Fitness is so much more than what size you wear or your resting heart rate. It’s not about how fast or far you can go. It’s not a matter of what workout you’re going to do.
Your fitness after 50 has the ability to decrease your risk of disease, increase your longevity and the number of years you live healthfully (your healthspan). It’s dependent on so much more than whether you go for a walk or lift weights today. This is the big picture. Your fitness after 50 will be influenced not just by exercise but by so many more things. I’m including a comprehensive list here.
I encourage you to go through this list and see really consider how well you’re doing each. Here’s the Cliff notes list in case you’re in a hurry. You can jump down to read details about the ones that interest you most below.
Your fitness after 50 depends on muscle. Muscle is now recognized as a key factor in bone density- or prevention of osteoporosis, as well as increased metabolism, and necessary for thriving in life rather than simply preventing frailty.
Increases in muscle through overload improve body composition.
It is no longer about the amount of time spent lifting weights.
The longer your weight lifting session the longer the rest between exercises and it is not about time it is about the intensity of the load.
Bone doesn’t benefit from “more” repetitions of lighter weight – only from heavy weight you can lift few times.
Quality not quantity matters. That is, reaching fatigue, not the number of repetitions nor how long you do it matters. Like we’ve seen results from as little as 6 minutes of high intensity exercise a week (intervals) we have seen muscle-fatigue-inducing strength exercises in minutes reap better results than hour-long classes.
Strength and endurance benefits is necessary for the ability to do additional work of interval training that you will see offers big benefits. Weight lifting also increases bone density so that additional beneficial activity is safe. Any cardiovascular exercise is good for the circulatory system, but only weight training targets the skeletal system in a way specific to improving bone density.
In studies of weight training, interval training, and combined training weight training increases muscle mass and strength most.
Your fitness after 50 has less to do with cardio than you might think. Make cardio about your mitochondria and hormone balancing. Use your DNA.Studies show that men age 70 can reverse aging with mitochondria regeneration comparable to subjects in their 20s. Why is mitochondria important?
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of energy in the body. The aging process – if you do nothing – will negatively affect the production of mitochondria. Small doses of high intensity exercise have proven to support mitochondria function – by as much as double in three or four months in minutes a week.
You will spend more energy all day by doing 2 training sessions a week than either one or three training sessions. That’s two sessions of strength, two sessions of intervals, and some additional exercise that’s more endurance based or simply a lot of movement daily.
Samples of Intervals:
Perform 8 seconds on and 12 seconds of recovery 20 times. This is easiest to do on a bike, but it’s a challenge with almost any kind of exercise because it’s a very short amount of time to increase your work capacity to full out. Be sure your well warmed up before you begin. That’s a little over 2 and a half minutes of high intensity exercise. It’s been proven to increase fitness (in women in midlife).
In the Wingate Test protocol you do 30 seconds of all out exercise and 2 minutes of recovery 4 times for a total of 2 minutes of work. You can run or power walk up hill or an incline, go as hard as possible on an elliptical or bike or do it in a pool.
You can reduce time needed to exercise by doing these types of interval training sessions for 20 minutes twice a week (in addition to strength training twice a week), in order to have more energy for being active all day. The result is greater overall energy expenditure and reduced obesity and overweight. That’s less exercise and more movement.
If all you had to do was sleep more to lose weight would you go to bed sooner? Long sleepers compared to short sleepers lost more weight and more of the weight lost was fat (less muscle loss that is a natural occurrence with weight loss). Perimenopausal women all in the same weight loss program with similar status were subjects. So yes, it applies to you.
The regeneration of the mind and the body that takes place at night is the glue that holds all your other positive habits together. Pad your sleep time like bookends with habits – a routine – that prepares you for better sleep every night. If you’re not sleeping at night, tell yourself it’s just that you haven’t prioritized it.
Tell yourself that you haven’t yet found the right habits. Tell yourself that it’s possible to recondition and reset your circadian clock for better sleep.
Hormones responsible for decreasing stress (cortisol and melatonin) and promoting lean muscle tissue (growth hormone and testosterone) require deep restful sleep.
Eat carbohydrates later in the day, close the kitchen after dinner, get exposure to sunlight early in the day, and exercise – even 10 minutes daily improves sleep – just not too close to bedtime.
Your fitness after 50 will be limited or supported by your sleep.
If you have a rich life full of family, work, and activities you love, you’ve got stress. There’s no way around it. So this is no empty “lower your stress” advice. Embrace it!
The only time you won’t have any, you’re close to dead. Your fitness after 50 is a dance between exercise stress and other stress in your life.
By increasing physical strength with the right exercise you enhance resilience
Increasing the joy factor (laughter, love, relationships, experiences)
Decreasing the toxic exposure (chemical exposure>food, water, air, products)
Physical stress from toxins, lack of sleep, dieting or over exercise, as well as emotional stress all contribute to your stress load. Control what you can. Small daily actions add up.
What you’re taking out and what you put in both matter. Know that some of us do handle stress better than others naturally, but it’s also possible to adapt so you can handle stress better. If you have a strong “why,” what I call a “cry why,” that makes it all worthwhile, it helps. Make sure there is purpose to your life in ways you need it. Exercise is a big part of increasing your resilience to all kinds of stressors.
Boost removal of toxins stored in your body by gradually adding more fiber. Start with this healthy chia pudding recipe. Use this base or start getting creative with your own ideas.
Pour the chia seeds into a bowl. Blend the protein powder and milk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the chia seeds. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy. This high protein pudding can double as a breakfast or a post-workout snack, depending on your goals and needs. Either way, it’s a craving killer that can satisfy you for hours. Make a couple and take one with you when you travel. Pop it into an insulated bag. Don’t forget the spoon!
Socialize with people doing what you do or want to do, thinking the way you think or want to, you soon change your thinking>actions>habits and life
We know it to be true of cults and in scientific experiments.
Research tells us that resistance to change both internal and external is one of the greatest obstacles we have. When you’re surrounded by peopledoing what you’re doing or what you want to be doing you are more successful.
If you have kids you know this one well. Remember how important it was that your kid’s friends were good kids? It’s no different for you.
It’s not that you won’t have resistance to change, but when you have more people going the same direction around you that resistance has less chance of stopping you. Your fitness after 50 is a factor of who you surround yourself with. Who do you spend the most time with?
You’ve first got to identify that you have thinking that’s holding you back. That’s part of joining a community or having a coach. How else would you know?
Next, you have to want to change. In the past 25 years many women (who were only doing body weight exercise) ask about body weight exercises for bone density and changes in body composition. When I share the science there are about 50% that will respond, I’m going to stick to my body weight exercises, thank you.
Your fitness after 50 can’t be better than the expectations you have for it.
If you believe something is true, the biology of that belief, (it’s not just a thought), has the potential to change the expression of your DNA. If there is any tendency for it to happen genetically, your belief will be fertilizing it. Or you can pull a bad weed by believing and acting in a way that won’t allow a genetic predisposition to occur.
I’m sharing the example of the famous hotel maids study in our masterclass to illustrate this.
The thought that a good habit is good for you (like going for a walk every day) makes it more beneficial. If you remind yourself that by being busy at work even if you have a fairly sedentary job is good for your brain health and lifting weights over your lunch hour three days a week is keeping you fit the affirmation and belief has the potential to enhance your memory and the benefits of strength training sessions.
If we could test you for 8 weeks with your normal habits, and then test again after 8 weeks of thinking it was true, science has proven that you would experience all the benefits of weight training (strength, endurance, decreased body fat, increased muscle tissue) more significantly during the second eight weeks.
That famous hotel maids study illustrates this point perfectly, too. (Are you getting invites to join my free monthly masterclass? You can get the juicy stuff I only share via email here.)
Your fitness after 50, therefore, can improve without more time and energy, so long as you’re already employing good habits.
Almost anything you eat out of convenience (with a few exceptions popping up) is going to have more sodium, sugar, and saturated fat than you would cook at home. Further, even the salad bar is not safe with chemicals added to the greens to preserve them.
On average eating out increases caloric intake by 200 more calories per meal. If you eat out the average 5.8 times a week, that’s 1160 more calories a week – of more saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. Your fitness after 50 will be enhanced by the right nutrition and sabotaged by poor nutrition.
In addition to cooking at home, eat slow. Eating fast – the 20-30 minutes per meal Americans spend on average… often rushed, checking email, means you don’t even have the enzymes to digest food, leading to digestion and elimination issues.
Nearly every excuse you give for not exercising is a reason to exercise. You have achy joints and muscles… exercise. You are afraid of falling or getting injured… exercise. You never have enough time… exercise. You are too tired… exercise.
