How your fitness looks in your 50s follows a generally predictable path. You start in high school playing sports, running around outside, being with your friends. You go into college and find that fuzzy feeling that alcohol gives you and pack on the “freshmen 15”. Once out of college you find your career path, get married and start building a family. All with full neglect of your fitness.
Then, somewhere along the lines, you wake up one morning and think to yourself, “I feel like crap. I can’t bend over and tie my shoes without hurting my back. And my clothes are slowly shrinking!!”. Generally speaking, that “AHA!!” moment to improve your health and fitness happens in your 50s.
How do I know this? Because I see it every day. Our average Pack Member is between 48-55 years old. And many came to us at or around the age of 50 because they were ready to feel better, have more energy and be able to move without aches and pains.
Typically, at that point, you’ve tried a lot of different avenues to improve your fitness. You’ve tried that Atkins diet, Grape fruit diet, cleanses, shakes, DVDs, P90x, crossfit…you name it and you’ve tried it. All with the hopes of just feeling better about yourself again!!
The Game Starts Before the Whistle Blows
Now, I wish I could say that if you just tried a little harder you would have reached that point of fitness euphoria where you feel great, move great and look great naked. But the truth is, for most people in their 40s and 50s, they were defeated before they even started.
Let me explain…
If you’ve read this far, I can assume that you make some sort of connection with the story above. So, let me ask you a question. If you’re a person whose tried multiple diet and exercise programs to lose weight or feel better or get more energy, how many of those programs did you begin by truly believing…TRULY believing…that they were going to work?!
In other words, did you have the absolute conviction that the diet or exercise program you were doing is going to get you to your goal? OR, on the other hand, did you think to yourself “Well, it worked for Uncle Vinny, so I guess I’ll give it a try” or “It’s popular right now so it has to work, right?” or “I’ve already failed a couple of times so this time shouldn’t be any different, but we’ll see what happens”?
If you are honest and agree that you didn’t have your full belief behind the program, then maybe the program wasn’t the problem (LONG side note: there are tons of diet and exercise programs that promise quick fix, instant results that are simply not sustainable for most people. So I’m certainly not telling you that you need give the grapefruit diet a try again. Just to make that clear).
How Your Mindset Plays a Role in Your Effort
There are many different variables that can pop up and cause you to fail. When it comes to fitness, for instance, maybe you get hurt or someone in your family becomes ill and you have to take care of them. But for most people, these aren’t the things that hold them back from achieving their fitness goals, though.
No, for most people it starts and ends with the mindset. Your mindset is the belief that you put behind a given task or goal. It is what you feel is going to happen or not happen.
For instance, if you started a new exercise program today with the feeling that you’ve failed before so you’ll probably fail again, your mindset is going to hold you back from achieving success.
On the other hand, if you go into the same program with the feeling that you can adapt to any change that happens along the way, your mindset is ready to support you on your journey.
The Growth Mindset VS the Fixed Mindset
In her fantastic book, Mindset, Carol Dweck explains the difference between the 2 mindsets we all have. For example, the mindset of “I’m going to fail. I can’t get any better. Why am I even trying?” is called the fixed mindset. Fixed mindsets typically happen in areas where we fail often. Most people have a fixed mindset about fitness because they’ve “tried everything” and can’t seem to make progress.
To improve your chances of success in any endeavor, it requires you to develop the growth mindset. The growth mindset is the mindset that “I can do this if I put my mind to it. I can change and adapt when met with resistance. I am able to learn from failure and push through to results.”
Fitness in Your 50s Comes Down to One Thing…
In short, your mindset about a given situation all comes down to what you believe is possible. For many of our Pack Members who have been with us for a while, they will happily tell you that they’re doing things now that they didn’t believe were possible when they started. After all, once you hit 50 you can possibly get stronger, lean down, and have good muscle tone, can you?!
Which is why, in order to improve your fitness at 50 and beyond, you need to develop the belief that you can improve and get better. You need to develop a growth mindset around fitness and understand that it’s only your effort or lack-there-of that will keep you from achieving your goals.
Strong words coming from someone who is only 34. But I can tell you, when I was 24, I thought that 34 was ancient. But now that I’m pushing past that number and have the pleasure of working with people who are older than me, I can see what humans are truly capable of at any age. And, to a person, progress has all come down to belief and mindset.