Forget long workouts in the gym.
No more 5am wakeup calls.
Say goodbye to sweaty machines not wiped down by muscle headed gym rats.
No more distractions by that 23 yr girl wearing a $1,200 outfit, BEATS headphones and a ponytail that flips from the hundreds of selfies for her Instagram channel.
Don’t even THINK about puking your guts out from those painful group fitness classes filled with 20 somethings led by an over-eager trainer with a medicine ball tucked under his arm and a whistle dangling from his mouth.
Congratulations, you’re a man over 40 and you can be fit, feel good, be healthy and I’m going to show you how.
I’ll be 48 years old this month and if I had a dollar for every time I’m asked about fitness, I would be very well off. Every conversation starts out the exact same way,
“What do I do to look good?”
The question all guys over 40 needs to be asking is “what choices should I be making to support my lifestyle.”
Early morning workouts may not be a good fit for you if you have school age children and you value seeing them off.
As much fun as it is to watch that hot 23 yr old, your spouse may not be so understanding of being compared to a fashion model.
Throwing around heavy weight with poor form may not healthy for strained backs from sitting in office chairs all day and bad knees from your college football days.
You’re over 40, your body is changing, your lifestyle is on tilt with varying demands and you absolutely MUST approach fitness differently or risk injury, pain, doctor’s visits, long rehabs and in the case of that 23 yr model, an expensive divorce.
For all of you guys over 40, here are the top activities you can do to improve your fitness level and quality of life.
1. Learn about food
Between running to meetings, answering client calls, managing the family, the bills, keeping the spouse happy and watching the latest episode of that Netflix series you’re addicted to, food becomes this substance you inhale while driving or standing in one place.
Assuming you have no health problems like a slow thyroid, the size of your waist is determined by these three things:
What you eat
Your fitness level
Yet guys automatically go to the gym to look and feel better when the best thing they could do is go to the kitchen and learn about food.
Food is fuel. It’s not pleasure, it doesn’t reconnect you to that lost college lover or your deceased parent that gave you candy when you were a good little boy, it’s fuel in the form of nutrients needed to keep your body engine powered, preferably efficiently and with enjoyment.
I’m not trying to be mean here. Food is highly emotional and mental. You MUST change your relationship to food and begin seeing it for what it is: FUEL.
This one simple alteration in mindset will save you extra weight you’re carrying around and save in money no longer spent on expensive fast food. You’ll begin meal prepping, choosing better ingredients, dining and the art of food.
When I first began my journey I ate strictly for fuel. This allowed me to break all my addictions to sugar, gluten, caffeine and fatty food that is so commonly convenient in American society.
At night watching that Netflix, drop to the floor and stretch it out.
650 = That’s how many named skeletal muscles are in the human body, although some figures go up to as many as 840.
Fortunately, you only need to regularly stretch the bigger muscle groups fatigued from repetitive use or lack of movement from sitting at a desk or driving. Let your body be your guide - where there is soreness or light (versus sharp) pain, is usually tied to lactic acid build up in the muscles (common in the legs)
3. See a Kinesiologist
Licensed as a Chiropractor, Kinesiology is the study of the mechanics of body movements. A doctor can help you integrate your body in a holistic way, taking into consideration various negative beliefs you may be holding and how those appear in the body.
“You’re such a pain in the neck!” - ever thought about that statement? Haven’t forgiven your boss for being a jerk and strangely, your neck aches and can’t check your blind spot on the drive home.
Science has repeatedly shown that the emotions and beliefs either empower or disempower the body. A doctor in this field can quickly see what’s happening IN the body, treating the cause versus the symptoms getting your nervous system firing efficiently leading to greater levels of creativity, energy and sleeping patterns.
4. Get those 7 - 8 hours every night.
Athletes sleep 8-10 hours a night. The reason is muscle’s repair while in rest (sleep) from being torn apart during exercise and use.
Sleep, especially when the body is fighting off sickness, is the best thing you can do for consistent health.
Get a maid.
Hire a nanny.
Let your neighborhood kid mow your lawn.
Do whatever it takes to protect your sleep. Some argue you need less than 8 hours and that depends much on other lifestyle considerations such alcohol consumption, stress levels and diet.
5. Weight or resistance training
Looking good in (and out of) clothing is all about maintaining a V-Shaped body frame with shoulders and chest tapering down to a smaller waist. To do this, buy two pieces of equipment for your home that will fit anywhere. I’ve provided two links so you can read reviews and choose the best ones for you. Total cost: Under $100.
Pull-up bar: A simple pull up, done properly, build the shoulders, arms and will sculpt your back into a ripped masterpiece in less than 30 days. The key is to do the FULL pull-up, extending your arms the entire way down and back up to touch your chin to the bar. Do as many as you can changing hand positions to hit different parts of your arms, back and shoulders.
If you can’t do even one, don’t worry about it, that’s more common than you think. Stand on a chair and HOLD your chin to the bar until failure while resisting all the way down. Your body will compensate and engage quickly where you’ll be pressing out 20-40 pull-ups per day.
