Fitness Tips and Observations From My First 40 Years

Instead of doing a post analyzing a scientific study, I wanted to make a list of random fitness tips that came to my head when thinking about staying in shape and eating well, etc.

These are just some observations I’ve made over the past 39 years. I don’t turn 40 for another 3 months, but close enough. I am hoping to start this little brainstorming list and have people reading this, add to the list in the comment section.

fitness tips

[I like to think of posting an article on the Internet as sending a message in a bottle. It is crazy where the info winds up. I send out from my apartment in Seattle and within days it is found in many remote areas throughout the world. I really love the whole concept.]

So This is Just a Random List of Fitness Tips & Observations

I will need your help to keep this list growing. It will be fun to see what others have to add. I enjoy the interactive posts the best and I am hoping this one gets 100+ comments pretty quickly.

I also realize that you may or may not agree with everything I’ve written here…and that is fine…I don’t agree 100% with anyone when it comes to health and fitness.

Here goes…

Many people workout hard, but sabotage their efforts by eating too much.This one kills me, because I hate seeing wasted effort. Also, if people don’t see results they will eventually quit exercising. It is such an easy fix, which makes this even more frustrating.

There is no magic workout routine.
I spend a lot of my time posting articles on other sites about celebrity workout routines, simply because celebrities get a lot of search engine traffic.

My goal is to funnel some of that traffic to my site. Many of the routines these actors and actresses follow kind of suck, to put it bluntly…but they devote so many hours per week in the gym that they can’t help but get results.

Knowing “WHY” a routine works is better than copying a routine. If you understand why the principles in a routine work, you can tweak that routine so it is more effective for you.

Eventually you should become your own personal trainer. It is great to see step-by-step programs, but I would recommend using those programs as a guideline and then adjust to make it the ideal routine for you.

Learn about fitness from multiple sources. I don’t think you will get a realistic view on any subject if you have just one teacher. Think about becoming a doctor or lawyer…you learn from many many teachers to compare and contrast beliefs.

Same with health and fitness…there isn’t one individual who knows everything.

Beware of so-called fitness experts who claim to know it all. Our knowledge in health and fitness is growing just like any other field. There are literally thousands of people adding to the “collective knowledge” of fitness on an ongoing basis.

Experts who are stubborn and refuse to consider other alternatives get left in the past. I do my best to learn from people to who I believe are on the “cutting edge” of this industry. I also recommend those people to readers of my site.

Sometimes low tech is better than high tech when it comes to fitness equipment. About 10 years ago I was convinced that you couldn’t get in top shape and get extremely ripped unless you had access to a gym. I was certainly wrong on that one!

In fact after being stubborn for so many years, I am introducing a kettlebell workout aimed at fat loss into my routine. Kettlebells are almost as low tech as you get. I also do body weight only routines each week…so that is NO-tech!

Being in great shape in your 20’s isn’t a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, there are some people who get in impressive shape at a young age and it does take work, but it is pretty common. What is less common is people who stay in great shape in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond.

Staying in great shape in your 30’s and beyond is easy.
You don’t become overweight overnight. If you make a rule to stay within 10 pounds of your ideal weight, you will be lean for life. If your ideal weight is 130 and you suddenly creep up to 145, then do what it takes at that point to get back “within range”.

This is a simple formula for never becoming overweight. If you are overweight now, then you will benefit by implementing this rule going forward.

There is nothing more boring than someone who is obsessed with fitness. This tip probably sounds funny coming from someone with a busy fitness blog. My philosophy is get fit and figure out a way to look and feel great without it taking over your life.

Life is WAY too short to devote too much time and energy in the pursuit of being fit. If “working out” is your only activity…then you are probably not a very interesting person!

hot wings

Every fit person I know eats so called “bad” foods from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, about 4-5 days of the week I eat low-cal. Two days out of the week I do “Eat Stop Eat” style fasts…but I am not someone who pretends to live on chicken breasts and veggies.

I eat pizza, Mexican food, Thai food, buffalo chicken wings, etc…just like most of you. I also think that beer is the drink of the gods!

You can look better with less effort simply by eating less. I drill this point home over and over and over, because it is the truth. I am now experimenting with 3 weekly workouts per week and it is working well.

I look the same as I did when I was hitting the gym 4-5 times per week. I simply eat less calories throughout the week…the added benefit is a cheaper grocery bill and I have more energy to do outdoor activities.

We all probably need to walk more. I did a post about how walking is necessary, even if you are fit and workout hard. I used to think walking was only for people who weren’t fit enough to do regular exercise and I was wrong!

Being sore isn’t an indicator of a great workout. When I was younger I used to think that being sore meant that I really blasted the muscles. Being sore from time to time is fine, but is not a way to go through life.

Also…when I reduced the volume and avoided “blasting my muscles” is when I became exceptionally strong in many lifts that I struggled at for years.

Being sore doesn’t mean that you should eat more. Many people believe they need to increase their calories to repair the damaged muscles. This is a quick way to gain fat along with muscle and is a mistake I see on a regular basis.

