Day 15 & 16 – Have you ever been involved in something, going full speed ahead, when you just knew it was time to slow down and pull back a little? That’s a really hard idea for me. Usually, I run wide open until I crash. Maybe I didn’t do it this time because I’m older and wiser–older, anyway.

All the stretching and pulling and lifting and stepping and crunching and running and, and. . . .it started to put some undue pressure on my low back and I started to experience some sciatic pain, not much, just a little.

So, I moved the gym into the home, at least for a couple of days. I have all the tools at home to do careful stretching to ease the pressure on my back. I also have a really good chiropractor who helps keep everything in line. A visit to him and some stretching seem to have alleviated what would certainly have become pain that would have sidelined me.

Two days of gym rehab seemed better than two weeks off. Wisdom or common sense? A little bit of both, I guess, plus a lot of years of doing this trying to take care of myself. Taking care of myself. . .a good idea.

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm  46:10 [ESV]

A little side step is good for the soul, sometimes

Day 14 – Two down, two to go, weeks that is.  I’d like to say I’ve enjoyed it all so far, but that wouldn’t be exactly true, mostly, but not completely. Trying to improve physical conditioning, even when it’s not too bad to begin with, is difficult.  And the older you get, the harder it gets.  Things don’t respond quite like they used to. For me, soreness last longer and results take longer.

So, instead of busting it in the gym today, I did enjoy a little side step. It just so happened that, after a few weeks off, the IFIT strategy at church cranked back up this afternoon.

I started a new version of BODY BASIC utilizing step aerobics. Stepping is just as new to me as it is to those taking the class. And it’s not as easy as it looks. We’re starting slow (slow stepping is moving pretty quickly) and hoping to work up to much faster routines in the future. I really like it. And, a little later on, we’re going to add a combat routine and a Tai Chi routine.

I enjoy doing cardio on the machines, lifting weights, and doing all the other stuff I do in the gym most days. Doing something entirely different, taking a side step as it were, keeps things interesting–not to mention providing muscle confusion.

So, it’s been an interesting two weeks and I’m looking forward to the next two and beyond. Physical fitness is the perfect companion to a fit spirit for fit mind.


Day 13 – This has been a really good day. I didn’t have to get up early, brewed some fresh, hot tea, took time to dig into my morning bible study and journaling, and headed out @ 7:30 for breakfast with some of the guys from church.

Not being overbooked today, I had a chance to get a head start on my new fitness class that begins tomorrow evening at TCALF; it’s part of the IFIT strategy. The new BODY BASIC class is all about stepping. It’s gonna be good.

After some study time and a nice afternoon nap, I headed over to the gym for a long, slow workout.  I spent a full hour pacing myself to do something I haven’t been able to do in a while.  I warmed up with 15 minutes on the elliptical and moved over to the crunch bench. 1,000 crunches ( 2 sets of 500) was a goal I set for myself when I started two weeks ago.  I met that goal today and it felt good.

What does that mean? Not much, really. 1,000 is a lot, no doubt.  But it’s not as much about how many as it is about reaching short term goals to enjoy long term success. I won’t do 1,000 crunches at one time every week.  But that will open the door for more doable goals, better fitness and, ultimately, a stronger me.

I’m not competing with anyone but myself. I’m not comparing myself to anyone. I’m not trying to make a big point about being in good shape (although I AM trying to get in good shape). I’m just trying to improve my fitness and overall, general health so  the testimony of my body–which is the temple of God–matches the testimony of my mouth. It’s really hard to talk about taking care of others if I don’t take care of myself.

So, as I approach another Sunday morning and another opportunity to preach the Word, if you are reading this missive, please pray for my physical, emotional, and spiritual strength. I want to be strong inside and out for the glory of God.

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace. Psalm 29:11 [ESV]

Surprise, Surprise

Day 12 – It’s a snow day! I don’t know why because there’s very little snow. The prognosticators did their best, but they missed it here in the Memphis metro area. The result, the gym was pretty empty except for a few died hards and as it happened, some high school students I know. They decided that since they were out of school and lived close by, they’d take advantage of their membership and get in some extra gym time.

