Smartwatch & Tracker Users: “Un-quantify” Yourself 14.3% of the Time

I admit to intentional irony in the headline, but here’s my point in “analog”: once per week or so, don’t use your smartwatch or fitness tracker (or at least, don’t obsess over it). I’m experimenting with this, brothers, and urge you to do the same.

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I admit to intentional irony in the headline, but here’s my point in “analog”: once per week or so, don’t use your smartwatch or fitness tracker (or at least, don’t obsess over it).  I’m experimenting with this, brothers, and urge you to do the same.

Between a fifth and a quarter of Americans own a wearable device (roughly half use it regularly).  But my guess is we OlderBeasts, who care a lot about fitness and welcome all the help we can get, are much higher-than-average users.

So a lot of us measure and strive on things like: how far did I go at what average pace?…how many calories did I burn?…what was my average and max heart rate?. I certainly do (I just moved to a “strapless” GPS/heart-rate watch that does all the land-based stuff plus count laps, stroke efficiency and things like that in the pool).

Arriving at my town’s pool the other day, I realized – horror! – I’d left the precious new wearable at home.  I actually momentarily considered driving back to get it, then realized “this is crazy—man has been swimming for 10,000 years without a gizmo on his wrist…including me for the first 40 or so years of life—I think I can ‘tough it out’ today with no tech.”

Well, I had a great swim, and thinking about this “un-quant yourself” theme, I realized it’s happened to me every now and again for running, too (forgot to bring my smartwatch on a business trip).

turn-off-your-mind

So I decided to start going low-tech sometimes on purpose.  Why might you consider this, too?

⇒ Unclutter your mind to let creativity and problem-solving bubble up while you work out.  One of the reasons we exercise is to get away from the modern world and its sometimes-suffocating nature.  Not worrying about your little wrist screen can be freeing, every now and then, and let our minds rest, or (sometimes) do their best work.

⇒ Reduce unhealthy desire for “farther/faster.”  I’m reasonably competitive, with myself especially.  That helps motivate lifelong workout habits, which is great, but when paired with precise measurement tech, it can also limit satisfaction with a workout if it wasn’t “better” than the prior one.

Example to show how crazy this actually is:  I swim at a pace per 100 meters of 1:51-1:53, for my ~2400-meter swim a couple of times per week (I’m not a fast swimmer).  Deep down, I want each swim to be a bit faster than the last.  But is this even possible for any sustained period?  If I improved my pace by one second each time I swim, within six months I’d be at world record pace…and that’s not happening.

So it’s healthy to embrace this:  at some point on your fitness curve for a given activity, you’re not going to get much faster, or go much farther.  That’s a beautiful thing, if you flip around your perspective:  you’ve gotten into really good shape, refined technique…and now you’re going to maintain performance, and enjoy your body’s ability to keep doing this.  Unplugging from wearable tech now and again helps allow this perspective.

⇒ Listen to your body.  Not relying on tech-enabled quantification brings you back to a more elemental way of calibrating your effort – how do I feel?  This is a good thing.

⇒ Finally, there’s the simple but deeply philosophical idea of sometimes just being a man in his natural state, doing something physical like your ancestors have been doing since back into the deep shadows of the past.  Getting the f**king computer off your wrist helps bring that back, man, and that’s important.

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Am I getting rid of my fitness watch?  No way!  There are tremendous benefits to it, and I’ll have one for the rest of my life.  But as with anything great that we might risk overdoing, a little moderation with wearable tech keeps everything in balance and makes life work best.

So, I’m going to “forget” my tech once a week or so, for an easy-to-moderate and mellow workout, and I think I’ll be happier for it.

I think you may, too…let me know how it goes!

“Does anybody really know what time it is…does anybody really care.” (Chicago, Does Anybody Know What Time it Is?)

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OlderBeast Weekly Web Picks: January 23, 2017

With all the great fitness, nutrition and wellness stuff out there on the Internet…there’s often too much to make sense of. Without an integrating philosophy and approach, it’s hard to interpret, prioritize and orchestrate everything into your own game plan. And your own plan is what you need, to sustain and thrive on for decades.

Helping you be your own Architect is OlderBeast’s core mission. Now, with OlderBeast philosophy as a foundation, we’re starting a weekly “best of the web” post at OlderBeast.com. For fitness, nutrition and Wellness categories, it features a single, useful pointer to highly-relevant and useful stuff.

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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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OlderBeast: Five Things to Know About It for 2017

Happy new year, brothers (and sorry for the “clickbait” title of this post – I hate these “X things” headlines, but in this case it feels authentic… though I still won’t do it again until 2018, promise).

Since OlderBeast.com just kicked off recently, this may be the first you’re hearing of it. So, this post is to introduce the concept and suggest a few articles on fitness, nutrition and wellness to help make 2017 your greatest year yet.

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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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