The most powerful “actions” you must take to improve your fitness level and health
First, what is your fitness level?
“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them” – Bruce Lee
Along with exceptional abilities, Bruce Lee was a fanatic about training and was an amazing conditioned athlete. But we have to be aware about his mental strength for achieving these results: the mind has an amazing power and the scientists agree to tell us we use probably only 10-20% of this potential power! Bruce Lee used probably a little more than the average.
Do you want to be “average”? I don’t know about you, but I don’t!
If one of your goals is to get rib of flab before summer, you have to decide in your mind, then take action.
Watch your diet, eliminate today sugars and bad fats, drink more water.
Start to exercise: don’t delay to tomorrow, no, do it today! Start easy, I mean a short workout. A few minutes will be the first step. Choose a few bodyweight exercises and follow a plan: check out “The 3 minutes Gladiator Fitness Conditioning Program”. You’ll be able to design your workout from 3 minutes to 20+ minutes.
If you are very busy, this is your joker: if you follow this program it’s impossible to fail! Move on now!
Do not watch behind you, go ahead, move on…
Focus on yourself, it will change everything!
What is the last time you focused on your breathing? And about your heartbeats?
Very few people pay attention to breathing and heartbeats, maybe except when exercising…well, not sure… Did you see already people doing their cardio in a big gym center? They watch tee vee, listen their ipod, read a newspaper!!!
The key, in term of results in health and fitness, is to develop the awareness of your body: how do you feel, how do you breath, how is your heart rate! By focusing on what you are doing, you are in control of yourself and you can adjust your effort anytime according to your feeling and your goal.
When you focus on yourself, you are in a state of meditation, you are in a state of self hypnosis: you relax your mind when exercising. I personally do it every time when I’m training; even with a 15 minutes workout and I feel re-energized!
When I do cardio (I run outside), it’s a special moment for me because I’m 100% focused on myself: the effort but also my thinking…and always ideas flow! It’s like oxygen boosts your body and mind. Did you experience it already?
If not, start to focus on yourself, on your breathing, on your body. Don’t do anything else when exercising, you have to meet with yourself!
The biggest key for fitness success: Set up your workout routine!
All of us know it’s often difficult to stay consistent on a physical program: heavy business schedule, traveling, family…and fatigue!
Here comes the importance to set up a routine to be sure to not miss your workout. I strongly believe it’s possible to be very effective if you apply these strategic components in your routine:
- Decide a time frame you’ll start your workout everyday, and stick with it.
- Decide where, you can decide 2 options according to your time available: the gym or at home.
- Design a simple program you can jump on it: bodyweight exercises are ideal, because easy and safe.
- Choose just 3 or 4 exercises in your routine, keep it simple, focus on it and become an expert in this routine in a matter of a few weeks. Then you can change.
- Set up the minimum duration of your routine: even for a special day (very busy or tired), you can do it. Even if it lasts just a few minutes, it’s better than nothing. Of course set up also your full routine with the number of sets and reps and try to do it at least 3 times a week.
Having his own specific routine is a powerful habit. Personally, when I don’t do it, I don’t feel good, I need it! In fact I do it everyday, sometimes early in the morning, sometimes in the evening: the durations vary a lot, the average being 20 minutes. Sometimes twice a day.
Set up your routine today and be consistent!
Get the right mindset!
It is sometimes tough to start a workout or simply be consistent. I talked about the importance of setting up a routine: you need exactly to know what to do. Now it is as much important to get the right mindset: you can have the best exercise program ever designed for you, you can have a million dollars equipment, but if you don’t have some “fire”, it’s going to do nothing for you!
You need a purpose: decide on a specific goal and get the motivation. If you don’t know why you train, it’s going to be difficult to be successful.
You need to plan in advance, like an athlete does: prepare your workout in your mind, visualize yourself performing: you can do that when you warm up; focus on your feelings, feel your joints, your muscles; focus on your breath, and go ahead: get your program done, be enthusiastic.
