Achieving peak fitness is the goal of many. Few achieve it. The key to becoming a fitness machine is to embrace a holistic approach that encompasses every aspect of fitness. This needs to include the following:
- Strength Training
- Muscle building
- Low body fat level
- Cardiovascular fitness
Total fitness involves striving to attain the optimum level of existence in terms of physical, psychological and mental wellness. In this article, however, we focus on the physical. As we’ll discover, though, you cannot attain peak physical fitness without drawing heavily on your mental toolbox.
The Fitness Mind
To become a fitness machine, you need to develop mental toughness. Exercise needs to become an integral part of every day, something that you could never imagine yourself not doing. You need to build the discipline, motivation and resilience to keep going despite the inevitable complications that life throws your way.
In order to do those things, you need to be clearly focused on your goals every day. Focus on what the new you will be like. Create a specific image in your mind of the end-goal you. Look down at your rippling abs. Run your hand over them. Flex your thighs and glutes. More importantly focus on what that new you will feel like. . .
The self assuredness.
The feeling of energy, strength and power that exudes from the new you.
Imagine how much more focused, more disciplined and more connected you will feel. Imagine how confident you will feel in your skin once you have achieved your end-game goal.
Your end-game goal answers the question “Where Are You Going?” It is the basis from which you will set all of your other goals. These are all stepping-stone goals which will lead inexorably to your end-game goal. You need to keep your end-game goal in focus every day.
But more than that – you need to live your life as if that end-game goal has already been accomplished. Believe in its achievement with such certainty that, to you, it has already happened. By doing so, you will be feeding your subconscious with the altered reality that you are already at your end-goal – and it will respond with habitual behaviors that will propel you there at warp speed.
You will also be able to cultivate the positive emotions that will be part of your end-goal achievement right now. You will be carrying yourself taller, maintaining eye contact when you converse and feeling in control. And you will love yourself.
A key to staying motivated for peak fitness is to keep a wellness journal. In your journal record your pre and post workout feelings, along with your workout reps, sets and resistance numbers. The very act of recording these details will motivate you. Then when you are able to look back and see the concrete progress that you have made, you will be even more encouraged.
Strength developed through resistance training will help to develop your muscles. Scientifically, strength is the ability to exert musculoskeletal force against an external object. Anaerobic strength is force that is produced without the aid of oxygen. An example is doping a pull up.
Aerobic strength is force that is produced with the aid of oxygen. An example of this would be pushing a weighted sled up and down the gym floor.
You should include both types of strength training in your fitness program. In terms of pure strength training, the following compound moves should be part of your program:
- Bench Press
Your weight training should include both free weights, like dumbbells and dumbbells and weight stack loaded machines.
Calisthenics is a form of exercise that uses constant resistance, namely your own body weight. Push-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks, even stretching, fall into this category. Calisthenics exercises will uniquely develop your balance, endurance, strength, coordination and flexibility.
Your fitness program should include calisthenics movements.
Cardiovascular fitness, which improves the efficiency of the heart and lungs, is an important component of an overall fitness program. Here are six reasons that you need to include cardio training into your schedule:
- It burns body fat
- It increases your level of available energy
- It helps to prevent certain types of cancer
- It boosts self image
- It reduces the risk of heart disease
- It helps to slow down the aging process
Here are 4 great forms of aerobic exercise that you should include in your fitness program:
Plyometrics is also known as jump training. It involves getting in the air through a variety of jumping movements. It may involve jumping up and down onto a box, jumping over cones or simply jumping into the air continuously and grabbing your knees in the top position.
The combination of stretching and contracting of your muscles that happens every time you jump makes your muscles stronger, more flexible and more agile. You should include plyometric training in your routine every other day.
Agility training involves performing sprint type training that involves rapid changes of direction. It is a great way to improve your speed and agility for sports and for general fitness. An example of a simple agility training routine is to set up two cones 20 feet apart and sprint between them 20 times, touching your hand to the cones each time.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great way to burn calories, and improve your cardio fitness. It inbvolvfes performing cinsecutivfe rounds of shprt iuntense exe4r5cise, followed by enough shorter rest periods. An example would be to row on a rowing machine for 20 seconds at max speed and then resting for 10 seconds. This would be repeated 6-8 times.
Bringing it all Together
You optimized fitness program needs to incorporate each of the following elements:
- Weight Training
- Cardiovascular Training
- Agility Training
Here’s a plan of how you can balance these elements out over the course of a typical week.
When you are able to incorporate the above training schedule into your lifestyle, then you will optimally be working every component of your physical training potential. You will, in effect, be on your way to becoming a fitness machine.