In Mindset

fit after 50 Debra AtkinsonGetting fit after 50 is something I research, talk about, write about and share every day for the last 4 years. Before that I did so probably 50% of the time every day for 30 years. I was working with older (than 50) adults already as an undergrad.

This time though it’s personal. Getting fit after 50 is after all a personal journey for each of us. I’m typing on the keyboard in the raw, unedited version in order not to filter, not to be politically correct (is that even a thing in 2017?), just to share a special message with you on this Thanksgiving Day 2017.

My fit after 50 journey

I’ve been here before. Here as in Cozumel, Mexico, and a few days before an Ironman triathlon. Then again like so many other things in life, repeating a race is never the same. It’s nice to know the venue. It’s nice to have some familiarity. It’s nice to know that you’ll run into exactly the right people you needed to meet along the way.

Then again, I’ve never been here before. The last trip here I was comfortable in several positions that allowed me to create a living, an identity, and security that afforded me the ability to choose to be here. It was here that I decided I was too comfortable and too secure and it was time for change. I may in fact have come back for another pivot. [More on what comes out of these next few days in future posts.]

This current trip to fit after 50 has been more cerebral than physical. In more ways than one. First, in ways that give me reason to question what the h— I’m doing! I feel so physically good, no aches, no pains, no even minor injuries along the way. Then I’m reminded that I haven’t earned soreness! I haven’t put in a lot of miles running.

But I’m back. I went somewhere, I don’t know where, but thankfully I have found myself again. That’s what training in this way has done for me. If you’ve listened to the special podcast I posted today, you’ll hear Margaret Webb mention the confidence that comes from running. I’ve experienced a change in myself that I’m grateful for today.

Getting fit after 50 is not about toned arms, losing jiggle from thighs, or losing cellulite. Those things may be the motivation that gets you started but the thing that keep you going will be the way it makes you feel…about yourself. You’ll be empowered to do more, take risks, and get outside your comfort zone.

This trip, I’m uncomfortable. Someone recently commented that this is the lifestyle of the wealthy. I laughed out loud reading it. It’s anything but. It’s a matter of priority, of messaging… myself and people around me… about living fully. It takes time, and it takes some discipline but time passes anyway. It’s a matter of choosing how we spend our time. The life of an entrepreneur is not always glamorous. It’s just like the reality of triathlon. I remember first seeing an image of a triathlete on the cover of a magazine. Svelte, toned, confident. The reality is when you’re training you may have snot across your face, you will smell like you need a shower for hours, and you’ll be visiting port-a-potties or learning to eliminate on yourself. Hardly the glamour life.

But the confidence that comes from getting dirty and doing things that make you lose yourself to simply get from point A to point B is priceless. It comes down to just you. You have goggles, and a bike, and running shoes. Yet, they only do so much. You are responsible. It’s refreshing. Not everything in work is like that. Most things in fact are not.

When there’s a risk that you won’t finish or the possibility of reward  when you do and you’re willing to take that chance and fail it boosts your confidence in ways staying safe and doing the guaranteed outcome does not.

The stories from most of the age-group (meaning not “pro”) athletes here are about races they’ve failed to finish. Those are the stories they tell first! The ones where it went smoothly are not the ones they tell. It’s the struggle and then the getting back to a starting line that stays with them and they share with new acquaintances.

Permission to fail in your fit after 50 journey

So, fail. Go for it. There’s the saying/question, “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail.” Maybe the better question is what would you do if you had confidence you could fail and still be thrilled with who you are and what you’d done?

I have found myself comparing recently. I’ve got so much I want to do and share with so many of you. We have work to do, so that everyone feels that they too can change their health and make healthy choices every day. Until there’s no “but… it won’t work for me” and it’s simply about which path to open up possibilities… we have more work to do. I’ve been looking at all there is to do and ignoring all I’ve done. The last four years have been a complete restart, reboot, in my life in every possible way. Fit after 50 begins between the ears.

In the end, it will end there too. We will of course, age. Our bodies will show wear and tear but they can renew and the brain and mindset can be young and youthful for as long as we breath. Let’s do this together. What’s your fit after 50 journey going to look like? If you could not fail, or better yet, if you give yourself permission to fail and still do it anyway?

Happy Thanksgiving!


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