While in the midst of writing, “Top 5 Ways That Faith Influences Fitness”, I quickly realized I would need to add more topics that relate to this subject matter. So, here we go with Part 2!
Be strategic and have a game plan. Follow the plan and execute the plan. The Navy Seals say it this way, “Plan your dive and dive your plan”. Philippians 1:6 says, “God, who begins a plan in you, will continue His work in you until it is completed.” God is our Divine Coach, trust Him and enjoy spiritual growth, inner peace and reaching your physical goals with His guidance.
2. Goal Setting
Be realistic. It is not feasible or healthy to think we can lose 20 pounds in a week. Those TV shows that show people doing that are not the norm. However, to get fit or to lose weight begin with getting a doctor’s approval and (if available) a fitness expert to help you set up a fitness schedule that gradually builds. We must pace ourselves. No one wants to drink water from a fire hydrant...it can overwhelm and strangle you! On the flip-side, ten minutes of exercise twice a week is not likely to assist you in reaching your goals.
I was amazed to see a woman in the gym who would get on the treadmill with a sausage and egg biscuit from McDonalds, or bring in other unhealthy snacks and walk for about twenty minutes (on level one) and be finished for the day! She did this regularly. Not only did she not lose weight, but she set a poor example for others around her. I Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I became an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” It’s a waste of time if you are not going to be serious about pursuing and maintaining fitness goals.
3. Time Management
Time management helps us keep track of what is important for life. If you look at the timeline of our lives you will find that what we value most, we put our time, effort and finances behind.
As Christians, we are instructed to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Do what God wants us to do and everything else will be given to us" (Matthew 6:33). Strive always to keep God at the forefront of all we do. This includes taking care of our bodies so we can be ready to be used for His purposes. Be faithful and diligent in your workouts.
Exercise develops our mental and physical discipline. If we want to see positive results, we must invest the time and effort – there are no shortcuts to success. Again, we all do that which we deem most important. Priority one, spend time in God’s Word daily. Secondly, exercise your body to keep it healthy and strong to serve God, our loved ones and wherever else we are called.
4. Follow Christ’s Example
Find accountability partner(s) who will support and encourage you. Avoid those who don’t really want to do better, who are often late or absent, who make excuses, who want to draw you into their poor habits, or who just aren’t serious.
Ephesians 5:1 says, “Be imitators of Christ”. Christ set the standard for excellence. Jesus was strong, purposeful, had a plan and worked His plan to completion. He was not easily detoured, instead He was passionately committed, determined to complete His goal. Choose someone as dedicated as you to spur you on and not stall your efforts. Don’t be forced to say, “No, we are not going to McDonalds for pancakes instead of working out!” “No, a Starbucks caramel latte before workout is not a good idea!” “No, blowing off today to sleep-in is not helpful.” If you are constantly hearing these excuses, you may have to find a new partner. John 15:2, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful”.
Accountability is a blessing. Jesus had his disciples for companionship and to share in the victory. We too need exercise buddies. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
5. Don’t Stall Out!
Sometimes we plateau and must step up our exercise regimen to keep striving towards our goals. Life can become boring and so can our exercise routine. “Don’t get weary in well doing, for at the right time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9) Plateauing or not being able to get those final few pounds off may mean it’s time for re-evaluation. Having a physical assessment done with a fitness expert/trainer may be helpful. As we get stronger and more fit, our body may need a more intense or a different regimen to make it to the end. Pray to God for guidance and wisdom. An expert will help you to not overdo it, to make healthy meal choices, and to articulate a reasonable exercise plan that works best for your age, weight, and ability. Romans 12:11 “Never be lacking in zeal”; however, you can’t expedite results by overdoing it.
Jumping into an unsupervised routine that is too intense for you could lead to injury setbacks which will delay your progress. I know this all too well! I am recovering now from back problems because after surgery last year I tried too quickly to catch up to my class who had been working for months while I was away. It’s taken me 16 months, lots of medical treatment and expenses to feel better. I have definitely learned, “Slow and steady wins the race!”
I pray we will recognize the magnificent creations we all are and that God has a purpose for us all. He wants us to be strong in body, exuding positive energy, of sound minds, and grateful for any opportunity to be useful to our world. Determine that failure is not an option! Neither is quitting. Pray and believe that God has thoroughly equipped you for every good work! (II Timothy 3:17)
Ephesians 3:16, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being”.