Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

exercise for now and later

October 20, 2011

I came across this verse today as I was reading my Bible. It arrested my attention and reminded me to keep my focus and my priority.

Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.  (Good News Translation)

I’ve been working out at Fitness Together for about 22 months. I’ve seen some very encouraging changes in my body and my attitude! I feel stronger, healthier, enjoy better balance and stamina and am so very glad to be able to work out there twice a week!

Monday I went in to my workout appointment with Ashley armed with my eating/exercise journal and a new resolve. I told her I’ve got to get out of this slump and that I wanted to face the ‘Big 50’ next month with 10 fewer pounds! She said it’s possible but that I’ve gotta be willing to pay the price. (translation – I’ve gotta get my fat butt in there more often to do my cardio – more cardio – longer, more strenuous cardio!)

Even as I do pay that price, I’m still an almost 50 year-old middle-aged woman fighting the calendar and gravity! Working out won’t make me look like a 29 year-old fashionista model! (Dang!)  It will help me be a healthy, fit 50-year-old!  Ha!

It’s so typical to work hard at trying to get/stay fit but let’s face it, each day gravity gains more ground! We continue to fight fat, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, drink enough water and yet natural law has the upper hand at least for now!

That’s where this verse comes in. Physical exercise is helping me live physically. But one day this body will give up/check out/sign off.  But my spirit is eternal. It will get a new, way better spiritual body to live in one day. I need to continue doing my spiritual exercises daily because it not only will strengthen me for living day-to-day right now, but it is also preparing me for my future forever-life! My spirit doesn’t have to fight gravity or age! It becomes stronger, more agile and beautiful and more alive the more I nurture and train it!

So, how do I exercise my spirit?

For starters, I spend a little time every morning reading my Bible. God’s Word. The words of God. Spoken to people and written down. Wow. I can know some of the thoughts of God! They’re here for me to read! I just have to open the book and read them and let them sink into my mind and heart. As I do that every day, it impacts my life – my thoughts, my actions, my relationships, etc.

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 The Message Bible)

Another way I exercise my spirit is to pray. This, I have to admit is harder for me than reading. So, this is why I persevere, because I know it’s important. It is my lifeline to God. Talking to Him is vital. I mean, how can you grow a friendship with someone you never talk to? So, I mostly write my conversations with him. (At least my end of them, ha!) Although sometimes I just talk out loud. In my kitchen or in the car. I tell him what grabs my attention from what I’ve read in the Bible and how I want it to change me. I tell him about the concerns I have for my family and friends and myself. I ask him for help, for wisdom. I tell him how amazing I think he is. I marvel at the creation he designed. I tell him or I gasp or gawk! Like the time a huge hawk flew just above me. Or when there’s a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. I don’t use religious language – Thees and Thous. I just talk and write and marvel.

Another way I exercise my spirit is to go to church. It’s way too easy to sleep in! Waaaaaaaaaaaay too easy! Excuses abound – I don’t even have to go looking for them. They are ready and waiting! (Kinda like all those excuses to keep me from working out!)

Going to church isn’t some way of making myself feel better about myself. I don’t go to ease my conscience. Going there puts me in contact with other people who are in the same boat as me so to speak. We’re all on a spiritual journey. We’re all wanting to know God and grow spiritually. None of us are perfect, nor are we pretending to be. We are learning to leave our pretenses at the door.

Being at church encourages me. It lightens my load. I leave refreshed, and challenged and armed with knowledge to help me make changes in my life and trust God more.

So, there’s my beginning description of what it means to exercise my spirit. I hope it encourages you to exercise yours.

Here’s a bonus tip, no charge! Sometimes I “multi-task” and listen to worship music as I run/walk. I talk to God as I pant my way along the treadmill or trail. I could even start memorizing scripture as I run! But I always find something to shake my head at and tell God how astoundingly amazing he is!

Happy exercising to you – physically and spiritually!

still at it

February 17, 2011

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day! I’m about to go out and enjoy it, but first I wanted to say that even though I haven’t kept you up to date on my Fitness Together progress, that doesn’t mean I’ve given up! To the contrary, I’ve been plugging away at this fitness thing for 13 months! It’s hard to believe, but I’m still at it (applause please, lol)!

What’s harder to believe, and I’m not proud to say this, is that even though I’ve been at it for over a year, it’s really no easier than it was (ok, maybe it is, a little!) Sticking with something that just doesn’t come naturally is just plain hard. I’ve never been an outdoorsy or athletic person. I think I could’ve been if I’d been brought up that way, but alas, I wasn’t.

