OlderBeast Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge: Week 1 Intro

Welcome to OlderBeast’s Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge.

The purpose of this and other challenges is to help inspire and support you in trying new fitness/nutrition approaches, in ways that “one-off” articles can’t do as well on their own. Every guy who undertakes this challenge can succeed, if he decides to. Really, it’s a challenge to your curiosity, willingness to be a “beginner” at something new, and determination to give something a fair trial to see if it might be part of your long-term game plan.

As the season unfolds, each week there will be updates such as OlderBeast-original content, curated “best-of” information and advice from gurus from around the web, expert interviews, and reviews of relevant products and services.

The rest of this post lays out this challenge’s specific goals, rationale, and detailed instructions for how to get started. Please consider yourself challenged, and read on!

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Welcome to OlderBeast’s Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge. If you know what this is already and are ready-to-go, skip right to the next section (and if so, then nice decisiveness, bro!).

If you’re just exploring, then FYI the purpose of this and other challenges is to help inspire and support you in trying new fitness/nutrition approaches, in ways that “one-off” articles can’t do as well on their own.

The “challenge” in this context won’t typically be just quantitative (like “X push-ups”). Rather, it will more broadly target successful experimentation, learning, decision-making if this is “for you,” and (if so) incorporation into your routine.

So every single guy who undertakes this challenge can succeed, if he decides to. Really, it’s a challenge to your curiosity, willingness to be a “beginner” at something new, and determination to give something a fair trial to see if it might be part of your long-term game plan.

As the season unfolds, each week there will be updates including one or more of:

  • OlderBeast-original content – as always, from the perspective of the 45+ guys that we are
  • Curated “best-of” information and advice from gurus from around the web
  • Expert interviews
  • Reviews of relevant products and services

THE YOGA CHALLENGE

Goals:

  • Do at least six yoga practices during October-December 2017
  • Have those practices span at least two sources of instruction (yoga studio instructor or online class), including at least one in-person studio experience
  • Achieve at least three weeks in a row where you get a yoga practice into your routine, during the span of this challenge
  • Decide by New Year’s if-and-how you will keep yoga as part of your fitness and wellness routine

Rationale:

Why yoga as a challenge focus?

There are tons of reasons why 45+ guys should do yoga – and overcome the usually-illogical reasons we have for not doing so. See next section.

Why these specific goals?

Yoga is one of those things you can’t just do once and figure out if you like it. You need to string together a number of times doing it, to start getting comfortable and most fully feel the benefits. Also, instruction matters, and so diversity of instruction sources will help you get the best sense of what’s out there.

Instructions for Getting Started:

  • Please read the sections below on “why” and “where to start”
  • Find and select your first source of an instructor-led yoga class (studio or online)…
  • …and SCHEDULE it into your life for some time in the next two weeks, to get going on the challenge
  • Check back at OlderBeast.com each week for more to guide you along the way (or follow OlderBeast on Facebook or Twitter to be notified each time new content is available)
  • Join OlderBeast’s Private Facebook Members Group to compare notes and swap tips & tricks with other guys taking the challenge.

WHY YOGA?

I wasn’t born a yoga cheerleader.  I lucked into yoga, via the P90X fitness program’s weekly “Yoga X” workout. Unexpectedly, it became my favorite day of the week. It made me feel great in ways nothing else did, and it was the thing I continued even as I stopped strictly following the rest of that highly-regimented program.

With hopes you’ll also benefit, here’s my two cents on why and how you should bring yoga into your life.

You know yoga proponents say it helps with strength, flexibility, balance and tranquility-of-mind. I want to emphasize and expand on parts of this, instead of repeating it all.

Strength. Yoga hits muscles other workouts ignore: core and trunk…secondary leg muscles not worked by running, cycling, or squats…lower back. Try the right yoga class, brother, and I guarantee you’ll be sore in unfamiliar places. Do you want those places to keep getting weaker as you age – or will you do something about it?

Flexibility and balance. What fitness-minded guy doesn’t know he should work flexibility more? Yoga actually does it. As for balance, most of us don’t think about it much. But it’s those under-worked muscles that help balance, so balance is really a sign of all-over strength. More interested now? For further motivation, observe some 70- or 80-something guys. Balance is one of the unsung things that makes some look old and tentative, while others keep looking spry.

Tranquility-of-mind. The rhythmic, deep breathing of yoga is a lot of what drives the mind/body benefit we seek from fitness (swimming is great for this, too). This is also a big part of what meditation is about. More and more is being understood and written about the powerful benefits of breathing – and yoga delivers.

