I once asked kung fu instructor, Al Cheng about what was most important in full contact fighting.
The former 1979 Hong Kong lightweight champion answered me: “Stamina.”
As a soldier and kick-boxer, I found this out on my own: To run out of gas is to run out of luck.
The classic method of increasing stamina is running. As much as I love running, it can be very time-consuming. Also, the usual long distance shuffle is inefficient. If you want to boost your stamina by a good 30%, you have to train and eat differently. (I can hear the groans already when I mention eating patterns.)
Jogging three miles or five kilometers five times a week is O.K. for general health. But, your body will not excel if it is not challenged. Far more effective is to train three or four days a week using the following:
1. Wind sprints day 1
2. Weights on day 2 and 4
3. One long run on day 5
That routine alone, put me far ahead of the daily joggers. More was not better. The wind sprint day was 4 x 400 meter sprints with a 400 meter walk/jog between runs and then 4 x 100 meter with about the same. It was awkward at first, but kicked in later on.
Once I was in my 50’s, I further cut back on my running, by running ONCE a week. I used a system taught to me by cycling champion, Mike Feuntespina:
Run hard for 4 minutes. walk for 4 min. Run hard 3.5 min. then walk 3.5 min. rest, etc. until you are exhausted at the last 30 min. dash. I did this once a week and still ran two half-marathons in: 1:45 and 1:38, beating out many younger competitors, who train way more.
Another training method that I used was to climb the local mountain trail (Grouse Grind) with a 40 lb. (15 kg) backpack. It was easier on my knees and gave me about the same workout. Or you can swim, bike, roller blade, etc. The point is that you must push yourself hard for short periods of time.
Also, stretch out after a short warm up. Running with tight muscles is like driving with the parking brake on. Be careful of stretching after a workout or run, your muscles may get injured if you don’t ease into the stretches.
As for weight training, I have used the following routine from Michael H. Brown in a 1977 copy of The Survivor.
Breathing Squat 1 x 30 reps
Pullovers 2 x 15
Roman Chair Sit-ups 1 x 20
Hyper Extensions 1 x 20
Start with light weights and add more ONLY when you can work in good form.
Breathing Squat: With the barbell across your shoulders, take three deep breaths, hold your breath and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Exhale on the way up.
Many fitness experts will argue that holding your breath (“the Valsalva Maneuvre”) will cause hyper tension. Holding the breath stabilizes the body. It is like when you are about to lift something heavy. You naturally hold your breath.
For all other exercises, I insist that you breathe out while exerting yourself.
Pullovers: Lie 90 degrees across a bench, with your shoulder blades across the bench and your head hanging towards the floor.
Starting with a weight (barbell or dumbbell) in both hands, held above your chest, lower the weight above your head and towards the floor. Try to touch the floor.
Inhale as your ribcage expands. Exhale as you raise the weight back above your chest. Repeat.
Roman Chair Sit Ups:
You will need apparatus for this. Otherwise, anchor your feet and try to be in a situation where you are bending backwards farther than the level position. The sit ups will work the hip flexors and lower abdominals in a way that simple crunches will not. So, stick with the sit ups in this workout.
Use the apparatus, or again, anchor your feet on flat surface while your upper body hangs over some kind of ledge. Start by letting your upper body hang downwards from your waist. Inhale. As you exhale raise your upper body so that your body is in a straight line.
When you start, cross your arms in front of you, then progress to fingertips by your ears. As you get stronger, hold a barbell plate or other weight against your chest.
Give the big-arm and body beautiful workouts a break while you follow this workout. You can change back to your usual routine after about eight weeks. Anything after that and the workouts become stale and you fail to gain any progress.
1. Cut out the white flour products. White flour plugs up the colon and restricts the absorption of nutrients.
2. Eat foods rich in iron: eggs, meats, seafood and raisins.
3. Eat foods rich in vitamin E: wheat germ, seeds, nuts and cold-pressed vegetable oils.
4. Eat fresh vegetables and lean meats.
5. Eat beef liver or dessicated liver. This food or supplement is packed with B vitamins, iron and minerals needed for stamina and recovery.
There is a 1951 study by Dr. F.H. Ershoff on the anti-fatigue properties of dessicated liver (from page 133 The Strongest Shall Survive…Strength Training for Football. by Bill Starr, B.S. M.S. 1999). He tested three groups of rats:
1. Lab diet with synthetic vitamins,
2. Lab diet with B-Complex vitamins and
3. Lab diet with desiccated liver instead of the B vitamins.
After 12 weeks, the rats were placed in a drum of water to literally sink or swim. Each group gave up on average, the following times:
1. 13.3 minutes
2. 13.4 minutes
3. 1 -2 hours.
I took the dessicated liver over one month, at age 54, while working long hours on a army reserve course. I ran only two or three times a week. One weekend, I entered a half marathon, took first place in my age group and totally out distanced guys 15 to 25 years younger than me. I bought my dessicated Argentine beef liver from Diane Miller at: http://www.leviticus11.com/
Even if you are on a tight budget, you can still eat for good stamina. Just make your meals in advance and cut out the junk such as white bread, cigarettes and coffee. I recall eating mostly eggs, salads and oatmeal for weeks at a time and was still able to run 10 miles (16 km) easily.
Change your training and diet routine and you will be “blowing the doors off of the competition.”