Ask, do I want that to be true?
I’ve been there. Married with kids, jobs, and a dog. Single parent with a house, a yard, two jobs, constant contact to hundreds of clients and students, writing a book, training for an Ironman, at every golf meet. I know about busy. Don’t talk to me about busy. You just decide.
If you were sick and needed lifesaving medicine, you wouldn’t dream of not taking it. Exercise prevents nearly every major disease. Why get it in the first place?
The terms Exercise is Medicine, and Food is Medicine have both become not just mantras and memes but scientific solutions to contemporary problems.
If you develop a daily regime of movement your fitness after 50 will improve. Your commitment to the exercise gets easier. When adults who exercise regularly don’t get their regular dose, they don’t feel as good, sleep as well, think as clearly or handle stress as well.
You can become one of those people.
When you’re not getting results from your current exercise program, there is no logic whatsoever in doing MORE of it. Increasing frequency and or duration of exercise is often the first default. Women assume that it’s their fault and they need to exercise more. But more exercise that isn’t already making you feel good… is certainly not going to make you feel great.
If you’re not seeing and feeling better from the exercise you do now, don’t increase the frequency of it expecting to see better results.
Improving your fitness after 50 isn’t about doing “more” if it’s going in the wrong direction. Check in with your exercise prescription now and be sure it is in alignment with your needs and not based on some arbitrary governmental recommendation or you 20 years ago.
If you’re exercising all the time, you may need to stop! Doing less can be smarter. Figure out some other way to pacify or calm yourself.
It is no longer a grams per kilogram body weight, or a total at the end of the day, or worse a percent of your total diet. It’s a much more user-friendly meal-based number of grams of protein.
Early and continued research by Rasmussen and Jones and now an expanding number of protein experts both from exercise science and nutrition are coming together on this.
Much of this research compared younger and older adults to each other. Older adults actually needed more, not less, due to decreased muscle protein synthesis. Your fitness after 50 is dependent on muscle. No matter what else you want to do or measure of fitness you want to improve you’ve got to have protein, the building block of muscle in order to enjoy optimal fitness.
Your stress level, prior eating history, exercise, exposure to foods that cause inflammation all influence your personal ability to breakdown food and digest it optimally.
While it’s true few individuals have Celiac disease, many functional doctors who work with women in midlife recommend omitting dairy and gluten because they find that 90% of their female patients feel better when they do.
You can test for yourself on several levels. Your body never lies. So removing and reintroduction is a step I recommend every woman do. Lab testing can confirm or reveal additional information. DNA testing can show what may be true of you and encourage greater commitment to solutions. Testing:
Use“Genes” for DNA testing 20% off (ends Dec. 20)
“28for10” for the 28-Day Kickstart January
“Flipping50” for $20 off your Micronutrient testing at yourlabwork.com/flipping-50
The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women is about optimal hormone balance. A 2 x 2 program following a foundation of hormone reset optimally improves fitness and negates the negative effects of stress that can occur from exercise.
From your DNA, and your personal preference or dread, you can determine the best way to spend your exercise time to get optimal results. Your fitness after 50 journey should be fun, uplifting, and exciting. If you haven’t found those activities or motivators keep looking!
What’s referred to as “wired and tired” can be avoided by avoiding the feast or famine adrenalin rollercoaster most of us are on during the day.
If you’re constantly in fight-or-flight mode your body can lose the ability to rest-and-relax. Those systems, your sympathetic and parasympathetic system are meant to balance and in contemporary life, unless you override the constant on call and unplug, they fail to work correctly.
Fight-or-flight will eventually begin to store fat for you to protect you. Rest-and-relax won’t work at night if you’ve not balanced that on and off switch during the day.
It works occasionally: it was meant to, but unfortunately, we’ve turned life into constant flight-or-flight.
Reaching for sugar and caffeine to wind up and wine to wind down or numb yourself all increase your weight, interfere with your sleep, and accelerate aging.
Caffeine consumption – if it’s abundant – is actually related to weight gain. It increases insulin resistance and signals your body to crave glucose-containing foods because it reduces blood sugar.
The simple advice is this. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re no longer hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Drink before you’re thirsty. When you’re upset with someone have the difficult conversation.
If you’re not doing that, start. If you’ve ignored the urge to go to the bathroom, the need to drink more water, the need for sleep you’ll need to retrain your brain to pay attention.
One more energy placebo is adrenalin. You know you’re operating on adrenalin if you’re always waiting ‘til the last minute, or adding something to your to-do list, you’ve always got a dozen projects and your pushing to get something done. You’re always running late, or close to it. You might complain about it, but you actually don’t know how to exist with sustained stable energy.
Unlearning your old habits and replacing them with new ones can reverse aging, increase energy and you can start feeling it in days or weeks.
Have you got a story to tell about your fitness after 50 journey? I love to hear from you. Our community is inspired to hear real stories of people defying old limiting beliefs!
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: I’m a summer girl. I don’t heat the “lower level” in my house unless I’ve got guests and at 8800 ft. elevation, baby, it’s COLD, INSIDE! So popping into my sauna warms my bones…literally.
The real reason I love it is this: I’m a two-for-one girl.
I love habits that give me instant gratification. I’m a part of the “right now” economy… aren’t we all?
And … yet I’ve given up my once response, “not right now.” I worked at the Cone ‘n Bun in highschool. [I can’t make this sh__ up!] My best friend’s dad owned it. We enjoyed eating marshmellow-carmel-hotfudge sundaes plenty of whipped cream often enough. I remember someone observing me do this (I was probably a size 4 at the time) saying, “you’re going to have a weight problem some day”… and I responded… “maybe, but not today.”
Talk about a little flip.
Suffice to say I’ve come a long way. I did struggle with food and weight during both undergrad and grad school and immediately after. I tool lots of short cuts for energy that sabotaged me. During grad school, some days by noon I had probably had 3 Diet Cokes with some sugary carbs between.
Today I choose habits that give me a boost NOW and LATER. [I’m sipping a cup of matcha as I write this.] My sauna is another one of them. Stimulating cellular renewal, infrared light is good for so many things. I’ve healed road rash (bike crash) sweat out toxins, improved my skin and sleep too.
I’m not really into most gadgets and fitness toys… you’ve noticed that I don’t promote many tools and props. It’s kind of “not about the bike”for me. It’s you. There are a LOT of gadgets, trends, and fads out there, claiming to benefit your health. I’ve got a few staples for fitness, and yet they’re pretty much the same I’ve used for decades. Every toy begs to have you use IT and it’s protocol instead of looking at YOU and your status and your need. That’s how I choose for me and for clients. What are my goals, my status, and my needs? If I have a gap – there’s an exercise I need to accomplish it and can’t do it without a prop – then I’ll be inclined to buy it.
Walking through five expo halls at amazing conferences this last couple months I could have dropped some serious dough on the newest toys and tools. But I don’t.
I wanted a sauna for years though.
When you can’t always exercise as much as you want to, infrared sauna stimulates your cardiovascular system. So yes, for those of us that are super busy it’s a boost to the metabolism. But if you’ve got arthritis, degenerative disks, fibromyalgia, or you’re healing from an injury, it’s a great way to improve your health too. Infrared light has been proven in many studies to support health in these special conditions. If you suffer from depression or seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.), you could benefit too.
This is one investment in health is worth it and using it as often as daily (during a month-long detox) or 2-3 times a week regularly. Most often I use it two or three times a week. Oddly, it’s one of the first things I do after a trip. I’ll walk in, turn it on and let it heat while I unpack and then pop in.
We are being called the longevity economy. We’re changing aging. I think sauna and stem cell rejuvenation (naturally through fasting) are a part of it. I don’t look at the one time investment. I look at whether I’m going to be glad I did this in 20 or 30 years, or regretting that I didn’t!
Your own personal infrared sauna can help you eliminate chemical toxins and heavy metals, and it’s proven by many published studies. It helped me turn my liver enzymes around in a few months.
That’s saying a lot, in a world where so many industries–the food, pharmaceutical, beauty, fitness and diet mega-billion dollar industries, all conspire to make us WANT quick fixes and addictive habits. Even those of us exercising and eating a clean diet have a lot of chemical exposure.
I’ve been enjoying my Sunlighten Infrared Sauna, for six months now–especially in the evening before my bedtime routine. I’ve been amazed how much it’s helped me to sleep – since I already love sleep! I too had my share of wakeful nights, believe me. Now, they’re rare.
