5 Confronting and Complicated Steps to Help You Live Your Best Life After 40.

Because life, fitness and fat loss aren't simple.

Last week I wrote an article which outlined my story of being a fit youngster, losing that fitness and then finding it again over the age of 40.

At the end of the article, I promised to follow it up with another piece that gave five simple ways to get back in shape after 40, even if you hadn’t exercised in years.

Sound catchy right?

Let me fix all your problems with these five easy tips!

5 Simple Ways to Get Back in Shape After 40:

Even if You Haven't Exercised in Years!

I just vomited in my own mouth a little bit reading my own crappy title.

So here I was, one week on, still struggling with the new article.

Yes, that’s correct, I’m struggling to come up with five simple tips.

Here’s why, the truth is, getting in shape is not simple. It’s complicated because everyone is different, and while individual underlying principals will remain valid, not everything works for everyone in every situation.

The truth is, getting in shape is not simple. It's complicated because everyone is different.

So this morning I had a breakthrough, it hit me the reason I was struggling to write my “Do this, and everything will be better” article was because it was a load of shit.

The article felt dishonest because I knew in my heart that it was. I hate sensationalism, particularly when it comes to teaching people to lead better, healthier lives, yet here I was with a catchy title and an article full of cookie cutter ideas.

Where does that leave us?

It leaves us with the truth and my honest thoughts on what it takes to get back into shape (whatever that means to you) after 40, even if you’ve not exercised in years.

So instead of:

“5 Simple and Generic Ways to Get in Shape After 40”.

I offer you the following:

5 Confronting and Complicated Steps to Help You Live Your Best Life After 40.

Well that’s kind of wordy don’t you think?

I mean it’s complicated, messy, a little scarey and unexciting.

The truth is making a positive change to your habits can be all of those things.

So without wasting any more of your time let’s look at step one.

Step 1: Figure out your "why".

Losing 10kg is an admirable, but it is an uninspiring “why.”

I’d go so far as to say it’s not a “why” at all, and I am willing to bet that it will not keep you on track when temptation arises. 

Image this scenario:

You are stressed out because you’ve had a week from hell at work, and some well-meaning person presents a baked cheesecake.

You and I both know that you will face fuck that cheesecake into oblivion, and probably go back for seconds.

So what will stop the untimely demise of the cheesecake? A more meaningful “why”.

What is the deeper reason you want to lose 10kg?

How about this reason:

I want to take my son/daughter to the beach next summer and teach them how to surf, but right now I’m too overweight to squeeze into my wetsuit and so unfit I wouldn’t be able to save myself let alone my child.

The cheesecake doesn’t have quite as much hold now, does it..?

Mmmm cheesecake.

Step 2: Figure out where you are now.

A brutally honest self-assessment of where you are now is essential because it will point out what you need to do to achieve your goal.

So tell me. Who are you now? Not twenty years ago, not five years ago, but now.*

Your assessment should include, but not be limited to the following:

  1. Known illnesses or injuries that may get in the way of your goal.
  2. If you haven’t been to see a doctor for even longer than your last exercise session, put that on the list as well.
  3. Look at your schedule. What time constraints do you have? How can you make time?
  4. Do you have a support network? Will your family help you with the goal? Who can you recruit to keep you on track?

You get the picture. You need to look at all of the obstacles in the way of achieving your goal and then come up with at least 1 or 2 solutions for each.

This step is extremely important so don’t skip it!

Gents especially need to take note of this point because we tend to forget we’re not 20 anymore, more so than the ladies who are more in touch with reality.

Step 3: Figure out where you need to go (set a goal).

Your “why” is to take your son/daughter surfing this summer so now we need to figure out what needs to happen to get you there.

Now we can talk about losing 10kg because it’s attached to a significant “why.”

My goal is to lose 10kg because I want to teach my son/daughter how to surf this summer. 

Right now I’m so overweight I don’t fit into my wetsuit and so unfit I’m scared I won’t be able to save myself let alone my child if we get into trouble.

The 10kg is now attached to something much more visceral and meaningful. Now you can imagine how it will feel to pull that wetsuit on and paddle out with your child. It’s about so much more than weight loss now, yet the journey to lose that weight will help you achieve that day you’re imagining in a few months time.

Losing 10kg seems like an admirable goal to me!

Step 4: Make a plan.

You’ve figured out your “why”.

You have done an honest self-assessment or your current physical condition, time restraints and obstacles.
You have set a realistic goal.

Now it’s time to plan the small steps that will get you there. What are you going to do daily, weekly, monthly to achieve your goal? Make a list of the things you will do as well as ways to overcome any obstacles.

A plan to lose 10kg might look like this.

Exercise Goal:

I will walk a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.

How:

I will walk the dog before and after work every day.

I will also walk in my lunch break at work.

On weekends I will take an even longer walk and play soccer with the kids.

Obstacles and solutions:

I will not walk the dog by the pub in the afternoon.

If it rains, I will use the treadmill at work.

If I know I have to work through my lunch break, I will park at least 1km from work and walk in.

If I am unable to get in 10,000 steps, I will swing a kettlebell 100 times for every 1000 steps I’m short.

Nutrition Goals:

I will eat high-quality protein and colourful vegetable with every meal.

I will drink at least 3 litres of water per day.

I will only drink alcohol three times per week and will stop at two drinks.

I will not buy food from the vending machine at work.

How:

I will make a food plan and shopping list each weekend for the upcoming week.

I will shop for everything that I need, and when I get home, I will prep as much of it as possible to make it easy to prepare.

I will get a 3-litre drink bottle, so I know how much I’ve had.

I will enlist the social support of my friends and family members, and workmates to ensure I don’t slip up with the booze or the vending machine.

Obstacles and solutions:

Junk food: I will not keep it in the house.

Water: I will keep a water bottle at home and one at work in case I forget.

Alcohol: I will publicly announce that I’m off it. I will tell my best friend at BWS that I am on a mission to lose weight and tell them not to serve me Monday to Friday.

Vending machine: I won’t bring change to work, and I will not go busking in my lunch break.

I hope you get the picture. Figure out what you need to do to achieve your goal and then break it down into manageable chunks.

Now, look at how this beautiful plan can be sabotaged (either by you or someone else) and come up with solutions in advance.

Step 5: Execute the plan.

Now you have to do it. Work the plan. If you’ve taken the time to plan steps 1-4 this part should be relatively simple. Note that I said simple, not easy.

Lifestyle change of any kind is rarely easy; that’s why you need a good plan that is realistic and actionable. The plan should take into account where you are now, where you want to go, obstacles in the way, solutions to those obstacles and most importantly, a big WHY.

I think there are two keys to success. One is to show up. The other one is to keep going. Most people don’t keep going.

Dan John

Bonus Tip: Keep going!

This quote by Dan John is one of my favourites, because the unfortunate truth is most people don’t keep going.

Remember, all of this means nothing if you stop when you reach your goal.

Keep going! Keep showing up!

Life doesn’t stop at 40, 50 or 60; it goes on until, so keep making new goals, keep chasing the best possible version of yourself.

You’re worth it.

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