Fit Faith

Connecting physical training and proper nutrition with sprititual fitness.


God's workmanship

Do you ever feel like you need to reboot? start over? go back to square one? That’s how I’m feeling lately. I need to stop and remind myself who I am and why I do what I do, then start over again. I need to reboot.

I have to confess that lately I’ve been a little caught up in my size and how I look. Are my jeans still fitting the same or are they tighter around the legs? Do my arms look big? Is my belly “pooching” out? I hate to even write this because I know it sounds incredibly vain! I just want to be real, though. I struggle with these feelings, and it is robbing me of my joy. I need to reboot.

I need to remind myself that I am much more than a number on the scale, the number on the tag of my jeans or even the number on the barbell. Those numbers don’t define me. So, who am I? I am God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV) Workmanship here means a work of God as creator, and created means to form, shape, i.e. to completely change or transform. I am a work of The Creator, and He is forming and shaping me into order to completely transform me!

So, why do I do what I do? Why do I exercise, eat healthy, make wise choices for my mind, body and spirit? Because God has prepared good works for me to do, and He has created me to do them. I need to take care of my body and mind so that I can serve Him by serving those around me.

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The White Board Lies

In our gym, we have three huge white dry-erase boards hanging up. One has all of the workouts for the week. Another has the workout of the day (WOD) along with a few important dates/announcements. The third is the “results board.” If we do a WOD that is “for time,” everyone writes their time. If we lift a 1 rep max, we write those results. Sometimes we have a WOD where your total reps is your “score,” and we write our score on the board. The whole idea behind this is to motivate us, to push us when we want to slack off at the end, to keep us on track from one round to the next.

However, you have to be careful not to compare because, you see, the white board can lie. The white board does not take into account that someone who is still very new to this type of workout, may have scaled the workout from 5 rounds to 4 and still took longer to finish worked harder and at a higher intensity than the young guy who was a college athlete and still in great shape. It doesn’t take into account that someone’s grandmother just passed away, and she didn’t get any sleep the night before; so, walking into the gym at all is an accomplishment itself. The white board doesn’t tell you that.

So be on guard! If you aren’t careful, the white board can “puff you up” or “knock you down.” You might look at all the results and become a little prideful because you finished faster than someone else, lifted more weight or completed more rounds. Be careful. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 NIV. Remember, the white board doesn’t give the full story. Other times, the results might leave you feeling down on yourself. You had one of the lower “scores” or didn’t do as many rounds as the others. Again, not all of the information is there. Don’t compare yourself with others. It is about doing your personal best! Let the white board motivate you. Use it as a way to push yourself a little harder during the last round or reach a certain weight on your 1 rep max. Make it personal, though, and encourage those around you to do their best, too.

Of course, as with so many things inside the gym this, too, can be applied outside the gym walls. Comparing yourself with others only robs you of joy or creates selfish ambition. Instead “let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” Romans 12:6 (MSG).

So, go be who God created you to be and do what He created you to do!

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Punishment, Payment or Privilege?

change because you love
If you go to a gym to exercise, have you ever noticed that there tends to be more poeple there on Mondays than other days of the week? You’ll probably hear several people say something like, “I completely fell off the wagon this weekend! I really need a killer workout today.” You might hear this kind of comment at work, school, or your kids’ bus stop, too. Others view Mondays as a fresh start saying “I feel so fat! I HAVE to start working out.” Both of these statements make exercise seem like a punishment. Punishment for making poor food choices, eating too much or not liking how you look.

Others make statements that indicate that they think of exercise as a payment. “The only reason I’m out here running is so that I can have dessert tonight.” They barter with themselves. If they want to eat certain foods, they make sure they work out harder or longer so that they won’t feel guilty.

What if we “transformed our minds” and thought of exercise as a privilege? I feel like God has given me the ability, the strength, the energy, even the opportunity to exercise. Even on the days when I don’t have the energy or the strength, God helps me through it. I know that it is an opportunity to keep my body healthy and strong so that I can serve Him by serving those around me. Let’s not think of exercise as something we HAVE to do, but as something we GET to do!

