Ditch your Fitness Plan. Thrive Long-term with a Fitness Checklist Instead.

OlderBeast seeks fitness, wellness, and feeling “whole” for the 2nd half of life. We want to feel great, look pretty good for our age, keep getting happier, and live long. But everybody wants that. The question is, who makes and follows a plan to get there?

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The OlderBeast philosophy seeks fitness, wellness, and feeling “whole” for the 2nd half of life. We want to feel great, look pretty good for our age, keep getting happier, and live long. But everybody wants that. The question is, who has a sustainable approach to get there, and stay there?

We should have exciting goals to pursue over months and years (run a half-marathon…hike the John Muir trail…cycle 100 miles…rock a headstand on the yoga mat…do 75 push-ups…swim a mile, etc.). But on the path to those, our lives and quests play out day-by-day.

I’m nearing 50. If I live to 90 (knock wood), that’s 14,600 more days. While days off are important as we age, for most of those days I should be physical – and seek physicality’s gifts to tranquility of spirit. So, how should I use my days – how should you use your days – in a purposeful way?

Google “fitness plan.” You’ll find endless links, many to great stuff from smart, experienced people (OlderBeast’s links section points to some). But most plans are so specific and regimented that they’re hard to follow in real life – For Week 1, I do this Monday, this Tuesday, then starting Week 2 do this, etc. It’s hard to live that way, for reasons both logistical and psychological. Am I going to follow someone else’s exact plan for 14,600 days? No way.

Over the course of years and via informal trial and error, I came to realize  it’s much more sustainable to not be overly regimented…to have general activity types and benefits you seek, and keep any given week’s or season’s activity flexible based on circumstances and what you’re feeling.

So, let’s start with more of a flexible CHECKLIST than a “plan.”

OlderBeast™ weekly fitness checklistThis week, will I…

Get at least two cardio sessions of 30+ minutes? Three or four is better, but if you’re active other days, you’ll get some lower-grade cardio from that, too.

⇒ Work core and upper body muscles at least twice? Focus here is the waist up, since most cardio works legs in some way; ideally, also get some leg strength work to ensure balance for leg muscles.

Swim or do a yoga practice? These provide benefits of “controlled breathing” like nothing else, and are low impact.

Take one or two walks, or otherwise ensure I get outdoors for 30+ minutes?

⇒ Work on flexibility alongside these other activities?

Some activities check multiple boxes. So, this could equate to as few as four days (e.g. a run, a swim, and two strength-oriented sessions). Or, it could be six days if each item drives its own activity. Also, you can do two activities on the same day – just get them done, man. Example: a 30-minute+ run and a 20-30 minute calisthenics routine would check two boxes. But if you’re doing these combo days (I try to), make sure you’re still active at least four days a week.

Spread out workouts so you’re not taking two days in a row completely off (or only rarely – occasionally two days off is what the doctor ordered). Or use combo days to move up to three cardio sessions…a swim AND a yoga practice…a leg strength day, etc. For many of us, a five or six day-per-week, consciously varied plan is ideal.

Here are some example weekly plans based on this checklist of core principles. But as you’ve seen, the key idea is to have a checklist in mind and make your own, circumstance-driven plan each week. Get to it, brother.

“I wasn’t born to follow.” (The Byrds, Wasn’t Born to Follow – click to listen)

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Planning

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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Philosophy , Planning

Warning: Your Gym or Exercise Class is Suffocating Your Soul

The OlderBeast fitness philosophy for the second half of a guy’s life is about spreading our focus across endurance, strength, flexibility and balance.  You can work on all those things in your gym, and do exercise classes that cover those bases, too.  So no disrespect intended to the great gyms and classes out there (nor the teachers and trainers who work there).

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Activities , Planning

Love Running? Me Too (But Here’s Why I’ll Never Run More Than 10K Again)

Seeing the sunrise on a workday morning. Running on the beach. Running to explore a city. The sense of accomplishment and physical fulfillment running brings.

Are these part of your life, too? I hope so, brother. If not, you can and in fact should experience them.

But if you love running, the (ironic) challenge becomes one of doing it too often, or going too far. Both of these undermine a balanced and long-term sustainable fitness plan.

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Nutrition , Planning , Wellness

Work At Home? Avoid These Five Fitness & Health Pitfalls!

Guys who go to an office daily might think: “Please…cry me a river about your zero-minute commute. I’d love that time back.”

It’s counter-intuitive that working at home, with commute time avoided, has fitness- and health-related pitfalls. After all, the #1 reason for not exercising is “I don’t have time.”

But having worked at home about half the time over the last decade, I can tell you first-hand: here are five fitness/health challenges that arise (and tips for overcoming them).

7 Comments
  1. […] Wherever you’re starting from, here are suggestions for achieving strength goals as an integrated part of your weekly checklist. […]

  2. […] is great news for guys whose fitness routine is consistent with OlderBeast principles: yoga and swimming, two fitness pillars I’ve urged you to include, provide “controlled […]

  3. […] Start with a small number of guiding principles, then translate them into your own flexible action plan on a week-by-week basis. I wrote about a “checklist” of fundamental principles here. […]

  4. […] or even looking really “thin.” Just get body fat moving in the right direction via an activity and nutrition approach that’s right for you, and it will work alongside all these other factors […]

  5. […] or even looking really “thin.” Just get body fat moving in the right direction via an activity and nutrition approach that’s right for you, and it will work alongside all these other factors […]

  6. […] is great news for guys whose fitness routine is consistent with OlderBeast principles: yoga and swimming, two fitness pillars I’ve urged you to include, provide “controlled […]

  7. […] Variety is critical as an overall philosophy (see this), but also you can do more workouts per week if you shift focus and stress among different body […]

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