And for weight loss, or maintenance, there is no better tool, besides maybe a treadmill or a mountain! Many people – maybe YOU cannot run on a treadmill, and for them, as well as the rest of us, this passive stimulation for the cardiovascular system, in the sauna, is very powerful.
If you’ve got “limiters” – degenerative discs, special conditions like arthritis, or chronic fatigue, this can be an amazing way for you to support changes you want. Unlike your treadmill or exercise bike catching laundry, it doesn’t take much motivation to lie down and relax!
1) EAT MORE whole foods
2) EXERCISE LESS, and
3) DESTRESS or detox the body so FAT doesn’t have a job to do and you can release it!! (Fat traps toxins to keep it away from critical organs. That’s protecting you from circulating toxins. But then guess what? It makes fat HARD to lose.)
4) STIMULATE the cardiovascular system–to boost metabolism (and yes, help cellulite as a part of the skin rejuvenation)
The nice thing about having a healing-infrared-rays sauna at your home is how easy it is: just turn it on, and 30 to 40 minutes later, GET IN!
Not interested or in need of weight loss? There are dozens of other benefits you DO want! Infrared improves:
When I fell in love with mine, and experienced the health benefits, I wanted to make the Flipping 50 community aware of the benefits – and at a great rate.
If you decide now is the time you can save $200 and shipping of Sunlighten sauna. I love the personal sauna – more actually than I thought I might. It at first just made the most sense for me while I’m renting.
You want to make sure that you do this before 11/21/18 though because the special Flipping 50 discount goes away then.
Listen to this podcast for more about infrared light, sauna, and Sunlighten.
I also blogged about it when I first got turned on and still had to go seek one out at gyms – not knowing if they were emitting harmful chemicals at the time I was trying to get “healthy.”
P.S.There is a big difference between what you might know as the old dry sauna that just heats you up and the infrared that does this from the inside out. Don’t mistake just any dry sauna at a gym (where you’re pouring water on hot coals – No!) for the same thing unless you’ve researched it specifically.
Imagine yourself 12 months from right now in the best shape of your life.
Yesterday I got a message from a Flipping 50 community member because it was her anniversary. A year ago she had decided to train for her first triathlon, after 60. She included a picture from last year and a recent one in her message. She has aged backwards. She’ll be on the Flipping 50 podcast soon.
You may have zero desire to do a triathlon. But what would you love to do? And yes, I say do. How do you want to live? Not how much do you want to weigh or what size clothes do you want to fit in.
Spoiler alert: If you want to just dream about being in the best shape of your life, this post is not for you. If you think that this is only for someone retired or rich with tons of time and money to spend, this is also not for you. If on the other hand you’re looking for solutions, and ready to accept that it doesn’t take tons of time, it actually GIVES YOU BACK TIME… then keep reading.
Read on to learn how 4 health professionals can help you once you have everything you need to know.
If you want to get in the best shape of your life you have to know where you are now. Women tend to get addicted to the scale. In addition to your weight, get your body fat test done, do your measurements. BMI is less important in your overall health if your body fat percent is good. But waist measurement is predictive of health or of disease so it’s valuable as an independent number.
Get your cholesterol, blood pressure, your inflammation markers, information about your liver and blood. I recommend that you get your hormones tested by a functional doctor or order your own so you get the right thing measured. You want to know your thyroid function.
Test your micronutrients and food sensitivity. If you haven’t done a program already to test and remove your sensitive foods or you keep going back to them and end up feeling bad all over again, seeing it in print from a lab test will convince you to finally commit.
If you’re going to splurge on anything this year, make it your health.
What does your DNA say about your best diet and your best fitness? What is your muscle fiber composition? What nutrients are you predisposed to deficiency for?
When you know your genes, you can control whether those genes are expressed or not.
Even after 34 years of fitness and health coaching I tested my DNA last month and either confirmed or learned plenty.
I let go of some of the things I was SHOULDING myself about when it comes to exercise (because, turns out, they aren’t all that helpful for me based on genetics).
I also COMMITTED on a deeper level to taking certain supplements daily since I’m predisposed to deficiency in Omega 3, Vitamin D, and magnesium. I already had the habits but I confirmed how important they are.
I stopped skimping on the warm up, cool down and started doing more regular physiowork since I’m predisposed to ligament and tendon issues. (Sadly, I must get more frequent massages)!
Do you know what happens when you confirm healthy habits that you’re already doing? You benefit MORE. It’s proven scientifically in studies. If you are already doing things that are good for you and then mindfully reinforce what you’re doing… you make greater gains. (Including weight loss, blood pressure and cholesterol improvements in one study, and improved hearing, sight, fewer wrinkles in another).
From these measures you can determine daily habits.
You know what to eat and what to avoid. You know which types of exercise are going to get you in the best shape the fastest based on your genetic type. You can spend less time exercising and get better results from doing it.
By the time you’re 50 you’ve done some things: some things that potentially damaged joints or ligaments. You may have some genetics that already went to work on you and caused disk degeneration or other issues. Maybe you’ve had car accidents, sports or other injuries. You need someone who can help you work around those types of things.
You have hormones that are changing or already changed the game. Find a hormone-balancing exercise expert (we’ll soon be a directory for working with someone locally!) who can combine your joint needs with your goals and with your hormones.
The fat-burning exercise is easy for a trainer when they’re working with young, fit men, or younger women. But there’s a whole lot less research (39% total and maybe half that for you) using women flipping 50 as subjects. So if you’re in a bootcamp that a trainer says will burn X amount of calories … it may have in a lab with a 20-something male working at 110%. Does that mean it will work for you if you’re stressed, tired and 55? Nope.
And if you want to do something special – a triathlon (it’s SO doable and a perfect way to train your body in a balanced way), a 5K or 10K, hike a 14er, or something else, a strength and conditioning specialist can help you do that, too.
Some trainers can double as health coaches. Some say they can. But health coaching is different. It’s deeper into your change and the steps you take BETWEEN sessions. A trainer hopes and prays you do the workout before you see them again or that you don’t go through the drive-through on the way home from the gym.
A coach though, collaborates with you to develop your homework, and decide what you’re REALLY willing to commit to and do. She helps you be successful in small steps, or sometimes big ones, in the right sequential order. You and I left to our own devices (Yes, even a coach needs a coach in some area of their lives) do things. But random order gets random (or no) results.
A coach also will not allow you to beat yourself up if you don’t get it the first time. It’s data. She helps you figure out why you’re getting in your way.
By the time you’re 50 you have some unlearning to do. You have stinking thinking, not because of a bad attitude but because of the way you’ve been conditioned and taught about fitness and health. You may need to lose old ideas of what “a good workout” is before you can have a good fitness routine that is more than compulsive exercise or obligation. Your best shape may be attainable far easier than you think. That’s not to say change isn’t hard. It’s in part why a health coach can help you break it into manageable parts.
Find someone to help you undo socialization that is limiting you so you can have your fittest year ever. Trust me, it will be followed by the fittest decades you can live on the other side of 50.
Your exercise (and your sleep, digestion, and elimination) can’t work magic on you if you’re not eating the right thing. The old RDA food plate recommendations have dropped us all on our a____. What you need to thrive is another woman’s poison. There is no “healthy” diet that fits all of us.
That said, there are a lot of ways to lose weight. We’ve seen all kinds of people with all kinds of genetics lose weight on low carb and as many lose weight on low fat. Your history, and your DNA together with a blueprint (not a diet) can help you determine how to fuel yourself and feel better faster.
Getting in the best shape of your life may NOT be at all about weight loss. Maybe it’s body composition, or a specific athletic pursuit.
If you can’t do much exercise – because of your schedule, limitations or conditions – nutrition is your best ally. It has the potential to reduce inflammation and enhance sleep, helping you improve hormone balance, productivity, health and prevent disease. You may end up able to move more if you start with diet. Food is medicine.
Look for a nutritionist not limited by RDA standards, who has life experience, and a track record working with women like you. Ask for referrals so you can talk to them. I would keep looking until you find it. Nutrition is the one area most of us are reluctant to get support with because we don’t want to be judged on what we’re doing or have to give up things we love. This person matters a lot. You need to like her.
Dump the SMART goals. I know EVERYONE still talks about them. But for 34 years, I’ve observed (I majored in exercise psychology) most people don’t get squat from SMART goals. No pun intended.
You’ve got to find out why you’ll be committed even when you won’t be motivated. (It’s 5:22am right now. I might like to be sleeping but I’m committed – to you). Getting in the best shape does require goals. But more importantly it requires habits. We want to automate the actions so it’s just a natural part of your life to be in the best shape!
If you’re adding up experts that’s a personal trainer, a medical exercise specialist, a health coach, a nutritionist, and a behavior change coach so far.