***Update on “Operation Cereal Elimination”
So far, so good! Comments have included “this is so filling” and “we should do this every week.” I did think I was headed for trouble last Wednesday, though, when my son opened the pantry saying “I really want cereal” as if it had magically appeared overnight. Once he realized that there still wasn’t any cereal, he was okay and pretty happy with his alternative breakfast. I am a little concerned that they are going to tire of their current options and want something different. So, if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

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Defining Moment

Our homework assignment this week for BTWG involves reflecting on our past by breaking our lives into different stages by age and focusing the people in our lives at the time, experiences that defined us and choices that we made. This assignment is very timely considering one of my defining experiences occurred exactly 11 years ago today: Tuesday, March 5, 2002.

My son was just 3 ½ months old and had been diagnosed with craniosynostosis of sagittal suture (makes me sound smart, doesn’t it?). Basically, the sutures in his head that overlap when traveling through the birth canal fused together which caused him to not have a soft spot and forced his head to grow only in the forward direction instead of around. If left untreated, this would result in pressure on the brain and eventual permanent brain damage. Thankfully, his wonderful pediatrician had caught it early so he did not have any damage to his brain and the reconstruction of his forehead would be minimal.

The University Health System website describes the surgery for this condition as follows.

“The “traditional” operation is carried out by making a scalp incision from ear-to-ear, mobilizing the scalp to expose the skull, total or sub-total skull removal, which is followed by reshaping and replacement of the skull with a variety of materials.

Surgery usually takes several hours (3-7), and universally requires blood transfusions with hospitalization of three-five days. Extensive postoperative swelling is often seen and can be associated with some pain and discomfort.”

Talk about a kick to the gut for brand new, first time parents!

So, I did the one thing I knew to do. I prayed. I prayed for a miracle, that God would heal him, and he wouldn’t need surgery. But God chose not to heal him through a miracle, He was going to use the hands of surgeons.

He was also going to use this experience to teach me and change me. You see, I liked to be in control, and I also had a tendency to worry, especially about those things out of my control (like handing over my baby to a team of surgeons to perform major surgery!). I learned to trust God and have faith. He could and would take care of my son even better than I could. Even if the outcome was devastating, He would be with us every step of the way. God was in control. Not me. I learned so much from this experience about handing things over to God, not worrying and resting in His peace. As Van Walton, the author of today’s devotion for Proverbs 31 ministries wrote,

“Each time we survive a major ordeal we grow stronger, wiser, more prepared for the next challenge. We are conquerors and overcomers with God’s help. Ordeals, hardships, distresses are permitted by God for our perfection. Either He permits them or He plans them. If God has intentionally laid out a troublesome path for us, He has a purpose.”

I am blessed to share that my son is a happy, healthy, active 11 year old with no further health issues, and his mom is trying to pass on this lesson of faith and trust to anyone who will listen.

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What you allow
Have you ever read a quote that smacked you right in the face? That’s exactly what happened when I read the quote “What you allow is what will continue.” It jumped right off the screen and called me out!

You see, over the past 2 1/2 years I’ve made some major changes in my eating habits. However, it has been a MAJOR struggle trying to get my kiddos to do the same. It doesn’t help when it seems like everything out there is working against me (another post for another time). What my kids eat for breakfast bothers me. What do they eat? Cereal. It’s what I grew up on and has always seemed like a no-brainer. However, I now know that this isn’t the best thing for them. Even though I try to steer clear of the sugary cereals – with the cartoon characters on the box! – I know that it still isn’t “healthy.” But what have I done about it? Nothing. I have allowed it…heck, I’ve been the one buying it! So, it has continued. Until now.

I did something risky this week at the grocery store. I didn’t buy cereal! GASP!! Instead, today I spent my afternoon preparing breakfast options for the kiddos. I made sausage and egg “cupcakes” and paleo cinnamon roll pancakes (shhhhh…don’t tell them they are healthy!). Of course, fresh fruit will be on the menu as well. So far, they seem okay with it. But keep in mind they haven’t had to eat the new options yet as they just finished off the cereal this morning. I’m praying all goes well in the morning. I’ll keep you posted.

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For the next 12 weeks, I’m participating in a health and wellness program, Briding the Wellness Gap, led by Chris Roche who is the owner of my gym, Circle City Strength and Conditioning.  He approached me about doing this program so that I could experience it first-hand with the intent to be a BTWG coach in the future.  After much consideration (and a good “talk through it” session with my friend, Lori), I agreed.  I am excited about what God is going to teach me through this program and how He is going to use it in the future.

