I’m writing this on Christmas Day. I told myself I would take the day off, but you know what? It feels good to get some of my thoughts on paper.
Besides that, writing this keeps me from diving headfirst into the bag of ridiculously calorically-rich candy my parents sent me.
Every year my mom and dad give me chocolate in some way, shape or form. This year a nutrition info hangtag gave it away before I even opened the box.
I scrolled down to calories… 180 calories a serving. I don’t know how many candies make up a serving, but I’m guessing it’s not the entire bag of 48.
More likely two.
So I don’t want get started.
Why, you ask, would mom and dad give their fitness pro daughter a gift bag of gooey, filled chocolates when they know everything she eats eventually ends up being held up under a stretchy piece of Spandex and on video for the world to see?
Excellent question, to which there is no logical answer.
Actually there is one reason that makes sense: sabotage.
Not blatant sabotage, but a subtle reminder to “not go too crazy with this fitness stuff,” I’m guessing.
I see their point.
In the meantime, I wanted to share a few tips for you if you’ve suddenly – or not so suddenly – realized it’s time to get in shape. Or maybe you took time off due to an injury, sudden drop in motivation or you spent the last few months traveling to places without access to walkways or heavy things to lift.
Or you just got lazy.
All these things happen when you live in real life. First, put it all behind you and keep focused on moving forward.
It’s easy to become quickly overwhelmed with the prospect of starting from ground zero, especially if you’re over 50.
So let’s take it a step at a time, shall we?
It’s exciting to vow to “exercise every single day!” in 2017, but it’s not likely to happen, even if it brings you hundreds of Facebook “likes.”
When you’re unable to follow through on Day 3 it’s all you need to throw your hands in the air in the international gesture of exasperation, and announce, “Well, once again that didn’t work!” and go back to old habits.
Save yourself the grief. Instead, take a look at your schedule, lifestyle and current fitness level and pick days and times of days when you’re most likely to stick to a plan. Start with three workouts a week if you’re new, for example. This gets you in the habit but doesn’t change your entire life.
So commit to Monday, Wednesday and Friday at X time of day. Then schedule to either meet a friend, sign up for a class at a specific time or otherwise write it in your calendar.
Then do it.
It’s fine to set goals, but avoid focusing only on outcome goals such as weight loss. Because here’s the thing: weight loss takes time, especially after 50.
I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you that.
So if your only motivation to exercise is seeing a smaller number on the bathroom scale, you’ll probably bail within a week or two because it isn’t happening fast enough. It never does, by the way.
Think of ways to find motivation either during your workout (listening to music, walking with a friend and catching up on neighborhood gossip) or even afterward. A friend of mine gets together with his workout buddies after their gym class.
The key: Avoid unmotivated friends who are more likely to give you a pass than encourage you to move. “Yeah, let’s skip Zumba and go to the mall,” won’t firm up your thighs.
If you have a long way to go, getting in shape can be like planning to climb Mt. Everest. In both cases (not that I’ve ever climbed Mt. Everest) it’s best to break it down into bite-size pieces instead of striving to change everything at once.
Start with baby steps first, say, walk 10 minutes a day. Once that gets easy, tack on five more minutes. Then pick up the pace, try intervals or add a circuit here or there.
Allow yourself to adjust a bit to each step before adding something else.
Eventually it all comes together in a way you can continue for life!
How will YOU start your New Year’s fitness plan? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW…
By the way, if you need more help, check out my new, 90-Day Ageless Body Plan! It’s a way to work with me one-on-one so I can help you achieve your personal best this year.
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Got questions? Comments? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll respond as soon as humanly possible.
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.