I pray for myself…A LOT! Some may think that’s selfish, but I see it as a means to an end and the biggest part of my Prayer, Paleo and Push ups lifestyle. If I’m healthy and happy, I can do the daily tasks that God puts on my “To Do” list and take care of my family. When I was a young adult and got sick, was doing too much, not sleeping enough, or just plain not taking care of myself, my Mom would always tell me, “You have to take care of #1, no one else can do it for you.” (See Mom, I was listening.) What happens when you don’t take care of yourself? You get sick, or tired, or stressed, or mad, or *insert emotion here*. And then what? No one in your house is happy! As an adult, I use prayer to ask God to help me take care of my mind, body and spirit so I don’t revert back to my younger days. I ask Him to help me learn new things, but remember to relax my mind; give me strength and courage to exercise daily; and to remind me to keep my spirit at peace. That is a tall order right there folks!
Since health and fitness is in a constant state of change, learning new things is easy . One week whole grains are the “miracle way” to lose weight and sit ups are the “best core exercise” ever! The next week whole grains cause cancer and sit ups are “the worst back exercise” ever! I read a lot about exercise and nutrition and try my best to weed out the nonsense and try out the ideas I think are research worthy. I pray for discernment for myself and my athletes so I do not pass on bogus information. I get asked a lot about eating paleo and what foods to eat in general. I read an article once that really hit the nail on the head. Not one lifestyle diet works for everyone. I suggest you try a few and stick with the one that makes you feel your best. Paleo has worked for me for over two years so that’s what I stick with. I follow a few “CrossFit celebrities” and Strongman athletes that claim they just can’t get enough carbs by following paleo. They eat grains and sugar and it works for them. Who knows their bodies best? They do! Who knows your body best? You do! Pray that you find a lifestyle diet that works for you.
Same goes for exercise. I love CrossFit, but guess what? Does that mean it works for everyone? Absolutely not. Now don’t get me wrong, CrossFit can be modified for anyone who wants to try, but let’s face it, not everyone really wants to learn how to lift 100 pounds over their head or squat with 200 pounds on their back. When people ask me if this exercise program or that exercise program works, I ask them a few questions. Does it make you want to get up and move? Do you enjoy it? Have you seen results? If they can say yes to all these questions I tell them “Yes, I think it’s a great program!” Pray that God will introduce you to a program that makes you happy. Once you find a program, pray that you continue to learn and excel concerning the movements in your new found program. I know it sounds silly, but I pray for improvement all the time. CrossFit has many different movements and I pray that I can improve each and every one of them so I can continue my fitness journey and take care of #1!
After all that research about nutrition and exercise, I pray that He reminds me that I also need to relax my mind daily. Again, find a way of relaxing that works for you. Read that latest novel that you bought a month ago and haven’t cracked open; sit at the park and watch the birds; sit criss cross applesauce and do that “ommmmm” noise. I tend to read my Bible and pray in color when I need to relax. (Just google Praying In Color. Note to self…Praying In Color…totally need to do a blog post and tell the world about that!)
Next on the prayer list, strength and courage to exercise. Do I love CrossFit? Yes! Do I love it when I walk in the gym and see running and pull ups on the white board? Sad face 🙁 I’m not very good at either one of those movements. I’ve already told you that I pray for improvement, but I also pray for strength and courage. Yes, it takes strength, the muscle kind, to get through a workout, but sometimes it takes emotional strength to even get to the gym (and then onto the floor when you see the WOD on the white board)! Ever talk yourself out of going to the gym? Here’s how a typical conversation with myself goes: Me: I’ll just have one more cup of coffee and put in a load of laundry before I go. Wait, if I leave now, I’ll forget the clothes are in the wash and I’ll remember when I’m in bed that night and then they’ll be stinky and I’ll have to rewash them. I’ll go after I put them in the dryer. Wait, If I leave them in the dryer they’ll be all wrinkly and then I’ll have to run the dryer again and there goes the electric bill. (Those of you in Hawaii know I’m not talkin’ story about those electric bills!) I’ll just hop on facebook and Pinterest until the clothes are done. Wait! What? 5 o’clock?! I gotta get supper started! Don’t lie, you know you’re on facebook right now. That’s how you ended up reading this blog post! You can finish reading this, but then get your butt up and go to the gym!
Truth be told, I was a CrossFit hater first. Gasp! I know right? Everyone said it was really hard and everything I was learning at school went against all the things those CrossFit crazies were doing. (Went back to school at 40 for my Exercise and Sport Science degree.) After “hating” for probably a year, I secretly started looking at CrossFit videos and wanted to give it a try. A friend and her husband (Thank you Sam and Rob!) opened a box nearby and I decided to give it a try. I WAS TERRIFIED and a little embarrassed because I had been a hater for so long 🙁 “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt I wanted to learn how to lift that bar and I did! Trust me, I know it’s hard to walk into that CrossFit box, globo gym, yoga studio, boot camp or whatever program you’re trying. Pray, take a deep breath, step across the threshold and don’t look back! Is your health or the fear of being judged more important? You choose.
Ok, now that you have started your program, pray for a peaceful spirit. I coach CrossFit three days a week at 6am which means I have to get this ol’ body up at 5am. (My boss swears he’s gonna make a morning person outta me, but my Mom and Dad tried for 20 years and it never worked!) I’m usually in the car by 5:25 and at 5:30 the local Christian radio station has prayer time (95.5 The Fish if you didn’t know). The DJ usually reads a passage from the Bible that God has laid on his heart; he talks for a few minutes about the passage; and then he prays. I usually listen in agreement to his prayer, but when his prayer ends, I continue to pray. The first thing I pray for is to get my “mind right!” Who doesn’t need that at 5:30 in the morning? I pray for focus and knowledge as I watch and coach my athletes. Then I pray for that whole mind and mouth connection. We always underestimate the power of how our words and moods affect others. I pray for a peaceful spirit and encouraging words so I can build up my athletes, not tear them down. Pray for a peaceful spirit when all those negative thoughts start bombarding your mind. Can you hear them? “I don’t know why I’m doing this. I haven’t lost a pound! Meanwhile Ms. Skinny Treadmill over there isn’t even sweating and she’s been here longer than me! If I put 65 pounds on the bar I’ll be the last one done. I’ll just do 45 and no one will notice. I’m just going to walk 200 meters, everyone knows I can’t run the whole 400.” Stop! Who cares what they think? You think Ms. Skinny Treadmill is worrying about you? You think the CrossFit athlete next to you who is sucking wind as hard as you is worried about how much weight you have on your bar? No! Positive thoughts, peaceful spirit. You are taking care of #1 and nothing else should matter at that moment. Be that person who can encourage someone else to do what you are doing!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson
Be the light.
Pray, Cook & Move,