90-Day Fitness Program Accomplished – NOW WHAT? (Secrets to Successful Transition)

A comprehensive fitness program for 1-3 months can be great, where each day is planned for you. It ramps up your fitness, teaches you new workout styles and moves, and enforces schedule discipline if you stick with it. But while short-term programs jump-start or accelerate you toward your goals, the most important day of an XX-day program is the day after you’re done.

That’s when you’re at a crossroads between continuing with a new level of discipline, but also expanding and personalizing your fitness approach to make it long-term sustainable; OR slipping back toward your status from the day before you started the program.

I’ve taken each of these roads, brother. Based on that learning, here are suggestions for a successful transition from “XX-day” to “Decades-long.”

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A comprehensive fitness program for 1-3 months can be great, where each day is planned for you. It ramps up your fitness, teaches you new workout styles and moves, and enforces schedule discipline if you stick with it.

I did P90X a few years ago, loved it, and greatly benefited. Nowadays, there are so many 30, 60, and 90-day programs. Challenge…transformation…shred…burn…blast. Etc.

But while short-term programs jump-start or accelerate you toward your goals, the most important day of an XX-day program is the day after you’re done.

That’s when you’re at a crossroads between:

  • Continuing with a new level of discipline, but also expanding and personalizing your fitness approach to make it long-term sustainable; OR
  • Slipping back toward your status from the day before you started the program

I’ve taken each of these roads, brother. Based on that learning, here are suggestions for a successful transition from “XX-day” to “Decades-long.”

WAIT: WHY DO I NEED TO TRANSITION?

Why not just keep doing the program? Well, if it worked and you liked it, of course do it again. Or maybe re-do it once a year.

But long-term, most guys won’t do repetitive, scheduled things for months, years, decades. And shouldn’t. Because we need:

To get outside. Most structured programs are all about being inside and following on-screen training. NOT offering benefits of being in nature and having reflective solitude we need.

A greater range of activities to sustain a mix of endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. And combat boredom. Mixing in running, cycling, swimming, yoga, outdoor adventure sports, self-guided strength work…these all help us be all-over fit, resilient vs. injury, and long-term engaged.

More schedule or logistics flexibility. Otherwise, there are dilemmas like: “I can’t do six days this week…so do I skip a day of my program, or just stay on sequence but a day behind?” Or, “My hotel room has no space to set-up and exercise in front of a screen…and I feel weird being in the hotel gym following on-screen training.”

To interact more with people as part of fitness activity. Like having running or cycling buddies, or people in a HiiT or yoga class. Feeling connected to like-minded people reinforces motivation and also leverages our fitness activities for the broader benefit of human relationships (the key ingredient to happiness, research says).

Just something different. For variety’s sake, or to have a new challenge or adventure on the horizon to keep things fun and motivational.

So at some point – better sooner than later – you’ve got to make and start following a plan for what’s next. Or by default, you’ll be headed down the “backslide” path, dude.

BRING YOUR FAVORITE PARTS INTO YOUR ONGOING ROUTINE

Often, there are individual pieces of the program you’ll want to bring into your “post-program” life.

Years later, I still use slightly-adjusted versions of these P90X pieces. Most of the items below are “standard” enough that any program has similar components.

  1. Simple warm-up routine to get blood flowing and do “dynamic” stretching. I use this before any strength or HiiT (interval) workout, and also before running.
  2. Core strength routine that takes 5- 10 minutes. I use this as part of “mini-strength” sessions I tack onto some endurance days, or as the core-work part of a dedicated strength day.
  3. Specific variations I liked on bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. These includes wrinkles on push-ups, biceps curls, bodyweight squats, and a few plyometric (jump training) moves.
  4. Yoga and kick-boxing. Not all programs have this much variety, but my strong belief in yoga as a guy’s fitness staple came from the “Yoga X” day of P90X’s weekly routine. There was also a kick-boxing-style workout that made me interested in that as an ongoing, occasional thing.

You’ll have your own examples, I’m sure.

The common theme is this: don’t just think of it as a “program,” but also as a learning experience with a world-class trainer. You can get decades-long benefits if you adopt this orientation toward sustaining use of “best of” pieces.

FORMULA FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION

OK, so you’ve stuck with your program, gotten fitter than you were XX days ago, and have various new tools in your toolbox of workout components.

