Guys, You Know It’s Time for Fitness…Here’s How to Start

With all the focus here on finer points of tuning your fitness approach, continuing to eat smarter, and mixing the outdoors and adventure into your activities…I worry OlderBeast may feel inaccessible to guys who don’t (currently) make fitness and good nutrition a habit.

OlderBeast isn’t just about getting even fitter and healthier from a solid starting point, though – it’s about getting started from wherever you are.

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I’m passionate about balanced fitness and practical nutrition.  I want to feel great, look (at least) pretty good for my age, keep getting happier, and live long.  OlderBeast’s mission is to help you do the same.

But with all the focus here on finer points of tuning your fitness approach, continuing to eat smarter, and mixing the outdoors and adventure into your activities…I worry OlderBeast may feel inaccessible to guys who don’t (currently) make fitness and good nutrition a habit.

OlderBeast isn’t just about getting even fitter and healthier from a solid starting point, though – it’s about getting started from wherever you are.  All of us have times—when kids are young, when work demands travel, when injuries happen, whenever—when our fitness and nutrition wavers or stalls.  At those times, the hardest part is to just get started.

This is natural: objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

So, to take the critical first step, here are very simple ideas.  These follow the philosophy of the “tiny habit”—one little thing that’s so easy to do, you do it…that then creates momentum to add another thing, and another.

I feel “obvious” writing this.  But so often, if feels like your only two choices are to embark on a whole fitness or diet “program” (which the world is heavily marketing to you, and making you feel bad about not doing)…or to do nothing.  Here’s a third choice, a much lower hurdle for getting started.

 

new-life

Pick one of these physical habits, and do it 2-3 times per week for a month:

Take a 20 to 30-minute walk (outside way preferable vs. treadmill!). If you have a dog…take him or her…but for a longer and/or brisker walk than just a “do your business” lap around the block.

Go for a “fun” bike ride with a destination. It doesn’t need to be fast, and you don’t need an Italian racing team spandex outfit.

Try yoga. Pretty much all studios have new-student offerings where the first week or two is a fixed, low price, and you can pay by the class for a few more weeks after that, then see what you think.

If you belong to a gym, get there for some mellow cardio plus a basic “circuit” of light lifting for 40 to 45 minutes, total. You are “allowed” to just have a light all-over workout, get your pulse up, and get a sweat going.  I bet you’ll rekindle some inspiration to continue.

Start doing push-ups. Figure out the most you can do (your max will get bigger, quickly, as you work on this).  Then take 40-50% of that number, and do three sets of that many pushups (or to the point of muscle failure while trying).   Do this every other day.

Also, pick one of these easy nutrition-improvement steps.

No desserts during the week (way easier than total cold turkey—you’ll know during virtuous days there is something tasty just a few days away).

Don’t eat after 8pm. You metabolize food better when you’re awake, sleep better when your stomach isn’t full, and wake up hungrier for breakfast.  Three great benefits from one simple habit.

Drink water instead of juices and soft drinks (and cut down on alcohol, either by having some no-booze days or just drinking 1+ fewer drinks on days you drink).

Eliminate snacking on flour- or potato-based things (pretzels, crackers, chips) and eat nuts, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, beef jerky instead—anything without refined flour or “simple” carbohydrates.

Reduce bread every day. Skip a sandwich and have a salad with protein instead…have sliced bread for a sandwich instead of a massive roll…don’t eat bread before dinner at a restaurant…have oatmeal or eggs instead of a bagel, muffin, etc. for breakfast.

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Brothers, with your thriving in mind, I hope for two outcomes from this simple “friendly nudge.”

First, I hope you get started or re-started (let me know how it’s going).  However old you are, I guarantee it will be easier now than in the future.

Second, and this is where the beauty really starts, I hope you keep doing these  things, and add another, and then another.  Before too long, you’ll care about OlderBeast posts on getting enough rest/recovery time, or leaving a “pig day” within your diet regimen!

“I made up my mind to make a new start.” (Led Zeppelin, Going to California)

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Three Squares? Why Higher Meal Frequency (5+) Is Better.

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has reportedly lost 10+ pounds for the upcoming season — by eating NINE times a day.

News coverage also highlights a surprising daily calorie total (for anyone, let alone a guy losing weight): 4,800.

But Wilson is a young and large man (relative to non-NFL types) with a naturally-high metabolic rate. And, he’s extremely active with training camp starting in a few weeks.

So to me, the big story isn’t the calorie total. It’s the philosophy of eating more, smaller meals throughout the day. Nine is extreme, but eating 5-6 times a day isn’t so much. I recommend it for us 40+ guys trying to lose or manage weight, and fuel our bodies’ performance potential.

Here’s why.

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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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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.

6 Comments
  1. Adrian Klaphaak 12 months ago
    Reply

    I love your perspective on starting where I am. I often don’t start something because it feels to big and insurmountable. I mistakenly think that I need to swim or run or do whatever it is 3x per week to make it worthwhile. But I don’t do it because I don’t have the time to commit and then I get no benefits. I really appreciate your idea of starting with a small habit that is doable – and growing it overtime into something bigger. Thanks for new approach:)

  2. […] OlderBeast isn’t just about getting even fitter and healthier from a solid starting point, though – it’s about getting started from wherever you are (continue reading)… […]

  3. […] 3. Walk a little more, and make at least 1-2 small improvements in what you eat (ideas for that here) […]

  4. […] ⇒ Take small steps first. Try a new “tiny habit” you can get into without big motivational hurdles. This can then snowball in a positive way. I wrote about these types of small steps here. […]

  5. […] ⇒ Take small steps first. Try a new “tiny habit” you can get into without big motivational hurdles. This can then snowball in a positive way. I wrote about these types of small steps here. […]

  6. […] OlderBeast isn’t just about getting even fitter and healthier from a solid starting point, though – it’s about getting started from wherever you are (continue reading)… […]

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