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April 2019

Fitness Journey

Getting Back into the Workout Groove: Benefits of Excercise

My favorite “inspirational” video is Shia Labeouf shouting “Do it! Just Do It!” Nothing gets me more pumped to do something, whether it be washing the dishes, cleaning the house, but especially working out, than that!

However, for me, exercise is tough. I find that getting back into my workout routine is one of the hardest things for me to do. It’s so much easier for me to simply come home, start fixing up the apartment, call my mother, prep my lunch, and watch Gilmore Girls. But when it comes to exercise, I have to push myself, and I mean really push myself to get through it.

There are times where I am three minutes into a workout and I think to myself “maybe I’ll stop now and pick this up tomorrow.” On one hand I’d gain some relief from the discomfort, but on the other hand, I’d know that this level of effort will never lead to any satisfactory results. So instead, I listen to my inner Shia Labeouf and “just do it!”

Now, why am I so bent on getting into working out again? Well, I took for granted the years when I was slim, trim, and in. Now I am out of shape and get tired far too easily. When people told me that your body changes with age, they weren’t kidding. So before I age any further, I want to adopt a healthy lifestyle. I may have I have mentioned in a previous post wanting to keep up with the future kids when we’re playing tag in the park.

Still, in addition to striving for your ideal aesthetic.  There are so many reasons why you and I should work out, and regularly. Most people only exercise because they desire to lose weight and/or keep it off (and I will admit, it’s is one of my personal reasons). But again, although that is great, there are many other reasons what we should be working out and in this post, I will go through a few in the hope that I might motivate you to “Just Do It”

Better Sleep

I came across this article in the New York Times that mentioned how studies have shown that exercise can lead to better sleep. There are a few things I noticed changed about me as I aged. The most important one was my sleeping pattern. Increasingly, I began waking up constantly, I mean three to four times a night, often. It was exhausting, as you might imagine not being able to sleep might be. When I began exercising again, I noticed I was sleeping much better and honestly, one of the main reasons I work out is for the great sleep I get. There is no sleep like post-workout sleep. I guarantee it!

A Sharper Mind

There truly is a correlation between exercising the body and reinforcing the brain. Technically they work as one when you think about it. Likewise, working to improve your physical agility will inevitably improve your mental agility, to varying degrees of course. It’s like when your body becomes faster your brain sharpens up too. In relation to my previous point, it has also has been shown that regular sleep can help improve brain functionality. Consider the findings in this article from Harvard Medical School here.

A Boost of Confidence

Lately, because I have been doing primarily H.I.I.T (High-Intensity Interval Training), I find that I really have to push myself. Because of this, most days, I want to give up halfway through it. But, I don’t. I keep pressing on toward the finish. It isn’t easy work but trust me, when you come back to the exercise the next time and notice that you are performing a little bit better, it feels really good. It’s like the moment when you go back to the gym and find that the 55 lbs barbell is too light for you. It’s so encouraging and motivates me, even more, to want to exercise. Not to mention the confidence gained from developing a more toned or lean physique.

You Surge in Energy

In addition to the previously mentioned benefits of exercise, you can tap into a reservoir of energy, formerly suppressed. I’m sure after a few workouts you will notice you are less tired and, possibly, even drinking less coffee -which has been the case even with me (I love coffee by the way). One of the more sequential reasons for this is because when we work out we sleep better. As we sleep, and more particularly, as we sleep well, our body is recovering from the activity we were engaged in and, thus less tiredness overall. I also found an article explaining why this happens, you can check it out here.

*Quick disclosure: The photos for the items below are each linked to Amazon.com. Should you choose to purchase from them, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.*

And Yes…You Can Lose Weight

It may not happen overnight but you can lose weight. However, keep in mind that weight loss may either be optimized or hindered based upon your diet. In order to best reach your weight loss goal(s), you may have to change up your eating habits, depending upon where you are starting from. Drinking an ample amount of water (especially before, during and after your training), incorporating more fruits, veggies and whole grains, and significantly limiting your intake of processed foods (i.e, junk food) and alcohol are some of the primary steps you should take toward reforming your diet and transforming your body. I’m sure you may have heard much of this before, to varying degrees, great. They are tried and true methods. The challenge comes with our willingness to change, make sacrifices, be creative and adjust our perspectives. After a while, your dietary switch may not seem so bad anymore, you might even enjoy eating healthier food. Perhaps, as a reward for your commitment and self-control, you may be inclined to indulge a bit on one of your “cheat days.” Totally fair. I tend to eat healthy throughout the week and then treat myself at the end for a job well done. Last week’s treat was a delectable strawberry cheesecake I picked up at a local bakery. Nonetheless, in order to get the best results, in conjunction with a regular and reasonably challenging exercise routine, the majority of your eating should be clean.

