Well intentioned hints to optimize personal resolutions for the next 365 days abound. Me? I believe that I have resolve, so I don’t focus on a New Year’s Day for a resolution (which, by the way, statistically fails within 90 days or so). I set fitness goals regularly, then verify progress in my actions, plus adapt actions as needed in my quest for improvement in strength, stability, stamina and stretching.
Today’s Wall Street Journal offered what your scribe considers a great coachable moment for New Years’ resolutions (of which fitness is the most common):
“Forget about getting better at what’s easy for you. Get better at what’s hard for you.”
Jason Zweig (WSJ 30-31 December, 2018
Set the Bar High for your 2018 Resolutions
What’s Hard for me?
Handstand pushups, plyometric routines, ocean swimming and speedy (fast twitch) regimens are hard. Century rides are hard for me, as I get a pain in the b&^*.
So is skipping a second glass of red wine on weeknights, in spite of its resveratrol.
Keeping my measured body fat under 12% is harder (using natural means), as I get older.
Getting up at 4:07 am to make my on-water rowing practices gets harder in my third act.
Investing daily time in mindful dreaming or focused effort is also hard.
Whether one sets his/her “bar high” as a fitness goal [my preference], or as a 2018 resolution [as tried by many] is less important than following the learned counsel of an uber-trainer named Yoda:
“DO or DO NOT. There is NO TRY.”
Here’s to your and my measured goal achievement in the coming New Year!
I am certainly not alone as I attempt to consume, then critically “TRAF*” many healthy hints that I receive daily. Oh, that these short wintry days in our Northern Hemisphere would limit the chatter received.
Note to self: compare these receipts to depth and breadth of “healthy headlines” I receive next summer for our longest days of 2018.
*TRAF is a timeless workplace abbreviation for: Toss, Refer, Act or File something which drew your attention.
Here are just a few examples of headlines which begged for my life-saving action and (credit card number) today – – –
Today is the first day of the balance of our lives – duh.
With that established – one could optimistically consider each rise and shine as a wake-up call.
Hopefully your morning wake-up was unassisted. You awoke because you were rested after restorative , not because an alarm shook you out of slumber.
After just a bit of mindful time with your feet on deck, how is your resting heart rate(rhr)? If more than 10-12 beats higher than your recent normal “rhr” this advent may be a fine day to taper your activity. If your rhr is elevated by those double digit beats per minute – you probably over-trained, under-hydrated or got a bug.
Listen and note those thumps of life. And then workout or taper accordingly.
A few Good morning stretches to our rising sun or easterly compass point are primo for your posterior muscle and joint chains.
Definitely get down for hip raises for your hip flexors / psoas muscle. Those hip flexors are the only skeletal muscles that connect your upper and lower body halves – so working them daily is very important.
* Be grateful in rain or shine, cool or warm temperatures, weekend or weekday rhythms.
Linger for a few minutes to appreciate heavenly bodies when you pick up your morning paper. Catch a glimpse of a shooting stat, if today is a lucky day. Is the International Space Station slow- walking across your horizon? Imagine how those astronauts and cosmonauts are exercising in space to maintain their bone density. Imagine how your CrossFit plyometrics would do on our moon or in earthly orbit. Wowza.
As you scan the sports pages, fave comic strips and other columns (if you receive daily news in-print); be grateful that you have clean water, good air to breathe and safe conditions in which to be out and about. Others in our news stories are not as fortunate.
Whether you are a morning person, or not; each circadian advent is something to be cherished.
Inside our bodily temples, millions of our 200 million billion cells are replicating for our lifespan and growth.
An median average baby boomer will involuntarily and thankfully pulse his or her ticker 72000- 80000 beats a day. Thank your left ventricle for pumping fuel and oxygen to each of your trillions of cells.
Breaking the fast – at some point is healthy as our blood glucose levels dropped overnight to fuel our brains (nominally ~600 calories worth for a good sleep of 5-8 hours).
Breakfast, to this New Englander who ardently believe in breaking the fast- should be preceded by 12-16 ounces of filtered lemon water.
Figure out your way to ingest 25-40 grams of protein and use this first meal of your day as your top carbohydrate/fiber meal. Right – Enjoy your Breakfasts as a king or queen. Look forward to your mid-day meal as a prince or princess. And anticipate an early, light dinner as a “pauper”. Studies tell us that we should strive for 11-14 hours of regular overnight “fasting” for good reason.
What about a dawn workout?
