motivation – BoomerMuscle

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January 23, 2018

Muscle Building Inspiration: Matt Parisi

Need a little inspiration? Check out Matt.

He’s the guy pictured on deck this past summer, fishing for tuna off Gloucester, Ma. He’s got a great build. Check out those traps, delts and arms.

Would you believe he’s 68 years old and has only been training for a couple years? There’s even more to Matt’s story.

Matt Parisi last summer fishing tuna off Gloucester, MA

Three years ago, Matt had to undergo emergency surgery for internal bleeding. Wound up taking 2 operations and he was unable to eat solid food for 6 months, relying on a tube for survival. His weight dropped to 129 pounds.

But he recovered. As soon as he was able and on his feet again, he started working out and re-building muscle. Today, he’s 170 pounds and looking great.

Matt visits BoomerMuscle for ideas and inspiration. I think his story is very inspirational and wanted to share it with everybody.

Matt is living proof you can build muscle over adversity — at any age.

Stay strong, Matt!

January 21, 2018

Don’t Give Up on Yourself

Don’t give up on yourself. Easy to say, but how?

They say that mid January is the most depressing time of the year. Holiday fun was over, the bills started coming due and all the talk about looking back on life got us all a little down-hearted.

Those things are especially true for people our age, right? I mean, we really are older now — with a finite amount of shelf-life left. So, screw the past, let’s focus on how we’re going to spend our future.We have a future ahead of us and it can be what we want it to be.

To own it, one of the most important steps is to take charge of our own health. Proper diet and rest are essential. Most importantly, exercise — specifically building back the muscle that aging is robbing from us — is critically important.While our generation started off physically fit and active, we’ve slowed way down and gotten fat. In fact, we’re in much worse shape than our parents’ generation.

About 13 percent of Baby Boomers — the generation born in the two decades after World War Two — reported being in “excellent” health in middle age, compared to 32 percent of the previous generation who said the same thing at the same stage of life.

Overall, about 39 percent of Boomers were obese, compared to about 29 percent of the previous generation. Baby Boomers were also less likely to get regular exercise. – Journal of the American Medical Association – Internal Medicine.The Health Care industry is not going to ride to our rescue.

In my opinion, doctors today seem to work more like quick oil-change technicians than caring coaches. They seem to mainly prescribe drugs for just about everything. It’s not helping us. It may keep us around longer but it is not making us healthier.If you want to hear more on this subject, I wrote a rant in recent times that blows it all out. You can check it out here: They’re Keeping You Fat and Weak.

Strength training can work miracles for your health and well-being:- Regain lost muscle and bone density- Reverse Type2 Diabetes and reduce fat- Reverse aging at the genetic level. And contrary to the pain and suffering stereotype, the process of strength training actually releases dopamine and endorphins into your blood stream. These are nature’s feel-great hormones.

Also, as a result of working out, your body shape will improve. You will look and feel better. You’ll walk taller and be able to do simple tasks, like hauling groceries, with greater ease.Most importantly, you will safeguard yourself against the negative effects of aging and ensure that your remaining years are as health and happy as they can be.

If you haven’t already, please start working out. If you can’t afford a gym membership and don’t own equipment, you can do it with a simple set of inexpensive resistance bands. Check them out by reading this post.Make the comittment to a schedule and do that first rep each workout day.

The hardest part of this is just doing it.

January 17, 2018

The Secret to Feeling Motivated

Brian fighting age

A Harvard University neuroscientist studied the secret to feeling motivation and came up with a very simple solution — make it fun and stay optimistic.

Hold on! Before you tune out and say that’s dumb, hear me out.

This could be a significant game changer for you. And I will give you some easy, practical ways to actually do it. The scientist, Professor Ron Siegel, points out that our brains are wired to think negatively as a matter of survival.

Goes back to mankind’s early days when being focused on negative consequences often meant the difference between living or being eaten by a nasty predator.

Think about it. You’re sitting around the fire, gnawing on a bone for dinner, and suddenly there’s a loud thrashing noise out in the darkness. Do you think: hey, that’s probably some good friends approaching. Or do you assume: Yikes, where’s my spear, I’m about to be eaten!

If your genes survived the night, you went with the latter. We’re all descended from the survivors.That’s powerful negative motivation and it’s burned deep into our brains.

But sometimes it works against us today. Let’s focus on Working Out. We know logically that exercise is great for us but we still sabotage ourselves out of doing it, thanks to the negative wiring. “It might hurt, I don’t feel so great, maybe tomorrow.” Etc

I’ve written at length on how strength training can reverse aging, Type2 Diabetes, muscle loss, bone loss, genetic degradation and more. But that knowledge alone doesn’t help when you’re fighting the power of negative motivation in the moment.

