I turned fifty-two recently, and decided to make a fitness comeback.
I liked the idea of turning 52 and being in the best shape of my life, and feeling better than I ever have before.
And as this new goal began to take shape inside of my mind, I used specific methods to create a tailored plan for reaching a higher level of fitness.
- Do you enjoy discovering what helps your body operate optimally?
- What are your current health and self-care protocols?
- Do you already have a specific strategy for consistently improving your physical and mental health?
At age 52, I can’t yet honestly say yet that I feel better physically than I did at 20. But I definitely feel better now than I did at age 30.
Perhaps you are thinking of crafting a new fitness goal, too?
If so, you might find helpful the following ten methods for planning your fitness comeback.
I also encourage you to partake in the support, advice, accountability and encouragement that this casual community offers. We provide our FREE Quality of Life Newsletter to help start you on the new leg of your journey toward robust health.
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1. Acknowledge that, Yes, You Do Have Time to Workout
Are we all too busy to exercise?
We are busy, yes. But not so busy that we can’t fit in a workout. There actually are enough hours in the week to do what you need to do.
There are 168 hours in each week, and that means that you probably have more time than you think.
168 is a lot of hours. In those many hours, you can earn income, spend quality time with your family and friends, and do all of your self-care and health protocols – including exercise.
Yes, it can be done. However, it requires one thing: preparation.
2. Cultivate a Sense of Urgency
Marianne Williamson once remarked that, after the age of 40 a person no longer has the luxury of a “5-year detour.” This is where a life plan can prove immeasurably helpful: as you travel the journey of life and you reach a fork in the road (and there are always forks in the road) your life plan serves as a map to help determine whether to veer right, or left.
This ability to correct course is essential for living an increasingly joyful, meaningful life – and is especially helpful for improved fitness.
Each person’s journey is different in each lifetime, so there is no exact blueprint that everybody can use to plan their fitness comeback. However – whatever specific goal and plan you come up with – it must be a priority. It must feellike a priority.
Decide that your improved health is an urgent priority.
Until you make that decision consciously and ceremoniously you will not have the internal shift necessary to turn your fitness plan into a reality.
3. Ask Yourself the Fantasy Question
Ask yourself the big question, “if money were not a factor and I could have any type of body and any level-of-health that I wanted, what would I choose?”
The best way to answer this question is not to overthink it.
Relax, and fantasize.
Your answer to this question doesn’t have to then be literally enacted, it’s meant chiefly to lubricate your creative process and provide increased clarity.Your overall energy level right now, on a scale of 1-to-10?Click To Tweet
4. Use Your Answer as Rocket Fuel for your Comeback
Use your answer to the big question (see #3, above) as inspiration to start crafting your fitness goals – it’s a good idea to always have a dream that you’re in the process of achieving.
First come up with your big outrageous goal, then work backwards – breaking that big goal into smaller and smaller pieces.
Having an exciting goal that you can visualize will make your fitness comeback easier to achieve.
5. Identify Your Cheerleaders
I believe that the primary reason each of us is on the planet for this particular lifetime is to remember who we really are by being in relationship with each other. Therefore, a good fitness plan includes a component of improving and enriching your relationships with other human beings.
Who in your life would absolutely support and encourage you while you undertake new fitness habits?
6. Tend to Your Inner Self
Develop a clearer connection to your own soul. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, it can be helpful to imagine that you will have a life review at the end of this lifetime.
Imagine that when that movie is played back to you, you will be able to viscerally feel the impact you had on others’ lives.
How can you make more of a positive difference in the world?
And, would having more energy and better physical health help you to make more of a positive difference in the lives of those you love?
Your body puts up with a lot from you, and without it you couldn’t experience life on earth. Planning your own fitness comeback would be an exciting way for you to honor the body you’ve been given – as it has honored you.
7. Build High-Impact Strategies
You’ll be wanting maximum results for the time and energy you invest in your fitness comeback, and the fastest and most effective way to achieve a new level of improved fitness is to address these three key areas:
- anti-inflammatory nutrition
- cross-functional exercise
- sleep quality and recovery
You need to decide what you’re going to be eating, what foods are anti-inflammatory for your unique body chemistry and whether or not you’ll be counting calories and “macros” (percentage of fats, carbs, and proteins consumed in a day).
You need to include a variety of workouts in a typical week – strength training, mobility, and cardiovascular.
Will you take yoga, pilates, or use a foam roller? Will you play sports or go biking or running? Will you train with weights or take a crossfit class?
True fitness engages a variety of exercise modalities (people who focus on just one type of workout develop imbalances – becoming strong in a particular area, but very weak in others).
It’s imperative that you have excellent recovery from the day’s stresses – including your workouts. This is exponentially true if you happen to be over the age of 45.
Will you put a meditation app on your smartphone? Will you sleep in a blacked-out bedroom with an eye mask and ear plugs? Will you go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night?
Each person needs to identify their unique problem areas and identify their own solutions.
8. Choose Your Peak-Energy Window
To make room for exercise in your already-busy schedule, it can be helpful to ask yourself: am I a morning person, or a night person?
Most people tend to slightly favor one time of the day over the other, in terms of their physical energy and mental clarity (even if only by a small margin).
First you must know what your potential peak time of day is – your point of highest quality, activity and achievement – that way you can leverage it to your maximum benefit.
One of my primary goals during my recent experiment of waking super early for 30 consecutive days, was to integrate exercise more consistently into my weekly schedule. I found, for me, that early mornings are definitely advantageous for this. On days I traveled to the gym, early hours helped me avoid much of the traffic (that L.A. is famous for), reducing my round trip drive time from 2 hours, to only 40 minutes.
I also saved time by getting my exercise in before work. I used to try to slip out of the office in the early afternoon for a quick lunchhour workout, but I found I was showering, dressing and prepping for work two times, instead of one – which was inefficient (when you add cufflinks, necktie, vest, etc., to the equation, it just gets a bit ridiculous from a time-perspective).
Knowing when your physical energy is highest will help you launch your own fitness comeback.
9. Create a Time Budget
An effective way optimize your schedule in order to make room for fitness, is to create a time budget – by doing a mock-up of your ideal calendar.
First, just scribble down on paper – quickly, without over-thinking it – everything that you would fit into a perfect week.
Let’s say that your fantasy is to do one yoga class a week, one outdoor run, one CrossFit class, or any appointment that you can think of that you want to do each week.
Next, start with a blank 7-day calendar and block out the times you work and the times you sleep. This calendar represents your “typical week” (use any calendar application, such as the one that came with your computer, to do the mock-up). Remember: it’s for standing, reoccurring appointments only – don’t use your real calendar.
Then, fit in any other standing appointments too, such as helping your kids with their homework, your weekly farmers market, etc.
Next, start taking those exercise sessions from your wish list and start dropping them into available time slots within your 7-day standing appointments calendar.
This calendar represents your time budget. Any blank spaces left available means you can create even more self-care appointments (“meet John at the stadium steps for our weekly climbing workout”).
On the other hand, if you have more appointments than you have blank spaces, then you’ll need to prioritize.
10. Track Your Progress
Some people find scales and measuring tapes helpful – and I do, too – and yet I find the best way to track my fitness progress is by snapping a before-photo on my phone, and also by gauging how I feel.
What is your overall energy level right now, on a scale of 1-to-10?
Compare this number with your future number, after you’ve been exercising consistently for a while.
Use the above 10 ideas to launch your own fitness comeback.