Alan Bishop promised himself that when he turned 40, he would be in the best shape of his life. Best promise he ever made.
In 2009 I turned 40 years old.
I committed to myself that when I turned 40 that July that I would be in the best shape of my life. I did this as part of my first ever “The 365 Effect”and little did I know then, what life changing results would come from this 1 small commitment.
Since 2009 I’ve done 5 cycles of “The 365 Effect while at the same time recording, documenting and tracking every bit of food, sleep and exercise I that I did over those 5 years. When analyzing this data I had many insights but the most profound is what I call “Uncovering My Better”.
I truly found out what worked for me. I found “My Better” and what I needed to do in order to live a better life on a daily basis.
Based on those findings I’d like to share with you my 5 Must Do’s for Men over 40.
“You are what you eat” couldn’t be a more powerful statement for a man over 40.
Personally, I look at food as my fuel for life. If you’re putting the wrong fuel into your body, your body will eventually protest. You’ll have belches, burps, flats, farts and sickness. The FUEL you put in directly determines the quality of actions that your body is able to execute on.
Biologically we’re all different. We have different needs and no one diet, fad or flavor of the day will work for us. I don’t care if you’re a Vegan, Raw, Paleo, Gluten free or on the simply Bacon diet. It doesn’t matter—it only matters that you experiment with food and find what’s right for YOU. Track meals, test different combinations, amounts and times that you eat and RECORD how you feel and act.
If you have to spend 3 months testing then do it. Once you’ve establish what works then STICK TO IT. I’ve found that if I eat the same things every single day, I PRODUCE… Physically, emotionally, mentally and creatively.
I might not be having as much gastronomical fun as some of my Foodie friends but I feel freaking AMAZING (and I always allow a cheat day here and there to take the edge off).
Men can be the most solitary, surly and down right moody creatures on the face of the earth, and I’m no different.
Once in a while I imagine myself escaping like Jeremiah Johnson and retreat to the wilderness, living out my remaining years in quiet, peaceful solitude. But in reality I’d miss my amazing wife, my sons and the communities and connections I am part of.
One of the key factors in longevity has proven to be an attachment to some sort of external community. The research shows that people who form and belong to supportive communities that interact on a regular basis live longer. It’s really astounding when you see the numbers.
Between the camaraderie of the guys at the golf club and the global community of Crossfit, I keep connected on a daily basis.
Seek out that community or connection that not only inspires you but also a community/connection that forces you to constantly strive to add more value to yourself and the world.
What is that FIRE that burns deep within you?
I love it that passionate is often a word that people use to describe me.
Tracking my data for those 5 years not only revealed my food and fitness imperatives but it also enlightened me to my need to engage my passions.
The big dips in my emotional or mental state didn’t come from the fuel I was putting in my body because I was eating perfectly. The dips came from my lack of living passionately, the lack of stoking that fire within.
It’s there inside of us. It manifests itself in many different ways but Passion is the fuel of our lives. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you go after it with excitement, zeal and reckless abandon.
NO ONE will do this for you. I repeat NO ONE will follow your passions for you. If you take one thing away from this post I want you to take that note to heart. Don’t buy into the belief that others share your ambitions, dreams and goals. There too busy working towards their own passions to care about yours.
Take a risk, open yourself up to failure, go after something with all your heart and soul.
There is no passion to be found playing small— in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. — Nelson Mandela
My garage is my gym and over the years I’ve taped to the door a multiple sheets of paper. On some of them I’ve written inspirational quotes but the ones that tend to draw my eyes most often are these below:
For me the words “Be Strong to Be Useful” sum it up for me. I don’t ever want my body to prevent me from enjoying any aspect of life that I choose to do or any opportunity that gets placed in front of me.
How many people do you know who are starting to make life choices because their body is dictating it? They’ve lost control and once you lose control over 40 it becomes increasingly hard to regain what you’ve now lost.
I love this simple equation:
Health = To Do
It’s utterly profound. Without health you cannot do… anything.
Similar to your diet you must Uncover what Fitness means to you. Everyone out there has some sort of “Program” that’s guaranteed to get you in the best shape of your life. I’ve got one for you too but it may or may not help you (although I’d sure like you to try mine).
P90X, Crossfit, Zumba, HIIT, Spinning, 24 Hour Fitness ALL MIGHT WORK but you have to experiment and pick what YOUR BETTER IS.
You can only Uncover your Better by exploring and experiencing. Heck that’s where the fun is too.
The main point of Fitness though is that you have to find a way to MOVE your body everyday. If you’re not moving your getting closer to dying. The dead don’t move.
I’m not talking about finding love, getting married or adopting a stray puppy. I’m talking about loving yourself.
It’s uncommon for men to talk about loving themselves. It’s just not something that came up for most 40 somethings in our formative years. Our dads were too busy working, coaching us in sports or trying to make us “Good Men” than to worry about teaching us the nuances of loving ourselves.
But we have to.
Depression kills 40+ year old men. It’s real and it hides itself inside many of us. Loving yourself is one of the key ingredients to fighting this internal battle.
For many, loving themselves might turn out to be the hardest thing on this list to do but it’s worth it. The more you love yourself the more you’ll be able to love others. If you work on accepting yourself – The GOOD, BAD and the UGLY you’ll start to learn to love yourself more.
Learning to love myself has been one of the hardest things i’ve done over the last 10 years but the exploration into self has provided so much growth, change and learning. I’ve become a better husband, father and person because of this exploration.
Diet – Community – Passion – Fitness – Love
This list isn’t definitive. It’s only the tip of the iceberg but it is a start.
Take a few minutes and question yourself in these 5 areas. Where do you stand? How are you meeting these Must Do’s?
Do you know a 40 something that needs to read this post – PASS IT ON. Help them “Uncover Their Better” and who knows, you might just help change their life.