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YOU CAN’T CRAM FOR THE FITNESS TEST

Dr. Wendy LeBolt

Because I’m a Christian in the fitness business, many people in the church come to me for advice. They’re smart, successful, capable, faithful people, who are committed to daily prayer, Bible study, and service. “Everything is on track,” they say, “except for one thing: I need to lose thirty pounds.” They honor God with everything but their bodies.

 

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We tend to take our bodies for granted. As long as they work and get us where we need to go, we’re satisfied to say, “Thanks for the ride.” But every ride needs fuel and regular maintenance. Waiting for the 100,000 mile tune-up may be too late. Physical fitness, like Christian discipleship, requires regular maintenance. Today’s work builds on yesterday’s progress. Yet many people fail to make time for regular exercise and try instead to cram in exercise on the weekends. These “weekend warriors” hobble in on Mondays after a weekend of exercising too much, too fast, or too long. Fitness is a test you can’t cram for. Christians can look at working out as a matter of stewardship, taking care of what has been entrusted to us for a lifetime. We can’t simply buff up at the last minute so that we look good for the final judgment. Our whole life will tell the story. What story is your body telling right now?

 

Getting Started

devozine lifting weights2 TSP 146778629Maybe getting started with fitness is the hardest part, or maybe you’ve started hundreds of times and let it slide. Ask God to help. God loves all of you and created your body to carry you through everything God wants you to do. Imagine sitting beside the pool at Bethesda and hearing Jesus ask, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6, NIV). Answer honestly, not with what you are supposed to say but with what you are willing to do. Then decide how you will follow through. Working out doesn’t have to be drudgery. The more fun it is, the more likely you are to keep doing it. Invite people along on your fitness ride. Ask them to be your cheerleaders, or find a partner and hold each other accountable. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you slack off from time to time. When I started my business, a Christmas carol inspired the name Fit2Finish. This Christmas, allow these words to take on a special meaning for you: “Bless all the dear children in thy tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.” How does God fit us for heaven? I feel pretty sure that it’s a daily practice and that it lasts a lifetime.

 

DIG DEEPER

devozine running2 TSP 134147324Here are some fun ways to keep your workout fresh:

  • Make an exercise grab bag. List on slips of paper 5–10 different fitness practices, and draw one out each day.
  • Let music inspire you. Jog through an entire song on your iPod.
  • Use neighborhood intervals. Run for three mailboxes, then walk for one. Repeat several times.
  • Do prayer reps. Lift concerns and joys to God with each repetition or set of calisthenics.
  • Take the stairs. Run up and down the stairs at home or at school, or try taking them two at a time.
  • Stretch through the commercials. Instead of fast forwarding through commercial breaks, get up and stretch.
  • Play games. Shoot some hoops, play Wii Fit, start a game of pick-up football—just for fun.

Be sure to check out the Fit2Finish video created to bring faith and fitness together by combining The Lord’s Prayer with an arm and shoulder stretch. You can do this body prayer almost anywhere!

Dr. Wendy LeBolt , an exercise physiologist, founded Fit2Finish, a Northern Virginia-based sports training and fitness company specializing in helping female athletes maximize performance and minimize injury. To learn more about her work and about healthy workout practices, visit fit2finish.com.

—from devozine (November/December 2012). Copyright © 2012 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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