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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Philosophy & Motivation

Midlife Crisis? Nah…It’s Just the Starting Point for Your Longest Run.

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Among all concerns, perhaps the biggest is the most subconscious and hardest to recognize:

At or beyond life’s halfway marker, we’re uncertain what our life ultimately will have meant.
I know this “Meaning of Life” concern is caricatured as the mid-life crisis and the sports car in response. But in reality, it can be more of an awakening, a broadening of vision and spirit, a healthy challenge, and an opportunity.

OlderBeast’s call – for you to double down on overall body-and-soul health – is to help maximize this opportunity. We’ll come back to that. First let’s take a deeper look at this “Meaning” concern.

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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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I Experimentally Reduced Cardio in My Fitness Mix – Here’s What Happened

There are good reasons for cardio-intensive guys to move to a better mix of endurance/strength/flexibility in the fitness mix.

Overtraining on cardio – especially without super-disciplined rest and nutrition regimes – can wear down your body, contribute to muscle loss, and allow development of imbalances that make you more prone to injury.

Also, in our time-challenged lives, too much cardio usually implies too little strength and flexibility training. And maintaining muscle tone and staying limber are huge parts of looking and feeling our best, and maximizing longevity, as we move through life’s second half.

And one big concern about reducing cardio – gaining weight/fat – may be misplaced. Evidence is emerging that strength training (with at least a somewhat-intense cadence) burns fat as well as, or better than, cardio.

With these things in mind (but still needing to overcome a “cardio reduction paranoia” mental hurdle), here’s what I changed and what I learned.

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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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