Old friends (who used to be in a shape) see me now and just shake their head in wonder asking,
“How have you managed to keep yourself in such great shape, even though we are in our 50’s now???”
I must say, staying fit and healthy has gone beyond just what I see in the mirror, or what I want others to see when they look at me… It is mostly about taking care of the one fleshly body and life I’ve been given… It’s about taking care of my health and well-being – being responsible for the condition I’m in… Giving myself the best life possible – and getting the most out of it in all regards. I want to see everyone around me get healthy and stay healthy.
My answer to the question usually is,” I never stopped staying active and working out, how about you?”
In this article, I want to address the top four common responses I have heard over the past 30 years when answering that question:
#1. Most common is, “It’s harder to stay in shape now that I’m older…”
Physiologically there are challenges, which can be overcome.
Physically there are challenges that can be overcome! J
Physically, I can show you oodles of people who have gone from excellent- to worse than ever- and back to the right place again. I mean let’s face it- it takes time to prove longevity. Most people – especially women after having babies- get out of shape at some time in their life. Then they hit the magic age group which seems to be around the 40’s and they become the athletes of their youth once again. Think marathoners, tennis players, cross fitters, the tough mudder’s (or anything else it’s called)- events
In the old days working out meant spending hours in the gym. These days my workout sessions are maybe one-third of what they used to be (in terms of time spent training) – BUT they are more effective. Also the emphasis on outdoor training has become a popular thing, making fitness fun for anyone.
It has all gotten physiologically harder in that back then, I could eat anything and everything I wanted and still be lean. I could get up and go to school. workout in the morning, have swim practice in the afternoon and play racket ball until midnight and be up the next morning for school at 7am, energized and ready to do it all again. And 2 visits to the gym in a day wasn’t a rarity. I had unending energy, gigantic appetite and was never sore form anything.
These days we have work, work and more work. We have family’s to tend to and mega responsibilities. Working out is the last thing you seem to have time, much less the energy for. Our hormones change, our mind changes and things that were once important to us fall to the wayside. And eating- another story!
But just because it’s harder to schedule, does not mean you don’t have time. I just made a video about that- I have heard all the excuses, I believe people use excuses to self-justify their behavior. But I don’t buy it. Make the time. I have seen people with the most seemingly important jobs in the world, tighter schedules than mine, more responsibilities than I would ever want to have, traveling for business constantly, and they still manage to take an hour out of most days to work out and make healthy choices eating. I applaud these people. Someone once told me- we all have the same 24 hours in a day- schedule it my friends, and then follow your schedule.
#2. Never fails, “Now that I am older, I will hurt myself while working out (happens every time)”
These days my training is shorter and more intense, my body needs recuperation, rest and sleep between workouts…When we are younger we literally have no limits and the body recovers- just because. What I do now is train smarter. I must be careful not to do certain things that may hurt my back, knees, feet, shoulders, you name it, but heck after 30 years working out- I have learned what is right, wrong and indifferent and I am careful to prevent injuries.
This is not to say that I don’t work out as hard, I do. I work out hard and give it all I got – BUT, the style of my training enhances not only the form of my physique, BUT also my ability to function at optimal levels and keep myself from injuries. And believe me; my food intake must be precise for me to recover properly. No more drive thru’s and fast foods! So as long as I maintain my workout schedule, eat properly, hydrate adequately and get my 7-9 hours of sleep each night, I can enjoy living a very active life. Biking, hiking, golf, surfing, swimming, basketball, or just a game of catch football in the backyard on weekends … I can do it all – and still have energy to spare for whatever else I want to do. The key is be smart, take it slow. You didn’t get out of shape in a couple weeks, do you really expect to get in shape in a couple weeks?
#3. I get this from women more than men, “I need someone to hold me accountable.”
Well sad truth here is the only one who will hold you accountable- ultimately is YOU! I have spent many lonely unmotivated days at the gym, doing it just because it is on my schedule. I go through workout partners like dirty sox, but now I don’t even call them workout partners anymore. I just go to work out and whoever can show up when I am there, can work out with me. I do my best to accommodate- as I have more free time to work out than some of my workout friends, but for the most part if they can’t fit into my window or workout opportunity, then I am alone., And let me tell you- days like today, it sucks! BUT I STILL do it. We don’t have friends like we did in high school wanting to meet you at the gym every single day. Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, my spouse is going to do it with me! “ Well, sorry friend, although that is a great thought and really cool idea, typically after a few months of that- I see either one or both give up. So if you know and remember accountability comes from within- and hold yourself to it, you will succeed.
#4. Very famous answer, “My weight is like a yo-yo. Whenever I get to where I am just right, I go right back up again”
Our body weight fluctuations throughout our life may be drastic and unhealthy. When I was younger, My weight could be anywhere from 110 to 125-LBS depending on what time of year it was – and what things I may have been dealing with in my life at that time… Some people have a baby or two, and boom! And those who eat and drink whatever they want until they realize that they have gotten older and they haven’t been burning that junk as fast as they did when they were young. I hear it all the time, “I could eat anything I wanted when I was young and never gain a pound” Like it was some kind of unique talent they had. Unfortunately, that is very common and I have even seen some who do that until they hit 50 without gaining a pound. But eventually it catches up. Most times you may think you are eating whatever you want but you really are not taking in the large amounts of calories you did when you were younger. But the yo-yo comes when you get the weight down to that “magic number”, you are finally “there”, and you slowly go back to your old habits- workout when you feel like it, eat what you want, when you want to, and before you know it- like an insidious little flea that lays an egg- you become infested with weight !
Now, I maintain a healthy, strong and balanced body-weight between 110- 115 LBS. Usually when I am competing for something my weight goes down and when I am in an off time it goes to the higher number. But I stay in that range. 5-8 lbs. is easy to control as we age. Anything more and we quickly fall into that yo- yo trap!
So there you have it. The top four reasons I have heard over and over. I bet you will see yourself in one of those categories- if not, well then you are right there with me, still in shape, still working it and looking good.
I do have a few friends who have succeeded at staying in shape, but more who have not.
I want to continue to be and set “the example”… to show people what is possible – not “tell” them what might be possible without doing it myself… I want to walk the talk. I also want to see what’s possible while using myself as the primary example. There is profound power in that. I realize that most people will have fallen, gained weight and gotten out of shape, but once out of shape, the people I have witnessed succeed at getting it back are the ones who make the decision and just do it.
Really, that’s all there is to it- the decision is made and it goes beyond the feeling they had when they made it. Its goes on and on. And it’s still going..