Once a week, I do my low intensity cardio workout in a fasting condition.If you can handle such intermittent fasts more often – go for them. Our bodies are better for those periods of intermittent fasts.
On my other morning workout days, I’ll break my fast with ~80 calories of “okay” higher glycemic index food- perhaps a youngish/not-too-ripe banana, or a slice of Ezekiel or whole grain toast. Then let your sweat roll as you convert cached energy to power and “work”. We evolved to breathe, move and power up. Thus should it be for each of us in modern times – five to six days each and every week.
What can you do for your bodily and mental temple to make this first day of the rest of your life special?
If it is a challenge day for resistance or cardiovascular training, try to celebrate those micro-tears in skeletal muscle which help youthfulness.
If it is a race day or a day for upping your personal best in a gym, journal your accomplishment and pat yourself on the back for getting it done. You’ve invested the time and talent to get that done and celebrate…
Celebrate the grit, sweat and effort to tear down to build-up.
That stated, it is pretty darned important to offset those oxidative free radicals which serious exercise induces at our cellular levels. That means lotsa COLOR foods in your snacks and meals. This means slowly eating plant-based, micro-nutrient-rich food articles (low GI) to absorb phyto-nutrients while moderating spikes in your morning/mid-day blood glucose.
Isn’t it ironic that “healthy” exercise generates oxidative free radicals- as do unhealthy habits of work-induced stress, excess sun exposure and smoking EVIL weeds?
We need oxygen(obviously) – yet not all oxygen is good for our constitutions. Those “rusting” free radical variants of O2 are truly evil so we must offset them- else harmful inflammation builds. Be a Colorful devourer of berries, vegetables and fruits.
If you are a boomer worker- how playful can you make your livelihood?
– Can you bound up those workplace stairs, and/or walk briskly from the distant parking lot?
– How about leading fresh air “stand up” meetings?
Are you standing regularly and often (with belly button pressed to spine). If you have to sit- are you stretching in all three body planes, taking breaks from evil screen time and averting repetitive stress (carpal tunnel or wrist tendinitis).
Are you celebrating with wholesome sustenance for lunch? Or, if today is your “off the reservation” break for fast casual dining – will you sensibly watch portion control and avert “most” empty calories?
Some say an 80-20 rule or guideline for dietary diligence is realistic. No use fretting for occasional or celebratory breaks. Some variety can be good for your amazing dietary and wellness “system.”
Celebrate today’s awakening. Be well and make the most of your 86,400 seconds and 72,000 or so heartbeats in your excellent Advent(ure).
We all have days when life isn’t tickety boo. I thought about sharing what artists sang or wrote when today, or tomorrow, is one of those days.
James Taylor shared what he did when “this old world keeps getting me down” by “going up on the roof”. Chumbawamba recorded a workers anthem twenty years ago. In part and in repetition: “I get knocked down, I get up again…” Charles Osgood, of radio and TV commentary fame, wrote a Responsibility poem which sticks with your scribe with personal relevance to wellness, and accountability. A second Charles from boomer remembrance (Kuralt) authored Pretty Good. Yes, life can get hard. And Michael Jackson sang about change – starting with “the Man in the Mirror. (1987)”
So what do these lyrics and phrases have to do with a title of No Excuse, sir for those of us striving to be Well Past Forty? Fair question. Here are three questions to thaty question:
Are there wintry days when it’s wet, or cold and that conniving, whispery little devil on your shoulder encourages you to hit your snooze button and grab extra slumber time instead of your running shoes? Sure.
Ever ask yourself, what’s one more day off? I’ll jump-start my regimen again tomorrow. Of course.
Ever doubt yourself and/or wonder if your invested workout / activity time and talent is really worth the effort? Yes indeed.
I’ve been there, and I suspect that most readers have as well.
Taking those first steps on a blustery morning are priceless. Showing resolve by not skipping a sweat or resistance session, today and tomorrow. Sweating six days a week DOES stretch your telomeres and defer cellular senescence. Of that I am convinced.
No Excuse, sir or ma’am, in my former military mindset, is a responsibility prompt to take that difficult first step, and to invest in something truly important, which is your vitality and longevity. Even if this old world is getting you down. Even if others think that Pretty Good is Good enough (it isn’t in my humble opinion). Let’s not let “pretty good become pretty bad.” Let’s be SOMEBODY whom takes personal responsibility when everybody worries about obesity and metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes. Anybody can be accountable, yet nobody often does. Start with that man (or woman) in the mirror.