We all do it to ourselves. I’ve been working out for nearly 50 years now. Every single day, the devil on my shoulder tries to talk me out of it. Every time. So how do you shut him up?

angel and devil

Immediate Reward:

It has been proven undeniably that exercise — especially strength training — releases powerful feel good hormones, including endorphins and dopamine. (Google them)

It is virtually guaranteed that at some point during – and for a good while after – your workout you will feel very pleasantly high. Happens every time for me and the mood shift is dramatic.

I crave it. It’s like a drug with zero side effects. So, approach your workouts knowing that once you get past the devil on your shoulder, you’re gonna feel great as a result of working out.

Of course, you are working out for the purpose of getting toned or even building muscle. That doesn’t happen overnight — so don’t expect it to. But, if you embrace the discipline to do this consistently, it will happen. And you will love the results and feel better about yourself in a lot of ways.

More on embracing Discipline in a bit. Right now, let’s talk about simple steps to feel good about working out.

Supercharge that High: It has also been proven that certain things increase the levels of feel good hormones flowing through us. So here are some easy, practical things you should do to crank it up.

smiley face amid sad


The reason we love music is the way it makes us feel. It’s also been proven to release feel good hormones even if we’re sitting idle. Combined with exercise, it’s a double-dose of happy.

Combine a Playlist of your favorite upbeat music with your workout, and you will amp up that buzz. Music also helps to take your mind off the mundane aspects of lifting and put you into a groove state of mind.

For many years, I listened to the same Van Halen playlist for every workout. They’re a good example of the type of music you need. Upbeat and driving. The music melted into the background of my mind. I could not tell you exactly what songs I heard or the lyrics, but it really helped fuel my workouts.

Today, I listen to a variety of classic rock, modern pop, oldies, country, etc. Anything and everything that you hear as upbeat and driving along at a nice, constant pace will work. Slow passages are a buzz kill.

Build your playlist. Have some fun doing it. If you want, you can try something like Pandora, with built-in workout playlists. The stuff is out there. Grab it and use it.

Provide yourself with immediate, small rewards: Here are some easy ways to do that, that have a bigger impact than you might imagine:


Keep a container of your favorite beverage handy. Mine is plain, cold ice water. Give yourself a reward chug after a hard set. Take a moment and savor how great a cold drink feels when you’re exerting yourself and maybe even sweating.

Go with water, Gatorade, whatever non alcoholic beverage that makes you feel good.


Not tobacco of course, but give chewing gum a try. I put a piece of sugarfree Bubble Yum on each side of my mouth. I’m a jaw-clencher by nature. The gum gives my mouth something more positive to do, and it’s another nice little reward cuz it tastes good.


Tons of studies have proven that Visualizing your goals has a powerful effect. Think about how great it will feel to be trimmer, look sexier, feel stronger. See it starting to happen.

Here, you want to combine those visuals with a focus on the Mind/Muscle Connection.

I’ve written before about the Mind/Muscle thing. It’s an idea from the old days of bodybuilding that sounds like New Age baloney, but it’s absolutely for real. And it’s very simple to do.

Think about where your mind goes through when you’re doing a rep of an exercise. It might be thinking, “this is hard, I don’t want to do it.” Or, other negative stuff promoted by the little devil on your shoulder. This is another technique to keep that little shit quiet.

As you’re doing a rep, really focus on the muscle targeted by the exercise. Let’s take bicep curls, for example. As with any exercise, you want to have a smooth, controlled motion as you curl the weight up and down. As you curl it up, laser focus your mind on how the muscle feels. Feel it flexing as you tax it. Feel it tautly releasing the flex as you curl it back down. And so on through the whole set.

Stay with those thoughts till you’ve finished the last rep. That’s all there is to it. That is the Mind/Muscle Connection. It will help you get a good pump and keep your mind focused, while keeping the negative whiny crap out.

But if the Negative Thoughts are Wired in, how do I deal with those?Ok, so if you’re finding yourself saying, “screw screw all that hippie stuff, what’s wrong with being tough on yourself?”


On the other hand: There are those who say forget positive Motivation — “Get Disciplined!”

My wife is the most disciplined workout warrior I know. She gets up at 4 am most weekdays and hits her Peloton bike for an hour. Then she gets ready for work and fights rush hour for an hour to get to the office for 8-10 hours. Then she fights rush hour to get home and hits the weights at home in the evening with me.

I got tired just writing that.