To now move forward most successfully…

1. STAY IN A “SCHEDULE” MINDSET. This is incredibly important – to not let slip the feeling of “I have a schedule I’ve committed to.” It doesn’t need to be a highly-regimented schedule (i.e. do exactly this today, then exactly that tomorrow). Rather, it can be a high-level-goal-oriented one, like “get cardio three times this week (these days), strength twice (these other days), be sure to get outside, etc.” OlderBeast Weekly Workouts make suggestions, to help you build the habit of scheduling yourself this way.

2. Add more variety. “Cross-training” is even more important for 40+ guys than for younger ones. It helps us keep fitness symmetrical across endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. And prevent (or recover from) injury, by reducing repetitive activities and offering “Plan B” ways to work out if we’ve had a setback. And finally, variety simply keeps it interesting and fun. Key attributes, man.

3. Find new challenges and fitness-motivating adventures. Use your newly-adopted variety to create new challenges. Example: “Yeah, I got the hang of P90X pretty well, but now I’ve circled a date on the calendar for a 5 or 10K road race, and I need to get in running shape”. Adventure (a challenge with some “quest” and uncertain-outcome aspects to it) is even better.

4. Get, or stay, focused on NUTRITION. You can exercise all you want, but at 40+, you won’t really get the results you want without reasonable discipline on what you eat and drink. Start here for simple but powerful suggestions on what’s most important for nutrition.

TAKE ACTION

The fact that you did (or are in the midst of, or about to start) a 30, 60 or 90-day intensive program is absolutely GREAT. You’re ahead of the vast majority of guys our age. And more importantly, you’re well-positioned to turn these XX days into a YY-year habit going forward.

But treat the end of your program as a time of high opportunity and also high risk. Make sure you head the right way tomorrow!

 

“Open your eyes and look at the day, you’ll see things in a different way. Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here…” (Fleetwood Mac, Don’t Stop—click to listen)

 

If you think this would be useful to others, please help spread the word about OlderBeast by sharing this post with the social media buttons below. THANKS, MAN.

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90-Day Plan for (Re)Starting Fitness as a Habit

At some point, nearly all of us have been there: you’re working hard, commuting, maybe traveling, investing a lot of time with family…and NOT GETTING MUCH EXERCISE, if any.

It’s hard to move toward fitness from this place, partly because of the time challenge. But equally or sometimes even more, this is what’s tough: simply knowing “where to start.” And feeling that uncertainty makes it very hard to decide to start, dude.

As a friend recently described falling out of his exercise routine, “once the ‘switch’ is turned off, it’s #$%&! hard to flip it back on again.”

So use the fact that you’re reading this as a kick in the butt, man. Not from me, really, but from your inner self that motivated you to read this. Flip that switch!

Here’s my ultra-simple suggestion for a 90-day plan.

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What We REALLY Need From a Workout Plan (Introducing OlderBeast Weekly Workouts)

“Just tell me what to do” is a common desire people have for workout plans. That’s understandable. Expert direction and a friendly kick in the butt are helpful.

But for 40+ guys seeking diverse fitness that’s sustainable month-in/month-out for decades…typical sources of “tell me what to do” have drawbacks. They usually don’t cover the range of activities you need to be all-over fit. They often overlook the need for exercise to be a place of mental retreat and restoration. And they rarely guide you to take charge of your own planning and motivation, which is key to long-term habits (in OlderBeast language referred to as being your own Architect). Not to mention, using “tell me what to do” sources over years and decades gets expensive.

Here’s what OlderBeasts really need from workout plans. And a public service announcement: OlderBeast is beta testing a new Weekly Workouts feature.

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In defense (and praise) of the EASY workout

It’s important to keep physically challenging ourselves as we age. That’s why OlderBeast feature things like push-up challenges, exhortations to increase your weekly workout frequency, and calls to keep on running uphill.

But the name of the game is to do it thoughtfully, man — in a way we can sustain for years and hopefully decades. And on some days that calls for a game-time decision to do an EASY workout.

There’s the planned easy workout, to recover from intense effort yesterday or get ready to go hard tomorrow. But here, I want to talk about something different…a last-minute call to just do something “light” today.

Maybe a shorter and/or slower run. Or just some light body weight exercises and stretching. Or some lower-intensity cardio on a machine and then a short core routine.

The idea of switching to an easier workout is really about our relationship with motivation: having more than one response to call on when we feel unmotivated.

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Six Fitness Actions You’ll Thank Yourself For *NEXT* Thanksgiving

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.

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