As with any Christmas, the holiday season always reveals what is hot in the world of retail.  This year was no exception.  The Fitbit was flying off shelves before we emptied our plates on Thanksgiving Day.  It shouldn't be a surprise.  We knew the year was coming to an end and it would soon be time for another set of resolutions.  Plus, it is easy to excuse our ravenous holiday eating as long as we have good intentions to get back on track after the new year.  But I have come to fully believe and understand the bible verse, "the spirit is willing but the body is weak."

I believe that most people do have good intentions.  They want to live happy, productive and successful lives.  But I also know the tricks of the devil like laziness, procrastination, and a long list of excuses.

Recent studies have now linked our newly acquired fitness obsession, the Fitbit, with depression.  If we are not the biggest bunch of whiners in the world!  Apparently people are getting depressed when they fail to reach their step goal of the day as determined by each individual.  Maybe they are just finally having to face reality.  Nevertheless, people are now depressed and upset and just like anything else in our lives that forces us to see what we don't like, we decide that it is bad for us and all Fitbit's should be burned at the stake.

Now I have experienced firsthand the tools and functions of the Fitbit.  It really is a cool fitness and sleep tracker.  But then again, that depends on what your definition of fitness is to begin with.  If you think walking 10,000 steps a day will put you on the path to great fitness, you are badly mistaken. Have they yet invented a watch that slaps us into reality?

I will spare you the lecturing about intensity.  And let me also say that for some people who have been extremely sedentary, overweight, or simply physically incapable, then walking is a good start. Is walking more a bad thing?  Of course not and it is definitely better than the alternative.  What I would rather focus on is people being honest with themselves.  For most people, walking is not making you fit by any means.  Not even close.  You may say that you are tired afterwards so it must be working. Well, I get tired sitting in a chair all day. It certainly doesn't mean I was getting fitter.

Be honest with yourself.  Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone while exercising. Do things that you don't necessarily want to do.  Don't be afraid to breathe heavy, sweat, and hurt a little.  And certainly don't get depressed about whether or not you hit your 10,000 step goal of the day as long as you know that there was purpose in the steps you did take.


My Fitness Journey Part 4

I figure I wasn't like most kids on a Friday or Saturday night in high school, especially before I had a car to drive.  It was because of how I spent my weekends that I felt separated me from the pack eventually.  It was on those Friday and Saturday nights where I built my confidence and continued to discover more and more who I was and wanted to be.

When football ended, there was several weeks before the end of the semester and Christmas break where we started an off-season football program that mainly consisted of lifting weights and running.  The weather was usually colder and uncooperative during that time and many times we were left stranded in a gym.  But there was this other room.  It was a much smaller room that housed an old universal machine and a large yellow tumbling mat that covered most of the floor.  The atmosphere was like an old, dirty locker room where you could smell the history of past generations that have come through that room and stood on those same mats.  Needless to say, I loved that room.

It was a cold, rainy day and one of our coaches, not our normal strength coach, decided that he was going to put us through a workout.  We had all thought we were going to have it easy due to the weather but we soon found out we were dead wrong.  He piled every last one of us in that room in organized single-file lines.  It was packed and very humid.  And then it began.  It started with push-ups and transitioned to sit-ups and leg lifts, planks and mountain climbers.  We were doing squat jumps and running in place.  There was no time to rest as we moved from one torturous exercise to another.  It was simply old fashioned military style PT.  It wasn't long before you heard the groans of some of your teammates as they started dropping like flies.  The windows were dripping wet with the built up condensation from the heat inside that room trying to escape through the thin glass that separated us and the cold air blowing outside.  The smell was a mixture of testosterone filled boys, sweat and vomit.  IT WAS AWESOME!

When the workout was finally over and the coach had made us hold planks and leg lifts long enough, we all laid there in an exhausted heap of wrecked, teenage sweat.  I was shocked that you could get that amount of work done in such a little space with nothing but your body.  It was CrossFit long before CrossFit ever existed.  I went straight home and wrote down everything we did.  I wanted another crack at that workout.  I don't like to be surprised by anything and was not about to let this workout get the best of me.

That is where the Friday and Saturday nights come in.  That is how I spent many of them in high school, especially during the winter and before me or any of my friends had cars.  I would go into my parents bedroom with a small tape deck radio and plug in the Def Leppard Hysteria cassette tape and get after it.  I found myself in those workouts.  I challenged what I was made of and what I wanted to become.  It was just another notch in my fitness journey.

My Fitness Journey Part 3


Pain on Purpose

Why do you do what you do?  Certainly there is a purpose behind any and everthing we do.  I have been questioning the purpose of our training.  Why do we do it?  Why do I do it?  You have to have a purpose behind it to put forth that much effort.  So what is it? 

Plain and simple, your training should be a reflection of your fitness goals.  That means you should definitely have fitness goals or you are just going through the motions.

So what are my fitness goals?  Most people will say they want to be healthy and look good.  My answer is more complex.  My fitness goals can be broken down in to three categories; physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual and they all tie together. 

