Keep The Hampster On The Wheel
There’s one key element to get in shape that almost everyone knows about, but not many have used it as the cornerstone in their methods. This key to getting fit over 40 (or any age) is consistency. How consistency does what it does is kind of a magical process you may have heard of in investment discussions called compound interest.
The Compount Interest Method to Get In Shape
Simply put, as you workout, you get in shape. Your fitness level at day 14 is greater than it was on day 2. Fit bodies can do more excerises. More exercising leads to getting more fit. And so on and so forth. There will, however, come a tipping point to this in time that your fitness level won’t increase on such a dramatic curve as it did in the early days, so enjoy this benefit in the beginning while it lasts. We will hit a plateau state and won’t see much progress, if any, for sometimes weeks or months at a time.
Find Your Sweet Spot
If you look at an olympic swimmer, for example. They are in training for a goal that’s four years away. For someone to be qualified for the olympics to begin with is an elite level athlete as it is. So their progress is so incremental that they have to keep the long game in mind. Their results over a year could be just amount to a few hundreths of a second.
What one person considers consistent could be different than someone else’s. You’ll know when you’re doing good in this regard and when you’re slacking. Listen to your body, and pretty much if you’re able to do any sort of training, and not too sore from yesterday, then do something.
What Is a Workout?
Our ideas of training vary greatly among the population. In general, we can consider to have trained that day if we made a forward progress attempt toward a goal. Sometimes it’s ugly and we end up just going through the motions to check off today’s box. So be it. Whatever it takes to be consistent is on the table. It could be something as simple as dropping to do a few sets of pushups while you’re waiting for the laundry to finish or hitting the dusty old treadmill in the rec room during the morning news. Checking off that box in the workout planner is paramount, even if you’re not into it today.
Stay Healthy and Get In Shape
It should be mentioned that a vitally important part of being consistent is staying healthy and injury free. The cumulative effects of not missing the workouts over a longer time period far outweigh the perceived benefits of going hard for days and days only to pull a muscle or tendon and be off the track for the following week or two. This slams the breaks on the consistency, the mood enhancing endorphins, and the identity rebuild you’re going through. With this in mind, I can’t stress enough the idea that incremental progress is the way to go.
Boost In Brain Chemistry
Another benefit from being consistent with our fitness plan is the boost in mood we get each day. This elevated state is given to us through the body’s ability to release neurotransmitters from our own internal pharmacy of hormones and amino acids. Getting a daily dose of dopamine and endorphins can prove to be the game changer that we are looking for for overall wellness and mental happiness. As I discussed in Jedi Mind Hack to Get In Shape, this chemistry could be your ticket.
Lastly, by sticking to our plan over the long haul, we begin to change the way we identify with ourselves and our bodies. Our mental model of who we are begins to shift from the old persona we had to now “someone who runs” or “someone who lifts weights”, etc. This can have a ripple effect to the clothes we now buy, the food we consume, and even the movies we watch.
Who Has The Time to Be Consistent
Little by little, day by day, our lives have become the mixed bag of responsibilities and commitments we find ourselves in today. From the moment our eyes open in the morning until we doze off with the nightly evening news chirping to us, our minutes are all accounted for. It seems more and more the moments we call relaxing are fewer, and the definition of relaxing has altered to the point of getting a 10 min coffee break to scroll the news feed. Trust me, I know well and good how tough it is to get all your shit done and still have time for a workout session. I’ve been at the YMCA for 5am at times. I’ve been to the university gym until closing at other times. Running my 5K circuit in my neighborhood became interesting when I got some running shoes that had ice cleats built into the tread. Finding time at home to stretch was huge.
The idea behind all of this is that there are moments in our day that, though they seem used up and time spent, they are up for grabs for whatever else you deem better to do. In So, Ya Wanna Start a Morning Routine I go over tips to fit this in before you start your day. It’s this choice among the things available for us to do at any given time that makes all the difference.
Final Thoughts to Get In Shape Soon....
One good tidbit I’ll leave you with…it’s easier to do the tough thing now and hurt from that pain than not doing it and hurt from the regret later.