Several years ago I struggled my way through the popular P90X workout program. It wasn’t pretty.
I wasn’t able to do even half of each workout in the beginning since my body was about to break. I was extremely out of shape and had no foundation. Heck, my shoulders were on fire half way through the warm-ups!
But, as the weeks passed I slowly increased my fitness level and by day 90 I was doing all of the workouts. It still wasn’t pretty but my body was slowly getting the hang of it.
I also lost some weight and started to feel better which was good… but then, when day 91 arrived, I stopped.
It was as if my goal was to make it through the 90 days… like it was some sort of race or game. Now, in fairness to P90X, and other programs like this, it was my issue and had nothing to do with the program. My mindset just wasn’t right. I didn’t have a good reason for working out aside from the fact I thought it would be cool to get all ripped like Tony Horton!
So, this failure was definitely on my mind back in December 2015 when I began my current journey to living an intentional life – both physically and, most especially, spiritually.
And, as you’ve likely picked up on since I blog about it every week I’m still going strong. In fact, I can safely say I am in the best shape of my life as a 43-year-old man and my spiritual life has never been stronger. Of course, I’m far from perfect… and still a work in process… but things are definitely trending in the right direction.
So, what did I do differently this time? Allow me to explain.
First, since I was once again extremely out of shape (I could barely do 10 push-ups) Mike started me off with some basic body weight exercises I was able to do in my bathroom every morning. Pro Tip: Download the Intentional Wellness eBook by filling out the form at the bottom of this article to see the exact workouts I followed.
Now, full disclosure, a few weeks into the 40-day program I remember asking Mike when things would get more advanced. But he was very intentional and told me to trust the process. He was adamant I build a strong base before worrying about how many pull-ups or kettle bell swings I could do!
Key Takeaway: Start slowly and intentionally. Don’t attempt to take on too much. Be patient. It’s not a race.
Next, when I did P90X I didn’t follow any sort of clean eating plan. Again, this wasn’t because P90X didn’t offer suggestions… they did. I just didn’t bother. So while I may have eaten a few more salads I still ate tons of junk (i.e. bread, sugar, processed foods).
This past November I committed to eating clean (even before working out). I’ve blogged about this before… but, in summary, I stopped eating most grains (especially any sort of bread) and pretty much cut processed sugar out of my life.
You see, while Mike is an excellent workout programmer… even he can’t help you lose weight and feel better with workouts alone. You must eat clean if you want to lose weight and feel your best.
Key Takeaway: Eat clean. Stop eating bread, and other grains, and remove processed sugar from your life.
Made it Spiritual
And while starting slow and clean eating were important… they’re nothing compared to the importance of uniting the physical journey with the spiritual journey.
God has been so good to me this past year. He’s led me to, and through, the 90-day Exodus program, which was the perfect opportunity to unite my spiritual life with my physical life.
And I’ve also worked hard to unite any minor suffering I may experience during a workout with the cross for my family and friends. And, as odd as it may sound, the Christian music my kids and I BLAST during our workouts really helps me focus my mind on our Lord.
Finally, my focus on clean eating, which obviously requires a lot of self-control, has led me to greater self-mastery in all areas of my life. Make no mistake; saying no to salt-n-vinegar chips takes focus and discipline just like saying no to sin. Sure, the stakes are much different… potato chips won’t send you to hell… but if you can’t say no to junk food what makes you think you’ll be able to say no to sin?
Key Takeaway: Unite your physical life with your spiritual life and allow God to walk with you in all areas of your life.
Made for Greatness
Finally, I’ve thought a lot about Pope Benedict XVI’s famous “made for greatness” quote the last week or so.
The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness!
It’s so easy to be consumed by the many comforts the world has to offer us. But, I’m now convinced these comforts (i.e. the comfort of the couch, or junk food, or media distractions) only serve to make us weak, mediocre, and very average.
So, what drives me these days? I’ll tell you.
I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to be mediocre. I don’t want to be average. God hasn’t called me to mediocrity. And God hasn’t called you to mediocrity. Instead, He’s called us all to be great in every aspect of our lives.
So no matter where you are on the journey towards a more intentional life… I’d encourage you to take a step in the right direction. And then take another one after that. Then don’t ever stop or quit. You can do it. I know it… and, deep inside, you know it too!
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!