flexibility development. The more flexible you are, the more the muscles must work to maintain stability. You need some flexibility to prevent injury and tissue disorders. But to maximize endurance, you want to minimize the load on the muscles.
  • Read the literature on your sport, so you are up on the training techniques that get the results you want.



Article Authorship

The articles on this site are authoritative, because:

  • Every contributor is an expert in his or her field.
  • The articles comply with the accepted principles of the bodybuilder literature.
  • The articles comply with the teachings of such luminaries as 8-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney.

 Where an article is not bylined with a specific author's name, it was written by Mark Lamendola (see photos on home page and elsewhere on this site). Mark is a 4th degree blackbelt, has not been sick since 1971, and has not missed a workout since 1977. Just an example of how Mark knows what he's talking about: In his early 50s, Mark demonstrated a biceps curl using half his body weight. That's a Jack LaLanne level stunt. Few people can even come close. If you want to know how to build a strong, beautiful body, read the articles here.

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