I can help you with all that.
Whether you want to be the best you can be in limited time to grow your business as a #ladyboss who needs to be on top of her game, or you want to focus on your best shape as the physical ability to challenge what you can do and push limits instead of settling for an age limiter.
I can help you recover from injuries, train for endurance events, do your first triathlon, your next half marathon, and move with less pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis or fibromyalgia. I can help you find love the food you eat and love how it makes you feel. I can help you know exactly what questions to ask your allied health practitioners and what tests you want to ask for based on your signs and symptoms.
I can help you feel and look your best this year. All you have to do is decide you are ready, show up and do the work (it won’t be overwhelming: it WILL help you make steady forward progress faster than you can do yourself).
You can get in the best shape of your life after 50. Connect with me with questions.
You can change your physical health by changing the way you exercise, eat, and prioritizing quality sleep. In doing so you can benefit your mental and cognitive health. The way you age is a choice. Who better to hear it from than the individuals who are thriving after 50. I had the pleasure of meeting several of them at the Huntsman World Senior Games in October.
I challenge you to read (and watch their videos) and not be inspired. They’re you. They’re me. Many of the interviewees started long after 50. Many re-started after 50. For active aging these are the experts in the field!
If you want to create a thriving second half the best time to start was 30 years ago. The second best time to start getting better at getting older is TODAY. As you read and watch, imagine your possibilities becoming probably if you begin NOW to make decisions not based on scales, diets, or burning anything… but on living and experiences.
Lee, 94, from Pacific Palisades, CA., in her 8thyear at the games was donning three gold medals for table tennis. She’d previously competed in badminton and when knee replacements meant that wasn’t something she could do, she went looking for something she could.
Her table tennis participation keeps her motivated to stay in shape. She’s also keenly aware of the need for enough protein and avoiding sugar.
You’ll be inspired(or embarrassed) to know she can do what she calls 20 “men’s” pushups at least once a week – and intends to start doing them daily. She admits she’ll cut back to 10 when she’s 95. I challenge you to do 20 and share how that goes in the comments along with your age!
Lee was full of gems of wisdom for aging actively. Given she had done the most research in the room, I included them all! She is active aging at it’s best.
“When you can physically do what you want to do you feel better about yourself
The secret is being … very positive in stuff you do.”
“You are never too old. Even if you have a problem…
the only thing you’re too old for is surgery… I don’t think there is such a thing as too old.”
Charlotte Ambrose, 84 is Miss Senior Universe Miss USA representing Poland and is an open-heart surgery survivor. She is a prior competitor in the Senior Games whose husband was inducted into the Huntsman Hall of Fame this year. Charlotte and her husband are so clearly a couple active aging together.
Charlotte has done track and field events, swimming, and race walking.
In response to it being too late or being too old, Charlotte shared these pearls:
“Never, never too old … staying as healthy as you can, enjoying life, life is worth working to keep your active body and your mind.”
“Training the brain as well as the body are two linked entities to celebrate.”
Patti Miner, 62, Ms Utah Senior America who medaled in mixed doubles tennis event together with her husband, shared this:
“It’s better to be seen than viewed.”
I’ll let you think about that one for a moment!
“Age is just a number. Keep making goals.
Refocus, don’t retire.”
Patti’s words echo Flipping 50’s mantra, “Rewirement not retirement.”
We don’t always have the choice, but I loved the fact that several couples attended and both participated either in their own events or as teammates. It’s another perfect example of surrounding yourself with others doing what you’re doing or what you want to be doing. Choose a partner you can choose active aging with whenever possible!
Jan Miller, 68, a swimmer from San Antonio Texas participated in nine events that resulted in seven first places, a second, and a DQ.
Jan first participated in the Huntsman Games in 2000 when she was 50 – the youngest of athletes who can participate. Jan was a swimmer as a child, an Olympic qualifier. Came back to swimming for closure. She’s planning to return when she turns 70 and is in a new age group.
She belongs to a team and five of them attended the games together.
Though she was a swimmer – quite a skilled swimmer as a youth – she was away from it for 10 years, and shared that last year she spent nine days in a mental hospital. It was then that she realized she needed back in the pool.
“I’m going to go swimming. I’m going to do something that’s active and be around other people who are active.”
To get in shape she began cross training with several activities. She coined a new term perhaps, as she described herself as “muscleless.”
If you use it, it will grow, even if you’re 68, or 78 or 96 (the oldest competitor in swimming). Jan’s got a powerful message about starting wherever you are.
Allison LaField, 55, also from San Antonio, Texas, has been swimming all her life. She departed for a while to focus on family. She started again as an adult whose children were growing up. Swimming led to biking, which led to running and then bringing them together for triathlon. She mentions casually that she does Ironman distance (a total of 140.6 miles consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run done all in one day).
She swam six events. The back and fly are her stokes. These, by the way are not the “easiest” of strokes!
Swimming is an individual sport. Yet having a team means something even in a sport where it’s you getting yourself to the finish line. The take home message here echoed so many times at the Games (and in Flipping 50) is surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing.
“It’s never too late. Swimming is one of the best sports for anyone over 50. You don’t have to be a swimmer or have any experience swimming.”
Susan Ingraham, 59, coach and competitor in this year’s games from San Antonio brought five athletes from her team.
Susan made an important distinction about “masters sports.” Masters sports aren’t associated with ability. It’s only an age-related label that ensures you’ll be with like-minded adults who share similar life experience.
Will you be the newbie? Likely not. Many adults over 50 are coming into the sport (swimming) from a sport that they’re now limited in by an ankle, shoulders, or knees.
Are your shoulders a limiter for swimming as you age? Hear Susan’s response!
The motivations for being a part of the team and being at the games vary from the opportunity for competition to weight loss to the social connections.
A year ago Susan created a video promoting the positive message and mission of the Huntsman Games. A woman saw it and was inspired so much that, Patty who had lost 75 lbs. on her weight loss journey that began in 2016 when she was 54 and 276 lbs., decided she too could compete and swam at the 2018 games.
“Even at 55 you can set new goals and get healthier, get active, and get some new goals in your life.”
And as you’ll hear in other stories those new goals can come in your 60s, 70s, or in your 90s.
“We should be challenging ourselves.”
A take-away here is this: share. Talk about and promote what you do, what you want to do, and your journey. You don’t have to be there yet. If you fear it’s bragging, consider that not telling your story is missing an opportunity to share with someone that “yes, you can”message that only you can share. We all need a “if she/he can do it, I can do it” message.
Debbie Pederson, 61 has been swimming competitively for less than two years. Like you perhaps she knew how to swim. She’d been a swim mom for years and so naturally when an Achilles problem limited her jogging swimming was a naturally easier-on-joints-sport that she was familiar with.
She wanted to stay healthy. Actually she wanted to get healthier than she was. At a time when many people are still thinking of “slowing down” active aging is quickly becoming a better choice.
While you might be thinking competition feels uncomfortable, it’s actually the fact that it is uncomfortable that is part of the attraction for Debbie. She shares how much that push outside her comfort zone is a part of why the team and the competitive environment is important for her.
Debbie’s adamant response to the thought that someone might be too old:
“No way! Go for it. Find a good coach, a master’s team, and just get in there and start swimming!”
Bonnie, together with her sister and sister-in-law did a triathlon, calling themselves team RU Kidding.
Feeling a little intimidated by triathlon or competition in general? You’re not alone. Bonnie shared,
“I was scared to death and it was a blast.”
They are influencing family members who want to get off the sidelines and participate. It’s that kind of environment. Few if any at the venues around St. George who were watching this year aren’t inspired with an “I can do that” attitude. It’s contagious.
Three months ago Bonnie could only swim one lap. At her triathlon debut she swam 25 laps no problem. Her sister couldn’t do anything but can now walk or run 5 miles.
Behind the scenes off camera, Bonnie shared that she was motivated to do the whole thing herself next year.
Try asking a scale to motivate you to do that. Watch this family event from swim to bike to run here.
The event is safely done in a pool and the collaborative, supportive environment is world class. Where in some races, indeed there may be some real heated competition, here you’ll see athletes turning over to backstroke, taking their time, enjoying each step. Often slower athletes are heard saying they get their money’s worth that way.
Dr. Jeff Schmirkoff, 55, from Alberta, Canada was like many of us working long hours, eating late, and finally decided it was time to do something about it. He is now just four years into his eligibility as an active aging senior athlete!
Life’s a marathon, just keep moving.
I caught up with Jeff at the pool where he was waiting his turn to begin participating in the triathlon. In all he was doing 17 events at this year’s games! He describes himself as slow, and also shared that it could be a positive.
