the benefit of athletics in christianity

I just fin­ished run­ning an Olympic Triathlon. “Olympic” clas­si­fies the dis­tance of the triathlon. It involves swim­ming 1500m (.93mi), bik­ing 40k (24mi), and run­ning 10k (6.2mi). It’s pretty intense and takes a fair amount of ath­letic abil­ity (which I never knew I had in me til this summer).

One of my friends who I train and run triathlons with came along for the ride just to watch my race. On the ride home we talked about the inten­sity, fatigue, and moti­va­tion that came with this race. We then began point­ing out all the par­al­lels that these races have to the Chris­t­ian life.

There’s obvi­ous par­ralells that you could think of:

  • Press­ing on towards the mark
  • Not being dis­tracted, but focus­ing ahead
  • The pain and suf­fer­ing that comes through the journey
  • Ups and downs. Some­times feel­ing like you can’t go on and other times get­ting the 2ndwind and feel­ing good

There’s a more prac­ti­cal par­al­lel, though, that I’d like to point out. Triathlon (and races in gen­eral) take a con­sid­er­able amount of dis­ci­pline to pre­pare. I’ve had to dili­gently get out and train (even when I don’t feel like it), I’ve changed my diet and cut out things I really like, and in gen­eral I’ve invested a lot of time and money into this.

By dis­ci­plin­ing my mind and body in this way, I’ve seen it carry over to my spir­i­tual life. There’s a dili­gence to talk to God and let him talk to me, even when I don’t feel it. My will power to say “no” to sin has increased. My mind is sharp­ened and on edge towards spir­i­tual things.

Per­haps this dis­ci­pline can be achieved through alter­na­tive means, but I’ve found ath­let­ics to be one of the most effec­tive tac­tics among many things I’ve tested and tried in the past. As a bonus, I’m liv­ing health­ier and feel great because I’m in the best shape of my life.

For those of you “over the hill” who say that your days of ath­leti­cism have passed, I don’t want to hear it. I’ve been beat mul­ti­ple in pre­vi­ous races by men and women in their 60s and 70s. So you see, there’s hope even for the older!

Seri­ously, though, our down­fall in Chris­tian­ity often comes down to our lazi­ness which is inbred in us by the lazi­ness of this cul­ture. Hav­ing a high work ethic in your job doesn’t always count because it’s moti­vated by money and advance­ment. Out­side of work, if we were hon­est, most of us aren’t as hard work­ers as we are in the work place.

How­ever, ath­let­ics require self-​​motivation. So does the Chris­t­ian life. There you go, my thoughts on why being involved in ath­let­ics can be/​is ben­e­fi­cial to the spir­i­tual life.

Simple Rules for Eating Healthy in 2012

It’s a new year, and for many of you, you’re try­ing for the umpteenth time to exer­cise and eat healthy. I’m one of those peo­ple, and this year I’m com­mit­ting to a non-​​traditional diet that has very sim­ple rules. In my expe­ri­ence, you can loose weight and nour­ish your body with­out hav­ing to count calo­ries, fat, carbs, etc. I’ve already lost 10lb this year.

In my new healthy eat­ing lifestyle, it’s not so much a num­bers game as it objec­tive based eat­ing. Read on and see what I mean.

Dos:

  1. Drink 2 liters of water a day (3 liters in hot­ter weather). This helps with the diges­tion process so food doesn’t sit and accu­mu­late. It also flushes out tox­ins and is good for your heart and vas­cu­lar system.
  2. Eat more greens. The more raw the bet­ter. If you want an easy way to get your veg­gies, you can either drink a cup of Green Machine a day or look into Juice Pluse.
  3. Eat slower. Eat­ing fast has proven to cause weight gain and it’s harder on your diges­tive sys­tem when you don’t allow the enzymes in your saliva to do their part in digest­ing the food. Try chew­ing your food until it’s a pulp. Eat­ing slower also will help you eat less. Your brain doesn’t rec­og­nize how full your stom­ach is until about 20min after you start eat­ing. Try tak­ing a smaller por­tion than nor­mal, eat­ing slower, and you may find that smaller por­tion quite satisfying.
  4. Sup­ple­ment with vit­a­mins. The 3 big ones are fish oil, multi-​​vitamin, and B vitamins.

Don’ts:

  1. Stop drink­ing soda (pop, coke, what­ever you call it). When I stopped drink­ing car­bon­ated drink years ago, it was amaz­ing how the dif­fer­ence one choice like that made.
  2. Cut out red meat. Not say­ing you can’t have it occa­sion­ally, but if you’re really ana­lyt­i­cal and need me to break it down for you, I’d say only allow one serv­ing of red meat a week. Alter­na­tively you should be eat­ing white meats like chicken, turkey, and fish.
  3. Don’t bring junk food into your home. It should be an auto­matic given that when you do your gro­cery shop­ping, ice cream, chips, and candy (or any other food in those aisles) don’t go in your shop­ping cart (the excep­tion would be for a party or holidays).
  4. Stop eat­ing fast food! There’s noth­ing more to be said about that.
  5. Watch out for cheese. If it’s an option to put on your sandwich…opt out. If there’s a meal with sub­stan­tial amounts of cheese in it, def­i­nitely stay away. There’s a lot of fat in that stuff.

The last rule is that if you’re going to choose to eat healthy, you need to choose to live healthy all around. The real­ity is, eat­ing is only part of it. You need to com­mit to mak­ing healthy choices through­out the day. Cut down on tv watching, exercise daily, have hob­bies, get out and socialize.

Don’t fol­low this list to loose weight, do it to pre­vent or help your already exist­ing high blood pres­sure, dia­betes, con­ges­tive heart fail­ure, etc.

Simple Shopping for Singles

Singleness offers offers a lot of freedom and flexibility. That includes when and how you eat. Instead of meal plans like most diets, try portion plans. Assuming you’re wanting to eat healthy, here’s a few tips to help along the way.

  • Calculate you caloric intake
  • Determine your daily food intake
  • Once you know your daily food intake, multiply that by 1-2wk (depending how often you go shopping)
  • Now go out and do your shopping
  • Assuming you’ve cleared out all the junk food out of your house, you can eat anything in your cabinets as much or little as you want within those 1-2wk.

We all are hungrier on some days than others, so why bother sticking to specific meals that are allotted per day.As long as your calorie intake is less or equal (depending on your goals) than your calorie expenditure, then you’ll be ok.