I hope this small list has encouraged you to want to exercise. You don’t need to start doing Beachbody or any high-intensity workout routine right off the bat, you can start small. Cardio and basic calisthenics (body weight exercises) are a great start. Then, as your routine becomes easier, kick it up a notch. You can do this! And if you still think you can’t, don’t take it from me, listen to Shia and “Just do it…make your dreams come true” “Nothing is impossible.”

And consider this: As creatures made in the image of God, let us each appreciate and be good stewards of these bodies He has crafted for us. They are each uniquely fashioned gifts from Him. Even more so, to His children, they are the very dwelling places of the His Holy Spirit. So as you work hard and train, be encouraged!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

– 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

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Pilgrimage

You Will Never Be Perfect (And That’s Ok!)

I remember a couple of years ago, while I sat in the waiting room of a doctors office, there was a morning show on where the host interviewed a woman who had undergone over 50 plastic surgeries.

It was one of the most bizarre stories I had ever heard. I was a teenager at the time. After reviewing a list of the multiple surgeries she had already undergone the host asked the woman what she planned to do next. Her reply was to correct a part of one of her toes.

That was definitely not the response I was expecting. I find it almost insane that she would go through these lengths just to try and achieve a level of beauty that was a construct of her own opinions and society. Prior to this, I had never heard of someone who wanted to fix or correct their toe merely because it didn’t look right. A toe! Let that sink in, she wanted to correct the way her toe looked to suit her ideal beauty standard.

If there was some sort of deformation or abnormality, I would understand but that wasn’t the case. It was just bizarre and, frankly, unbelievable to me.

That is probably the most dramatic example I can use to show how, as humans, we seek to be perfect but guess what, in this life we will never be perfect.

I can go on and on about how society pushes its ideals onto us as women to look like Barbies and Kardashians and even on men to be drop-dead gorgeous and possess a six-pack, but that isn’t exactly the crux of this post.

I understand a great majority of us won’t go through these lengths in order to change our bodies, perhaps because many have neither the time nor the resources, but what about our personalities?

Do we tend to act a certain way in public solely in order to be viewed as nice or reputable? While there is nothing wrong with genuinely possessing those characteristics, we have to ask ourselves, what are the motives behind our actions?

It can pose quite a challenge to uncover precisely why we do the things we do at the exact moment that we do them. It’s often only later on that we can look back and figure it out. Still, a great way to keep tabs on our motives is to ask ourselves: “does this action primarily draw attention to me or to God?” and “does this glorify me or God?” or “How can this best action glorify God?”

At this point in my life I have accepted that I will never be absolutely perfect, neither physically nor spiritually. It’s simply impossible. Sure, I can train towards an appealing physique, layer my face in mascara and maybe even surgically “reshape” my own toes, but if I look to personify this societal ideal of what perfection

I will always fall short -and if not before people, certainly before God. The same applies spiritually. If I live my life toiling to obtain salvation in my own right I will always fall short. There is nothing I can do, in and of myself that will make me look better to God in any way.

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. -Isaiah 64:6

You see, we may be able to deceive others, perhaps even God’s people, into thinking that we are better than we actually are, but we cannot fool God Himself. We simply can’t because He does not look at us according to the flesh (physically), but rather, according to the state of our souls (spiritually). That is what make the gospel (literally “good news”) so good. God knows that we aren’t perfect, and yet He still called us.

Why did He call us? He called us because He loved us? How can He love us, in spite of our sin and utter disregard for His daily goodness and grace? He can love us because He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into this world, 100% God and 100% man, to satisfy a debt on our behalf that could never have been satisfied by anyone else.

Roughly 2000 years ago, on the cross where He hung died, and the tomb from which he rose again to life, the sins of all who would believe upon Him and the Father who sent Him were paid for and the christian’s eternal security was sealed.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

1 Peter 2:9

It can be easy to fall into the trap of the world, telling ourselves that we need to be a certain way and look a certain way, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that we seek God and glorify Him. At the end of the day, He is all that matters, because while  this life is fleeting, it’s author is eternal.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

Gal 3:13-14

Most everything we know and cherish will pass, just as it has from the dawn of time, but the Lord is forever. His love endures forever and He will be with us until He returns to bring us home. This He has promised.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

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