Eight Things All Men Should Stop Doing When They Turn 30
There are some things that you can get away with in your 20s that simply don’t fly in your 30s — like drawing a boner on the face of a drunk friend because “he passed out with his shoes on! Everyone knows that rule!”
And then there are the things that aren’t overtly offensive, or even wrong, per se, but will ultimately hold you back, be it in your career, your relationships, or with regard to your health.
Now, we’re just going to go ahead and assume your dick-drawing days are behind you and focus on the latter (and if they aren’t, well, you might be too far gone — and you’re also not invited to any of our parties, ever).
Some of them will make sense right away, others might seem feeble, but you’d be surprised by the cumulative effect that small changes can add up to. After all, you live life one day at a time and yet here you are… 30. Man, when did that happen?
1. Not Fighting For What You Believe In
Remember how when you were little you used to think the grown-ups had everything figured out? By now you’ve probably realized that there’s no such thing as a “grown-up” and we’re all just trying to do our best while making sense of this world. Well, the same applies to our goals, dreams, and personal standards. Many of us go through our teens and twenties with a feeling that change is going to come eventually, and when it does we’ll start living the lives we envisioned for ourselves. Spoiler alert: That day never comes. You have to create it. And the sooner you start creating that life, the sooner you’ll get to live it. “Not fighting for what you believe in is the same as quitting,” says George Foreman III, founder of EverybodyFights. “Whether it’s in the gym, at work, or in a relationship, you have to fight for what you want. You may not always win, and that’s okay; but it’s not yours until you fight for it.”
2. Eating at Taco Bell
Most of us can get through our first 30 years on planet Earth without even understanding what the word “metabolism” means. Then, all of a sudden, we get real familiar. Not only is fast food void of any significant nutritional value, it taxes digestion and litters our bodies with harmful chemicals. Meanwhile, you could be eating something that will actually help you look, feel, and perform better. “Just stop,” says Eric Hinman, a CrossFit athlete, two-time Ironman Kona finisher, and co-founder of Syracuse-based healthy eatery Original Grain. “Find a healthy fast-casual restaurant that dishes out satiating salads and grain bowls. They’re popping up everywhere, and you won’t have heartburn and stomach pains for the next two days!”
3. Talking About Buying a Dog
Look, owning a dog is a responsibility, and to a certain extent there are some non-negotiable prerequisites: You’ve got to be able to feed it, provide it with enough space to live comfortably, and afford the inevitable vet bills. When you look at it that way, being “ready” is mostly a financial decision. Everything beyond that — like, say, the impact it’ll have on your social life — is a choice. If you’ve been fantasizing about owning a dog for years — going for walks together, taking it running, letting hot women pet it so you can get their phone numbers — yet despite being financially ready you’ve yet to pull the trigger, it’s time to either make your move or move on, because life is only going to get more complicated from here on out.
“I always imagined myself walking through Central Park, wearing an oversized hoodie, holding a coffee in one hand, and walking my dog with the other,” says Mubarak Malik, director of performance for the New York Knicks and the proud new owner of Sophie, an adorable blue French bulldog. “Right now, with the demands of my career, it’s definitely not the best time for me to have a dog,” he says, “but if I didn’t do it now it wouldn’t have happened, and now I can’t imagine life without Sophie!”
4. Drinking like Prohibition is Coming Back
You already know that after around age 30 your metabolism starts pumping the brakes, making it harder to burn calories while also slowing the absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat. Well, here’s something you may not know: When you break it down, there are four main sources of calories: protein, carbohydrates, fat, and alcohol. Protein and carbs each contain four calories per gram, fat packs more than double that (nine calories per gram), and for each gram of alcohol you ingest you can add another seven. Additionally, when you drink alcohol, your body prioritizes those calories, causing a good amount of surplus calories from food to be stored as fat rather than being burned for energy.
Combine a regular drinking habit with a slowing metabolism and before you know it you’re gaining weight regardless of how much you work out. And we haven’t even gotten to the two-day hangovers yet. (Welcome to 30!). It’s harder and harder to bounce back after 30,” says Brian Mazza, president of the Paige Hospitality Group and co-creator of The Ainsworth, who years ago made the decision to leave drinking behind in order to accelerate his productivity both at work and in the gym. (Check out his Instagram and you tell us if it worked.) The decision has since paid huge dividends for Mazza (quite literally), but he sees cautionary tales all the time. “Before you know it, you’re going to be that guy everyone talks about,” he says. Don’t be that guy.
5. Not Prioritizing your Mental and Physical Health
For the most part, we tend to take our health for granted through our teens and even our twenties; our bodies seem mostly indestructible, and require minimal maintenance — so we maintain them minimally. Then we turn 30, settle down, and before we know it we don’t seem to have the time to take care of ourselves even if we wanted to. The cruel irony, of course, is that’s when we need our health the most; our bodies and immune systems are less resilient after 30, and positive lifestyle adjustments take longer to take hold. That’s why it is absolutely critical to build physical and mental wellness into your schedule — even if it means setting your alarm clock to go off an hour earlier.
“It’s not selfish to put yourself first when it comes to health,” says Foreman, who advises hitting the gym first thing in the morning followed by a short 5 to 10-minute meditation to center your mind. “After all, you can’t be much good to others if you’re not around.” Let that one sink in.
6. Going all Sugar Everything
We’re not going to act like this is easy to do. When you’re deep in the throes of a sugar addiction (let’s just call it what it is), it can be extremely difficult to quit the sweet stuff, especially if it’s been a central part of your diet for three decades. But the benefits of taking in less sugar on a daily basis — from lowering your risk of life-threatening diseases to shrinking your waistline (to setting a healthy example for your current or future children) — are so powerful that it’s worth at least making the effort. Hinman suggests picking one avenue of sugar intake, like, say, your morning cup of coffee, and starting there. “If you need a dash of sweetness, add some steamed almond, oat, cashew, or coconut milk,” he says. “And splurge for a pour-over! It’s worth it for the taste and caffeine content.”
7. Showing Up Late
Remember that old college rule where if a professor was more than 15 minutes late everyone got to leave? Well, that’s how people in the real world feel about you when you don’t show up on time, except they’re not smiling. (Also, that rule never actually existed.) Time is money — quite literally, especially when you’re dealing with self-employed entrepreneurs — and wasting that time is an unequivocal sign of disrespect, not to mention that it could cost you some serious missed opportunities. “Being late to meetings is usually a sign that you are not prepared to succeed,” says Mazza, who, through years of consistent integrity, authenticity, and, of course, punctuality, has earned one of the most widely respected reputations in the hospitality world and beyond. “Seriously, stop being late for meetings. You shouldn’t be doing it in your 20s, so you definitely shouldn’t be doing it in your 30s,” he says. “Break that habit.”
8. Dogging it at the Gym
Listen, if you’re over 30 and you’re managing to make your way to the gym, you’re already doing better than most guys your age. It’s unfortunate, but true. But enough about them — you’re doing great! That said, let’s be honest: proximity to the treadmill doesn’t increase your fitness. You have to get after it. You already found time to get to the gym, and your body needs these workouts now more than ever, so don’t waste your time. “Your time is valuable, so make the most of your workout,” says Foreman. “Don’t go in and cruise on the elliptical machine.” And if you simply feel like you just don’t have it in you to motivate yourself to exercise with the kind of intensity you’d like to, consider taking up a physical activity or sport that you actually enjoy, like boxing, and then use that as a vehicle to upgrade your fitness. “A high-intensity workout like mitt work or a boxing circuit will get you in fighting shape,” says Foreman. “And you’ll also learn a new skill while you’re at it!