Her main thing is discipline. Starts there for her, and she uses the negative motivations to help her stay disciplined.

We both attended religious schools as kids. Negative motivation was reinforced back then by nuns swinging rulers and reminding you of the consequences of your sins.

So, today, she motivates herself with negative reinforcement. She’s not entirely negative, but it’s how she gets past the devil on her shoulder. When her little demon starts to whine, she shuts him up by telling herself:

  • I’ll fall way behind everybody
  • I’ll lose all my gains and have to start over
  • I’ll wind up skipping the next day, too
  • Etc

It works for her. To be sure, she also benefits from all the positive motivations we’ve gone over and loves the workout high. But she also uses negative motivation to her benefit. So if this also fits your personality, how can you use it to your advantage?

Again, here are some practical steps:

  • Make a detailed Schedule and stick to it – spell out each day’s specific workout in advance
  • Define your workout Goals for each day and the long-term
  • Require yourself to make up workouts lost to circumstances you couldn’t control

In fact, you should do those last 3 points whether you’re using negative motivators or not.

The truth is, we need to use both the Positive and the Negative triggers to our advantage.

The key to your success is doing it consistently.

Often, the trick is simply getting past that first rep. However you can get yourself into the workout – and stay with your schedule – is a good way.

Just do it.

Please follow BoomerMuscle on Facebook.

To see more articles on motivation check out this section of

March 1, 2017

How to Get Motivated to Workout and Stay Motivated

smiley face amid sad

Feelings, not hard facts, are the key to getting motivated to workout – and even more importantly, they are the key to stay motivated.

Knowing how to get motivated to workout is probably more important than the nature of the actual workout. Without motivation, people never start in the first place and without the ability to stay motivated, many will tend to simply give up at some point. 

A workout program provides a gradual return. Without motivation and the ability to sustain it, there’s little chance for success. It’s why lots of home gym gear ends up as a coat rack or just gathers dust.

motivationMotivation sounds simple. But emotions and feelings are not simple things, especially for guys. It’s typically not our strong suit.

Getting motivated to workout and staying motivated is all about positive emotion. This article will give you some practical tips on how to generate those feelings and keep them going over the long term.

First The Facts

I could tsunami you with study after academic study proving the benefits of exercise, especially for people like Baby Boomers. In fact, recent studies have shown that resistance training in particular can:

  • Actually reverse aging at the genetic level
  • Halt and reverse osteoporosis, sarcopenia (muscle wasting), shrinking in height
  • Reduce obesity and manage weight (muscle burns calories even at rest)
  • Prevent Type 2 Diabetes and better mange it for those who already have it
  • Reduce anxiety and depression and more

In addition, the American Heart Association recently found that those who adopt heart healthy habits, like regular exercise and weight control, can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack and trim the risk of cancer by 38%. And another study found that regular exercise can take decades of aging off our skin.

If you want to see more information on recent studies, please see my menu category Reverse Aging. There’s several articles there with links to reports and studies.

And I’ve included a variety of them at the bottom of this post, as well.

It’s powerful information! And those facts might motivate you to make a plan to exercise, but they’re not going to motivate you while you’re actually sweating it out in the gym. Right?

It’s hard to get pumped up with a mental mantra in your head about mortality stats.

Think about it fellas… right before the big game, does the coach have the team quietly study the chalkboard and stare at facts? Or does he try to whip up their emotions for God, country and good ol’ Wossamotta U?

pixabay footballThe Mystery

I used to think that facts alone could and should motivate people, but it’s obvious that they don’t. Us Baby Boomers have gone from the healthiest generation to the least healthy in history. We are breaking records for obesity and heading for a health disaster as we age.

People are not stupid. They can read the facts here or anywhere else and understand what’s at stake. So, what is holding them back from taking action?

Why doesn’t everyone just grab a workout guide and hit the gym?

After all, us Boomers invented working out. The first gym chains, like Golds and L.A. Fitness, opened for us in the 70’s and 80’s. We jogged. Played racquet ball. Shot hoops. Softball Beer Leagues. Aerobicized with Jane and Jazzercized with Julie. We were all over it.

Then… middle age, kids, careers. What happened? We just kind of lost it. Got fat and gave up.

Here’s where feelings come in

James Gavin, a professor at  Concordia University in Montreal, investigated our emotional motivations for exercise, from looking good to having fun. He found that for the Baby Boom generation, passion is most important when it comes to staying motivated to exercise.

Gavin says a person will be more motivated to put in time on the treadmill if he or she knows it will help have more fun skiing in winter, versus viewing it as a tedious punishment.

