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 , Philosophy & Motivation

How to Overcome “That Sluggish Feeling” When It Threatens Your Workout Plan

There are a bunch of reasons why you might NOT work out today. Some are good, and many are not-so-good. Of all possible reasons, the one I really hate works like this.

1. You plan to work out that day. Then as the planned time nears, you start to feel a physical and/or mental sluggishness. Nothing dramatic, but you just don’t feel like working out. You start to flirt with the idea of taking the day off, considering various possible justifications.

2. But rather than explicitly, decisively declaring a day off – sometimes you need one, even if unplanned – you let minutes tick by without moving toward your workout OR deciding not to. Deep down, you might know what you’re doing, but you don’t admit it to yourself.

3. Then all of a sudden, voila, it’s “too late” for your workout. You missed the window of time you had before your next work, family or personal obligation. Even though you caused this, you don’t feel glad about the “can’t workout now” reality. You immediately feel like you’ve let yourself down.

This ever happen to you?  If so, you just fell victim to That Sluggish Feeling (“TSF”).  

I’ve devised a new response to TSF when it strikes. I don’t seek to move directly from sluggishness to exercise. Instead, I do a short, easy “bridge” activity in-between, to change my energy and get me into a better frame-of-mind to decide if I’m really, intentionally going to skip that workout. Here’s how it works.

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Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

Got Fitness & Health GOALS? You Should (and Here Are Mine).

Fitness in our 40’s, 50’s, 60s and beyond is more about long-term health, general vitality and happiness than it was earlier in life.

So, some cosmetic or vanity-driven objectives like pumping up the biceps or having a six-pack become less important.

But having said that, fitness GOALS are still critical for 40+ guys, probably more than ever. Why, what kind of goals, and how to use them? Let’s take a look.

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Fitness Planning & Gear , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Owed to Yourself: 6-Week Plan for Guys to Give Yoga a Fair Shake

Among 40+ guys who don’t do yoga (which is to say, among most 40+ guys), I think there are three reactions when I tout yoga in OlderBeast articles.

1. Inspired to try it. Man, I hope there have been at least a few of these…please?

2. Tuning me out. Kind of like the grown-ups in the old Charlie Brown TV specials – blah blah-blah blah.

3. Feeling somewhat persuaded, and a little motivated. But not enough to overcome remaining hesitancy or inertia.

You in Reaction mode #3? If so, this is for you, dude.

Here’s a step-by-step, no-commitments way for you to figure out more about yoga, try it, and decide if it’s for you. This envisions a 4 to 6 week period, after which you can “fish or cut bait” on the whole topic of yoga and you. 

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Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

Lifelong Fitness: A Path to Sustainable Motivation for 40+ Guys

“I need to get motivated.” I’ve said this a thousand times over the years.

Once or twice in a big-picture sense when I wasn’t exercising enough, or eating well enough. Many, many times in a next-five-minutes sense. As in, “if I don’t change clothes and start a workout in the next five minutes, I’ll lose my available time window today.”

But it’s been years since I’ve had any big-picture motivation challenge, and I don’t even feel the next-five-minutes version that much anymore.

So what changed for me, motivation-wise?

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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