“Don’t train too hard then you wont’ get injuries.”
Jeff is clearly a doctor prescribing the right kind of medicine and taking a dose regularly.
“Get tired of being tired.”
Jeff also shared his acronym, GOTCHA:
This medication has side affects too: longevity, self-esteem, energy, confidence, and enthusiasm for life.
Diana describes herself as 67 and ¾ years young. She competed in seven events in this, her 14thyear at the Huntsman World Senior Games. She said it simply:
“You’re never too old.”
She’s transformed her life and her healthspan after 50. At 49 Diana weight 208 and she’s now at 146. Listen to how she chose her doctor!
Pat, 69, had just had an exhilarating 1:38 minute finish in the triathlon when I caught up with her. She’s a St. George resident (lucky her!) and she’s been at the games 8 times participating in the triathlon (made up of swimming, biking, and running). If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a dozen times! The winners here all feel the same way:
“You’re never too old”
Pat’s advice for beginners about how to start:
Volunteers make the Huntsman World Senior Games run smoothly and they were amazing! But it’s hard to sit on the sidelines as a volunteer or a spectator (often called “Sherpa” if you’re there for an athlete) and not be inspired to get in the action.
I caught up with one volunteer at the triathlon event and she has different plans for herself next year! We made a date to compete next year.
Lauren’s job was to make sure all the swimmers got started in the right order to begin the first leg of their triathlon. If you’re inclined to attend and want to volunteer (either instead of or in addition to competing – there’s plenty of time to do both), check out all the options Huntsman World Senior Games.
“I might do this triathlon next year because I do bike and swim…”
Active aging has many faces. One thing it has in common though is choosing to start something – to accelerate – not to slow down.
Dr. Stephen Barrett, 85, is a retired psychologist and runs Quachwatch.com http://quackwatch.org/He won 3 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and a bronze in seven events he participated in at the Games this year.
He’s only been competing for 10 years, meaning he began his competitive swim career at 75. What might you be starting right now? Stephen mentioned swimming is a wonderful physical activity but it’s also social for him!
“Swimming is a wonderful thing for fitness… you don’t have to compete… just go for fitness.”
When I asked him, being the psychologist in the house, how staying active was for mental and cognitive health he replied,
“I’m not senile yet!”
The Huntsman World Senior Games and Flipping 50 share a common mission, right along with the International Council on Active Aging and other entities that exist to “change the way we age” (ICAA’s tagline). I first got a closer look at the games and the organizers when Kyle Case, CEO reached out to me. I immediately asked him to be a guest on Flipping 50. Not long after Huntsman Senior Games began their own podcast and Kyle and Jeff Harding hosted me on Active Life.
I wasn’t unfamiliar with the Senior Games but I had no idea that state-held senior games were a part of something greater with one important distinguishing factor. It’s inclusive, collaborative and supportive. You need not qualify to participate.
What every one of the athletes I talked to have in common was the fact they’re getting older without feeling older. They are choosing active aging. The rocking chair was made for kindling.
I’d love to hear from you. How do you think about getting older?
Are you inspired to learn more about the Huntsman World Senior Games?
If you’d like support choosing an event, starting to train, whether your goal is weight loss, feeling better, beating your own time or being a World Champion, comment below that you want to and we’ll post more about how to set your goal and go into action. The 28 Day Kickstart is a perfect place to start if you’re challenged with changing needs of your body right now. There’s no “convenient” time! Do it now! I’ll see you there!
“How do you stay motivated to exercise?”
It’s one of the most common questions I’m asked. I know my successful clients and friends who are committed are often asked this too. The truth may be we’re not all that motivated. We committed to it and we go because we know there is truth in some social media memes.
I wish I hadn’t done that.
~said no one after a workout ever
You will feel better after an appropriate* workout even if you didn’t look forward to it. Your body chemistry changes within seconds after beginning exercise. Endorphins, serotonin, and appropriate levels of cortisol begin surging through you. The feelings of satisfaction and achievement that follow exercise stay with you long after the exercise is over. That kind of “fix” is how so many of us stay motivated to exercise even when life throws obstacles in the way.
By the way, I haven’t always been a regular exerciser. I had to start somewhere just like you. I didn’t go from being a rockstar athlete in high school (I wasn’t) right into running and lifting regularly. I have told more than a few stories about my days in “contract P.E.” in high school. I think we sat in the old wrestling room eating Oreos dipped in peanut butter. That is, after we’d snuck out to buy them. Nice, right? Picture of health.
Below I’m giving you some simple tricks I use to stay motivated to exercise in a way that changes my fitness level. By that I mean, in a way that follows a plan that increases my fitness level or positively changes me. I can write an exercise plan to take myself through 142.2 miles in one day but if I don’t followit and don’t do those workouts according to the plan I won’t have the same results.
Random exercise won’t reap specific results.
After 50 we have a little more urgency, a little less resilience to injury, and less time than we often thought we might in our 20s and 30s and 40s. So it is important to me to get it right. The biggest reason sticking to a plan makes sense is easy. Results make anyone of us motivated to exercise.
When you see and feel results, you will want to do more of what gives you results.
I break up my workout time into chunks stay focused. It’s a no-brainer on longer workouts but I like this even for short ones. When you’re going to do it another 50 years even those short interval-training sessions get predictable. Just doing a workout does not make up for a lack of intensity.
I never want to take for granted just because I’m doing an “interval” workout I’m working harder. Here’s how to know if you need to bump up your focus: you finish thinking that you didn’t work that hard! [Intervals are supposed to be tough and get you to fatigue, or they just aren’t doing the job they’re known and loved for: boosting fat burn].
Here’s an example of a longer swim:
Here’s an example of a long indoor bike session:
If the first example was increasing my focus on the workout itself, this one I can use either to distract or to focus. When I ran my first marathon I had a list of people I love to think about each mile (and .2 at the end) of the way. I am guessing many marathoners do similarly because crossing the finish line is emotional if you’ve ever watched runners come in.
I sometimes focus on an article, chapter, or a course I’m creating for a specific time during a longer, run, bike, hike or swim.
During intervals, I will use the recovery to do the same. I’ll focus on the activity as I charge uphill and then bring my thoughts back to the idea I want to develop. This works well for my clients who are corporate athletes. When you need to step away from your desk or have a difficult conversation with someone (or not) the movement and release of adrenalin can bring things back into focus and make your creativity flow. Brain-Derived-Neurotrophic-Factor (BDNF), which is enhanced by exercise increases productivity, focus and decreases depression and anxiety.
Those results are long term but there’s also proof that exercise during the workday, regardless of intensity, increases productivity and problem solving skills in the afternoon.
Most women have loved multitasking since we first learned the word. It’s how our minds tend to work anyway! But you already know that there’s plenty of proof to show doing multiple things doesn’t get more done at once and it doesn’t get the jobs done well compared to what you’re capable of when you focus on one.
Yet in this case you combine movement and thoughts about an issue, you’re taking advantage of kinesthetic learning as well as the reduced tension and adrenalin so you can focus. Then when you go back to the drawing board with ideas and breakthroughs from your enhanced creativity, you will have a better outcome.
When I’m short on either time, or attention, I stay motivated to exercise by opting for short cardio and weight options in the same session. Instead of doing 40 minutes of running or weight training I’ll do 20 minutes of intervals and 20 minutes of strength training. The combined workout is higher in overall intensity than either one alone (the longer we go the lower the intensity).
When you have 20 minutes you pay attention. Face it, we baby boomers and over 50’s have an attachment to the more-is-better mantra. It’s been proven false over and over again yet what got in your head decades ago may be a hard idea to unlearn. When you give yourself just 20 minutes you don’t let your mind wander, you make it count.
When you make it count, you’re back to the real answer to how you can stay motivated to exercise. It works. It just flat out works.
It feels good to feel good.
At risk of stating the obvious, for many people paying for a program and committing to a coach or a group is a big motivator. Flipping 50’s STRONGER program is currently in beta and we’re testing it with a group of about 25 women. They’re committed to each other and to the study: we’re very dependent on their participation and their ability to be eligible at the 50% off rate hinged on sharing their results and doing all 16 workouts for 8 weeks.
So far as we enter week six, the comments have been fantastic. Women supporting women have made this a different experience. They share the completion of workouts, their comments on the difficulty or variety of each new week’s workout, ask for support in modifications and they’re feeling stronger! The accountability factor is a big motivator.
[The STRONGER program will launch in September. If you want to be first to get the announcement be sure you’re getting out emails by adding yours here.]