But he says Baby Boomers are not feeling the joy in our workouts. He says we need to find “deep personal meaning in the physical activity” and thinks the answer lies in getting the fitness industry to make their gyms more fun and engaging.

Makes sense. But hold on, professor…

There is also a growing body of research that says most people prefer a workout routine done solo versus a group or class setting. 

In an online survey conducted by Reuters, 77% of the 1,200 respondents said they prefer working out alone. Running and Resistance Training were their top two workout choices.

aarghAnd there’s the rub

Let’s assume professor Gavin is absolutely correct about passion, but let’s also recognize that things like resistance training and running do not typically engage people in a ‘fun’ team activity.

How do those of us who choose resistance training as our focus, and prefer to workout alone, manage our motivations and emotions? It might be easy if we’re talking about joining a beach volley ball league, but what about the weight room?

Science has has thoroughly researched motivation in the work environment and other places. The general consensus is that we are human and it is all about how we feel regardless of the activity. So, I figure that applies to us in the workout room, as well.

We think to build a plan

But we rely on feelings to make it work

Guidelines to motivate ourselves

So what do we do? Can we get motivated outside of fun team sports?

Yes. Here’s the proven formula for how motivation works on our feelings. And how we can apply that to our workouts.

Stay Positive

Sounds trite. But hear me out.cheer

Many of us are overweight or obese. So, we’re starting off in a tough spot. You may be unhappy with yourself and how you look and feel.

The little devil that lives on your shoulder may be sabotaging you with negative thoughts. “This won’t work, why bother, I always give up…”

You’re not going to get anywhere with negative thoughts about yourself. Monitor your self talk and catch yourself going negative. Be your own cheerleader. Replace those with positive reviews of your goals:

  • Your health and longevity are the most valuable things you have, you’re workouts will pay huge dividends for you and those you love
  • If weight loss is also a goal, remind yourself how much better you will look and feel over time. Think about a new pair of jeans and looking great in them.
  • If it’s about muscle, think about how great it will feel to be stronger
  • Be realistic as you move toward your goals. This is a gradual process, take stock of the small wins as you head toward the big goals. You’re not striving to be Mr. or Ms. Universe, just a better looking and feeling version of you.
  • Use tools like Google to find inspirational stories about people like yourself. There are tons out there. Here’s a nice one about a mom who used resistance training to drop 6 dress sizes while losing only 2 pounds of bodyweight (muscle weighs more than fat). She looks great. Not perfect, but great. 

Reward Yourself

rewardFor the same reason the Dog Whisperer gives his charges love and treats, we humans also respond to rewards for a job well done.

If we were at work, praise from the boss can make us feel great and want to go the extra mile, so can special recognition among our peers or a raise in pay.

Rewards work. In this case, you’re the boss of you. So, be a good boss…

  • A good workout will actually make you feel high. Naturally. Endorphins and other feel good chemicals are released in your body. It’s real and it feels great. Enjoy it.
  • Find some ways to give yourself a reward for completing a workout week. In this case, you might want to avoid the chocolate cake and a 12 pack, but maybe a full week of good workouts earns you a nice treat on the weekend: A reasonable slice of that cake, or a couple lite beers or glasses of healthy red wine.
  • You could consider setting up a challenge with another person. $100 for whomever accomplishes a set goal first or best. Depending on how competitive you are, you can make it so there are no losers because you’re both going to win in terms of health. Maybe winner buys a healthy lunch or dinner.
  • It can simply be continuously reminding yourself you’re doing something very positive. Take stock of those small wins each day/week and allow yourself to feel good about it.

Don’t go it alone

wooden figuresWe humans are social beings, even, if like me, you prefer to workout alone with the headphones on. I still get a lot of emotional support from my wife.

Luckily for me, she also works out and we occasionally even share our home gym space.

But more importantly, I have someone to talk to about what I’m doing and how it’s going. She gets it and gives me a pat on the back or a kick in the ass when I need it.

  • Keep your spouse or a friend aware of your efforts and ask them to help you stay on track, even if that’s just listening to your latest status. 
  • You can hire a trainer if that works for you.
  • Look for support, like a class or a workout partner, in your gym if you belong to one.
  • If you can’t find somebody, email me. I will try to help and offer encouragement.

Be Passionate 

older guyThis is about you. For you. Get fired up about yourself. This can change your life in so many ways, physically and mentally.

Care enough about yourself and those you love to really want this. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how experienced. You can realize tremendous benefits at any age or level.

To feel good. Look good. Live longer and better.