Put these things together. A 1-2x per week yoga practice is an awesome complement to our other endurance and strength activities: it’s low-impact, works un-worked muscles, keeps our bodies pliant and in balance, and brings peace.

WHERE TO START

Here’s concrete info for overcoming hesitancies, getting a mat, and finding instruction resources.

This link is to a post originally constructed as a 6-week plan, you’ll see. But in this season-long challenge, you have a bit more breathing room time-wise. And, you’ll have more support resources each week at OlderBeast.

ONE LAST “PITCH” FOR THIS CHALLENGE

Interested, but already “fully scheduled” with your current workout routine? I get that feeling…but as we age we really need the benefits yoga can bring. Provided you’re working out 4+ times a week, it’s worth it to experimentally take one day away from your current routine and try yoga. Or of course, add yoga on so you’re being physical one additional day vs. your current pattern.

So if you have even remotely thought about yoga before – or if you’ve lingered on this page in “maybe” mode – then please stop over-thinking this. Take the challenge here. You’ll be glad you did.

 

If you think this would be useful to others, please help spread the word about OlderBeast by sharing this post with the social media buttons below. THANKS, MAN.

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Six Signs of Unmet Fitness Needs at 45+ (Reasons For Yoga — Yoga Challenge Week 6)

I confess. I’m not always as proactive and purposeful as OlderBeast articles make me sound. When it comes to 45+ men’s fitness, I’ve often just learned from injury-driven needs that motivated experimentation, or by simply lucking into things.

When I started yoga at age 46, it wasn’t because I’d thoughtfully concluded “hey, I have some ‘need yoga’ signs.” I started just because yoga’s a weekly part of the P90X home fitness program. Luck. (Online yoga classes are actually a great place to start – more on that at the conclusion of this article).

I see in retrospect that, as my 40s progressed, my fitness needs were changing. I had many of the “Need Yoga” signs, but I didn’t recognize them. Now, with regular yoga as part of my fitness routine, I’ve turned a lot of these “Need” categories into fitness and wellness positives.

My goal with this list is to help you do a self-assessment, and possibly reach a yoga conclusion sooner than I did (or if not, then at least “better late than never.”)

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Fall 2017 HIIT Challenge: Week 3 (Sample HIIT Workouts)

Fall 2017 HIIT Challenge, Week 3! If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Just click the HIIT Challenge link in the box to the left, to access the Week 1 intro to all this.

For this and other OlderBeast seasonal challenges (yoga’s the other current one), “best of the web” content is part of the rotation. I’m always looking for useful stuff, sometimes at the theory/rationale level, and a lot of times at the concrete “what-to and how-to” levels.

In that spirit, here are three HIIT-focused sources I think you’ll find useful, especially for doing things on your own vs. an instructor-led workout in person or via video (all of these are great things to try).

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Endurance Guy Trying HIIT? Do Strength-focused Versions. (HIIT Challenge, Week 5)

As discussed in the introduction to this challenge (click the link in the Challenge box to the left if you want to see that), underlying the many variations of “HIIT” out there are two basic concepts.

There are Cardio Intervals. I.e, going fast enough for a short period to be uncomfortable/unsustainable, then a period of slower pace to recover, then repeat. And there’s Metabolic Conditioning.  That is, doing strength move intervals at a pace and difficulty-level that brings high-intensity benefits of elevated heart rate and amped-up metabolism.

Which to choose? Here’s a point-of-view if you’re mainly a runner, a cyclist, a swimmer or a “cardio machine guy.” That is, if strength work is the “junior partner” in your exercise mix.

In this case, I urge you to bring HIIT into your life by having it be strength-focused, man. Here are three reasons why, with some curated best-of reading to expand on each point.

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Advice from “The Yoga Man(ual)” Author Jen Murphy — Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge Week 5

Recently, I sat down to talk about “yoga and men” with Jen Murphy. She’s the author of the great new book The Yoga Man(ual) and the widely-read Wall Street Journal column “What’s Your Workout?” She’s also written numerous OlderBeast-relevant things in publications like Men’s Journal and Men’s Health.

Here are excerpts from our conversation. I think this is really useful reading for guys currently in the Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge AND guys who are not.

2 Comments
  1. […] OlderBeast Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge: Week 1 Intro […]

  2. […] during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Check out Week 1 or browse other prior weeks as […]

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