A Simple Health Plan is Sustainable

I had a workout plan before I got married that required me to be in the gym every morning from 5:00-6:30. I dropped 22 pounds in 3 months and looked like I might actually be able to change a tire or chop down a tree or carry a couch up three flights of stairs with the help of a couple friends.

Right now, that plan is not an option. It’s not sustainable.

While you do need to stretch yourself, I recommend that a simple health plan be more sustainable than it is hardcore (sorry CrossFit junkies). Make it a plan that you know you’ll execute while stretching you a smidge. Err on the side of starting small.

Your calendar and your atrophied, unused muscles will thank you.

What makes a simple health plan sustainable?

I came up with 5 characteristics of a sustainable fitness and eating plan. I won’t divide the eating from the exercise here because you’re smart and can do that yourself.

A Sustainable Health Plan Fits Your Current Season of Life

You have a bazillion demands on your time and energy and finances.

Make sure you can be intentional about your eating plan and exercise plan in such a way that won’t rob time from your family and work and that fits in your current financial situation (you might not be able to shop full-on Whole Foods right now if you’re trying to keep babies in diapers).

Don’t force yourself into a plan that you can’t keep up due to your commitments to other areas of your life. Start small and build.

A Sustainable Health Plan Won’t Get You Injured (more than likely)

If you’ve not done barbell squats since you were a third string football player, don’t walk in and slap two 45-lb plates on both sides of a bar and walk into the squat rack. You’ll never exercise another day in your life.

Start with an exercise plan that might even be too easy for you and quickly move into more challenging programs as your body (and health pro, of course), allows.

A Sustainable Health Plan is Enjoyable and not too Complicated

See my post on simplicity, the first principle of a simple health plan.

While you’re at it, check out the post on keeping things fun.

I can’t overemphasize those two items enough. These principles build on each other. Simplicity and fun are keys to sustainability.

A Sustainable Health Plan is Something You Can Do Forever

At least for the foreseeable future.

Make sure to include exercises that you see 75 year old folks doing. Tennis, low-impact cardio, weight training, golf. Most of these are age-agnostic.

A Sustainable Health Plan Will Grow with You

While you want to be able to execute your plan with intentionality forever, you also want to be challenged here and now.

Make sure you won’t get bored and plateau too easily. My 10,000 steps a day is a respectable effort, my fitness won’t grow all that much if that is the only thing I worry about doing.

Challenge yourself.

Let it be sustainable, but don’t be a wimp. You know who you are. Quit being a wimp (as he looks at himself in the reflection of the computer screen as he writes).

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How do you keep your exercise plan sustainable? 

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