  • Strive for a Mind/Muscle Connection as you train. It’s almost like a form of meditation. You’re focusing on the feeling that the exercise creates in the muscle you are working. Tune into it and make it your focus.
  • Resistance training in particular can create a pumped up feeling in your muscles. A bit of soreness. It’s not pain. It’s blood flowing into the muscle fibers to repair and build them up. It’s a good thing.
  • Try not to think of the workout as tedious drudgery. Instead, tune into that Connection, get lost in the music you love and feel the endorphin high.
  • Stop thinking while you’re working out: Feel

The Thinking Part

Before you start, make a plan: 4 – 5 days per week, 30 – 40 minutes per workout

  1. Establish short term goals (simply doing the workouts on a regular basis at first)
  2. Long term goals — muscle gain and fat loss targets. Don’t go by pounds. Muscle weighs more than fat, go by sizes, inches and feelings.
  3. Start slowly at first and work your way up gradually
    • Check with your doctor if you have a current condition or concern

It’s not easy, but it is worth the effort

angel and devil

I’ve been working out for nearly 50 years now. I confess that nearly every time, I still have to battle the devil on my left shoulder who tries to talk me out of it.

In my case, I focus on knowing that I’m going to feel better during and after the workout. The endorphins will flow and I’ll get that natural high.

I’ll feel good about myself for conquering the left-shoulder devil. I’ll feel good knowing that I’m burning calories and building muscle.

And every single time, I do feel good.

Some days, it’s a struggle to get started. It’s us vs the negative devils.

But we can win.

The key is, just get in the gym and do that first rep. Then the second and so on. Before you know it, you will be in the groove. Focus on the Mind/Muscle Connection and rock a great workout.

I have a ritual:

  1. Two pieces of sugarless bubble gum, one for each side of my mouth. I’m one of those teeth grinders, so the gum helps me out
  2. Music! I love classic rock like Van Halen or modern bouncy pop. Have some fun building your own playlist or pick a station with upbeat tunes

You can do it, with or without the gum. But definitely use music.

If you’re not sure how to start…

Start slowly at first. Your first goal is simply to follow through on showing up for each workout day. Don’t get hung up if you’re not killing it in the first couple of weeks. It’s gradual. Ramp up.  You’ll get there soon enough.

You can do this!

BrianWhat are your feelings about motivation?

Do you have tips and tricks you use to get in the groove?

I’d love to hear them. Please share in Comments below or drop me a line:

December 2, 2016

Motivate Yourself – Work Out

cartoon cardio

There is a growing body of research that says most people prefer a workout routine done solo versus a group or class setting. There are lots of good reasons why, especially when it comes to resistance training. You are the best one to motivate yourself and direct your work out.

In an online survey conducted by Reuters in recent years, 77 percent of the 1,200 respondents said they prefer solo. Running and Resistance Training were their top two workout choices.


Or Solo?fitness-956647_1920-1

There are definitely some types of workouts that are more conducive to a group dynamic. Aerobics, Pilates, etc. But when it comes to things like Resistance Training, its like the Rolling Stones said:

“Hey, hey, you, you… Get off’a my cloud. Don’t hang around cuz two’s a crowd on my cloud, yeh.”  – The Rolling Stones, 1967. “Get Off My Could”

Since our focus at BoomerMuscle is all about Resistance Training, let’s talk about the benefits of going solo:

  1. Music: You choose your own soundtrack. Music is a critical motivator for a good workout. You should take a little time to build your own favorite playlists with the tunes that help drive you. For a kickstart building your own playlist, check this out.
  2. Mindfulness: Your workout time should be totally selfish. A time to meditate and get in the zone. That’s best done at your own pace and direction.
  3. Schedule: Everyone’s lifestyle these days is hectic. If you control your schedule, vs. trying to make sure you meet a class on time, you can better manage your time.
  4. Accountability: In the end, your success is on you, not a group or a coach. If you learn how to motivate yourself, you’re empowered.
  5. Stress Relief: Whether it’s from not worrying about how you’re dressed compared to others, or just getting off on the release of (click for more on) endorphins, being alone with your own music at your own pace can be a nourishing experience.

In that same Reuters survey, 26 percent of respondents said they don’t exercise at all. Given how critical exercise is to us, especially as we age, there’s lots of speculation why people don’t or won’t.

Here’s my list and what we can do about the thoughts holding us back.

fuchsia-633645_1280If you’re nostalgic for a shot of the Stones and want to hear the original mono version of “Get Off My Cloud,” click here for a YouTube vid.


How do you like to workout; Solo or in a Group? Please share in comments below. And/or drop me a line at: Brian