Expect to be sore. Not painful sore, but you’ll notice your new routine and should be a motivating soreness to keep you going and make it a game. If it hurts or is painful, stop, rest, ice it and return to this same routine but much slower. I don’t care if you only do one per day, you’re building the habit through repetitive good behaviors.
I use my pull-up bar daily and it’s a GREAT way to stretch out your back by simply hanging with a slight swing of your body to stretch out your sides and abs.
Bonus: Great for performing Hanging Knee Raises - ab crunches by raising your knees to your chest.
Push-up handles: There’s a reason those marines take their punishment in the form of push-ups. Considered the best thing for the human body to build your overall physique, exercising the chest and back muscles and shoulders.
Perform 60 push-ups before your morning shower. Use the handles to protect your wrists and isolate the chest muscles for greater growth. The time investment is maybe 5 minutes so it’s easy to do EVERYDAY. That’s key!
Also do them slowly in sets of 15 or 20. If you can’t do a full 60, start with 30 and build up. To make it easier, keep your knees on the ground versus maintaining a plank. You’ll want to build up to 60 each morning in plank form as it will build your chest and exercise your abdominal muscles, always a good thing for guys over 40.
6. Cardiovascular exercise
You don’t need to buy an expensive treadmill or Peleton bike (those are cool by the way) to be fit. Most guys will lose more weight and tone faster from weight/resistance training and diet improvements versus trying to do an hour on cardio equipment.
Remember, the basics of health are: Clean blood. Good nutrients in. Waste out efficiently. As far as exercise, I maintain my body by working out only three times per week.
Your heart needs to pump and and be exercised just like any other muscle. Increasng your heart rate will happen on a set of stairs, a light run or even an evening walk through the neighborhood. Walking 10,000 steps has become wildly popular with the gadget crowd.
Find the best one for your lifestyle but here are a few:
Fit Bit bands - smaller in size and easy to wear. Waterproof.
Garmin watches - popular in the outside world of exercise among runners and hikers, they have built in compass, GPS, heart rate monitors and are very durable. (my personal favorite)
Apple’s iWatch - great for men and women alike, highly customizable with various fashion choices of bands and face guards, cross device compatible with the Apple world of devices.
When someone first suggested I build a meditation practice, my head flooded with images of sitting painfully in lotus position, ohming in loud chants with my eyes rolled to the top of my head as eastern harps played in the background.
Um, no thank you.
My body just doesn’t bend that way and frankly, my crazy brain is WAY too active for that kind of practice that’s really a form of religion.
When I say meditation, I simply mean, Quieting your brain from thoughts.
It’s estimated you have 60,000 thoughts per day, most of the unconscious and repetitive from what you were thinking yesterday and the day, week, month, year before that.
Get quiet. 10 minutes is all you need to connect to yourself, breathe deeper which oxygenates your blood and slows your heartbeat to FEEL, more relaxed.
Science has consistently proven that meditation is a powerful way to reduce stress, so build this into your routine.
Here are a list of FREE apps to help you.
Smiling Mind - built in Australia. Ever wonder why Aussies are so relaxed? Hmm.
iTunes Music - If you’re a $9.99 month subscriber, they have endless choices
8. Go Alcohol Free for 30 Days
Alcohol is poison.
Okay, if that got your attention, listen up. I know you like your craft beer, 12 year old Macallan and the occasional Merlot with the wife or girlfriend.
But what is intended to enjoy in moderation more often gets consumed as an addictive tool to avoid other things that are wrong in our life.
Alcohol has taken over our society, with companies spending billions to keep you consuming.
It’s associated with relaxing, removing social awkwardness and pleasure but behind those pretty commercials and Hollywood movies of romantic couples on beaches and boardwalks is a society over-consuming themselves to death.
NOTE: If you’re drinking heavily and/or daily, you need to do this. Heavy drinking is defined as 8 or more drinks a week for women, 15 or more for men and is the third leading cause of preventable death.
Your relationship with alcohol is VERY important to your health and I recommend a 30 day break at LEAST once per year.
Don’t do it alone.
As of the writing of this post, I’m 64 days alcohol free and truthfully, I doubt I’ll ever go back.
My skin is clear and eyes are bright.
I sleep better.
I have more energy.
My sexuality is more heightened and contained.
My muscles and joints aren’t sore.
The benefits are endless!
This doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you enjoy. It takes 10 days for alcohol to leave your body so you’ll need at least 30 days to get a full reset.
A yearly 30-day reset allows you to examine the reasons WHY you drink so that IF you drink, you do so consciously.
That’s what this post is all about after all = Becoming mindful.
Mindful of what you eat, how your body works, exercise and creating a life that is well-balanced to integrate healthy eating and exercise.
Healthy men in their 40’s and above are living expanded and empowered lives because they know that time matters and is not to be squandered by mindless choices, going with the flow consumed with society’s whims.
Try this list of Eight Power Habits for 30 days and see if your life isn’t significantly better.
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Category: MENS HEALTH
DATE: December 10, 2019