Are We Free Men Capable of Behavior Change – or Marketers’ Negative Stereotype?

Talk to ad industry people and you’ll learn that a disproportionately small share of ads target us 45+ guys. Though we’re a large portion of the population (and consumer spending), those who steer the spending of ad dollars are more interested, proportionally, in women and younger guys.

But OlderBeast isn’t about business, so why bring this up? Because it reflects “conventional wisdom” about us: that we rarely try new things, and that in many categories (e.g. nutrition), women make decisions for us.

Why highlight this at OlderBeast? As positive provocation for OlderBeasts: Let’s cultivate willingness to experiment and change, and take charge of health-impacting decisions for ourselves!

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Talk to ad industry people and you’ll learn that a disproportionately small share of ads target us 45+ guys. Though we’re a large portion of the population (and consumer spending), advertisers are more interested, proportionally, in women and younger guys.

But OlderBeast isn’t about business, so why bring this up?

Because it reflects “conventional wisdom” about us: that we rarely try new things, and that in many categories (e.g. nutrition), women make decisions for us.

Set in your ways. Don’t choose much for yourself. Even when the beneficiary or victim of the product is yourself, as is the case with nutrition. Does this describe you, brother?

I’m not trying to change ad spending. Rather, I highlight this as positive provocation for OlderBeasts: Let’s not be the stereotype…let’s cultivate willingness to experiment and change, and take charge of health-impacting decisions for ourselves!

EXPERIMENTATION IN YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE

Researchers say perception of time—whether it seems to have flown or rolled slowly by—is greatly impacted by how many different events and themes there are to remember.

That’s why a week traveling among cities and seeing new things seems longer, in memory, than a week at the beach.

So, by seeking variety and new experiences, you can make the years of your life feel longer. And if experimentation with physical activities is one way you do this, then you can actually add years to your life, as well.

Friendly Challenge: In the next six months, do two or more of the following. In addition to physical benefits, you’ll meet new people and go new places because of them (wellness benefits that make life richer).

1. Take up (or return to) running

2. Include swimming and/or yoga in your fitness routine (for sure, at least one of these, since they have special benefits from controlled breathing).

3. Get into a High-intensity Interval Training (HiiT) workout program.

4. Since you never forget how to ride a bike…start riding one.

5. Start (or return to ) strength training. It doesn’t need to be about the gym and weights if you don’t want – bodyweight “calisthenics” are great.

6. Try out kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding.

7. Plan an adventure, big or small. A cycling or backpacking trip, a long hike, an adventure race with friends.

8. Just start walking. In your neighborhood, near your office (or maybe to your office), in parks and on trails. At the beach.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR NUTRITION

For many guys, marketers’ stereotype is true. Your wife or significant other mainly decides what food’s in the house. Nutrition-focused media and advertising thus mainly ignore you.

If you’re like many, you’re more attentive to what you put into your car, how you feed your lawn, or what kind of light bulbs you use…than you are to what you put into your body.

Meanwhile, every day there’s further evidence food is one of the best medicines out there for all kinds of health issues, big and small. Or one of the worst poisons: e.g., obesity-related diseases continue growing, and people refer to sugar as the new tobacco.

Even if you’re just focused on appearance, most people find exercise alone is not enough to really change how you look. Especially at our age. You need to add strong nutrition into the mix, dude.

So, please start paying attention to things you need to know about nutrition, and participate in household food choices. For basics of a sound approach, start here.

Friendly Challenge #2: During the next six months, target at least one positive nutrition improvement (add a good-for-you thing into your diet). And at least one removal or reduction of a bad-for-you thing (sugar, white flours, high-saturated-fat foods are good places to start).

TAKE ACTION for behavior change

Fitness and nutrition sometimes get stuck in an ever-receding self promise of “I’ll start being better about this stuff soon.”

It’s easy to understand why. With life being busy, there always seems to be a reason why today is not convenient to undertake a new activity, or to plan and make changes to food you eat. And it doesn’t seem like a big deal to have a little more time go by before you focus on health.

