Riding for longevity and sustaining habits

WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE. No doubt. Change is always stressful and uncertain if you don’t have a plan with clear intent.

Before starting Geared Strength I did lots of research on branding and gaining “leads”. Two things kept coming up….

1. Find your niche. 
Ok did that. Mountain biking.

2. Foster big transformations.
Mmmmmmm???? Like body transformations? Before and after pictures?

I’m a 48 year old mediocre mountain biker. I can’t wheelie, I can perform a sad bunny hop, do a decent track stand and my corning needs loads of work. But what’s more important then fancy tech skills and body transformations?? Riding long into my 70’s and maybe even my 80’s. Number 2 on my branding agenda now becomes….train for longevity to keep riding.

Hopefully I haven’t bored you with my business aspirations and you’re still reading. If you are still reading (thank you!!) you might also be wondering, “Ummmm what does this have to do with building and sustaining lifetime habits Tennyson?” Well, let’s get to the meat of this email and go over that.

When I started mountain biking just a few years ago, I knew that I had to be in much better shape in order to sustain longer rides and not feel like crap the day after. In order to achieve that I had to make some lifestyle changes. 

Change up my training plan in my LATE 40’s??? Well YES! And what better time.

It’s tricky and hard, I know. “Where do I start?” “HOW do I start?” “It’s just too late to start something new” “What if I can’t keep up with it?” The end all answer to all of those questions….


Set back, slips, pauses, and failures will happen. How you handle any one or all of these is where the success lies.

As a whole, we strive to be perfect and succeed.

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pexels

We foster the  “just try harder!” model. Stay motivated 24/7 and cultivate everlasting
willpower! NO PAIN NO GAIN!!

Sorry, but I think we all know that this lifestyle can not possibly cultivate longevity and will most likely bring on added stress and fatigue.

So let’s break down a more sustainable approach.

I read an article by BJ Fogg Ph.D, a Stanford lab behavior scientist and author of Tiny Habits. In it Fogg discussed an ever so simple framework that he developed called the Fogg Behavioral Model.

Behavior = motivation x ability x prompt



Fogg states “In this model, a behavior (such as a habit) happens when motivation, ability and a prompt come together at the same moment. If you are struggling to keep a habit alive, at least one of these three components is missing.”.


Let’s break it down.

The prompt is a good place to start.

The prompt is a reliable habit already set in place with no fail. Say you want to start a nightly stretch routine before you go to bed.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

You need to pair that with a no fail prompt. For example, brushing your teeth at night before bed. Anchor your new habit (stretches) to that moment or prompt (brushing your teeth). Now every night after you brush your teeth, that is your prompt to start your stretches.

Fogg goes on to say, “make the habit easier to do”. What he means by this is start small. Rather than 5 different dynamic stretches that are totally new to you, maybe start with 2 that you are familiar with.

Now it’s time to PRACTICE and PREPARE. If you’ve decided on NEW stretches then you will want to practice them the day before. That way you aren’t taking your allotted time set aside to try and find and watch the demo stretches. This will keep you on task. You decided to start fresh Sunday evening with your stretch routine. You have a spot to stretch all set up and ready to go. The night before, Saturday, when you brush your teeth, use that moment to think about the prompt and picture yourself getting to your spot and performing the stretches. Mindful practice and a high five praise for moving forward!

The last thing covered in the article is getting REAL about motivation. 

It’s the end of week two right? You’ve missed almost half of your nights for some reason or another! It just doesn’t feel like it’s catching. Here it would be best to re-evaluate the importance of this change (the stretches). The higher the priority, the more important and the more motivated you are to sustain the habit. Other things to consider, change the timing of your prompt or the whole prompt altogether. OR it might just not be the right time period! It’s ok to gain that insight and file it away for another time. 

Photo by Prateek Katyal from Pexels

Don’t stop there, don’t stop the quest for mastering sustainable healthy habits. Continue to look inward, modify, be flexible and have clear intent.

And ask for help.

That’s all I have for you now.

Train smart, stay strong and keep riding.


Find GS on Facebook and Instagram below for more mountain bike specific training tips.

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