Keep in mind all the positive rewards you get: better health, stress control, better body shape, more energy, better recuperation, mental strength and self confidence.
Always control your mindset when you start your workout: it’s going to be easier and more productive. Have fun!
Are there Shortcuts for getting in shape?
Are there really some kinds of shortcuts for getting in shape? Well, absolutely, but only if you accept the following “rules”:
The first one I’m thinking about is Effort! Be disappointed, because I do not believe in shortcuts about it: we can see outrageous advertising claiming ultimate results in muscle building, fat loss or ripped abs…Too many people look for the “magic pill” and want easy results.
You’ll get only for what you invest! You need to invest in yourself and put effort: the more energy you expand, the more you’ll get back.
It is possible to find a few shortcuts like some racers do in the Tour de France: but are you ready to get injected steroids or additional blood in your bloodstream?
Health is the most important asset we possess and you will strengthen your all body, organs and metabolism if you avoid negative shortcuts. But it takes effort, focus, commitment and positive attitude. But I believe it worth it, isn’t?
There is a shortcut, if well applied, can be very powerful and effective: I use it most of the time to stay in a tremendous shape! I cut the time of my workouts!
The average time spent for a workout is 45mn to 1 hour; I usually divide this time by 3 or 4: I manage my workout to last from 10 to 20 minutes; sometimes, when I’m very busy with my business or caught by my daughters, I just train a few minutes. When I say that to my friends, they laugh, but the result is there! I know what I’m doing and it works!
But if you want to master a very short workout, you have to apply some rules:
First, you have to know exactly what to do and keep it simple.
Second, get a precise workout routine: monitor your time between reps and recovery; pauses have to be kept the shortest possible.
Third: Focus on the intensity, focus on your effort, focus on your body: extreme focus is the key.
Fourth, train often: I usually train twice a day…but the minimum should be from 4 to 6 times a week.
Short workouts are a very powerful alternative to get and stay in shape, but you have to follow the above rules. If you are not willing to push yourself, you will not get good results.
Bottom line: you can save time and get far better results. Forget the long and boring workouts, decide of a precise timing and go more intense!
What’s wrong with cardio?
If you’re looking for a total conditioning, cardio workouts cannot help you!
At least cardio workout done in the normal way: long run in steady state, cardio machine sessions for 30 or 45 minutes, even more.
Many people believe that doing these long cardio workouts will get them in a terrific shape, burn fat to get lean, build up excellent endurance.
Bad news! This kind of workout is not effective for getting in a good shape. You’ll improve only basic endurance and will be comfortable with only this type of effort: slow, long duration. You’ll not be able to speed up without to be out of breath. It means your heart and cardiovascular system will have no power!
You need to build some power in your system to get an effective blood flow through your all body; your organs are drained with more oxygen and more nutrients and perform better.
You need strength and power, not only for performance but also for health. Your physiological capacities have to be well balanced, aerobic and anaerobic.
Too much aerobic training may lead to muscle loss: just look at some people preparing for long distance running, they have no lean muscle mass and they finish always with injuries. Some get cardiovascular problems due to an important imbalance of training: too much cardio of slow and long duration lead to a weak cardiovascular system.
The solution: mix cardio with strength training, mix slow cardio with high intensity interval training, also called HIIT. You’ll got a total conditioning, guarantee!
To know more about interval training, check here and get a 4 week plan HIIT workout program.
Is your heart rate too high?
Your heart rate is a strong indicator of your health and conditioning. A good way to know is to check your resting heart rate: the best time to do it is early morning just before to wake up; you can use a heart rate monitor or just take the pulses with the index finger against the carotid artery (side of your neck).
Count for 15 seconds and multiply by 4: you get your resting heart rate for 1 minute.
What is your result?
If your heart rate is above 75-80, it is too high: according to a French study, people with these values have at least a 4 times higher risk having a heart attack compared to other people with a low resting heart rate (65 and less).
High heart rate is often combined with high blood pressure.
There are several causes: lack of exercise, bad nutrition habits, obesity, stress.