*An appropriate workout designed for your collective hormone, physical, and mental needs is not just any workout. Don’t ignore signs your best workout might be restorative yoga right now. The right workout is sometimes a recovery workout and sometimes a tough challenging interval workout. It’s rarely a middle-of the road zone 3 workout (also called No Benefits Zone). Unfortunately, for most women that’s where they’ve been exercising for decades.
Share your own tricks for getting or staying motivated to exercise.
One must for my motivation is eating well. While some might find they temporarily are motivated to exercise because they eat junk, I’ve found for me and my clients the better we eat, the better we feel, the more we want to exercise and just move general. When you don’t eat like a couch potato you don’t want to be a couch potato! Seeing this before the end of August? Hurry… stock up and save 10% on my favorite breakfasts, post-workout meal, and craving-killers (chocolate-nut butter smoothie anyone?) that taste great and don’t sabotage you! Use First50 at the store.
This post is all about how to get off a weight loss plateau. It’s sponsored by the good folks Sleep Number. A sincere thanks to my client, Jennifer for sharing her story. All thoughts in this post are my own.
A weight loss plateau is frustrating. After 50, it can seem downright hopeless. You’re already trying to do something you may feel you should have done years ago, and wishing you’d been more proactive about it before it became a problem. That makes for both physical and mental challenges that can stall you.
If that resonates with you, then please keep reading and watch the video. It’s real, and it’s not about some success story of a size 8 woman going to a size 2. It’s about getting on the path to success and improving the quality of your entire life. You can experience tremendous improvement by simply choosing to start.
Whether you’re like my client Jennifer and you have health risks or additional weight gain, or you have less than 20 pounds to lose and just can’t seem to find the key, this post could be a breakthrough for you.
Hidden Tool to Get Off a Weight Loss Plateau
You know the tools for weight loss. Exercise and diet changes have always been a part of the weight loss process. If you’re trying unsuccessfully to get off a weight loss plateau, that may be all you’re focused on.
There’s more to the answers and they aren’t as intuitive or as easy to implement. We love to have tangible solutions. Stress and sleep habits are also a part of the puzzle. They’re less tangible! Rather than put your shoes on to go for a walk, you might just need to stay home and relax. If quality sleep seem like a good idea to you but you don’t know how, this post can help.
During my relationship with Jennifer (who has given permission to share her story in order to help others) we shifted her exercise schedule and her nutrition quite drastically. Yet, she was still not seeing results in terms of weight loss or body composition as quickly as we would have hoped.
If you have made the changes needed regarding exercise and diet, and yet still aren’t losing weight, stress might be your problem. Stress from all sources can make your body hold onto stored fat. And, lack of sleep is a definite source of stress. Research has proved this. We also know key hormone levels that support lean muscle and release fat (Growth hormone and cortisol) are nurtured by sleep.
The lingering changes Jennifer needed to make to get off a weight loss plateau revolved around sleep. She’d always functioned on little sleep, but had no idea how badly it was harming her. If you’re like Jennifer and think it’s “normal” to be sleep deprived, you too may need to take this step.
So, how can you take tangible steps toward better quality sleep (and thus, a healthier, happier life!)?
Our society doesn’t do this. There are sources of constant stimulation around us at all hours of the day. Learn to shut them off. Unplug. Detach from the noise. Commit to a personal sleep project for a month and see what happens.
Create evening rituals that match your morning wake up calls.
Work backwards from your wake time to be sure you’re at least resting in bed for 7-8 hours.
Begin your day at the same time each morning. Avoid sleeping in so you can reset your body clock and keep a consistent schedule. Routine is key!
Sleep can be the missing link to get off a weight loss plateau. It can also provide you with more energy than you knew was possible. Even for those of us who believe we sleep well, there’s a good chance upgrading your sleep game can change your life for the better!
I’ve been sleeping on the Sleep Number 360 smart bed since January. Words can’t describe how much I love it!
Got sleep issues? or sleep success stories? I’d love to hear from you! Add your comments!
While you’re traveling SO much can change! Your body likes routine!
Here’s where we go wrong so often. You’re in a different time zone. You eat later. You eat different. If you’re at a conference you’re socializing. You go to bed later. So, naturally, you make the mistake of thinking you should sleep later.
Here’s my secret. I don’t.
I’ll sacrifice that sleep lamb and get up at the same time as I usually do – or earlier – so I can do the same morning routine I usually do, so that I am “me” all the rest of the day.
If you’re a Flipping 50 program grad! (you’ve done the 28-Day Kickstart, Fit-U, or After 50 Fitness Formula), then you KNOW I put sleep on a high pedestal. You’ve got to have adequate sleep to have adequate hormones to make your exercise (and diet) habits stick.
But there’s an exception here.
A morning routine is more important that first morning and day of a trip than at any other time.
Let me tell you when that alarm goes off at the time that will allow you a usual routine, it can rude. It was 30 minutes ago as I write this post. But I know if I fast-forward four and eight hours later today I will feel a whole lot closer to 100% “me” if I get up for my usual morning routine. That for me will include:
So on infrequent days like this I keep my morning routine and forfeit a little sleep. If I shortchange something it is far more likely to be an evening activity. For me, staying up too late will negatively impact my days.
Know you. If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigueright now and you know sleeping in is the best thing for you, then do it. (…and potentially go to bed early too!)
This is all so important for feeling good the majority of the time you’re away. We get caught up in excitement or newness or simply don’t know ourselves well enough to know what’s best. If you focus on the two hours past your bedtime and then pay for it all day, or all trip, you just want to be sure it serves you best. Is it once in a lifetime? Is it happening so often that you’re feeling groggy and functioning poorly the rest of the time?
Is it worth it?
I had a hard time pulling myself away from friends I hadn’t seen in a few months last night. It’s the first of five nights at a conference. As much as that was important to me, I wish I hadn’t this morning! I’ll do better tonight at getting to bed early and I’ll feel better for having done it. If I don’t, I’ll be toast by the end of the weekend.
It’s AS important for you to have a morning routine at home. When you skip that morning “first two” – that I call the two hours that sets the quality for the other 22 – (or you never establish a morning routine) you will suffer. That internal clock never gets set and you feel groggy, off, hung over the rest of the day. It doesn’t matter what YOU do during that two hours as long as it is what YOU need to do during those two hours. I have thoughts on it!
For me and for many high performers (that’s not me putting myself into that group, btw, just a coincidence- or hopefully not!) there are certain habits that happen in the morning routine that are non-negotiable. Find your personal best morning routine and you’ll help your metabolism hum the rest of the day.
What’s your morning routine? I’d love to hear how you start high energy days!
(Coming up on the Flipping 50 podcast I chat with @fermentationist Summer Bock about your body’s love for routine– don’t miss it!)
If you’re thinking about starting an exercise program and you just can’t stand the thought of starting and quitting again, or you’re in it but you’re randomly doing things and can’t really commit to those regular habits that will make the difference, this post is for you.
Are your thoughts fat? Have you got a heavy load of limited thinking getting in the way of you either starting an exercise program or staying motivated to exercise?
It’s likely one of two things:
You’re not ready to change. No amount of external motivation, science, or workout planning is going to help you if you simply don’t want to change. You’re still unconsciously creating a balance sheet and the cons of changing are winning over the pros of changing.
You probably wouldn’t be reading this if YOU didn’t want change. But that is different than changing your habits to be more regular. The answer for you is not to jump in with reservations anyway. You really need to spend more time deciding that you’re in it – get married to it – and through good times and bad you’re going to change. It’s not convenient. Ever.
“I’m going to apply to do this next year,”a woman once told me at an American Heart Association Go Red for Women’s event following my presentation. Essentially what she was telling me was that she was going to wait another full year to apply to be a participant (with the possibility she would not be chosen) in the program meant to inspire and demonstrate the power of just three months of exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle change. Rather than start now and be healthier, happier, and at less risk by next year… she was going to wait. If you too would say something like that, you’re not ready to change. It sounds good, but you’re not ready to lace up your shoes and take a walk.
In a perfect world with no stress, humans are going to want to keep doing what’s habitual. So if you have habits to dump or add you’ve got to be committed to doing the work. Most of the things involved in starting an exercise program are easy. It’s sticking to it when your default habits kick in that’s hard. That’s thinking, not acting. So ponder what’s going to get in the way, why, and what you’re going to do about it before you begin.
Following a presentation to a women’s association I was once approached by a woman who said, “Next year when I retire, I’m going to start.” This woman, a teacher, was also going to wait nearly a year until it was more convenient to start. She’d waited this long, I suppose, what was nine more months? Clearly, I need to review something in my stage message!