Physically, I want to progressively get stronger and more fit even as I age.  I want a fitness that makes me strong, explosive, powerful and fast.  I want a fitness that keeps me lean and muscular and gives me the confidence to take my shirt off at the beach.  I want to be proficient across all metabolic pathways which means that I am prepared to go hard for 10 seconds, 10 minutes or 10 hours.  I want the type of fitness that would make me good at any given task.  I want a fitness that protects me from the ravages of age and time.  I want a fitness that protects me from injury.  I want my fitness to help me age gracefully and keep me independent.  I want my fitness to give me the ability to play with my future grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I want a fitness that not only builds my heart but tests it as well.  I want a fitness where the workouts humble me but in turn make me confident and proud.  I want a fitness that helps me to thrive, survive, and makes me feel more alive.  That means I want my fitness to help me handle life's challenges whether physical or not.  I want my fitness to transfer across other aspects of my life; to help me have the courage and discipline to handle any and all of life's challenges. 

I want my physical strength and fitness to be a reflection of my spiritual strength and fitness.  I want to honor God for the gift of my body and to be a wise steward of it.  I want my fitness to be an inspiration to my children and future generations. 

Lastly, I want to have no regrets.  I want to look back on my life and know that at any given point or age, I was trying to be the best that I could be.  I am as fit as ever but I know that I can't run as fast as I did in my younger years.  But I have no regrets.  I have milked it for all it's worth.  And 20 years from now, I want to know that I milked this time of my life for all it was worth as well. 

So the next time you see me lying on the floor trying to catch my breath, that is all part of the plan.  There is a purpose for the pain.


Breaking Bad

Everyone has certain habits and routine tendencies.  Some personalities are better than others at it but ultimately, once a habit is established, they are hard to break.  Habits will make or break you depending upon whether they are good or bad.  This leads me to the point of this article.  A routine diet is most likely not what makes you fat.  It is the extra meals outside of the routine that make you fat.  A normal breakfast may not be the problem.  It is getting to work to find a box of donuts and then eating the extra stuff on top of your normal meal that is causing the calories to add up.

Anyone who knows me can testify to the fact that I am very routine and structured.  The same goes with my diet.  I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every single day.  This usually includes snacks as well.  A while back, I decided to add more protein to my diet through a protein shake at night.  Problem was that I added this in ADDITION to my normal snack I have at night.  That is what this extra protein shake became to my weight...an ADDITION.

Now I only add the protein shake when I know I have burned more calories on a certain day.  Otherwise I substitute it for something else instead of just adding it or I skip it altogether. After starting this, I immediately dropped the extra weight.  You have to maintain that caloric balance and portion control to maintain your weight.  To gain or lose weight, you have to skew those numbers either positively or negatively.  It really isn't rocket science.

Weight gain or weight loss is a simple formula.  If you take in more calories than you burn, you gain weight.  If you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight.  The complexity comes when you start talking about the types of food you eat, the way your body responds to those foods, and the genetic make-up and body composition of each person.  These all have an effect on your weight but simply speaking, calories in must equal or be less than calories being burned otherwise there is weight gain.

Just keep in mind, if you eat breakfast and an hour later you eat a donut because there was a big box sitting in the break room at work, you have to either burn those extra calories off through exercise or take something out of your normal diet to keep a caloric balance. One way or another you will have to either work it off or go without during another meal or snack if you want to keep from gaining weight.  Ultimately you have to decide if that extra donut is worth the extra work, want or WEIGHT! 


Trigger Happy

As I get older, I continue to understand myself a little bit better. I have a clearer view of what my strengths and weaknesses are. One of the beauties our fitness training is that we maximize those things we are good at but we also target and train our weaknesses. That is how we improve. Some of my weaknesses could also be considered strengths. It all depends on your perspective. One of those is that sometimes I have a tendency to be a little quick on the trigger. Other times, I am too apprehensive to pull the trigger. I tend to overthink things.  Again both can be considered a strength or a weakness. It is all relative to the circumstance. 
This thought all started with my son and I shooting a pellet gun at some targets. He had never shot a gun and was very slow on the trigger. So slow in fact that he would psyche himself out and never pull the trigger at all.  I kept asking him if he could see the target in which he said yes.  He simply was too scared to pull the trigger.  He was scared that he might flinch and miss the target.  I then put my hand over his and forced him to pull the trigger.  When it comes to shooting a gun, that is how I am.  Once I see the target, I don’t hesitate.  If only I could be that way in other areas of my life. 
Do you have the courage to pull the trigger? Pull the trigger on what you may ask. I guess that all depends on what the target is... what is at the end of your aim.  Many people are quick on the trigger when it comes to their words but how about their actions?  This is not something totally foreign to us either.  We see reminders all the time.

                “Actions speak louder than words.” “You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.”