So, Chris has encouraged each of us to blog our experience.  You may notice that this is actually my second post.  I started this blog back in May.  However, I became self-conscious about doing it and told myself it was silly and no one would read it.  So, I didn’t write anymore posts.  Until now.  Since I already had this blog set up, I didn’t have any excuses not to keep a blog.  Not that Chris would accept any of my excuses anyway!

For this first post, I’ve decided to share part of my BTWG application essay to give you some of my background and goals for the program.  Here it is…

“For most of my life, I have had a love-hate relationship with food.  I loved to eat.  However, it used to end up making me feel gross and bad about myself.  In addition, because it caused me to be overweight, I had a bad body image and self esteem.  But I couldn’t seem to stop eating these foods that made me feel so bad.  Not to mention that I put so much emphasis on food, my weight, and my size.  I would look forward to events, not for the event itself or the people that I would share it with, but for the food.  I also spent most of my time thinking about my weight and comparing myself to others.  I was obsessed…and miserable.

Praise God that He began to change me 2 ½ years ago.  I know for certain that it is because of Him that I am free from those chains of obsession of food and obsession over my weight and size.  When I first started coming to PR Fitness, I did not have a plan or any goals.  I just came because I loved it.  I loved the challenge, the people and the way the hard work made me feel.  Gradually, I began changing my eating habits because working that hard and fueling my body with junk just didn’t make sense.  God started changing my view of food.  Food is fuel.  As it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “[my] body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…therefore [I] honor God with [my] body.”  I need to take care of it so that I can serve Him by serving those around me.  I can’t do that if I’m not fueling my body properly and exercising in order to make it stronger.  Not exercising to punish myself or so that I could have dessert.  God was transforming my mind like He says in Romans 12:2.  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  I was able to see food and exercise in a whole new way.  Years of telling myself all of the foods I CAN’T eat on a “diet” were in the past.  I CAN eat anything, but should I?  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.”  God taught me how to make the best decisions when I was hungry.  I learned to choose foods that would give me energy and fill me up…protein, good fats, vegetables, fruits.  I didn’t want cookies, chips, ice cream, crackers, etc. anymore.  Not because I told myself that I COULDN’T have them, but because I knew that they don’t satisfy me.  They actually make me feel bad physically and psychologically.  The wisdom and the strength to make these decisions came from God, not me.

I have to be careful though.  I know that I have to stay on guard to my old ways.  I need to stay focused on God and in His Word.  Otherwise, I turn my focus to food and what society says about how I should look, eat, etc.*  This is where I think I am going to grow the most during BTWG.  I need to continue to learn how I am defined by God so that I guard against defining myself by my size or weight.  I need to continue to rely on his strength and wisdom to fuel my body properly.  I compare it to when Peter got out of the boat and walked on water.  When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink.  When I take my focus off of the Lord and focus on food, my size, my weight; I will sink into slavery to those things.  Just like the Bible says in 2 Peter 2 19 “ for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”  I must not allow food, my size or weight to master me.  I must enjoy the freedom that comes from knowing who I am in Christ, having strength and wisdom to make the best decisions for my body and doing everything to bring glory to the Lord.

One of my major goals for the BTWG program is to put words and scripture to my journey so that I can help others when they ask “how did you do it?”.  I will be focusing on wellness of the mind and spirit.  That seems to be an area for me that I often struggle with when I am tempted to – and sometimes do – focus on my weight and size.”

So, there you have it!  Thanks so much for reading.  I promise not to wait 10 months this time for my next post!

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Stepping out in faith!

Well, here it is…a blog to help connect our spiritual “fitness” with our physical fitness!  I often hear the saying “God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.”  That is definitely going to have to be the case here.  I am stepping out in faith and trusting Him to equip me to lead this blog.  I am definitely not equipped without His help!  I do, though, love to connect physical and spiritual “fitness.”  And I have to be honest…lately, I’ve been focusing more on physical training and not enough on my spritual training.  So, I hope this is a step in the right direction.  The verse that keeps coming to mind as I begin this journey is 1 Timothy 4:8.

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

Please take some time to meditate on this with me and share your thoughts!

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