Building stamina doesn’t happen overnight.
Rather, it’s a process. Trying to rush it will lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or even injury.
And nothing could derail it faster than those two things. You need to have a plan to get you from where you are now to that goal you have in mind.
Good intentions only go so far.
Over 50 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions with working out more in the top 10. But less than 10 percent feel that they’ve succeeded.
Part of the reason may be a lack of direction. As baseball great, Yogi Berra, once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” A plan, therefore, is essential.
Mapping Your Way
You can use a four-step approach to work toward building stamina.
The advantage of doing it this way is that it gives you focus and a destination.
It can also help you overcome some of the barriers to success like procrastination and distractions.
And you’ll find greater motivation if you can tick off achievements and milestones along the way.
The essential thing to understand is that it is a life’s journey.
Your definition of stamina will likely evolve.
When it does, you can follow that path and still stay true to your course. The four basic steps include:
You can think of them as a cycle rather than a straight path from point A to point B. After all, there are many ways to get to success.
Assess Your Current State of Fitness
It’s important to know where you’re starting from so that you can take steps forward to increased stamina.
A fitness assessment such as the Rockport Walk Test can give you a concrete figure to measure it.
It involves walking a track or using a treadmill to measure the time and ending heart rate of an individual completing a mile in their fastest time.
The calculation will give you your VO2 max. That is the maximum amount of oxygen you consume when exercising.
The ideal figure varies with age and sex, so it is a personal assessment.
Your VO2 max gives you an indication of your cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and thus, your current stamina. It is your baseline.
Identify Problem Areas
The next step is to see where you need to make improvements. If you had a low VO2 max, you can use it to structure your training plan.
Don’t let a fair or poor rating upset you. You have to begin somewhere. Look ahead to the future and your improved stamina.
Identify any potential obstacles that could interfere with your plan.
For example, if you’re a late riser, don’t commit to an early morning run if you know you won’t follow through with it. Work with your schedule and other demands on your time.
And remember that even short 10-minute bursts of exercise count toward your goal for increased stamina.
Make a SMART Plan for Success
Stamina means different things for people. It could involve having enough energy to finish a 5k or even a marathon.
It may include the ability to lift a certain weight for a set amount of reps. The best way to build your stamina is to have a clear goal and direction for what it is you want to achieve.
An excellent way to accomplish it is by adapting the SMART approach first described by George T. Doran.
He used this framework to come up with objectives. While he referred to management, you can use the same principles for your fitness goals. Define them with these concepts in mind:
- Attainable or Assignable, originally
For example, you may set a goal to get to a good rating on the Rockport Walk Test. The key is specific.
If it’s not, you won’t know if you’ve made a real improvement. Fitness assessments give you a way to measure it.
You also need to focus on something that is attainable and realistic. Think about the time you can devote to it and your state of health.
Remember, it’s about setting goals for you and not a comparison to others. Stamina is how you increase your energy and endurance. The gauge is yourself.
Reassessing is essential because it gives you an opportunity to see the results of your hard work.
That could mean repeating your initial fitness tests after a couple of months of training. Resist the temptation to do it more often.
You want to see the efforts over time rather than a week or two. Besides, a sharp uptick in fitness will provide plenty of motivation to continue.
Stamina isn’t a destination. Rather, it’s a continual process. If you’ve reached your first milestone, set another and begin the training again.
The chances are you didn’t score in the top tier for the initial test. There’s still room for improvement.
Use the motivation you’ve gained from reaching one goal to move you forward to the next.
Tips for Success
If this all sounds daunting, don’t worry. Remember what we said about this plan being attainable?
You don’t have to go from one rating to another. You can set milestones along the way by breaking your final goal into chunks.
The reason that a lot of people procrastinate is because they focus on the end rather than the journey.
Don’t think about getting your VO2 max to the elite athlete level. Keep your thoughts to the next week’s training and how good you’ll feel from being active.
Stay in the moment and savor the small rewards that dot your path to success.
They are just as enjoyable. You’ll find that this approach will help you to move forward onto the next one.
All it takes is that first step toward better stamina. It’s not as much about the end goal as it is about getting started and making the commitment.
Don’t let that overwhelm you. As the English poet, William Wordsworth, once said, “To begin, begin.”
Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. Many times the content is not written by a single author, instead it is usually a team effort.