I was upstairs walking, loosening up my joints and stretching my calf muscles to do a few wind sprints. The guys asked me if they could join me. Of course, I told them yes, I just told them they’d have to wait for the old man to catch up.

The further we got into it the more they realized, as I did, that my old body still has some speed in it. After nearly a mile of on/off half throttle sprint and walks, I told them we should do wide open post to post sprints for the last four loops.  They agreed and we took off. Their long, young legs took off and got ahead of me to about the half way post and then my 40+ years of running kicked in and I left them in my dust! Yes!!! (In case you don’t get it, I’m bragging).

Now, on Saturday they’ll probably sleep in, play some video games, and go right back to being loose and ready for more. Me, not so much. Every muscle from my butt to my toes is screaming bloody murder. But I had to do it, didn’t I?

While I can, I’m going to work on myself while I try to help others work on their “self” because they night in not far off when I won’t be able to work anymore.

Ready for more

Day 11 – Honestly, this is getting a little easier now–and somewhat scary. Why scary? Well, first, I actually like going to the gym. The grimace on my face when I’m working out might not show it, but it’s true. Sweating, stretching muscles, and gaining strength while I listen to Santana feels pretty good. Second, I know it’s good for me. The more I do this, the lower my cholesterol gets, the lower my weight gets (yahoo), and I’m able to do more because I’m stronger.

And, then, there’s scary. I wear a heart monitor when I work out. It’s just a chest band that sends a signal back to a fitness watch to let me know how I’m doing with calorie burn and percentages of stress on my heart.  The big number I watch is heart-rate. How many beats each minute are happening as I exert myself. The first few days, walking across the gym floor got my heart-rate up.  That’s just sick.

After a few more days, my heart didn’t get as excited about exertion. And after a few more days, it became increasingly difficult to get my heart to peak. Now I’m really pushing myself to get my heart-rate up to where I want it to have the kind of burn I want.

The good news is that the more I work my heart the stronger it gets. And believe me, that’s the one muscle in my body that needs to be really strong. I’ve have my share of “heart trouble” and I don’t want any more. So, I guess it’s going well at this point.

I just hope I don’t drop dead doing something stupid.  That would look bad.

The Long, Hard Way

Day 10 – It’s way too easy to find an excuse to not take care of yourself when you are busy. For the past several days, my schedule has been full. As usual, starting at 4 a.m. gets me out and on a school bus by 5:30. Home by 8 and out by 9 for yet another day of work at church. Back home by 11, lunch at noon and then a few minutes to sit down before going back out to drive in the afternoon.

By about 4 o’clock–pooped. No time to worry about that–gym came today from 4:30 till 5:30 and it was a long, hard hour. I pushed myself today to get in lots of cardio and plenty of strength training. Finally made 700 crunches and 4+ miles running in addition to a bunch of free weights and machine stretches.

Then, back to church at 6:30 to put a second coat of finish on the floors I’ve been working on and worship band rehearsal at 8 PM.  I finally left the church something after 9 and got home around 9:45 PM. For me, that’s the long, hard way.

I’m not complaining, though. I’m just glad my body is keeping up with my mind. In my head, I still think I’m young–then I look in the mirror.  What happened? Yep, getting old but very thankful for all I get to do.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 [ESV]

Another Day, Another Pain

Day 9 – It’s a real pain when you head out to the gym and it is frigid; but, like all the others, that’s just one excuse among many, many more. Today was a lot like yesterday except that it started much earlier–that’s par for the course.  After another 3 hours of fighting with a buffer and a school bus route out on the east side of the county, my gym time this evening went pretty well, just not as high energy as I was expecting.

Beyond the inconvenient pain of cold weather, I’ve stressed my muscles about as hard as I can, especially in my back. So tonight I spent a lot of time walking and stretching. Sometimes, a good workout does not depend on a big cardio burn. It’s a good thing ’cause I didn’t have one tonight. Nope, only about half of what I’m used to doing. On the other side of that, my back feels a lot better as do my arms and legs after spending time on a foam roller and using elastic straps to stretch some old, tired muscles.

