8 Ways To Boost Your Workout Endurance

Oct 20, 2016 //

Tired of feeling tired long before your workout is over? You’re not the only one. Endurance is a big issue for many people, including athletes and trainers.

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Fortunately, there are steps you can take to increase your stamina. From changing your technique to explosive movements, many of these endurance-boosting tips are simple and convenient, yet wildly effective.

Try these eight tips to improve your workout endurance.

1. Embrace Rest Days

To work out long and hard, your muscles must be fresh. Overworking your muscles is not only risky, but it can wear you out and prevent you from really going the distance when it counts. Go hard on your hard days and rest up on rest days to get the most out of your workouts.

In between exercises, it is often vital that you rest. Overworking your muscles can be risky, leading to injury and strain. To stay safe and give your muscles the ability to bounce back and move on to the next task effectively, be sure to take appropriate rests.

2. Decrease Rest Times Between Sets

When you’re not enjoying a rest day, you should be giving it your all. One of the simplest ways to ensure you’re pushing your limits and keeping your heart rate up where it should be is to decrease your rest time in-between sets. If your rests last so long that you feel relaxed or that it’s hard to get back into the groove of getting to the next exercise, you’re probably spending too much time recuperating.

2. Choose Compound, Explosive Movements

Too much of the same, steady movements can cause your workout to plateau rather than improve. Many exercises – even those aimed at endurance — have the potential to work only slowly or marginally when your workout routine is too slow.

A solution is to swap out or combine those easy, steady movements with explosive, full-body exercises that incorporate various muscle groups all at once.

Examples of explosive exercises include:

  • Box jump
  • Plyometric clap-ups
  • Kettlebell swing
  • Elevated burpees

These exercises count as strength building, cardio, and endurance boosting all in one. Incorporating these tough-to-do moves gives your body a jolt of energy and a little break from the monotonous.

3. Fuel Up

What you eat before and after a workout can have a huge impact on your results. If you’re lacking energy before even stepping foot in the gym, chances are you won’t be able to push as hard as you might want to. Avoid eating a heavy, greasy meal before a workout, but do have a small healthy snack, such as a smoothie (and a cup of coffee, if you need an extra jolt). Studies have found that consuming a mix of carbs and protein can enhance endurance performance and reduce muscle damage, so listen to your body and give it the right foods.

4. Try HIIT

Slow and steady workouts have their merits, but if you want to increase your endurance, you might want to try upping the intensity. Try to run three miles, one at a slow pace, half at fast pace, and then rest moderately. By making your body adapt to different paces and lengths of duration, you teach your body to endure more overall.

Not sure where to begin? Get started with this five-minute workout, or really kick things into high gear with this 20-minute HIIT circuit. 

5. Mix Cardio And Strength Training

If you want to increase your cardio endurance, then you should focus on doing more cardio, right?

Not necessarily. Without strength training, cardio endurance can easily plateau. Your muscles, too, need endurance, not just your heart and cardiovascular system. The very best runners also incorporate strength training into their routines to build bigger, more powerful muscles that help them go the distance. When creating an endurance-boosting routine, include both cardio and strength training exercises. Make them intermittent, if possible, and be sure to rest every other day so that your muscles can grow and get strong.

6. Switch It Up

One of the best ways to build endurance is to simply switch your routine and try something new. When you perform the same workout all the time, your body gets used to the movements and no longer feels challenged. Hit up a dance class, try that hot yoga class with a pal or get way out of your comfort zone and check out some of these unusual (but totally cool) fitness classes in your area.

7. Change Your Playlist

Listening to music is a great pick-me-up. It puts a spring in our step, and has been shown to boost endurance performance. The mind-body connection is especially clear among endurance athletes. Create a high-energy playlist with songs you love. The next time you find yourself losing steam, throw on your favourite “just one more minute” song and pump up the volume.

8. Trick Your Brain

For as much as your body needs to build stamina for you to have more physical endurance, your brain also plays a vital role. You have to believe you can do it, and you have to mentally push through the exhausting moments.

Use mental tricks like counting down that last minute while exercising, giving yourself a reward when meeting goals, cheering yourself on in your head (even if it feels silly), and finding an accountability partner.