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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“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.

TYPICAL SOURCES OF PLANS & MOTIVATION: LIMITATIONS

To set the stage for discussing an ideal plan, let’s first discuss limitations of “typical” sources a bit more.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve used personal trainers, done XX-day programs like P90X, belonged to training-concept gyms (like Cross Fit) and gone whole-hog on single-activity training programs (like building up to a half-marathon). All these are great in their own way. They make sense to use as and when useful within a larger, longer-term program YOU personalize and orchestrate. But not as your single-and-forever answer to fitness.

Personal trainers can really help, especially if you’re just starting out on fitness or getting into a new activity. But they tend to specialize in an activity or two (often, focusing on strength). And you don’t spend seven days a week with them (though good trainers provide you with plans and guidance for days you don’t see them). And for most guys, a huge drawback is cost.

Even at a modest assumption of $75/hour, 4x per week for the next 20-30 years would cost $300,000-450,000. Do the math, brother.

XX-day at-home programs are great for clear direction, motivation and a quick wave of progress. But for a 90-day program, what do you do on Day 91? Do it again? If so, then what about Day 181?

This degree of regimentation limits fitness diversity and your ability to plan for yourself. It also keeps you indoors in front of a screen, following prompts. Which shuts out wellness-enhancement from getting outside into nature, with solitude and reflective time that come with solo fitness activities.

One trend does make it easier to use pieces and parts of these programs within your own diverse plan: availability via streaming, as opposed to for-purchase discs.

Concept-themed, in-person things (Cross Fit, boot camp-style clubs, kick boxing, etc.) provide great workouts, with reasonable diversity from a physical standpoint. And the “community” of like-minded peers adds to motivation. But these clubs have you inside almost all the time, missing things like fresh air and trees. And some critical-as-you-age things (like swimming and yoga) aren’t part of them.

Plus, if you’re thinking over years and decades, these aren’t cheap, either.

Single-activity programs like “train for a half-marathon in X weeks” help you achieve self-challenge goals, which is important. And they’re usually free or very affordable. But over the long-term, we want diversity in our fitness.

Being an obsessive runner, cyclist, swimmer, or you-name-it is the opposite of that. The basic why-and-how of seeking fitness diversity is discussed more here.

WHAT WE REALLY NEED FROM WORKOUT PLANS

What if you could consult with a knowledgeable friend each weekend about your plans for the upcoming week, and agree on what workouts to do that week, in what sequence (and WHY you were doing them)?

This type of planning would:

  • Be customized to your current fitness level and what that week’s logistics allowed (while keeping in mind for you a path toward higher fitness and more-frequent exercise)
  • Mix endurance, strength, flexibility, balance and wellness-enhancing activities, every week
  • Give you a medium level of detail about what to do, and point you to further tips and resources. This would help you know what to do, but also develop the Architect’s self-teaching orientation.
  • Lay out the “why” of the plan with a checklist vs. fitness/wellness criteria, so you could substitute things or otherwise personalize…while still achieving the plan’s big-picture goals

Yeah, this wouldn’t be the “tell me EXACTLY what to do” we sometimes want. But other than for happy marriages and defusing bombs, being told exactly what to do isn’t good for us, man. You’d have more ownership, more intrinsic motivation, and more long-term fitness success if you started using a kind of “90% plan,” which you decide how to complete and personalize.

OLDERBEAST WEEKLY WORKOUTS

This will not surprise you: OlderBeast Weekly Workouts are designed to seek these goals and ideals.

Each weekend at OlderBeast.com, a new plan will be available for use starting Monday. Here’s how it works:

  1. Use the simple menu to indicate your current fitness level and how many days you’ll work out this week
  2. You’ll get a corresponding plan that mixes endurance, strength, flexibility, balance and wellness-enhancing activities
  3. While the plan won’t micro-manage you (it won’t say “do a set of this kind of sit-ups then rest for 30 seconds”), it has enough detail to plan the basics of your workout. AND it points you to further tips and resources on OlderBeast, as well as elsewhere around the Web.
  4. The plan assesses each day’s activity vs. the overall fitness goals we seek as OlderBeasts. So, if your own preferences or logistic realities divert you from the “letter” of the plan that day, you can improvise and still know you’re covering your bases by following its spirit.

This isn’t super-fancy web functionality yet It’s a beta test designed to get early feedback from guys like you (if you’re still reading at this point, I’m talking about guys like you!)

TAKE ACTION

Since launching OlderBeast a few months ago, you’ve provided feedback along these lines: “Keep the OlderBeast articles coming, but also help translate this into something more concrete.” Request understood, guys.

The OlderBeast 90-Day Push-up Challenge is one reflection of this (with other challenges on their way).

But more holistically, the beta test of Weekly Workouts is the start of including more plans, tools and resources within the OlderBeast mix. I hope you get the chance to be a beta participant and – please and thank you – provide some feedback.

 

“Learning fast as the weeks went past. We really thought the Crocodile Rock would last.” (Elton John, Crocodile Rock—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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