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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Body

Hi all, if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about how I do most of my strength training alone in my back yard. I fell out of love with gym culture a few years back. However, it’s cold and nasty in Salt Lake, Gold’s Gym was running a good special, and I’m now back in the swing of things and enjoying it well enough.

It’s resolution time for many people. I can tell. The gym is absolutely swarmed with new folks trying to turn it around. Most of them look miserable while they’re there. They’re trying to do so much, all at once. By February it will look like a ghost town again, sadly. 

But I saw something recently that made me very happy. A group of older men, ages 50-70, all training together. And they were there together when I was last a gym regular, five years ago. They’re all moving well, looking good, and they seem happy. We all talked and caught up and talked about goals. They each agreed that simply aging well had become the most important physical goal, and they’re doing it.

The days pass regardless of whether we’re in shape or not. It doesn’t take much to feel better.

If you have this goal, and you’ve struggled to maintain a routine in the past, I’d simply encourage you not to try to do everything all at once. No going hardcore or cold turkey or all the way. Just pick one small habit and change it. Give it a few weeks. Then, if all is going well, add another small habit. It can be as simple as writing down workouts, subtracting 100 calories a day, going to bed an hour earlier. Just pick one thing and try it.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing when you see all the meatheads grunting and scowling at themselves in the mirror and you’re not as big. Keep in mind that there’s someone out there bigger than them, lifting more quietly, who is way stronger.

One habit, that’s it. And one good habit lends itself to more. And that’s what will help you look forward to exercise/training. And that’s the best gift you can give your body.

If you’re looking for something for your mind, I’m rereading Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl. Still the best.

One habit. One.

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  • Michael LaRocca January 6, 2014, 10:33 am

    Great gift for your body, fantastic book for your mind, and it’s not true that I’m hanging around outside the gym with an ice cream truck waiting for the willpower to cave.

  • Sister Hilda Kleiman January 6, 2014, 8:43 pm

    Thank you for the good reminders! It encourages me to know of others who believe in the power of one small step at a time. I have seen it work for me.

    I read your book last fall and have recommended it to many people in the last couple months.

    Happy New Year

  • Ara January 7, 2014, 9:06 am

    Those older guys are getting the companionship that will make for better mental health while getting physically healthy. Excellent!

  • Dawn January 10, 2014, 2:11 pm

    Yeah! And you are right about choosing manageable goals! I am a powerlifting librarian and love it! Powerlifting has taught me to start where I am and improve from there. I love competing because it’s just me against the iron and a great feeling when I achieve my lifting goals. I am trying to get back to where I was in my mid 30’s and then surpass that. I have been at meets that included men in their 70’s, 80’s and even a 6 or 7 year old! How cool is that? I am trying to get healthier and eating right is my biggest challenge right now. Thanks for the great advice!

  • Boris Bachmann January 14, 2014, 6:44 pm

    Man’s Search For Meaning – a great one. Just hearing the title makes me let out a sigh of, I don’t know, wow.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 16, 2014, 10:50 am

      I’m actually reading that again right now.

  • Christine January 23, 2014, 5:22 pm

    Josh, I have always avoided reading this because Holocaust memoirs are always so harrowing and painful to read. Can you get meaning from the second half without reading the first half? Maybe reading the second half first will give me the strength to read the first half?

    • Josh Hanagarne January 25, 2014, 9:54 am

      absolutely. Don’t feel any pressure to read anything you have to talk yourself into. Try the second half and you’ll know immediately whether it’s for you or not.