So, many of us might say to that marketing person who steers ad dollars away from us, “I’m not set in my ways or dependent on someone else’s decision-making forever…I’m just in that mode right now.”

But it gets harder to make these positive changes the more time goes by, man. And meanwhile, depending on whether you want to frame this negatively or positively (I’ll do both): there’s damage being done…OR, opportunities being missed.

Given human nature, sometimes it’s more motivational to prove other people wrong, than it is to be right ourselves. So if thinking about it this way helps light a fire…let’s prove those marketers WRONG, guys.

 

“Doesn’t have a point of view, knows not where he’s going to. Isn’t he a bit like you and me? Nowhere man please listen, you don’t know what you’re missing. Nowhere man, the world is at your command.” (The Beatles, Nowhere Man – 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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How Aging Reduces Your Calorie Burn Rate – and How Being Active Reverses The Decline

If you’re a 40+ guy paying at least casual attention to nutrition science, you know this: as we get older, our bodies naturally burn fewer calories.

Given this reality about “base metabolic rate” (BMR), our choices are: (1) Slowly gain weight; (2) Get more active, to counter-balance the BMR decline; or (3) Reduce calories consumed.

I flirted with the first path in my 30’s but ultimately chose to reject Outcome #1, do everything I can toward Outcome #2, and also accept that a bit of Outcome #3 will be needed over time.

Whatever choice you make (and you are making a choice, man), I want it to be an informed one. So please invest a few minutes to learn about your current calorie burn rate, how it’s changing, and how your activity level affects that trajectory. Preview: getting more active can more than offset BMR decline, for many years!

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Lifelong Fitness: A Path to Sustainable Motivation for 40+ Guys

“I need to get motivated.” I’ve said this a thousand times over the years.

Once or twice in a big-picture sense when I wasn’t exercising enough, or eating well enough. Many, many times in a next-five-minutes sense. As in, “if I don’t change clothes and start a workout in the next five minutes, I’ll lose my available time window today.”

But it’s been years since I’ve had any big-picture motivation challenge, and I don’t even feel the next-five-minutes version that much anymore.

So what changed for me, motivation-wise?

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Fitness: What Men Can Learn From Women (Part 2)

Part One of this series said 40+ guys should take valuable cues from women to refine their fitness-and-health approach for the decades ahead.

Women…
1. Don’t let competitiveness become counterproductive to fitness
2. Focus more on total-body fitness
3. Seek out help and support more
4. Take nutrition more seriously

I have no intent to perpetuate stereotypes. But these patterns do fit with how many people assume women behave compared to men. So yeah, I’ll admit it in this language: Part One suggested we learn from attitudes and behaviors some might describe as “womanly.”

However you describe them, they have real benefits for lifelong fitness, health and wellness.

If anything, this Part Two makes a more cage-rattling point. Some women in the OlderBeast phase of life are “manning up” to fearlessly embrace age and double down on fitness — on “historically-male” fitness turf — more than many guys are.

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Fitness as We Age: 5 Ways to Combat Physical Vulnerability

In our quest to stay fit and vital as we age, sometimes we can’t help but experience feelings that counter-productively undermine our resolve.

It’s natural to fear and lament that our basic physical capabilities are diminished compared to our younger selves. But while this is true, you’re less over-the-hill than you think, man. This should be a manageable fear. Anyway, what are you gonna do about this – exercise less and let yourself get less fit because you can’t run a mile as fast as you could 20 years ago?

Also, like people of any age, we sometimes battle that sluggish feeling that whispers “don’t work out today…there’s always tomorrow.” But as we age, doubling down on fitness becomes ever more important, so effectively responding to that sluggish feeling is key.

Here’s the feeling that threatens our long-term body-and-soul health more than any other: the fear that we are getting more fragile, more VULNERABLE to injury and other activity-limiting aches and pains.

This is so dangerous because we can observe that it’s least partly true…but at the same time we can’t let it dictate our fitness habits and start a self-fulfilling downward trend. So how to deal with this shadow of vulnerability we feel? The trick is to neither ignore nor surrender to it.

Here are five things you can do starting now, to face up to this most-human feeling of vulnerability.

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