90-Day Plan for (Re)Starting Fitness as a Habit

At some point, nearly all of us have been there: you’re working hard, commuting, maybe traveling, investing a lot of time with family…and NOT GETTING MUCH EXERCISE, if any.

It’s hard to move toward fitness from this place, partly because of the time challenge. But equally or sometimes even more, this is what’s tough: simply knowing “where to start.” And feeling that uncertainty makes it very hard to decide to start, dude.

As a friend recently described falling out of his exercise routine, “once the ‘switch’ is turned off, it’s #$%&! hard to flip it back on again.”

So use the fact that you’re reading this as a kick in the butt, man. Not from me, really, but from your inner self that motivated you to read this. Flip that switch!

Here’s my ultra-simple suggestion for a 90-day plan.

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At some point, nearly all of us have been there: you’re working hard, commuting, maybe traveling, investing a lot of time with family…and NOT GETTING MUCH EXERCISE, if any.

It’s hard to move toward fitness from this place. Partly because of the time challenge. But equally or sometimes even more, this is what’s tough: simply knowing “where to start.” And feeling that uncertainty makes it very hard to decide to start, dude.

As a friend recently described falling out of his exercise routine, “once the ‘switch’ is turned off, it’s #$%&! hard to flip it back on again.”

So use the fact that you’re reading this as a kick in the butt, man. Not from me, really, but from your inner self that motivated you to read this. Flip that switch! Here’s a 90-day plan to do it…an answer to the question “where to start?”

ULTRA-SIMPLE PLAN TO START OR RE-START ON FITNESS

Here’s my ultra-simple suggestion for a 90-day plan. Links to great how-to resources on these things are at the bottom of this article.

  1. Pick one type of endurance activity. Start a very modest and gradual program over ~7-10 weeks, to get to a 3-times-a-week, 30+minutes-per-workout habit.
  2. Add a twice-a-week, 15-minute strength routine with a few simple exercises (body weight calisthenics). This can be on 2+ of the days you do cardio, or on a couple of the other days in-between.
  3. In general, walk a little more.
  4. Make at least 1-2 small improvements in what you eat (lots of ideas for that here).

I’ve described this as a 90-day plan, because that’s about how long research says it takes for new habits to become productively ingrained.

But this is guaranteed to make you feel better, physically and mentally, long before 90 days. You’ll feel it within a small number of weeks. And it will provide positive motivation to keep going.

I just corresponded with an old friend who started like this, from a near-zero starting point. Now he’s doing triathlons at a competitive level and feels like a totally new man. I’m not suggesting this is everyone’s definition of “success” here — at all. But it illustrates that many of us have a powerful, high-stamina athlete lurking inside us, waiting to be freed and nurtured.

IDEAL CARDIO EXERCISE FOR 90-DAY START PLAN: RUNNING

For the cardio, there are lots of options. But if all possible, I recommend running. Or, using walk/run intervals to build up to continuous running.

Why running?

  • No gym membership required
  • No one else’s schedule to adhere to
  • The simplest of equipment: running shoes. And maybe if required to pull it off time-wise, a running stroller. This lets you give your wife a break at the same time you do something for yourself, AND spend time with a young kid(s). I bet you can borrow a running stroller from a friend whose kids are older now, or buy one cheap on Craigslist.

Building your endurance to run is really fulfilling and further motivational, even if it’s just for a mile or two initially (or 3.1, which is 5K race distance, by the way; just saying).

Yeah, it may suck at the beginning. But NOT for long. Just keep thinking of the scene in Rocky where he exalts at the top of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. Corny, but cool.

Of course, in some instances foot, knee, hip or back issues make running truly not doable. If that’s your situation, brother…then use biking, swimming or cardio machines in a gym. Whatever it takes.

But if you can run, then run.

TAKE ACTION: STARTER GUIDES FOR RUNNING & BEGINNER CALISTHENICS

Here’s a solid guide on a program to start running. And one on beginner calisthenics workouts. Some of the workouts here require no equipment at all. Others you may choose call for a place to do chin-ups or (at the start) bar hangs. There’s a great home chin-up bar on OlderBeast’s recommended products page, or you can always walk or run to a nearby playground to find a bar.

For both running and strength work, this type of “begin at the beginning” approach will be perfect for some guys’ current starting point and for the entirety of the 90 days. Others of you might think “OK, I’m doing this, and I can do more.” Well, that’s great, brother.

Onward and upward are the only true guidelines here.

 

“You see, it’s all clear. You were meant to be here. From the beginning.” (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, From the Beginning–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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Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

“Too Busy” To Exercise Because You’re in “Survival Mode? Try This Minimum Fitness Plan…or Else

I have a few friends who are longtime habitual exercisers, but still look at me like I’m on a different planet when I talk about the finer points of moving from five to six workouts a week.

Why? They currently feel in “survival mode” with seemingly 24/7 work demands, business travel, and school-age kids in the house. The time when they can work out five-plus times a week seems somewhere down the road.

Fair enough. I’ve been there. But no matter what, when survival mode conditions last more than a week, you simply need to figure out how to maintain at least basic fitness.

There’s a minimum threshold below which “postponing fitness” is not the answer, even for short-term productivity, let alone long-term thriving.

So here are a few simple but powerful fitness and Wellness tactics to adopt when life puts you into survival mode.

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For Fast, Clear Results: Try This 10-15 Minute “Yoga Tonic” Each Morning

TWO QUESTIONS:

1. Are you mentally sold on the idea of yoga, but just not able to do it much because of other fitness and life priorities?

In my case, I’m ultra-sold, but I still only do a full yoga practice once a week. I don’t want to displace other workouts or my rest day. But I know I’m missing out on some of yoga’s benefits from this infrequency (especially the flexibility benefit). 

2. Do you feel sometimes feel stiff and sluggish when you get out of bed in the morning? I do.

For both of these reasons, I started doing this 10-15 minute mini-yoga practice most mornings.

I’ve noticed clear improvements in my flexibility and ability to really nail and hold some key poses. And it reliably limbers up and energizes me, too. 

If you’re a seldom-yoga guy, this will bring you (physical and also mental) benefits as a standalone habit. And if you do longer-form yoga practices with some regularity but it’s not feeling like “enough,” this consistent short-form habit will set you up for better performance when you do spend longer on the mat.

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Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

Your Fitness Mix Beyond 40: Six Signs You May Need to Change It Up

To begin with, you DO need a well-balanced mix of fitness activities.

I don’t care if you can run far and fast, bike up steep hills, or lift impressive amounts. If any of those things is all you do, brother, you won’t have the best blend of endurance, strength, flexibility and balance to stay physically vital for your hopefully-many decades to come.

Past 40, God-given levels of these physical traits do start to erode. It’s only by our conscious and continuous effort, via a good fitness mix, that we maintain them. This foundational OlderBeast article talks more about this need to seek more diverse fitness.

OK, so what’s the best mix – what activities, how often? There’s no single “right” answer for everyone. Even your own personal mix will vary over the seasons and the years.

But there are clear signs you’ll see if your current mix isn’t working. Here are six I recognize. Any apply to you? If so, it might be time to mix things up more.

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