Four Ways to Build a Better You

Alex McMillan

Alex McMillan

Head Trainer, Mid Age Man

In my approach to fitness, there are four pillars: Physical fitness Nutrition Mental strength Your “being” Perhaps strangely for what’s essentially a fitness blog, I want to address the third and fourth pillars first.

In my approach to fitness, there are three pillars:

  • Physical fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Mental strength

But if we want to paint a pretty mental picture, we need a fourth pillar for it all to hold up.

Let’s call that your “being.”

So now we have four pillars:

  • Physical fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Mental strength
  • Your “being”

I will address all four topics frequently in future posts. But, perhaps strangely for what’s essentially a fitness blog, I want to address the third and fourth pillars first.


I do not think we can truly say we are “fit” unless we have mental strength. To be fit, we must be content – to an extent – with who we are. We must love ourselves.

We can improve who we are, too, that’s for sure. It is true physically, and it is true mentally. That may be why you are reading this. If so, I hope this may help you. And it’s not like I’ve got it all down, at all. I still have a lot of work to do myself.

But if we don’t build our fitness so that it works towards putting us in a strong mental position, we might as well forget it.

Why? Because if we are not mentally prepared to get fit, we will give up.

It is quite easy to get quite fit. And to get actually fit is not that complex either – it just takes steady effort. I imagine it is very hard to get very fit. I don’t know. I’ve never been very fit! I’d like to try.

We will not sustain that steady effort to get actually fit if we are not mentally well. I believe there’s a spectrum of mental health, from people with serious mental conditions on up through those who are doing OK, and on into people who are mentally well – mentally fit.

Fortunately, we can easily improve our mental strength by approaching life in ways that do make us more mentally fit.

Be optimistic. Don’t take things too personally. Try not to worry – it doesn’t do any good. Tackle a daunting situation by taking things one at a time. Draw on past successes and comebacks. Learn from, but don’t dwell on, your mistakes.

There are many other ways to improve mental strength, and I’ll discuss some of that in the future, between posts about what we normally think of as fitness: physical fitness. I’ll spend plenty of time on that, too.

The other reason why we must build up our mental strength is so that we can maintain our physical fitness. Even if do take that step to move from quite fit to actually fit, it is also quite easy to work the process in reverse.  if we are not mentally strong, we will not make the steady effort to get fit and stay fit.

The good news is that all these things are symbiotic. Starting with a little mental strength, we can get physically fitter. If we eat well, too, we can help that physical transition along its way. This does not have to be a crazy diet of any sort ­– in fact, I advise against diets. Just eat healthy, natural foods, if you can, with a bit of ice cream and chocolate thrown in here and there as a treat. More on that later, as well.

Take that mental strength, and use it to start the effort to be physically fit. To help your body along the way, give it the nutrition it needs. And it will change. Fitness won’t happen overnight. But it will happen gradually, I assure you, if you put in that steady effort.

And then once we notice a few small physical changes, we’ll more than likely feel better about ourselves. Then we will get that little bit stronger, mentally. We will feel a tinge of electricity, of excitement, about keeping that fitness chain reaction going. And we can start that positive feedback loop all over again.

It’s not rocket science, and it’s not a religion (unless you want it to be!). To me, it’s basic common sense. And now that people are living longer than ever, as I wrote yesterday, it’s important that we use that sense to start working to be fit, now, so we can enjoy long and fit and happy lives.


These four pillars can be our foundation. You can build a better self.

Why not start now?

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About the author

Alex McMillan

Alex McMillan

Head trainer at Mid Age Man. Alex believes there are four pillars to being healthy: physical fitness, sensible nutrition, mental strength, and wellbeing for your body and soul.

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