If you struggle to stay consistent in the gym, there are quite a few things that’ll help… starting with having a mentor.
I was lucky, in a way. As a teenager I had a vision of maintaining my training my whole life. It was the influence of Strength and Health Magazine and my coach, Dick Notmeyer. Dick remains my Mentor (with a capital M) to this day. At age 87, he told me some sad news:
“Well, Danny, I can either lift OR ride my bike every day. I can’t seem to do both anymore.” So, Dick lifts three days a week, drinks his protein after the workout, and rides his bike the other four days. At 87, he’s allowed to cut back.
For me, I understood the importance of health, fitness, longevity, and performance at an early age. I try to pass along what was passed along to me.
I ask silly questions like, “Did you floss today? If not, it doesn’t matter if you bench press.” I’m not against benching, but I want people to connect the dots between this workout and the sixty-plus years of living that comes after today’s session.
There are several other things you can do to maintain the training life:
1 – Put together a home gym.
You may already have one and don’t know it. An ab wheel and a doorway pull-up bar can probably do wonders for your physique. Toss in a dumbbell or kettlebell and you can train any time you want. Oddly, having a home gym seems to be the one thing that long-term trainees all seem to own.
Yes, I have a gym membership, but I also have two Olympic bars, 26 kettlebells, a hip thrust machine, a dip/chin rack, and a rower. I’d also include bands, chains, pads and a variety of things to carry and pull. So, if I want to train, I go into my garage and work out. Sometimes, I just do a few pull-ups when I pass the bar.
2 – Find your “intentional community” – people you can count on.
I can count on Mike Brown pulling up to train with me every day. With an assortment of other people drifting in and out due to work commitments, we might work out with anywhere from two to fourteen people. Then, we eat breakfast. We’re here to train, but we also laugh, help, and discuss.
These workouts are the best of my life. If someone needs help on this or that, the whole workout may pivot and we’re all working on kettlebell snatching, RDLs, or mastering the Turkish get-up. You might think it’s arm day, but you end up with something far more amazing.
3 – Make sure your goal isn’t, um, stupid.
My goal, and it’s printed on my computer, is to dance at my granddaughter’s wedding. My grandparents died before I was born, my parents died before my children were born, and that pattern is going to stop with me. Josephine is four. That means that I need to not do anything too stupid; just watch the diet, keep strong, and stay mobile.
That’s good advice for anybody. But what do you want to be like at 60? I’m 61 and still competing and having fun with sports. Many of my friends are dead already from bad life choices and bad luck. I can’t do much about luck, but I can make good life choices.
Every goal should come with a warning though: Be careful what you want… you might get it. As a kid, I wanted to be a college athlete on a full scholarship. Got it. I wanted to have a career with lots of travel and life flexibility. Got it. I want to dance at Jo’s wedding.
Being a Division One athlete was glorious but difficult. Traveling now is awesome but I get exhausted from the flights to Europe which I often do twice a month. I’m sure something will come up on my next goal.
What I wanted as a kid was a lifetime of fitness. I was vague about what that meant and I’m now thankful for that vagueness. Make big glorious goals for life and keep walking toward the finish line.