Mark Divine, 53, is a former Navy SEAL and martial artist with black belts in both Seido and Goju Ryu Karate. He’s pretty much a real-life action hero. He’s also the founder of SEALFIT, a program originally used by aspiring SEALs that has been adopted by everyone from pro athletes to CEOs in developing physical fitness, durability and mental toughness. We asked Divine to share his best advice on how to maximize workouts.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Make yourself accountable to someone who would be let down if you didn’t do your best. “What I learned in the SEALs was that if I’m part of a team, I do better than what I can do on my own,” Divine says. “We understand that training as a team creates a common interest in growth and becoming better people. That adds fuel to the fire: accountability, not letting your teammates down.”
Take a Few Deep Breaths
If you want the mental fortitude to push through tough workouts, you have to learn how to focus your mind. And that starts with breathing.
“Breath is the link between the body and the mind,” Divine says. “The required stillness begins the practice of witnessing your thinking process, allowing you to observe your mind. It builds the bridge between concentration and awareness.”
Divine developed a four-part method called “Box Breathing.”
1. Expel all the air out of your lungs. Keep your lungs empty for four seconds.
2. Inhale through your nose for a four count.
3. Keep the air in your lungs for four seconds (don’t hold your breath, just don’t inhale or exhale at this point).
4. Exhale smoothly through your nose for four seconds.
Repeat for at least five minutes. Do this first thing in the morning, or any time you need to calm down.
Spice It Up
“Doing the same thing over and over is fitness poison,” Divine says. “If you’re only doing one thing, you’re going to get stuck in a rut. Vary your training consistently. If you usually lift, go out for a run. A runner? Go swimming, do yoga, weight training. Work different modalities. Keep it spicy, change things up.”
Feed the Beast
“Graze throughout the day,” Divine says. “Protein, a lot of fat, high-quality carbs, whole foods, and hydrate consistently. One size does not fit all. Our bodies require different types of fueling, so try different things and see what fits you.”
There IS Rest for the Weary
Be sure to hydrate and refuel soon after a workout, and don’t forget to take one light-intensity day (like swimming or easy running) and one day off of all activity. Rest is part of your workout routine.
“If you’re going to do all that work, you need to actively recover,” Divine says. “After every WOD (Workout of the Day) program, it is a requirement to do mindful movement (stretching and mobility work) and breath work.”
Story by Billy Brown. To learn more, visit sealfit.com