In the Quest for Fitness After 40, You Gotta Pay Your Dues

One big OlderBeast goal is to help you evolve your outlook on fitness – and experiment with alternative activities – so you WANT to work out. Another important goal: help you PLAN so exercise isn’t super-hard to fit into your schedule.

But some days you’ll find yourself 0-for-2 on these dimensions. You really don’t want to do the workout you’ve planned. And something about that day’s schedule changed to make it hard to fit it in, anyway.

In such cases, sometimes you definitely need to be flexible, listen to your body, and reload for tomorrow. But sometimes you’ve got to suck it up and do your planned workout, man.

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One big OlderBeast goal is to help you evolve your outlook on fitness – and experiment with alternative activities – so you want to work out. Another important goal: help you plan so exercise isn’t super-hard to fit into your schedule.

But some days you’ll find yourself 0-for-2 on these dimensions. You really don’t want to do the workout you’ve planned. And something about that day’s schedule changed to make it hard to fit it in, anyway.

Lack of desire + schedule challenge…makes it very easy to opt out of your workout that day, man.

In such cases, sometimes you definitely need to be flexible, listen to your body, and reload for tomorrow. But sometimes you’ve got to suck it up and do your planned workout.

SMALL EXAMPLE: RAINY TUESDAY MORNING, BOSTON, MA

This article isn’t about me, it’s about you. But let me illustrate via a personal experience from last week.

Last Tuesday, I’d planned a 5-mile run in Boston (after flying there from California late the prior evening). I didn’t sleep well. The morning was chilly and rainy. By the time I was really awake, I didn’t have time to eat lightly and let that settle before exercise (which I’d normally do – I’m not an “empty stomach workout guy”). I had meetings scheduled all day, including a dinner.

So to make a run fit into my schedule, I needed to head out immediately. I wavered. Was I really up for this?

Well, I’d already taken the prior day off, so this would make two days in a row with no exercise. Something I almost never do. Plus, I committed myself to a triathlon in August, and had in mind the need to keep training momentum. (That’s a good by-product of setting fitness goals).

I pretty much forced myself out the door, and I felt sluggish to begin with. But I felt better and better as the run went on. And once I was done, I was really glad I didn’t bail on myself!

FRIENDLY SUGGESTION: THINK ABOUT “PAYING YOUR DUES”

As I was running, the phrase “paying your dues” came to mind.

This is something we often think of in relation to young people in a career context. You’ve got to earn it, you’ve got to pay your dues. But by the time we’re 40+, aren’t we done paying dues? Don’t we deserve to enjoy the benefits of what the dues-paying was for?

In a career sense, perhaps yes.

But when it comes to fitness, the older we get the MORE important it is to keep paying those dues, brother.

Inevitably, at times, you’ll find yourself in the wavering mode I felt last week. It’s so early (or late). It’s hot (or cold). It’s rainy, snowy, windy, whatever. You’re hungry.

But think about all the things you want from a fitness, health and wellness perspective. Feel great. Look your best. Keep getting happier as years go by. Live as long as may be in the cards for you. Do any of us think these come for free?

Sometimes, you gotta pay your dues, dude. You need to earn it.

Please think about this the next time you feel that “waver” impulse.

 

“Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues. And you know it don’t come easy.” (Ringo Starr, It Don’t Come Easy – click to listen)

 

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