The challenge here is that disease unfortunately is not waiting. It’s having a heyday. While you’re pushing through with stressors, ignoring your body’s need for exercise and healthier eating habits, tossing and turning at night instead of getting restful sleep, disease finds more opportunity. Never mind the joy you’re missing from being a more active, focused, fully present woman less likely to be anxious, depressed or tired.
In Mary’s case, it was osteoporosis. Just as she was about to retire from her position as head of a counseling clinic, she was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her plans to retire to a mountain home and spend her days chasing white powder on skis were threatened.
What plans are you making that life might interfere with because you didn’t buy that insurance policy called exercise? You can either think of that as a con for not starting now, or you can think about the pros of your active life without limits once you have the time to enjoy it. Spend time creating your own balance sheet when it comes to your exercise decision.
You’ve got limiting beliefs – stinking thinking – about health habits. Your thoughts may tend to spill over to other areas of your life too, but certainly they limit permanent health habit adoption or stopping habits that interfere with your starting and exercise program.
I’m going to identify 10 patterns of limited thinking (that’s a lot of ways we can screw up). You may identify with more than one. Trained in exercise and sport psychology along with kinesiology, I’ve worked with clients and students on behavior change for 34 years. Among my private coaching clients (and me; none of us is immune to the occasional stinking thinking), there have been patterns of thinking that either are changed quickly and allow someone to pivot and move forward, or that tend to keep us stuck for longer than we’d like. It can take as little as 90 seconds to work through an emotion triggered by a thought.
So, even if you’ve been stuck for years, whatever you’re about to do next, does not have to be a replay of those events.
It’s not discipline or willpower. It’s desire to change and the way you think about or process what happens or doesn’t that most influence your rate of success. Notice I didn’t mention failure: if you’re still trying there isn’t any failure. There may be some “juice” you get from just being in this space of limbo not really changing, just going through the motions.
Do you keep buying programs? We usually follow people that are already going in the direction we want to go in. So if you find an expert you believe in and yet you can’t get your arms around making the changes the expert is asking you to make, you’ll hop to the next program and spend time on Facebook joining group after group without ever taking action. A woman recently requested access to one of our Flipping 50 private program groups who already belonged to 36 groups. Thirty-six! My suggestion for her would be to go on a Facebook diet and substitute a walk for all that time online. That’s a business opportunity for someone! I’d call it the Facebook Diet. The marketing materials would say, “Is Facebook Making You Fat?”
Do you keep telling yourself you can do better without acknowledging that this is the first time you’ve done something?
I’m going to name, and define, and give you 10 examples of how limiting thinking shows up and could derail you as you’re starting an exercise program.
You miss either do it all or you do nothing. You have a little cake at a birthday party and suddenly you’ve blown your perfect streak. “I blew it.” On the other hand, you may have gone to a cocktail party, refused to eat anything that was there and feel proud, but totally deprived. You’re either “good” or “bad” in a situation.
“This is all so hard,” you might say as you’re starting an exercise program or shortly after the honeymoon period. It’s as if everything about changing to eat healthier or find time to exercise is difficult and in fact needs to be that way. Someone else who has healthy habits is “a health nut.”
“I’ve never been able to stick with something for very long.”You’re likely to throw words in like always and never when you’re referencing yourself if you tend to do this one. If you’re starting an exercise program – again – there may be patterns but they’re merely breadcrumbs.
It’s all negative. There’s no positive focus. “You’re just being nice. I should have done better,”you’d say after someone complimented you for reaching a new goal or completing your first race. You distort and see it as negative even when it’s positive.
How do you shift your mental filter? Ask questions like, what is it you’re rejecting? What is the evidence, In this case, the evidence that you should have done better at something new? How valid is the evidence?
This is insisting the positives don’t count. Say you receive a compliment on completing a tough effort in a workout or consistently sticking to your exercise schedule and eating well while traveling. You reply, “It’s terrible! I haven’t lost a bit of weight.”
You come just short of not only rejecting the compliment, but of insulting the person who gave it to you. Starting an exercise program your goal may very well be weight loss but evidence that you’re going in the right direction toward that end goal comes before the result. There are positives all around you.
Jumping to Conclusions
You’re doing a lot of mindreading and fortune telling. You assume that someone is judging you even without evidence it’s true. In part, this is because you are judging you. This is also sometimes called projecting.
Say you’re a professional woman with an established career. You begin an exercise and nutrition program and you have a history of starting and stopping. You feel like everyone is judging what you perceive as failure in this arena as a fault in your professional armor. The truth is there’s no evidence anyone is judging you for your weight or appearance, nor are they tying it to your ability professionally. You could choose to believe that or shift to believing that being authentic about your journey will actually help you in every other area of life.
You either blow things out of proportion or you shrink things. You might have a workout plan from a coach and you intended to complete it but when you went outside the heat index was already above 100 and you simply couldn’t complete it. You dwell on the fact that you failed to do the workout that was written for today and that because of that you have slowed your progress and screwed up.
You ignore the fact that the heat changes everything and your effort was still high, and in this case much safer and smarter. You realize that anyone attempting to do the same workout under conditions like this would compromise their health and be reducing not improving fitness. You completely forget that you remained consistent in your workouts and committed to your schedule.
You let it bother you for days and your weekly coaching report focuses on how poor this performance was regardless of how the rest of the week went.
You assume reason from how you feel. An example of this is if you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your weight or lack of progress, then for you that logically means that others must think you are an embarrassment and haven’t tried to help yourself. If you feel stupid when you go to the gym for the first time and don’t know how to adjust equipment or where to start you assume you are stupid.
How do you get out of this mindset? Remind yourself that feelings are indications of what you’re thinking. You have the ability to change your thoughts and that in turn will change your feeling. You need to take back your power by treating a feeling as a symptom.
If you “should” on yourself you exaggerate something that is truly just a choice. You impose it on yourself as if it’s a golden rule. You do this with should, must, have to, ought to and leave yourself burdened with things that just add stress and seem terrible to you when you don’t do them.
You may in fact be taking action and following through with health habits, but you rarely enjoy the benefits because your thinking makes it more like an unpleasant sentence than a lifestyle choice you love.
When it doesn’t all go as planned you blame yourself. You make it hard to take in the data from past experiences and use it as a catalyst for going forward. Instead of, “I made a mistake,”you say “I’m an idiot.”
In regards to a social eating environment where you gave into temptation or succumbed to peer pressure of people you have history of eating and drinking to excess with, instead of, “I let myself explore the food choices,” you say, “I have no willpower.”
One of my personal favorite recounts, “I fell off the wagon and got run over by it,”can fit in so many of the categories here, but not this one, do you see why? There’s really no blame (good) or assumption of responsibility (not so good). It’s like the wagon must have taken a sharp corner and thrown you off. Poor thing.
On the other hand, too many of us tend to do the opposite, as in this next example of thought patterns to dump before starting an exercise program.
Personalization and Blame
You blame yourself for something you’re not responsible for. You register for a race or set out to do a new training distance. It’s harder than you thought and you are disappointed by your performance. Instead of processing all the things that are unpredictable on race day that come into play, you blame yourself for a time much slower than you had wanted. You say, “I should have done so much better. My time was terrible.”
The reality is that it was your first race at that distance. You had a personal best no matter how you look at it. You have really no right to expect a better performance if you tried your best, followed the plan, fueled and rested well. You just learn from what happened, assess what worked, where it was hard, and identify how you can overcome that next time by a change in training, rest, and fuel.
You can process data from every life event whether a single workout, the instance where you decide to get up and workout or to stay in bed, or the way you approach meal planning every week. Before starting an exercise program, perhaps again, spend time identifying how you think about changing.
I’ve got a new study/beta Program open for registration. That means we’re offering it 50% off the program launch rate because we’d like your feedback, your success, and your data to share with others so we can make a big difference in more lives. If you would like help starting an exercise program and you:
Then, what are you waiting for? We need a MINIMUM… and have a MAXIMUM of 45 spots for this first group. Your identity will be protected. Here are the details and how to save your spot. If you’ve got a friend, forward it to her! Success rates increase dramatically when we have the support of a coach, a group, and an accountability partner.
Starting an exercise program isn’t hard. It’s just easy to get busy with other distractions until it becomes a habit. I’ve got you!
Chances are if you’re reading this you’ve got intentions about getting fit after 50.
I just returned from the gym. It was 5:45 pm, on a Monday, in January.
Actually, whatever you just imagined, it wasn’t quite that bad! There were parking spaces and really it was kind of quiet in the weight room and cardio area. Must have been the warm weather today that allowed Coloradans outside.
