Workout for Spy
Have you ever imagined yourself as a lead character in the movie that you are watching or as the main character of the book that you are reading?
All of us occasionally imagine ourselves as someone else, agent 007 or some kind of Mr. X, but how close can we get to our ideal?
What is the difference between the daily workouts of athletes and secret agents training?
Of course, we can't know everything but some of the answers you will find in this article.
First of all, let's talk about a different kind of training and separate them into two categories: aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
Aerobic means "with oxygen". With aerobic exercise, oxygen is carried through your breath to the muscles giving them the energy needed to sustain the effort. For example training like running, swimming, dancing are aerobic.
While training you can feel that pulse rises and breathing increases.
The body burns carbohydrates and fats to give much-needed energy to the muscles.
This type of training improves the work of the cardiovascular system, trains your heart to pump blood more efficiently and strengthen your muscle ligaments. By doing all of that, it also improves your metabolism.
While practicing aerobic training, it is essential to monitor your pulse to avoid harming yourself. For this purpose, you can use smart bracelets and watches.
Anaerobic exercise is short-lasting, high-intensity activity, where your body's demand for oxygen exceeds the available oxygen supply. Anaerobic exercise relies on energy sources that are stored in the muscles and, unlike aerobic exercise, is not dependent on oxygen from the air.
Now, let's go back to our spies. What kind of exercises do they choose? The answer is straightforward: they combine two types of training to get the best results. There is lot of different exercises with combined training techniques, here you can find example.
If you are not trying to become the next agent 007, you should pick the right type of training depending on your goal.
Aerobic Cardio workouts are good for weight loss, but it is essential to monitor your heart rate while exercising (take a look here). In the first 20-25 minutes of training, the primary energy source is glycogen, which is a stored form of glucose. When the body needs a quick energy boost but doesn't get glucose from food, it converts glycogen (stored in the liver) into glucose and uses it as a fuel for the cells. The next 20 minutes the body begins to burn accumulated fats, and after 40 minutes of exercise, it switches completely on using fats only (and then those extra pounds start to vanish).
Because of this, the workout should take an hour or 1.5h to get an effect you need.
Here is the formula, that helps you to calculate your optimal pulse at which your body starts to burn fat as efficiently as possible:
(220 - your age) x 0,65.
So at 25, the optimal heart rate is 127 beats per minute.
Also, the first part of the formula shows the maximum pulse that can be considered average at your age.
Does it feel too hard? Well, the preparation of Special Air Service (SAS) which is an elite unit of the UK armed forces, consists of five months of intensive training. The volunteers had to march without rest breaks for a distance of about 60 kilometers with a 30-kilogram backpack, a bottle of water and a machine gun.
Let's get back to our spy and take a look at some exercises to increase stamina. How can we prepare to increase endurance and accomplish a set goal?
One of the ways is by doing mixed exercises. When going for a long-distance run, use the interval method. While running try from time to time slow down your speed and after a few moments get back to your usual pace. It is also possible to combine it by adding weights. For example, wear weights on the arms or legs when going for a run or while exercising at the gym.
If you want to push yourself to the max, then HIIT can offer you the desired challenge.
High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is mainly cardio training, that consist of short bursts of tough exercises alternating with less intense recovery periods. You will need to push yourself to the max during every round. One activity lasts from 20 to 90 seconds and consists of several repetitions. The whole workout usually lasts less than 30 minutes.
You can read more about HIIT here.
After HIIT training you are ready to learn how to fight. Let's take a look at how special units soldiers are preparing themselves for future battles.
For example, Military personnel of special units of the North Korean army, included in their training a task to break 20 concrete blocks with one punch. To increase the force of the punch, the soldiers of the North Korean army must every day (for a month) deliver a thousand hits with their bare fists to the trunks of the trees. After that, they attach an open tin can to the rack and mercilessly beat it until their hands start to bleed. At the very end, the soldiers box the piles of salt so that the wounds in their hands do not fester. These exercises help them to "forge an iron fist" and develop the ability to hit the enemy to death.
Let's not forget that special forces fighters are the toughest and most disciplined soldiers. They were carefully chosen from a lot of applicants. Their mental and physical abilities were taken into account.
You can create and combine all kind on exercises, that will suit you. Keep in mind, that each of us has a different fitness level, and therefore before you start practicing complex fitness programs, you should consult with your doctor.
If you have any thoughts about this article we'd be really keen to hear your comments. Share your views in the comments box below.
What differences are there between ordinary people and somebody with strong willpower?
Read about it here.
"Fitness: Special Techniques of Special Services" by Ashley Simmons