Hey, Hero Man: Take Care of YOURSELF!

Taking care of business. Finances. The house. Kids. Maybe your parents. Man, you’ve got a lot to take care of.

But one thing that should characterize reaching the “OlderBeast threshold” – somewhere in the age 40-50 window – is this realization:

No matter how much is on your plate, it’s time to start truly taking care of yourself, brother.

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Taking care of business. Finances. The house.  Kids.  Maybe your parents.  Man, you’ve got a lot to take care of.

But one thing that should characterize reaching the “OlderBeast threshold” – somewhere in the age 40-50 window – is this realization:

No matter how much is on your plate, it’s time to start truly taking care of yourself, brother.

The Hazard of Being (Just) the Man They Expect Us to Be

We’re biologically and culturally wired to view “provide, protect, procreate” as our mission (and how others judge us).  This has never been easy, but today it’s harder than ever.  More work, with electronic demands nearly 24/7.  More time spent taking care of kids than our fathers or grandfathers (this is a beautiful thing, not a problem – but it does create added time pressures and stresses).  Economic pressure – kids’ education, your retirement, etc.

If we’re honest and let our superhero guise slip for a minute, this mission can sometimes be exhausting.  And if you’ve reached the OlderBeast threshold, you’ve been going hard at it for 20-30+ years.

On top of that – and even more importantly – if you don’t step back and think about where you’re headed, this simplified template of what it means to be “a man” can be self-limiting.   There’s more to life than being “bankers and pack mules,” as a friend of mine used to joke when wives and kids entered the picture (of course, many a true word is said in jest).

The Best Path Forward Demands “Self-Care”

As we enter and proceed through the second half of life, we owe something to ourselves and those who count on us: being more conscious of self-care (physical, mental and even spiritual) that will keep us happy, productive, and engaged in all that life demands, and offers, for decades to come.

To put this in competitive terms that sometimes resonate best with guys, no matter the economic success you achieve nor the responsibility/power level you reach, it’s not “winning” over the long term if you reduce your quality-of-life (or even shorten your life span, dude) via insufficient exercise, poor nutrition and/or lack of stress management.

Avoiding these fates and instead becoming a holistically successful human is one definition of Wellness – a mega-topic I’ve started to cover within OlderBeast, and will continue to.

Good News for OlderBeasts

With your thriving in mind, I ask you to think about all this and start acting on it, please.  Here are some “good news” points to help you do so.

⇒ You DO have time to invest in fitness and activities that manage stress. Some of this time can be reclaimed from a subtle beast that has been sinking its claws into you, little by little, for years: email, news/social media and video entertainment. Also, if you have kids, they’re more independent or out of the house entirely now, and you have time that wasn’t available to you X years ago.

⇒ There are great resources and knowledge available. Compared to even ten years ago, we understand so much more about what most-effectively and time-efficiently moves the needle on physical fitness and nutrition. Magazines, websites, books, blogs – and personal coaches and trainers – are all here to help.  In fact, there’s so much info out there, some distillation and curation of it all would help.  OlderBeast will start focusing on this soon, so please contact us if you have specific requests or ideas here. Thanks.

⇒ You are more secure and willing to ask for help, compared to your younger self. This is a blanket assertion that might not be true for all…but I think it is for most of us.  I often say about myself “I’ll take all the help I can get.”

⇒ By definition, OlderBeast physical goals are achievable. You’re not trying to win the Boston Marathon, set a power-lifting record, or surf the Bonzai Pipeline (or if you are, hats off to you, and thanks for reading OlderBeast anyway!). Instead, you’re seeking a baseline level of overall fitness to feel great, look your best, contribute to your sense of joy from life, and live long…and there are many diverse fitness options to achieve these things.

⇒ Every hour you dedicate to Wellness is paid back by making your other hours more effective (and…sorry to be explicit here…by helping you stay vital and alive for longer, man). Prioritization of time for fitness makes us more productive and creative in professional endeavors, and more “present” and engaged in personal ones.  Solid nutrition increases our energy level and makes us – literally – think better, which helps in everything we do.