We tend toward those things we are most comfortable with, whether or not they are good for us.

So, what I’m saying is, I’d like to tell you that if you stick with an exercise and eating plan, it’ll just become part of your life. Yes and no. If you stay intentional about it, it will. But if you drift back to your old ways, it won’t. Maybe after another year? I’ll let you know! I think the embarrassing truth may be that I’m always a batch of cookies or a bag of chocolate kisses away from blowing it. Hershey’s Kisses aren’t bad, but a whole bag of them is!

I love baking. My family likes it when I bake. I love being appreciated by my family for my baking/cooking. I love eating what I bake! Why would I give all that up!? Giving them up isn’t necessarily the answer – I’ve tried it and it just makes certain people (me) grumpy! A good compromise is doing less baking. I can still bake, just not as often. I can cook all I like, healthy dinners are a good substitute. Exercising to compensate for my goody-love is a wise plan also. I knew a police officer who told me once that the reason he worked out was so that he could eat what he wanted!

It’s sobering to own up to a reality in my life that I’m not proud of. Fitness will always have to be a deliberate choice for me. If I don’t stay focused and intentional, I’ll drift back to finding excuses for not getting to the gym or outside walking or running. I’ll drift back to being out of shape, out of energy, heavy, self-conscious and miserable. Wow, this is a good reminder of how I used to feel. Is it really worth feeling awful to laze back to my old bad habits? Hmmm, this puts everything in perspective. I’d rather have a little discipline daily than live a life of daily regret.

Recently my husband and I were on a week-long vacation where it was warm and sunny. Perfect weather for walking and running! Did I run or walk daily?  No. Did I go to the beautiful fitness room even once? No! The reason is this: for me, working out is still work! When I’m on vacation, I want to forget all work! I want to take a vacation from my problems, like my friend in my favorite movie, “What About Bob?”

The happy vacationing couple!

So, I gave myself permission to not work out. I walked up 275 stairs every morning and down that same number after being at the pool for a while. Sometimes I walked up those stairs two or three times a day. Les and I went for a beach walk one time because it was beautiful, not because I wanted exercise. I did nothing I didn’t want to do. (Isn’t that what makes a vacation so enjoyable anyway?) But I’m bummed that I didn’t want to.

Subconsciously it must have been bothering me. When I got home, I started having disturbing dreams – in them I was gaining weight, growing  bigger and bigger and stressing and stressing, my clothes wouldn’t fit – things like that. (I know I’m in trouble when I go to bed at night with the last thought on my mind being, “If I don’t make some changes tomorrow, I’m going to be in trouble. . . .”  Makes for a fitful night and a stressed out life!)

So, while I vacationed, I had a perfectly lovely time, but now I am home and am “back to work.”

I have to admit, it feels good to work out! Afterwards I’m always glad I went and put out the work. It just doesn’t come easily. I never get up in the morning with my first thought being, “Today, I can’t wait to workout. I think I’ll go right now!”

I guess what I’m trying to say is this, I would’ve thought that after a year of patterning my behavior and eating habits, it’d become natural. Although disappointing, at least I know where I stand and will just have to keep doing what I’m doing because it works, and because I feel terrific!

By the way, I ran more yesterday than I have in 6 years! I felt invigorated and happy! (I also could barely walk last night, but that’s beside the point!)

I’m still at it!

week 30

September 7, 2010

Recently Les and I were able to have lunch with a couple of friends from out-of-town. They are a couple of my all time favorite people! When I saw them and we hugged necks all around, Jan said it looked like I was still working out and asked if I still was. I said yes and asked why she thought I had stopped. She said that I hadn’t blogged about it in a while and figured I’d quit.

Oh, contraire! I quit blogging about it because I figured people were probably tired of hearing me go on and on about it!

I’m in week 30 (not counting the 3 weeks we were away, but I still worked out and ate right – mostly!)

There’s good news and bad news. The good is that I still love working out! I love knowing it’s scheduled and on my calendar and will happen. I love going and working really hard and feeling like I’m going to keel over or throw up because I’m working so hard. I love it because I know myself, and I would never ever EVER work myself that hard! I don’t like feeling that way at the time, but I know I’m working hard and that, I love! I love the way I feel when I’m done! Energized yet exhausted. Not sure how that happens, but it’s one of the best feelings on earth. I love the peace that working out brings to my heart – the fear of growing fatter over time is diminished because I’m burning calories while increasing muscle which increases my metabolism.

