Getting older sucks!
Most people think that when you hit your forties and older that is game over in terms of staying lean looking sharp and enjoying the same quality of life they have now.
I don’t buy into that.
I think with the right approach to your diet, training and lifestyle you can enjoy the same sort of choices that you have today well into your 70’s and 80’s and still look good doing it.
We are already seeing people in these age groups and older who are still doing amazing things with their body and maintaining a standard of health that is way above what we expect at that age.
This trend is only going to continue as medical advances continue and we learn more and more about the aging process and how we can defy and defer it for as long as possible.
However if you want to be leaping around in your 80’s and 90’s and rocking a tshirt and jeans you have to start this journey as soon as possible and that means now, today.
To do this properly and stay on track I believe you have to put together a framework or set of rules that you create, that become your guiding principles for keeping you on the right path to success.
Of course these rules are not set in stone and will no doubt be increased and amended as the years pass and my knowledge and experience expand but for now these are working for me.
Even if you don’t agree with the rules I have set myself I encourage you to think about and write your own down whether its for achieving success with your health, wealth, relationships, family or just keeping yourself content and happy.
Therefore here are the 12 rules that I believe will help me (and hopefully you) stay healthy, lean, strong and sharp for the next 40 years or more.
1. Focus on good quality sleep. – I think getting 7-8 hours quality sleep and waking feeling refreshed is one of the most important things you can do if you want a lean, healthy body. In fact if you want to build muscle or achieve anything else in your life then having adequate levels of sleep is essential. Not only does your body perform more effectively in terms of your metabolism, hormone release and other important functions but you have more energy and feel less stressed so lessen the potential to make emotional decisions that are not beneficial to how you look and feel.Pick a schedule for going to sleep and waking up and stick with it as much as possible.
2. Do some form of activity every day. – Whether it’s a planned workout, a walk or playing sport try and make time for a some form of activity every day. We are all moving less and less and we need to balance this out with regular exercise. It doesn’t have to be super intensive all the time we just need to get out and move around whenever we get the opportunity.
3. Eat protein with every meal either as a whole food or using a quality protein supplement and vary my protein sources between animal and plant on a regular basis. Protein not only is vital to develop and maintain lean muscle but helps you stay lean through stimulating your metabolism and decreases hunger cravings.
4. I follow the 80/20 rule with my diet The more natural foods you the better your health and body will be for it. That said it is not always easy or convenient to eat completely natural all the time but I make sure that I never go below basing my nutrition around 80% of whole natural foods and 20% of non natural foods. Of course I try to eat as much natural food as possible but when this is not possible or I want to relax a little with food then 80/20 is my cut off.
5.I Know my limits when it comes to alcohol. For years I was a classic binge drinker but I know that if I want to look, feel and perform a certain way this has to stop. Yes, at the right occasion I may overdo it but in general I know my cut off point and also what drinks I can have and what I must avoid.
If you are ok with being able to have a glass or two and then stopping then enjoying alcohol on a regular basis is fine. However if you know that one glass leads to another 2, 3 or more and your doing this nearly every time you go out then it may be time to examine your relationship with alcohol if you want to be at your best. We all need a blow out now and again but these have to timed around occasions that matter rather than just getting wasted at the weekend because there was nothing else better to do.
6 Stop hardcore dieting and follow a balanced diet that contains proteins, carbs and fats. We have to stop associating getting lean with eating bland foods and having to deprive ourselves. Yes we need to have discipline and this will differ dependent on goals but once you understand the energy balance required and start to understand your own body in relation to what you can and cannot eat, losing body fat, building muscle and just maintaining what you have becomes a lot less complicated . Be sure to treat yourself with the foods you love on a regular basis but enjoy them as a reward rather than making them a normal part of your diet. They taste so much better when you give them this status.
7. Perform regular high intensity training. High intensity training using such strategies as Intervals has been proven to perform best in changing body composition. How often you do this related to your goals, age and fitness levels. If you just want to maintain your fitness and body fat levels then training – 2 sessions per week is enough. If you want to lean down a little then you may have to increase the sessions per week to 3 or 4. With regard to exercise choice pick a mode that you enjoy and feel comfortable pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. So whether that means sprinting, cycling, rowing, skipping, boxing or some other activity that challenges you then go for it. Ideally try and mix it between 2 or 3 exercises to keep your workouts varied and avoid overuse injuries. If you’re doing them right these type of workouts should last between 15-30 mins.
8.I Train with weights and do a minimum of 3 sessions per week. Research is showing us how beneficial to our body composition and quality of life resistance training is.You don’t have to be lifting weights like in the image I have used above but putting your body under some form of stress using either weights or your own bodyweight is excellent training and one of the most important factors in keeping your body strong and mobile. If you only take one or two rules from this article this should be one of them.
9.I allow myself to rest when needed As you get older one of the most important things to do is start listening to your body. Some days are going to feel a lot worse than others and its recognizing this fact and being able to pull back and give your body the rest it needs to fully recover. Knowing when you can push hard and when you have to take things easy will keep you motivated and making progress without risking burnout, injury and illness.
10. I Drink More Water- You can argue that drinking a lot of water is not necessary but I challenge anybody to follow a program of drinking a proper amount of water for their bodyweight for 30 days and tell me they don’t look and feel better. To show this in reality a scientific study took 50 overweight females and asked them to drink 1.5 litres of water over there normal daily intake to see how this would effect their body weight, body mass index, body fat, and appetite This was done for 8 weeks. At the end of the project every single participant was shown to have lower levels of all the parameters studied. So yes you may be going to the toilet a lot more but this little compromise is well worth it for the benefits to your body it brings. Try it out and see
11 I will Learn to cook better. Eating healthy can get a little bland if you don’t know how to do cook and put together tasty meals.You don’t have to be restaurant level but the more you know the better your food will taste and the easier it is too stay focused. Being able to cook even to just a normal level is a great life skill to have that benefits not only you and the family but just adds to the quality of life.
12.I work on managing stress levels everyday Chronic stress and the resulting production of cortisol is is just terrible for your overall health and can have a very negative effect on body composition and this only increases as you get older.
A little stress can be ok in certain situations and have a positive effect in terms of performance and fat loss but stress that is constantly there in the background gnawing away at you is the worst type and will eventually lead to issues with excessive body fat, loss of lean muscle and possible other medical issues. Cortisol does have some positive functions within the body but when excessively produced for longer periods of time this is when the problems will emerge.
Over the years I realised I get stressed far too easily and have struggle to keep it under control. I just used to ignore it and carry on regardless but the more I understand about stress and the effects it can have the more I realise I have to do something about if I want to live a long and active life. I am still a work in progress but to help me reduce stress I try to do at least do one or more of the following every day
Being with pets
Your list may be different to this but whatever works for you then make time for it every day as much as possible.
This is not a complete list of everything I follow but I hope it does give you an idea of the type of framework that you can use to help achieve goals and live the type of lifestyle that will not only keep you healthy but happy as well.
If anybody has their own rules or can think of others that would be good to include please share in the comments below.
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As always thanks for taking the time to read this article and visiting my site, I really appreciate it.