Tomorrow is another day, Day 10 to be exact and 1/3 of this little project will be complete. Don’t give up, don’t give up. . .

Week 2

Day 8 – Here we go. . .today has been a bear even though I got to start late because of the holiday. Dr. Martin Luther King Day hit at just the right time, kind of like he did. Dr. King came at a time when he was most needed and he did the most good he could before his life was ended way too early.

Sleeping in for me is rare, so laying around until after 7 AM was a treat. We worked around the house this morning and then headed over to the church to do some work in our fellowship hall/all purpose room/fitness center. Our team has remodeled the room with fresh paint and repairs and today Debbie and I decided to start refinishing the floors. There’s nothing quite like trying to control a commercial buffer/stripper for 4 hours. Well, maybe trying to break a wild horse would compare. I stripped–that sounds odd–and Deb mopped. She dogged that mop and bucket like a pro.

We had a late lunch and a power nap and then I got myself together and headed to the gym at about 6 PM.  I didn’t think I’d be able to do much because I was pretty stressed out in my low back from dogging that machine. But after a long warm up, I was ready to hit it and I actually had a good workout. Did I want to go to the gym this evening. Nope. Did I have a bucket full of excuses to keep me at home. Yep. But this is a revolution, not a resolution. It’s too late to turn back or give up now. I’m 25% of the way to my goal. When I reach it, and I will, the next one will not be nearly as aggressive, but it will keep me on track.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12 [ESV]

Gym Day on the Lord’s Day

Day 7 – It’s not as weird as I thought it would be.  Trouble is, it’s been long. My days started at 4 AM, like every other day. I get to church at about 6:30 AM for worship band final rehearsal @ 7 AM.  LifeGroups start @ 8:30 & worship is at 9:45. We got out today a little late (I got carried away in the sermon; never happens. . .yeah, right) so we didn’t land at home until about noon fifteen. Debbie had lunch in the crockpot and it was delicious–followed by a short nap.  We got dressed about 2:30 for the gym, went and worked out for our usual hour, and actually had a great time.  We did wind sprints together, I managed a few hundred crunches, some overextension and isolation work with free weights and a nice stretch session at the end.  I’m really glad I got to do that before going back to church @ 6 PM for Life In The Real World (my Sunday evening LifeGroup). Was I REALLY tired when we got home after church? Yep. Was it worth it, Yep. Would I do it again–next weekend.

One big diff next week. Sunday’s workout will be BODY BASIC @ church @ 5 PM! I’m starting a new stepping class. Try us out. You’ll definitely be challenged.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 [ESV]

It’s calm inside the storm

Day 6 – Getting into a habit, or out of a habit for that matter, can be very difficult. Sometimes the physical and/or emotional pain is overwhelming. Not so much for me this time in the gym. I’m not sure why, but there’s a lot more enjoyment going on even though some of my muscles are screaming, “STOP, I can’t do this!” Maybe that’s the difference between resolution and revolution. I suppose it’s kind of like my walk with God. On many occasions, right in the middle of what I knew was a life-storm, everything seemed sunny and calm. Don’t misunderstand, the troubles were still there and the pain was still pain, but a pervasive calm surrounded me.

Today, I managed to reach my goal for the week of 800 crunches in a single outing (4 sets of 200 with 4 sets of 25 reverse crunches). If you see me at church tomorrow, please don’t punch me in the stomach! This hour working out was more about stretching a trying new stuff than meeting any other goal in my mind. And I’m getting to work a lot more with Debbie right now and that is a very good thing. Training her helps me prepare to train others. And I suppose that part of this 30 day thing is to get me geared up for BODY BASIC, BODY STRONG, & BODY ROCK. Those are some great classes that work my butt off, literally and actually.

Finishing my first week tomorrow, on the first day of the week, is pretty cool for me. On the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection every week at church, I’ll be sweating and straining to take care of what he gave me–life.  Thanks be to God that I don’t have to sweat and strain to get to heaven. Jesus did that for me at Calvary.