I still appreciate that Fitness Together is private. I don’t have to deal with a crowded room full of voluptuous, sexy bodies and feel old and worn and unattractive and out of shape and out of date and basically a ‘has been’ who oughta just go home and be fat and make room for the pretty bodies. Does anyone else ever feel that way when going to a big gym? Isn’t that pathetic?! LOL Okay, maybe not to that extreme, but I still feel uncomfortable at a gym.

I still appreciate the fact that my trainers are tuned in, to me, not the television and not staring off into space in utter boredom. It’s a very physical job they have keeping me working out and stretching and pressing me to go further than the time before. I’m grateful every time I go that they do such an excellent job helping me become stronger and healthier.

So, I know, you’re wondering, what’s the bad news then? How can there be any bad news?

The bad news is that I’m still me! Let me explain.

I’ve hit a wee slump where I’m tired of writing things down, tired of watching and calculating. It’s really not even hard, it’s just that I prefer to eat what I want when I want to, without restraint. So, the bad news is this: I still have to fight my natural (carnal) desires to have it my way. I want to be slim and strong but still be able to eat whatever I want in any portion I want it. It gets tiring to always have to tell myself ‘no.’ (read this with a whine:  waaaaaa, poor meeeeeeeee!)

So, it’s time to shake this off and remind myself that I feel better than I’ve felt in a decade, actually ever in my whole life, and the reason: working hard and making wise choices. It’s time to get back to the basics and plan ahead. Stock up on healthy groceries, check out the menu on-line and make my choice before going to a restaurant, knowing I’ll need to split the entree with someone or put half in a to-go box before I start eating. I need to remind myself to drink enough water during the day and to keep healthy snacks in my purse so I don’t make poor choices when I’m super hungry. (Actually, I should never get to the point of being that hungry, that’s why I have snacks with me. I’ve gotta keep that metabolism burning!)

Back to the basics. It isn’t rocket science, it’s just common every day wisdom. It’s the little things that can make a big difference. Little choices every day. Little steps get us where we are going. No magic pill. No magic exercise machine. Just good old common sense, consistency and persistence.

So, week 30 finds me strong, healthy, not infatuated, and renewing my resolve to keep at it and do my best because my life is a good thing to invest in. My husband, my children and future grandchildren will be so thankful that I did!

Here’s to week 30! Hoorah!

week 14

April 13, 2010

Okay, so please don’t judge me! I know I started the personal trainer thing thinking I’d only be able to make it happen for two months, three max. That’s all we had saved up. I’ve been praying, literally, for about 8 weeks that God would provide the money for me to continue. I take it a day at a time and God has been kind and generous and somehow, even though it comes down to the wire more times than not, I’ve been able to keep going twice a week! Praise God! I’d really like to ‘have it in the bag’ though and know well in advance! But, as long as I can keep going I won’t whine!

I have to tell you that I never dreamt it was possible to feel as good as I do! Apparently, it’s been way too long since I’ve felt good! Way too long!

Before I began at Fitness Together, I never really understood the whole personal trainer thing. Now I get it! But I don’t ‘get’ why some people settle for ‘good enough’ when they could experience the ‘best’, which is the training I’m blessed to experience. When I go to the gym, I watch people with their trainers and there seems to be very little going on. The person is doing a particular exercise while the trainer is usually mildly interested, glancing around the gym, not tuned in to their client. Granted, I’m not following them around the gym to see their whole session, but I can tell that I’m getting a lot more input, accountability and ultimately more strength and endurance for the money I spend than they are getting.

My trainers watch me, my position, my execution of a particular press and give ready feedback. They lightly touch the muscles that are supposed to be contracting so they know and I know if I’m doing it right. They give me instruction and reminders. They encourage and motivate and press me to do more than I could on my own.

I keep a log of what I eat. It’s such a good practice. It’s too easy to get lazy and knowing that my food journal will be checked is a good motivator also! My trainers point out if I’m not eating enough vegetables or fruit or if I’m storing up calories and eating them all at the end of the day (which I tend to do often!) It’s so helpful to have that other pair of eyes looking and evaluating. It’s also great to have a particularly good week and be praised! I don’t care how old a person is, we always love being praised!

So, at week 14, I’ve gone down three notches on my belt, had to buy a new belt and am ready to shop for some new clothes! My pants are all too big for the first time in 5 years at least! I’m not complaining! My saggy arms are getting tight and you can see the muscles! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen arm muscles on myself before! It’s not just about that though. I’m not having to catch my breath when I go up the stairs. I have much more energy throughout the day. I’m run/walking almost even times (walk 5 minutes, run 5, walk 5 . . .) and can see huge improvements lifting weights, doing lunges, and all the other things they have me do. Today was the first day I was actually shocked at the improvements! It is so encouraging! I leave there smiling!