Protein Obsession is the #1 reason more people in the gym aren’t lean. If guys and girls stopped worrying about how many grams of protein they got each day they would be less likely to over-eat each day.

The day I quit worrying and counting grams of protein, was when I found out how easy it is to be lean year round.

Short and intense efforts make your workouts more efficient. Your time on this planet is limited, so why not get the same amount of benefit in 1/2 the time? You will find examples of people who are in great shape who workout 6 times per week for 1.5 hours per workout…but why model an inefficient person?

Looking “perfect” isn’t the goal. In my opinion the most attractive people are those who look fit without looking like they try too hard. People like surfers, tennis players, beach volleyball players have a great look…because they look healthy while having other hobbies.

A slim and lean body that is the result of a smart diet and being active looks much better than 90% of the fitness models in most magazines.

The men and women in James Bond movies got it right! I think the men and women in Bond movies have the ideal look for men and women. Everyone looks fit, but they don’t have the “gym feel” to them. Do you know what I mean?

They all look great in stylish clothes or on the beach, they travel, live life, have good food and drinks, etc. Forget the men and women in fitness magazines!

Bodybuilders and typical gym rats have terrible fashion sense. Spandex, cut tank tops, baggy bodybuilder “clown pants”, and fanny packs are NOT okay…ever! Luckily I see this behavior less and less than I used to, but every now and then I will jump over to a bodybuilding blog where this look is alive and well!

Forget every fashion you have ever seen in a typical muscle publication…pick up a copy of a Bond film or Oceans 11 or something. Sweats should only be worn in the home and possibly at the gym if they are nice, but never out in the real world (just trying to help).

I have GREAT respect for anyone who is trying to lose weight. I don’t care how big they are. It takes guts to go to go out in public and exercise if you have a lot of weight to lose. I have deep respect for anyone who confronts their demons and does what is necessary to improve their life.

My hope is that I can help them reach their ideal weight quickly to begin living life to the fullest.


131 thoughts on “Fitness Tips and Observations From My First 40 Years”

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  3. Hi Rusty,
    Thank you so much for this blog. I was running miles and miles, not eating much but still overweight, and this was frustrating me. Then I checked this website, and I figured that I had insulin resistivity, I cut all the high GI foods from my diet, did the 3 low carb/high fat -1 high carb/low fat routine, and HIIT and within 2 months I lost 20 pounds! Although my ultimate goal is to be very skinny like hollywood starlets (blame media not me!) I look hot now, and I enjoy life by staying in the 5 pound range. I told my sister what I learned from you and she lost 10 pounds as well (she has been trying to lose weight for years). Thanks again!

  4. Rusty,

    First time posting on your site and let me say I’m a big fan. I have been on the corporate side of the supplement industry for over a dozen years and I can’t tell you how many times a senior exec has sat in a meeting demanding a magic bullet product so he/she can sell more products. Anyway, I digress.

    What I want to add to your 40 years of wisdom (I’m working on 46 years, myself) is that stronger does not mean one is fitter. Being able to curl 125 or bench 300 when one can’t see his feet becuase his belly is in the way does not mean one is fit. I’m a skinny cyclist that loves to weight train and if I had a dollar for every fat boy that came up to me to tell me how to “get in shape”……

    Keep up the fight, brother.


  5. Great article, I agree if you look like you try too hard to work out it’s just silly. I want to say get a life to these people. But to each their own. Dig the bond reference, I totally agree.

  6. I agree with one of the posts that suggests you should weigh yourself everyday. I remember reading about it somewhere (may have been Men’s Health) and it stated that people that weigh themselves on a daily basis are more aware of their weight and tend to ‘manage’ their weight better than those who don’t. There are obviously exceptions to the rule. On the whole though, great post Rusty, you never fail to impress with your experiences – thanks for sharing them!

  7. Hi Rusty,

    Any tips for emotional eating? I do ESE, but my emotional eating sabotages me on days I dont.


  8. Hey Rusty,

    I loved your ‘things I’ve learned in 39 Years Post’. What a no-nonsense, no-BS post. I totally agree: fitness obsessives are BORING. Protein consumptive are BORING and people who can’t find much else to get worked up about than working out, are BORING! Your site is never boring! Out of the numerous fitness sites I’ve come across, yours is the most spot-on, fun-filled and informative. Way to go!

  9. Rusty, I love your site more and more! I mostly hang out at Mark’s Daily Apple and my primary concern for another few months is weight loss. One of my rants as the subject comes up is the artificial look so many people are striving for. Boob jobs and steroids are just the symptoms of deep psychological issues.

    The Bond movie look you refer to is just how we looked when I was a kid. Well, not me, I was skinny as a thread. But good looking men and women were not obsessed as so many people are today. When I was young, a “six pack” meant you needed a “church key!”

    Give me a healthy natural look any day. Normal fat on a woman, not women trying to look like men.

    And that you dig B&W…….wow.

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