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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Fitness Planning & Gear , Mindfulness & Stress Management , Philosophy & Motivation

Why “Solitude + Exercise” is a Key Wellness Formula

One of the great things about certain types of exercise is that we can address two vital questions with one single action: Am I getting enough physical exercise? Am I getting enough high-quality solitude?

I’m willing to be the Oracle of the Obvious sometimes (just ask my wife or kids) But I won’t belabor the “why exercise?” question here.

But let’s discuss “why solitude?” and also “why is exercise time especially good solitude?” These should be prominent themes for any guy doubling down on body-and-soul health.

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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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Fitness Planning & Gear

One of These Simple Fitness Tests Will Make You More Bulletproof & Motivated

In business, there’s a saying about the benefit of quantifying things to sharpen focus on them and drive results:

“What gets measured, gets managed.”

This is true for fitness and health, too. And for all of us past age 40, periodic physical tests and assessments are especially important because:

(1) We’re more prone to slow-developing asymmetries in our fitness, which become weaknesses over time — chinks in our armor vs. aging. Fitness assessments help flag potential problem areas so we can address them.

And (2) when assessments find strengths, this is great and much-valued reinforcement of the investments we make in fitness. It’s motivation to keep going…something we all need.
With these benefits in mind, have you done a fitness self-assessment recently? And no, the “Presidential” tests back in gym class in 1970-something don’t count, man.

Here are three simple assessments you can do on your own, with descriptions and pro’s/con’s. I’ve purposely left out tests that require any fancy equipment, and ones that are “hard core” for advanced disciples of any given fitness activity. So, sorry, nothing here about how much you can dead lift or how fast you can run a half-marathon.   

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Fitness Planning & Gear

What We REALLY Need From a Workout Plan (Introducing OlderBeast Weekly Workouts)

“Just tell me what to do” is a common desire people have for workout plans. That’s understandable. Expert direction and a friendly kick in the butt are helpful.

But for 40+ guys seeking diverse fitness that’s sustainable month-in/month-out for decades…typical sources of “tell me what to do” have drawbacks. They usually don’t cover the range of activities you need to be all-over fit. They often overlook the need for exercise to be a place of mental retreat and restoration. And they rarely guide you to take charge of your own planning and motivation, which is key to long-term habits (in OlderBeast language referred to as being your own Architect). Not to mention, using “tell me what to do” sources over years and decades gets expensive.

Here’s what OlderBeasts really need from workout plans. And a public service announcement: OlderBeast is beta testing a new Weekly Workouts feature.

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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