From the truth about space aliens and Bigfoot, to why leaving the pit in an avocado keeps it from turning brown… we all crave the inside scoop.
Someone somewhere knows the truth and we need that tea spilled. But no one’s talking.
Ditto for fitness.
Many people seem to believe there’s a secret conspiracy among all fitness experts, where revealing the truth will leave us all jobless.
I get many emails asking, “Seriously, all joking aside, what is the REAL DEAL, NO HOLDS BARRED, ABSOLUTE BEST WAY to get in shape after 50? I’ll pay you a $1 million for the answer and promise never to tell anyone else!”
Okay, I may have made up the second part of that question, but my answer would be the same.
Here’s the deal… Over the past few years, I’ve written literally hundreds of blog posts and published articles attempting to decipher this very question.
If you read all of these PLUS every other fitness article, and created a giant flow chart of your findings, you’d only be scratching the surface.
In fact, you have a better chance of uncovering the truth behind the pyramids of Egypt (tombs or ginormous, super cool, lawn ornaments?) than finding the answer to that question.
The answer depends on many factors, including:
1. Your current fitness level— beginners, for example, typically lose weight more quickly than fit people
2. Your effort–– strolling versus power walking, lifting super light or challenging your muscles
3. Your body weight and fat percentage— if you have weight to lose and fat covering the muscle definition, it takes longer to see a change
4. Your level of commitment— working out when you “feel like it” versus making it a part of your life
5. Your patience— giving up after a few weeks versus sticking with it long enough to see results
6. Your coachability if working with a trainer— are you willing to listen and take action?
7. I have only six tips but prefer odd numbers.
And that’s just off the top of my head. Your attitude and a heap of other things can change the trajectory of your results at any given point.
Having said that, I CAN address a major issue no one talks about when the subject of fitness comes up.
We talk about reps, sets, heart rate, steps, muscle tone, abs, blah blah… until the cows come home. But once all the cows are back in the pasture, one major piece is often overlooked.
Can you guess it? Let’s pull back the curtain, shall we?
It’s not one thing, it’s EVERYTHING. If you do not control your negative thoughts around exercise and healthy eating, you’ll never stick with it. (In full transparency, I work with a mindset coach. It’s something I practice myself every day — it’s that important.) Here’s why:
THOUGHTS → FEELINGS → ACTION / INACTION
But when you take control of your initial thoughts, you can change the outcome by your actions.
For example, if you think of how much you hate to exercise, you’ll feel dread when the alarm goes off, which will then lead to you skipping your workout.
If you instead focus on how much better you’ll feel, the strength you’ll gain, energy you’ll have and how you’ll be able to play with your grandchildren without tiring out, you’ll feel motivated and be happy (or at least less unhappy) about tying up your walking shoes and pumping a little iron.
It’s a matter of taking a thought that potentially sabotages you and turning it around so you can accomplish what you set out to do.
A related issue to changing your mindset is to stop “arguing for your limitations.”
This refers to people (not you, right?) who, when presented with an alternative solution, argue that they can’t because [insert excuse here].
Here are some I’ve heard: “I can’t exercise because I don’t have time…” Yet, there’s time to binge watch Fixer Upper. “I can’t eat healthy because I hate all vegetables….” So vegetables are the only healthy food?”
“I have arthritis and can’t move easily…” Exercise is proven to help flexibility and actually improves arthritis symptoms — I’m a living example.
I follow my own advice and use this mindset flip nearly every day in ways you may also find helpful.
Here’s how I process my own, occasional, cranky attitude:
If you say to yourself: “I’m tired!”
Change to I feel good, I feel energetic, I got this!
“This weight is too heavy!” (when you just don’t want to push yourself)
Change to I’m strong, this is doable, I’m getting stronger!
“I don’t have time for this workout!”
Change to: I can quit right now if I want to, it’s my choice, but I enjoy taking care of my body and will feel great when I’m done.
Get the idea? This can be applied to any situation you see in a negative light.
By finding the positive side of every dark cloud you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel mentally and emotionally… which leads to doing the right things for your health and body.
What thoughts do YOU have that could use an upgrade? How will you flip that mindset switch the next time it pops into your head? Let me know in the comments section below…
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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.