Pack Mentality

You have probably heard the quote that your attitude determines your altitude. Attitude will lead to words which will lead to actions. Sometimes it is the other way around. Our words lead to our attitudes which lead to our actions. So a negative attitude will lead to negative words and actions whereas a positive attitude will lead to positive words and actions.
An example would be if you are training with someone who is always complaining or negative about an upcoming workout, it will affect you and your attitude towards that workout as well. Nothing can destroy the spirit of a team more than a negative attitude. It is amazing how much more powerful a negative attitude is than a positive attitude. We have seen it time and time again in professional sports. An entire team is brought down by one guy with a bad attitude. Take away that one guy and the team usually does better.
I deal with it myself. Not often but sometimes I dread a certain workout or exercise. When this happens I have to verbally encourage myself. I have to say out loud that I am going to knock this workout or exercise out of the park.
If you are with someone who is bringing you down because of a negative attitude, I encourage you to change that negative into a positive by either speaking words of encouragement or by limiting your time around that person. Remember that you can’t reap the physical benefits of exercise until you sow positive seeds of victory over those workouts.


I Can't Drive 55

When it comes to training, the more out of your comfort zone you are the better. If you want something you don’t have you have to do something you’re not doing. The reason some people may not see results from their workouts is because they are choosing only those workouts that they are sure to master, workouts that are either easy or comfortable for them. Sure, they may get you out of breath or include some heavy lifts but unless it is different or constantly varied, you are sure to become comfortable and complacent therefore minimizing the benefits of the training itself. If you are “working out” with a friend and are able to talk comfortably with that friend during the workout, you are probably not working very hard. Your results will be different and much less than those of people who are training at higher intensities.
Compare a car burning gas to our bodies burning calories. Drive slow and burn little gas. Drive fast and burn more gas. Drive slow for a long distance and your car uses the fuel more efficiently therefore still burning less gas. If your goal is to burn more gas, you are going to have to leave your comfort zone and put the pedal to the metal. It is going to put more pressure on the engine and the car will get hot but you will love the results. You will see that you can reach your destination faster by breaking the speed limit. You just have to be willing to shift into overdrive.


Two Views of Fitness

It seems that most gyms today look at fitness or physical training as a means to alter appearance. There are several reasons why having this perspective holds very few benefits to overall physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many people who train for appearance are willing to take anything and try any diet for fast results. The problem with that is the constant weight fluctuation and yo-yo dieting. No realistic, lifestyle changing habits are formed. Look at plastic surgery for example. Many people who get plastic surgery are soon unsatisfied and return for more. They valued the deception of looking healthy rather than actually being healthy. This proves that the problem is more than skin deep.
The most beneficial perspective on physical fitness is the idea that fitness should be used as a means to enhance the quality of life. It seems that we have strayed from the simplistic, common sense view of physical fitness. You train for better health. The benefits of better health are innumerable ranging from having more energy to having higher self-esteem. The appearance part of physical training will come in addition to being physically fit as long as your expectations are realistic.
What is so ironic is that many of today’s fitness specialists are so unhealthy. Many personal trainers are overweight and cardiovascularly unfit. They seem so focused on being bigger and leaner that they forsake physical fitness by taking supplements and looking for the fast, easy way to results. How can you require discipline and hard work from clients if you don’t hold up to these standards yourself? Instead of being more physically healthy, we are seeing people with higher blood pressure and higher body weights. In addition, we are seeing many people dealing with the frustration of unrealistic eating patterns that only lead to broken promises and weight fluctuation. Does that sound like good health to you?


Catching My Breath

James 1:2-4: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

During the middle of my workouts, I am really not enjoying myself. Being out of breath and struggling to complete another rep or interval is not necessarily the best feeling in the world, or is it? I actually enjoy myself while I am training because I have my eye on the prize. The prize is the results of my training; the endorphin high, the feeling of accomplishment and well-being. I enjoy the results of training and hard work so much so that I consider it a good trade-off for the temporary pain and anguish I may be going through at the moment.
The same can be said about other aspects of life: the pain of depression or fear, a financial setback, the loss of a loved one. These are all tests which we will more than likely encounter. The key is to keep your eye on the prize. Like training, it may not be enjoyable at the moment but it can be a chance for your faith, endurance, and strength to grow. Before you know it, what you once considered a huge deal in the past may become an issue that can be tolerated much more easily. What used to scare you may not any longer. What once caused you to become down and depressed may actually lift your spirits.
I know that in my own life, some of my toughest trials led to my greatest victories. Had I been unwilling to endure the trial, I may have never known the victory that awaited me. Now, I know that when I am tested, my best days are ahead as long as I am willing to keep running even when I can hardly breathe.


Why Exercise Part I

To Produce Good Fruit

Matthew 7:17 – A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit.
Matthew 12:33 – A tree is identified by its fruit. Make a tree good, and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad, and its fruit will be bad.

The reference verses can be interpreted as an illustration of a tree (our body) and its fruit (the effects of being healthy or unhealthy). What exactly are healthy and unhealthy fruits? In our society today, we are seeing the obvious fruit of living an unhealthy lifestyle. As a whole, obesity is at an all time high. The number one killer is still heart disease. We have better technology, more money, and more modern conveniences yet we are seeing the sour fruit of low self-esteem, depression, and insecurity as never before.
It seems that the more sour the fruit, the more unhealthy the solution we use to treat it. Most people fertilize the bitter fruit of fatigue with a large Mocha Latte from the trendy coffee shop down the road. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on dietary supplements in the attempt to make our health better by taking the newest, most improved, extra strength pill on the market. In reality, all we are really getting is a short-term answer and excuse for our own laziness.
So what is one of the best fertilizers for our tree? EXERCISE! There it is. The most obvious yet avoided answer for treating an unhealthy tree. Exercise is the miracle drug. It is the perfect, natural fertilizer. The best part is that it is free. You are guaranteed a lifetime supply. God has even given you all the equipment you will need. All you have to do is take advantage of it.


No Pain No Gain

1 Corinthians 9:27 – But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Could you imagine taking advice from an overweight fitness instructor? How about a financial advisor who just went bankrupt? I think that this verse not only deals with training the body but with training every area of your life. Paul, the author of this verse, had to have his life in order before other people were to take him seriously. The two key words to the scripture are discipline and subjection. Paul said that he disciplined his body, or trained his body. He continued to state that he brings his body into subjection, or under his control.

Do you have an area in your life where you don't have discipline or control? Maybe it is with spending. Maybe it is with eating. Maybe it is with time and priority management. It should be our goal to be disciplined, trained, and to have control over every area of our lives. We should strive to have discipline and control over our weight, finances, marriages, and homes. With God as our guide, we can find the motivation and inspiration we need to bring our bodies and our lives into subjection. All it takes is a little discipline.