Yet, this time of night isn’t without some bumping into big young guys in the weight room anywhere in America.
I don’t wear ear buds & ipods at the gym so it’s hard not to overhear. That’s so much kinder than saying I was eavesdropping. Two college-age guys were excitedly chatting about a business plan and an app they’ve got in the works, well at least the idea stage right now.
Had I not wanted to rat on myself, and the fact I was totally listening, I would have injected a comment. I didn’t. I did smile ear to ear though, thinking what a funny comment.
“The hardest thing is deciding,” one said. “It’s committing. I feel like that day is the hardest day. Once you do that everything is easy.”
LMAO on the hip sled as they were bench-pressing mirror muscles, I thought, we’ll see.
See, I believe THAT day is the EASIEST day! It’s every day that follows that is hard.
Whether you’re talking about a business plan, a project, a marriage, or having a baby or … your getting fit the easiest day is deciding, signing up for the program, setting the New Year’s intention (or whatever you fondly call them), declaring I’m in for good out loud to the universe and maybe God and everyone you know… that’s easy.
Then there is the follow through on the commitment …
… when the alarm goes off at 4am (and it’s dark and it’s warm under the covers)
… when your spouse does something that really makes you angry or hurts your feelings
… when the cuddly bundle of joy you had is projectile vomiting across the room for the first time or has colic and you can’t stop it
… when it’s intimidating to walk into a new gym, new weight room
… when you don’t like the way you look and feel in your exercise clothes let alone the way you feel hot and sweaty
… when you have to travel for work and plan ahead how to order at restaurants and bring healthy food in your suitcase
… when you don’t like what your trainer has planned and you throw every possible obstacle out there for why you can’t do it
… when you’re full of excuses and it’s really not about the program, the trainer, but it’s about you doubting you
… when you want to believe that anyone who is getting fit after 50 must have a luxurious life with maids, and trainers, and no laundry to do and more hours in the day than you … but even you know that’s false.
That’s my observation about the hardest day on the journey to getting fit after 50. It’s every one after that first day you jubilantly declare your optimistic future dreams. Those days when you have to roll up your sleeves, not because it’s always about manual labor or hard work… but because it is about changing your habits and your mindset about the way it was going to be.
You are stubborn; a creature of habit. So am I.
Habit gravity is like the devil.
When you’re committed you’ve decided everything is “figuroutable” and even if the GPS you thought you were setting isn’t going to get you there, you do the U-turn and keep going.That is darn frustrating, right? To realize in the hurried state we’re always in that you’ve been driving in the stinking wrong direction?
So it is if you’re “eating healthy” or exercise hard every day and can’t lose a pound of weight. Not necessarily the right answer and usually the dead end for a woman whose started peri-menopause or is over 50.
Every day that you drop a little of your resistance to the plan that is right and you trust that process instead of giving into that devil-like resistance keeping you from what you want, that’s a good day.
When you recognize that you have resistance before you sabotage yourself with resistance again, that’s a good day.
If you want some support reducing your resistance and getting fit after 50 click here. If you have more than 20 pounds to lose, click here instead – for my course specifically designed for fat burning, for women, over 50 based on science, and over 30 years of primary research working with midlife and older women.
Are you goal setting this year? Notice I didn’t ask if you’re making New Year’s Resolutions. I hope you’re goal setting. Really though, I hope you’re goal getting.
Every year since 2000 I’ve led a Best Year coaching workshop either in person or online for my coaching clients, staff members, and I’ve done it myself. I think goal setting is powerful, as long as you create the plan to get the goals you set. It isn’t that goals create motivation. The plan to reach the goals creates commitment.
If you attended college and completed a degree in the major of your choice it took some commitment. It did for me at least. I had to be really committed those semesters I took chemistry, physics, and statistics. My very first semester as a then graphic design major, I thought Art History would kill me. Thankfully, 5 other girls on my dorm floor were taking it at the same time. I got a tutor for physics and statistics.
Reflecting on that makes me wonder why we think it should be different as adults. But we seem to think it should be easy to change or do something new, by ourselves, without any support. I had a tutor for statistics and for physics! I’ve finally asked for help in these last three and a half years more times than I have in my entire adult life. Trauma will do that. It’s hard to ask for help, potentially the hardest thing ever. Give it? Sure, in a heartbeat. But asking for help, whether because of pride or ego or some other reason is so hard for so many of us.
Many of us avoid goal setting, making New Year’s Resolutions, or starting programs. We avoid starting. Even if we know the thing we would start will be a valuable step we don’t do it. I just read an email from a business community friend that nailed it. There may be joy in procrastination he said.
When we are teetering on the top of potential choices we are filled with hope and optimism. If we set a narrow focus on a goal we allow ourselves to be judged or graded by our progress. Our harshest judge, of course, is ourself.
Procrastination allows the myth of perfectionism to persist. Under every perfectionist is a tough inner critic. Without starting you have a safety net. You can’t fail if you don’t have a goal and a plan. You can live in Excuseville.
Not long ago at the request of several readers I posted a typical day of work/activity/nutrition. A comment came from a reader that suggested what I’d posted was a schedule for the wealthy. After I picked myself up from LMAO, I responded that reality was I had been as close to broke in the last 4 years as anyone gets and laid it all on the line to start over. Working for yourself is not a 8-5 job with kids (I’ve been there… and that’s a cake walk by comparison). But even before I wrote I knew whatever I wrote would not matter.
If you believe that you can’t you will be absolutely right. The human nature is to make ourselves right. If you believe because you have a job and a commute, a household, a family and they get in the way of you living your best healthy life, you will do everything in your power to make that right. It’s a safe place to be. It’s not a very happy place though, is it?
What you think becomes your reality.
My friend, Dean Jackson, who sent me the email that got me thinking about this mentioned his resistance to scheduling appointments. I laughed when I read it, because I think we’re all there. We’re so over scheduled that we love our freedom to choose to do what we want when we want. We have this fear of missing out (FOMO).
I suggest that if you’re hopping around from information channel to information channel, from one fitness expert to another that you too have a FOMO. You won’t commit to one because you might miss the next – better – thing. It’s the tortoise and hare. While the hare is looking for shortcuts and quick fixes, the tortoise is moving ever slowly but steadily to the goal.
We resist scheduling things now. When we resist though we throw away chances that tomorrow or next year will be better. Your future depends on the choices you make now. If you want to be a knockout in sleeveless tops or shorts next summer, your actions today and tomorrow all month matter. There are two questions that Dean asks so he can avoid staying right where he is now:
What would you like to do tomorrow?
If not now, when?
You see this next question coming, right? What do you want to do today, then to make that happen?
If you have a vision (or a vision board like I create annually) it doesn’t really matter until you have a plan to make that vision real. Be specific with what you want. Be more specific with how you’re going to get there. Goal setting has to be specific. It’s not:
It’s statements like this:
You would even deep dive further with any of these. Here’s an example of the first bullet above:
This question has been a catalyst for my starting so many things. I began doing triathlons when I was 40 because those “0” birthdays can move a bucket list item to a to-do list fast. I knew it wasn’t going to get easier later. When I was bike shopping and looking at a triathlon bike vs. a road bike there was logic and then there was, “if not now, when” and I’ve never regretted getting the tri bike. This month in fact I upgraded to a new tri bike.
This question is how I quit two jobs I loved, moved two states away, started pursuing my own business full time instead of half-heartedly pretending it was anything more than a hobby. It’s how daily I get up at 4am and get SD.
But that’s me.
And this is about you.
In this past week on live Facebook broadcasts inside private groups and on the Flipping50TV page I’ve heard a resounding message echoed.
…I need commitment.
I so need to do this.
How can I stay motivated?
It’s not motivation. It’s commitment. To get that degree, to have that job, to stay in that job, there are always parts of it you don’t love. And you’re not going to love getting out of bed early every day. You’re going to resist it because the rest of your day is full of things you have to do, places you have to be (another meeting, anyone?), and times you have to be there. It’s true.
Do it anyway.
I don’t agree or endorse a large percent of social media memes and messages. But one that I do agree with is… “said no one ever” following “hated my workout, wished I never have done that.” Seriously, as much as you might dislike exercise, or just the getting out from under those warm covers, no one ever regrets a workout. It might have been hard or light but… done and keeping your promise (your commitment) to yourself is such a rush you’ll feel good all day because of it.
A woman with a goal is a powerful thing. A goal that lights you up and makes you spontaneously smile changes you. Even when you want to procrastinate. There is only short-lived joy in procrastination.
Cheers to your 2018! Every single day of it.