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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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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Fitness Planning & Gear

Packaged Fitness Programs? Why Guys Should Declare Independence.

Recently I’m swamped by ads for fitness programs promising unbelievable fast results, declaring themselves better than anything ever conceived before, or playing blatantly to a stereotype of male ego/insecurity.

I’ve done “programs.” The good ones are designed by smart people and will produce results if you’re diligent and intense in following them.

But what to do the day the program is over? Do it all over again?…For the rest of our lives?…Or go back to whatever our fitness regimens were before we started the program?

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Drinking Challenge with a Twist: Drink *Less* Alcohol to Improve Your Fitness!

You might not like where I’m going with this article, man. So I might as well lay it on the table upfront: you should probably cut down on the booze.

Yeah, studies periodically find some health benefits from modest alcohol consumption. But the fact is, for a 40+ guy doubling down on fitness to help maximize his decades ahead, alcohol has multiple negative properties that outweigh the positives. Drinking sparingly is thus a smart move for an OlderBeast.

Here’s a rundown of alcohol’s negative impacts on fitness, and links to a few useful expert articles if you want to go deeper.

6 Comments
  1. Adrian Klaphaak 3 years 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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