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Going the Distance: Building Heart and Lung Muscles

Do you get tired easily?

Does taking the stairs at a friend's apartment building sound like a chore to you?

If your car broke down and you only had to walk for 30 minutes to get there, could you do it with a smile on your face?

The thing you probably don't know is that endurance is very difficult to measure because it really comes down to two things:

#1. The strength of your heat muscles

The human heart is composed of a series of intricate muscles which contract and squeeze the heart, thus pumping fresh blood (and energy) throughout our cardiovascular system. Some of the energy being transported is sugar, fat and even proteins, but another source of energy the blood transports is oxygen from your lungs...

#2. The strength of your lung muscles

Air is drawn into the lungs by the pharyngeal muscles. Breathing out is automatic and requires no effort, but breathing in requires a contraction of the pharyngeal muscles. Rapid breathing is the result of a rapid use of these muscles, resulting in more oxygen being sent from the lungs to the heart, which makes re-oxygenizes blood to make fresh blood. That oxygen is then transported all over the body to specific muscle groups which need it most.

So how do you make your heart and lung muscles stronger? The answer is quite simple: Cardiovascular Exercises (or Cardio for short). Running, swimming, cycling, jumping jacks, boxing and similar activities get your heart racing and your lungs working quickly. Such exercises don't just build up your muscles in your heart, lungs, legs, arms, etc, but they also burn a lot of calories (fat, sugar, etc). They also reduce your risk of heart failure as you get older because you have a good strong heart.

Additional benefits include: A boosted immune system, a higher metabolism, a more enjoyable sex life, a slimmer figure, reduced chances of cancer and many other health benefits.

When you hear about people who go jogging or running for 60 to 120 minutes on a regular basis you may wonder how they managed to get that way. Truth is they didn't start out they way. They built up their heart and lung muscles over time, years of jogging and running on a weekly basis. Compared to some people who can only run for a minute or two, it may seem mind boggling that some people are able to run that far over long distances.

But what if I was to tell you that was actually the norm during "cave men times"? No TV, no internet... everyone hunting and gathering for food. Exercise was part of daily survival and recreational sports. The human body hasn't really advanced much physically since then. We still have the same genetic codes for accomplishing such feats of strength and endurance. So you do have the genetic material inside you to become a caveman (or cavewoman) running machine. You just need to unleash it.

Learning How to Improve Your Endurance

1. Practice Often (Once a Week is Not Enough)

A huge factor in improving cardio endurance is not letting progress slip away by taking a week off. You need to be doing intense cardio at LEAST twice a week to see progress. Even though it is built back quickly, stamina is lost rather quickly if you stop practicing because your heart and lung muscles wither back to normal if you aren't giving them a regular challenge. When starting out, aim to train at least 2-3 times a week.

The BEST routine is to go jogging every second day. 15 days per month. Why? You need the day off in-between to rebuild muscles. If you try to do it everyday then your muscles will be damaged repetitively without enough time for them to repair themselves.

2. Always Reach Limits and Aim Higher

It will be difficult when you first start jogging and running. One way to improve your stamina in a quicker way is to turn your jogging routine into Interval Training Exercise. You alternate jogging for several minutes with walking for several minutes, increasing times for the jogging on a weekly basis until eventually you are jogging the entire time. See the image on the right as an example of how to do this.

3. Push Through your Mental Barriers

Psychologically it's not going to be easy to keep jogging. Nobody likes to lose their breath or have sore legs but you know what, it will get better really soon as you build up your strength and endurance! Keep at it and within a couple of months the less enjoyable parts of building endurance will be a distant memory.

And you will be so happy you did it and succeeded when you do reach that point where you've realized you have the endurance to do it and keep doing it.

The world is beautiful and amazing

The world is beautiful and amazing. Now go outside and exercise!

Note: I am not intentionally advertising the camera used in the video. I just think it is a great motivational video to go outside and exercise.

Now Certified by ELITE Trainers

I am now Certified as a Level One Personal Trainer by ELITE Trainers. The ELITE test is really freaking hard. It took me 4 days just to finish the test.

I am not kidding. It has 100 essay questions and you're expected to write a lot on each question. Its like running a marathon, except they're testing your knowledge of various exercises, body types, cardio, weightlifting, stretching, vitamins, supplements, how to make small talk, how to motivate clients, everything... it is a freaking grueling test.

But at least now I am "certified". That is the really stupid thing about the whole certification nonsense. There is no legal requirement to be a certified personal trainer. Its purely a social protocol. Anyone can become a personal trainer, but being certified really helps when it comes to advertising and getting new clients.

I am also thinking of getting my certification to become a Nutritional Consultant - which again, there is no requirement to do that, it is just handy to have because it looks good when trying to attract new clients. Which means I would have to write another test... another 100 essay questions on nutrition. And then the waiting to see if I failed.

That is the really tricky part with ELITE Trainers. You have to score 86 to 100% to pass the test. If you score 85% then you failed. They set their standards really high. I scored 88% on the Personal Trainer test, so I managed to pass, but I am not sure if I want to repeat that process because it was so incredibly difficult.

ELITE uses a ranking system whereby you can become a Level Two, Level Three, etc in various fields including Nutritional Consultant, Personal Trainer, Sports Instructor, Weightlifting / Bodybuilding Instructor, Yoga Teacher. The ranking system goes all the way up to Level Ten and you can only take the next level if you wait 6 months. So in six months I may go back and take the Level Two Test... but for now I shall just wait and see.

I might also get the Sports Instructor certification, seeing as I currently teach archery, boxing, ice skating and swimming, but its kind of unnecessary. I shall think about it. I am not certain I need another certification just for attracting clients.

Hard Work Motivational Quotes

"Nothing worth doing is ever easy and working hard to succeed and finally achieving it is its own reward because then you can finally say 'I did it!' and knowing that if you hadn't done it you would have been forever disappointed."
- Charles Moffat

"Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win."
- Nadia Comaneci

"I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near."
- Margaret Thatcher

"When you live for a strong purpose, then hard work isn’t an option. It’s a necessity."
-Steve Pavlina

"The daily grind of hard work gets a person polished."
- Unknown

"Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted."
- David Bly

Archery Testimonial X 2

"Charles is a great archery instructor. We highly recommend him for anyone who is looking to take up the sport and wants to improve their aim dramatically in a hurry. The zombie archery target at the end of the lesson was a fun added bonus. Thanks again!"

- George and Linda R.

Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing and lets talk fitness!


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