Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have much to be thankful for this year, man. Even while you gratefully make note of all that, this is also a good time to think ahead.
What would you additionally like to be thankful for next Thanksgiving?
What if on Thanksgiving 2018 you could take a personal inventory and conclude:
1. I’m staying more motivated for fitness – and avoiding major backslides
2. I’m eating better (not perfectly, but better)…and I feel better for it
3. I forgive myself for not always following my fitness plans…but I hold myself more accountable to usually do so
4. I’ve varied my fitness routine, so I’m in better all-around shape than I was a year ago
5. I’m using exercise to better combat stress and make my life feel more spacious
6. If needed, I overcame aches-and-pains to do these things – instead of letting 2018 be a year of narrowing possibilities
Dude! That would be an incredible “thanks” list. So enjoy the coming weeks of 2017 wrap-up and holidays, yes. But I invite you to also make this time a springboard into a meaningful 2018. (Don’t wait for the cliched New Year’s Resolution.)
Here’s the why-and-how of six actions you can take, starting now, to add to your “thankful for” list for next year.
I confess. I’m not always as proactive and purposeful as OlderBeast articles make me sound. When it comes to 45+ men’s fitness, I’ve often just learned from injury-driven needs that motivated experimentation, or by simply lucking into things.
When I started yoga at age 46, it wasn’t because I’d thoughtfully concluded “hey, I have some ‘need yoga’ signs.” I started just because yoga’s a weekly part of the P90X home fitness program. Luck. (Online yoga classes are actually a great place to start – more on that at the conclusion of this article).
I see in retrospect that, as my 40s progressed, my fitness needs were changing. I had many of the “Need Yoga” signs, but I didn’t recognize them. Now, with regular yoga as part of my fitness routine, I’ve turned a lot of these “Need” categories into fitness and wellness positives.
My goal with this list is to help you do a self-assessment, and possibly reach a yoga conclusion sooner than I did (or if not, then at least “better late than never.”)
There are drawbacks to anything/everything we might do for fitness. That’s why, especially in our 40s and beyond, it’s so important to create your own personalized workout mix to get the best-of various things, and navigate around their con’s.
If you’re reading this, you’re already aware of HIIT’s benefits. And maybe already feeling them for yourself. So now’s a good time to flag potential drawbacks of HIIT and discuss ways to avoid them.
Recently, I sat down to talk about “yoga and men” with Jen Murphy. She’s the author of the great new book The Yoga Man(ual) and the widely-read Wall Street Journal column “What’s Your Workout?” She’s also written numerous OlderBeast-relevant things in publications like Men’s Journal and Men’s Health.
Here are excerpts from our conversation. I think this is really useful reading for guys currently in the Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge AND guys who are not.
As discussed in the introduction to this challenge (click the link in the Challenge box to the left if you want to see that), underlying the many variations of “HIIT” out there are two basic concepts.
There are Cardio Intervals. I.e, going fast enough for a short period to be uncomfortable/unsustainable, then a period of slower pace to recover, then repeat. And there’s Metabolic Conditioning. That is, doing strength move intervals at a pace and difficulty-level that brings high-intensity benefits of elevated heart rate and amped-up metabolism.
Which to choose? Here’s a point-of-view if you’re mainly a runner, a cyclist, a swimmer or a “cardio machine guy.” That is, if strength work is the “junior partner” in your exercise mix.
In this case, I urge you to bring HIIT into your life by having it be strength-focused, man. Here are three reasons why, with some curated best-of reading to expand on each point.
Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4. If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Click on “Yoga for Men” in the Challenges box to the left, to see Week 1 and other posts.
As a reminder, challenge goals are: (1) Do at least six yoga practices during October-December 2017; (2) Have those practices span at least two sources of instruction (yoga studio instructor or online class), including at least one in-person studio experience; (3) Achieve at least three weeks in a row where you get a yoga practice into your routine, during the span of this challenge; and (4) Decide by New Year’s if-and-how you will keep yoga as part of your fitness and wellness routine.
To seek these goals — and for life-with-yoga after the challenge, if you go that way — online yoga classes are a great resource. You can use them when you don’t have time to get to a studio, are traveling, or for any number of other reasons. Including this honest one: you’re just not “up for” doing yoga in public yet. I get that. I felt the same way. But after doing a bunch of online yoga practices, I knew enough about what an in-person class would entail — and could do “enough” of the stuff” — that I was ready to brave the studio.
So here are four recommended online yoga class offerings. Each has a bit of a different style. They all offer free or sub-$1 trial periods so you can experiment with two or more of them if you want.