The other thing I’ve noticed is that when I first began, I’d come home wiped out; completely exhausted. I’d get showered and then have to take a nap! For real! Then the next day I’d be so fatigued that I wouldn’t do any cardio. I figured just walking around with those sore muscles was good enough. By the next day I’d do some cardio and the following day would go back to train. It’d be the same routine. It’d take days to recover.

Well, now I don’t take naps! (I’m such a big girl now! Ha!) Seriously, I can run, walk, workout, whatever and don’t have to break between days. That may not seem like much to some of you, but coming from where I’ve come, this is worth celebrating! In addition, my outlook on life is affected. I’m emotionally energized and ‘up’ and love life even more! (No, no one is paying me to say this ~ you cynics!)

I’ve dieted, I’ve exercised, I’ve run and biked and swam. But never in my life have I seen the results I’ve seen in the last 13 1/2 weeks. I’d have never believed it, but it happened to me! It’s my body that is changing in front of my eyes! It has been so totally worth all the effort and money. It’s the best money I’ve ever spent. (If I figured what I’ve spent on medical bills over the last 10 years, I shudder to think the number of training sessions I could have paid for! Yes, it was all to help save my life and that is a good thing!) Working out with a personal trainer is extending my life, and makes the quality of my life enormously better!

So, there is my week 14 update. I hope it doesn’t sound like bragging. (Cuz I’m not.) I hope it doesn’t make your heart fill with disdain! (That’ll only hurt you.) Please don’t be jealous. (There isn’t any benefit from that.) And please, please don’t judge me. Judging is yuck. Instead, rejoice with me that God is answering my prayers! Please be as delighted as I am that I’m getting stronger and healthier! Be happy with me! You’ll be healthier too!

“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing.” Proverbs 17:22

week five

February 9, 2010

Well, for anyone who’s following my progress as I pursue a healthier life, I’ve now entered my fifth week of being accountable to a personal trainer! Woo – hoo!  I’m not sure I’ve consistently exercised for four weeks ever in my life, except in college where it was required to graduate! So, that being the case, this is cause for great rejoicing! (Okay, so that was a little exaggerated, but it’s been 10 years since being this consistent. It feels great!)

Yesterday I went in and Ashley worked me over good! She’s always very encouraging, and even though I may feel like a mammoth middle-aged matron, she never makes me feel that way! She’s always saying things like, “Great job! Awesome! Way to go!” I can tell she’s genuinely meaning it, too.

I was doing my cardio (gotta love the lingo!) on the treadmill afterward (like a good athlete-in-training) and feeling pretty proud of myself that I was reaping the benefits from walking regularly while on vacation as I wasn’t huffing and puffing nearly as much as before! I was feeling stronger and was even able to run a few minutes at a time, a couple of times which may not seem like a big deal, but I’m not ashamed to admit my small beginnings! (I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t have had the same success on the eliptical machine, that thing’s killer! But that day will come!I will master it!)

While I was panting in rhythm to my steps, Nick, the boss/trainer came over to chat. It’s a little trick he does to see how hard I’m working! Am I talking with ease? Not working hard enough. Am I gasping for air and unable to utter a word? Probably working it just a wee bit too much! I was in that happy middle.

Nick asked about my vacation, and complimented me on my Baja tan, then got down to business in a friendly sort of way. (He’s supposed to – that’s why I’m going to him!)  How did I do with my cardio while I was away? (great!) Did I do any weights? (oops, nope) How ’bout the eating? Did I stay pretty well within the 3 small meals and 2 snacks per day routine? I happily replied, “I did!” (pant, pant)

As I trotted along  (plodding actually, but in my heart I was trotting!) I told Nick that I’ve never been so pleased with working out! Ever! I actually enjoy it! Look forward to it! It’s a marvel! It’s nearly a miracle!

So, these next few weeks I’m trusting I’ll be seeing some fruit from my workout labor. I’m definitely feeling results! I’ve got more energy and I’m sleeping better. I’ve already cinched my belt in a notch and my clothes aren’t so tight. (I’m not looking at a scale; it’s not about weight. It’s about being healthy and getting more fit, remember?) All these are encouraging things. Little strides are worth celebrating!

I’ve found that calorieking.com is a very helpful site to keep me informed about food choices. Check it out! And if you’re interested in meeting with Nick at Fitness Together, here’s his information. Just tell him Kris sent you!       402-932-5346        nickryan@fitnesstogether.com           www.ftomaha.com