It’s necessary to identify the main cause and act on it: be in control of this negative stress, lose weight, eat more fruits and vegetables, stop smoking…
Then you need to exercise, and the most effective way to drop your resting heart rate is cardiovascular interval training: you alternate high intensity with low intensity to recover. Running is a must, but beginners can do it just walking: for example walk fast for 1 minute, then go very easy for the following easy; repeat a few times according to your fitness level, usually 5-6 times is good enough for a start.
Boxing is also a very effective way: most of the boxers I know have very low resting heart rate, like 40 and less! The reason is their workouts are based on intervals of high intensity: 2 or 3 minutes rounds of sparring or heavy bag, 1 minute of recovery. A beginner could start with a few rounds of 1 minute of shadow boxing.
Anyway, check your resting heart rate tomorrow morning, it’s a good way to get motivated.
I want to get fast results in cardiovascular training, what have I to do?
First of all, if fast means to you a few weeks, do not expect miracles. Yes you will feel some improvement if you follow a good training plan, but if you are out of shape you’ll need to build up progressively your cardiovascular endurance.
And it takes time and commitment.
But if you are in a decent shape, yes, it is possible to get quick results: here again you’ll need to follow a precise training plan.
First case: you are not in shape and some pounds overweight. If you look for some information on the internet, you are going to land on some websites proclaiming “here the latest breakthrough to get in shape…”. Be aware these information are most of the time marketing scams, there is nothing new about these methods. Some experts say you have to do sprints: well, if you are out of shape, you are going to break your body in just a few short sessions!
You have to apply two powerful principles:
Your workouts need to be progressive in term of intensity and duration: if you do not respect this principle you’ll fail.
You have to be consistent, and for that, you’ll need a plan. I cannot stress you out enough about the importance to set up a plan, this is your strategy for getting the results you want to achieve. With a plan you will be able to track your progress, this is a key for motivation and for adjusting your plan week after week.
First, you have to build up your basic endurance. This is crucial and almost everybody simply do not do it! Maybe some people think it is a loss of time. Ask to all professional athlete and listen their response. Basic endurance is the foundation for an effective and healthy cardiovascular system. It helps you to recover faster, to increase the number of workouts in a period of time, to increase the duration of training. It helps to get a balanced blood flow through out the all body, it helps to eliminate more toxins and rejuvenate your cells.
A basic endurance is built up progressively over months and years. Using a plan with a progressive overload with the old school method called “Interval training” you can start to get significant results in just a few weeks.
But the less time you have trained, the quicker you detrain. You have at least to maintain your level you just get by keeping some good workouts every weeks.
A good endurance is the consequence from deep physiological adaptations into your cells: energy production, hormonal homeostasis, enzymatic metabolisms.
Interval training beginner workout
Here a workout you can try if you are beginner. The most effective is running: go to your local park or high school tracks. If you can use a treadmill, you can run outside, it’s far more effective and you are sure to breath a better quality of air. If you cannot run due to too much weight, just do this workout walking: the key will be to change your pace according to the plan. If you cannot train outside, you can use cardiovascular training equipment in most of the gyms. If you train at home, I suggest bodyweight workouts, you’ll get a total body workout.
Tip: I do not advice you buy home fitness equipment: most are gadgets and make you lazy. Just go basic and use your body weight, your results will skyrocket !
The workout: you can download it here: www
Walk for 5 minutes, increase your pace progressively
Some stretch if necessary
Run 1 minute at about 70%
Walk 1 minute to recover
Repeat this sequence 5 times.
If you are completely out of shape, it should be enough.
But if you feel good, do it 8-10 times
Performance tip: when you run, relax all your upper body, especially arms and shoulders; being relaxed you consume less oxygen and energy. Do not force your breath.
Recovery: walk a few minutes, your breathing has to be easy; after the last run, do not stop, do not sit, keep moving and breath.
Performance tip: use abdominal breathing to recover faster. Inhale and let expand your belly, exhale and contract slightly your abdominal muscles. This is called also diaphragmatic breathing.