If you read the previous post and agreed to play the role of a great athlete who excels in those clutch moments of the second half of life, we need to follow the lead of the best coaches and make some crucial halftime adjustments. Coaches and players who do not make changes throughout the game are destined to fall behind. If we can objectively analyze our play in the first half and put those adjustments into play, we will be prepared to not only win, but dominate the second half! Pull up a seat in front of the chalk board and let’s draw up some of those adjustments to help keep you moving and improving!
Clock Management: Controlling the clock is critical in the second half of any game and our life is no different. While the internet, and, for us, our favorite 80’s movie training montage, may have us believe more is better, longer duration exercise is not needed. To better manage your clock, set a specific time each day and stick to it. If you are new, or returning to exercise, realize that 30 minutes most days will be plenty to see improvements. If you have worked out consistently for many years, you may find that reducing your workout time does wonders. It can help you eliminate redundant exercises, put your phone down during your session, and, best of all, add time to your day outside of the gym, so that your improved fitness leads to improved life!
Know Your Team: Great coaches know their team, and work to maximize their strengths, which may vary from game to game. For us, the first team we need to know is us. Great exercise programs are traditionally planned for long term success, and may have progressions built along 3-6 month training cycles. While I love following a detailed plan telling me what I will be training three weeks from now, in middle age I don’t always know how my body will be feeling three weeks from now! Recognizing this fact is crucial for successful fitness in our second half. While I initially saw this as a limitation, and missed my pages of notebooks with detailed workouts, I now see it as liberating. It is perfectly ok to take physical inventory each day, plan accordingly, and make those adjustments on the fly. As a coach may change a play in response to the defense, we can change our workout in response to our day, and how we feel both physically and mentally. If the first day of spring brings a post card sunset, go for a hike outdoors, the dumbells will be there tomorrow. Now, more than ever, what will matter most is not what you do, but that you do!
Monitor the Training Table: To live and feel athletic throughout our lives, we need to eat like an athlete. While yes, we have earned the right to splurge on occasion, those trips off the track become harder and harder to bounce back from and eventually we have to consider what we actually gain from a typical weekend of excess. We often reward ourselves with poor food choices, justifying by saying we “deserve it” after a week of good eating. Stop and consider what you deserve…is it to feel bloated, sluggish and guilty? Or do you deserve to feel strong, energetic and healthy? Fuel your body to perform in the second half!
Playing Not to Lose? Many coaches get in trouble in the second half because they get conservative and, instead of pressing forward aggressively, they pull back and try to avoid mistakes or risks that could backfire. Are you taking your time, watching the clock and hoping it ticks on so that you can hang on to a victory? Why not do all you can to INCREASE your lead? Press forward, lift, learn and grow, for your own fulfillment, and, at this point in life as an example to your friends, family, co-workers and anyone else you know who feels they can no longer get better.
The whistle is blowing to start the second half, come out strong!