1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV says “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.” So, what does fitness have to do with God? Everything. To take care of our physical well-being is to honor God for the gift He has given.
A previous article mentioned about having a healthy habit. A healthy habit to me means having a good balance of the right kind of diet, the right kind of exercise, and making yourself happy. It is not easy to do but if you are focused and determined, you would be willing to start somewhere. Let me help you with the lessons I learned when I started my own fitness journey. To give you a quick background, I was 20 lbs heavier when I began in 2009. I used to avoid going to fitness clubs for fear that I might not sustain the workouts. But when my friends pressured me to try it once, I got challenged and I decided I’ll do it again. I haven’t stopped ever since.
Exercise is more mental than physical
What has really worked for me is not focusing on the numbers (e.g. weight). Instead, I focused on training my mind to not listen to what hurts. Endurance comes first. I made sure that I can survive the work out.
When I started attending a martial arts-inspired group exercise class called “BodyCombat”, I had to skip a lot of the routines because of its high level of intensity. I kept attending the class and gradually worked on skipping less and less routines each week until I was able to last the entire class without stopping. Afterwards, I started improving on proper form and movement to make sure that I’m safely working on all the right muscles. The next thing I know, I had already lost a significant amount of weight. I no longer get easily tired taking multiple flights of stairs or doing everyday chores. I felt really good. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you as long as you get there.
Make sleep a priority
Adequate sleep is crucial to keeping fit. In order to make sure your efforts do not go to waste, it is important that you reward yourself with enough sleep. An average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. Sleep allows your body to recover, build muscles, repair tissues, and maintain your rate of metabolism. Metabolism is our bodies running on calories, as a car running on gas. Metabolism plays a huge role in making sure every part of the body functions well by fueling them with energy from the calories burned. Lack of sleep messes up the metabolism which means, slower calorie burn resulting to stored fat.
Eat right, drink right
You can spend hours and hours working out, but it will not make you healthy if you don’t maintain a good eating habit. When my friends ask me the secret to my diet, I always say that there is no secret. It is something that we have known our entire lives but most find difficult to do – eating right and drinking right. Let’s keep it simple:
- Don’t skip meals especially breakfast
- Eat little portions 4 to 5 times a day
- Drink plenty of water
Master these three and you can master other forms of diet (e.g. low calorie, high protein, etc)
If you find yourself being so determined to reach your health goals that you had planned to exercise at least 3 times a week at first try, STOP and drop the plan. Getting in there too quickly can cause you to get burned out as quick, which will make you stop exercising and gain even more weight. It is very important to form a habit first by starting slow. Commit yourself to doing an exercise once a week. Your body will adjust to the routine. If you find yourself no longer getting tired, increase the frequency – add another day. Your body will keep on adjusting so make sure that you listen to it.
You don’t have to sign up at your local fitness club in order to get good exercise. You can use the outdoors, or your own home. The first thing you really need to do is to find a physical activity that you enjoy doing and go from there. It may be walking, running, dancing, or any type of sports. In an interview with Oprah, Robert Downey Jr. once said, “What’s hard is to decide to actually do it” referring to overcoming obstacles in his life. The same can be said with knowing what to do to improve our overall health. We can read all the online articles, watch all the videos that we like but we need to choose which one might work, decide to actually try it and decide to do it consistently. And in order to sustain it, it’s important to make sure that you are having fun. If something is not enjoyable, change it. Having fun is vital to keeping your fitness routine effective. It means getting more done, having more successes, being healthy, and being happy!
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 1:2 NIV
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