Taking action many times requires faith.  Faith is not just limited to spiritual beliefs.  It takes faith to drive your car down the road and trust that you will get home safely.  It takes faith to trust that your food was cooked right at your favorite restaurant.   It takes faith to trust that I really am not trying to kill you with every workout.
Ultimately, faith and actions must work together.   James 2:14-26 talks about it clearly. It says that faith without works is dead.  So in other words, actions are necessary to prove your faith.  Anyone can say that they want to get in shape but do they have the actions to prove it?  Do you have the nerve to pull the trigger on joining a class or getting a gym membership? 
One thing about shooting a gun is that it is either all or nothing.  There is no halfway.  So in other words, buying the new running shoes and yoga pants is only half the battle.  Actually using them for what they are made for is the other half.  James 1:6 talks about not wavering. Find your target, take aim and SHOOT. The longer you hesitate the less chance you will ever take the shot.  Once you get the target in sight, take aim and pull the trigger.  That is the first step towards hitting the bullseye!


New Logo Same Message

After years of debating, researching and waiting, we have finally found our new logo.  I orginally had the idea about 10 years ago but thought combining a cross(T) with an (F) might be too simple plus I wanted something that represented athleticism.  I used the Trinity Fitness runner logo for almost 10 years. 

Now a decade later, I am back to my original plan of a simple, recognizable logo that can stand alone but represent the foundation of Trinity Fitness perfectly.  It took some help from a friend and a graphic designer to finalize the logo we will now use.  What is interesting is that it was not my idea to turn the logo at a 45 degree angle.  But once I got the logo and thought and prayed about it, I realized that it is the perfect fit and representation of Trinity Fitness.

Luke 9:23 says that we are all to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him.  During my early teenage years, I fought one of the toughest battles I would ever fight.  I was trying to determine who I was and what I was going to stand for.  I wanted to be the best Christian I could be and set my boundaries and moral standards.  Sounds a little too serious for a new teenager I know, and apparently most of my classmates must have thought so as well.  I definitely felt more alone during those years.  But that was all a part of the process I had to go through to become who I am today.

One thing I did do during those years, besides lean on my faith, was to also lean on my athletics and fitness.  I began working out regularly.  I never knew exactly what to do but I would always find something that made me sweat and the heart pound.  That is where I found my confidence to continue standing up for what I believed and to stick with the boundaries I had set.  I had learned to deny myself with those workouts and to let the training represent something more than just a leaner physique.  I had learned to have confidence and self respect in myself and for my faith.

My fitness helped me shoulder the cross for which I lived for.  So I don't consider it a coincidence that this logo fits so perfectly.  The (T) of Trinity represented as a cross is being held up by the (F) of Fitness.  We all have to carry different burdens in life but as we have learned through our training, the weight of those burdens can be a catalyst to strengthen us.  It will continue to be my prayer that Trinity Fitness will be a place that people can be strengthened physically so that they can shoulder their cross spiritually.


Maxed to the Limit

The average credit card debt per household in America is just under $16,000.  The obesity rate in America is now at a staggering 36%.  I want to compare credit card debt to obesity and see if there is a correlation between both in how we got ourselves into the problem and with how we get ourselves out of the problem.

The questions are how did we get into debt and how do we get ourselves out?  The question of how we get into debt is pretty consistent across the board.  Most Americans don't accumulate debt overnight.  It starts with just one purchase at a time.  We then make the mistake of making the minimum payment each month which just helps us cover the interest on our rising debt.  Usually several years down the line, we are up to our eyeballs in debt and find ourselves staring down a long road to financial recovery.

The same can be said about weight gain and obesity.  We don't get fat overnight.  Just like a credit card, we accumulate a little at a time (a Twinkie, bowl of chips and salsa, late night ice cream) and make minimum payments (a little exercise here and there), when before you know it, you are staring at a large number on the scale, that is of course if you can see the scale at all.

So we know how we get ourselves into debt both physically and financially.  The question remains as to how we get ourselves out of debt.   I am not talking about people who pay off their credit card at the end of each month just as do some people consistently watch what they eat and exercise therefore eliminating any possible debt.  As mentioned before, some people try to make the minimum payment possible.  This will never get you out of debt anymore than going for a walk and eating a salad once a week will help you lose weight.  Some people try to move their debt around to other cards with lower interest rates.  I would compare this to those people who constantly try new diets and methods without truly attacking their health debt.  The last group of people are the ones who attack their debt head-on.  They have recognized the problem, determined an effective method of attack, and start implementing those methods to eliminate their debt. 

The keys to success with both types of debt is consistency and time.  Debt, both financially and physically, usually accumulates over many years.  Paying off debt takes time as well.  Very rarely can someone pay off $16,000 over night just like most people can't safely and legitimately lose a lot of weight in a matter of days, weeks or even months.  Debt usually accumulates over time and is also paid off over time.  The key is to work hard towards paying off that debt and to stay committed.  Lastly, try not to sabotage your progress with mindless spending and that late night bowl of ice cream.  Before you know it, you will have money to spare instead of a spare tire around your waist.