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In a subtle but critical way, all of this – the hazards and the path around them – changes “getting into shape” or “losing some weight” into “taking care of myself.”  Re-framed this way, I hope you are inspired to give at least the same level of care to yourself as you do to that classic car you might own…or your fine old house…or (like me) your aging but still-frisky man’s best friend. That’s him in the picture above, by the way.

…not to mention the humans you care about, and who care about you.  OlderBeasts make and follow a plan to be here for them, in the best possible way and for the longest possible time.  That sounds pretty manly after all, doesn’t it?

“She said man, there’s really something wrong with you. One day you’re gonna self-destruct.” (The Kinks, Destroyer)

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Work At Home? Avoid These Five Fitness & Health Pitfalls!

Guys who go to an office daily might think: “Please…cry me a river about your zero-minute commute. I’d love that time back.”

It’s counter-intuitive that working at home, with commute time avoided, has fitness- and health-related pitfalls. After all, the #1 reason for not exercising is “I don’t have time.”

But having worked at home about half the time over the last decade, I can tell you first-hand: here are five fitness/health challenges that arise (and tips for overcoming them).

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Stop Missing This *Other* Key Benefit of Exercising Outdoors

To the extent epiphanies come to me in life, they often happen while I’m running. Being physical and “getting out of my head” frees my mind. Thoughts aren’t required or even expected – they can just come as they may. And that’s frequently when the most original, creative or useful ones arrive.

And something about running in particular nurtures this. Something struck me while running a couple of days ago, and I think it’s highly relevant to your life as well as mine, brother.

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REAL fitness New Year’s Resolution: “I Will Discover What’s *Really* Been Holding Me Back.”

So many guys know they need to lose weight, improve cardio health, and/or battle the decline of strength and flexibility. They know all the reasons why and they know reasonably well what to do. But still…time passes. Periods of resolve (especially around New Year’s) are followed by longer periods of less discipline. The body-and-soul health gap grows larger. And the long-term game plan to address it recedes into the fuzzy future.

In truth, do you recognize yourself here? This was me circa 2004 by the way, so please don’t hear this question as criticism or judgment. I’m describing, at least, a sizable minority of 45+ guys. Maybe even a majority.

If you’re one of them, I respectfully believe you need a different kind of 2018 New Year’s resolution, man. Not just to “work out more” or “join a new gym.” These kinds of resolution are easy to make but so hard to keep over time. (So is “eat better,” but nutrition is its own major topic and here I’m sticking to the exercise component of fitness).

Here’s a resolution that may sound harder to start acting on, but which is much more likely to really matter in your life. “In 2018, I’m going to discover and attack the root cause – cognitive or emotional – of my persistent under-attention to fitness and health.”

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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!

7 Comments
  1. […] I’ve been given…to hand over to my future self the fittest body-and-soul I can nurture…to be there for my loved ones in the future…and to honor and respect the incredible striving of people with real challenges to […]

  2. […] I’ve been given…to hand over to my future self the fittest body-and-soul I can nurture…to be there for my loved ones in the future…and to honor and respect the incredible striving of people with real challenges to […]

  3. […] help a loved one achieve the benefits listed above? If so, remember YOU are one of your loved ones. Taking care of yourself has to be on the high-priority […]

  4. […] Recognition that dedicating time to care for our own bodies and souls isn’t abdication of “provide and protect” responsibilities to our family…it’s actually […]

  5. […] The idea is to launch and follow an intentional plan until, for a few hours each week, you’ve tipped the balance just a desperately-needed bit toward your own fitness and wellness. […]

  6. […] that dedicating time to care for our own bodies and souls isn’t abdication of “provide and protect” responsibilities to our family…it’s actually […]

  7. […] The idea is to launch and follow an intentional plan until, for a few hours each week, you’ve tipped the balance just a desperately-needed bit toward your own fitness and wellness. […]

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