This past Fall, I finally executed on a long-held aspiration: I got back in shape.
I dropped 30 pounds, several inches off my waist, established a workout habit, cranked up discipline with my eating habits. The process ignited a chain reaction in the rest of my life that has amplified just about everything else I do.
I feel amazing.
I wanted to give the backstory here a bit. I hope it will encourage you.
I was a relatively athletic kid. Played most of the sports (football, basketball, baseball, track, martial arts), spent some time in the weight room tooling around in preparation for those. (Though I never really knew what I was doing.) Generally high metabolism so I could eat whatever I want and not notice. In fact my football coach always wished I could put on a little more weight (and upper body strength… I could never do a pull-up., and benched just barely over my bodyweight.)
I pursued martial arts; mostly Tae Kwon Do, with a little Hapkido, and Aiki-jujitsu and Ken-jujitsu (“the samurai martial arts”) here and there. Was a brown-belt in TKD for 3 years because I never wanted to spend the money to test for Black. (I bought myself a computer instead…)
I gave up martial arts in college when I got more heavily involved in campus ministry. I reasoned that I could always get back to it “someday.” (The martial arts are a lifetime thing.) I played a little pickup basketball here and there, but eventually, that faded as well, and I lived the general sedentary lifestyle of a bi-vocational computer geek and pastor/theologian.
Once every few years, I’d get the itch to drop a few pounds. I’m consistently 30-40 pounds overweight (depending on who you ask.) I’d get all excited about calorie counting, or regular walks, but it would always go in spurts. I’d drop the easy 15 pounds that comes from cutting out sugar pop, and go for a walk 3x a week or something. It never lasted.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat. For about 15 years.
That changed for me in October 2017. For life, Lord willing.
Three things happened in close proximity that got things moving.
First, this past Summer, my back went out on me pretty severely for the first time in my life. I was laid up in bed for a week. The M.D.s couldn’t do anything but pain meds and bed rest for me. My Chiropractor finally got things worked out for me, and I was on my feet again. But that was humiliating. Out of work and ministry and family for a week. Time to reflect on the poor state of things.
Second, 18 years after my last Tae Kwon Do class, “someday” finally came around. I had a pre-marriage vow to myself that my children were going to learn self-defense. And as I have four daughters, that vow is very relevant. We’d been discussing a family activity, and voila, we enrolled in TKD. We started at the end of August.
After a few sessions of embarrassing myself with lack of flexibility, strength, and conditioning, I was ready for a change.
Third, I’ve been tracking Paul from Theofit on social media, a buddy of mine, Dustin (my token Crossfit freak friend), and Vinnie, my lead developer at Mere among a few others. These guys have been an inspiration for me from afar. After I watched Vinnie haul free weights with him to a conference we were exhibiting at, and get up extra early every morning to use them, the fire was kindled.
I asked Vinnie what I should do. He pointed me at BeachbodyOnDemand.com, and it was on like Donkey Kong with P90X3 and their diet plan. (Essentially calorie counting, and whole foods, borderline paleo. I hate fad diet voodoo, but I just went with it.)
Within a week I could feel the change. 10 lbs came off almost instantly. I could feel my biceps again. My core was tightening up. A month in, and my “after” picture (bathroom mirror photo that no one will ever see) showed meaningful change.
I established a morning habit that I have come to love.
Someone Jesus-juked me when I started getting excited about the results and looking forward to the future. “Don’t get too obsessed with this… after all, physical training is only of some value… but godliness has value for all things…” (The incorrect understanding of 1 Timothy 4:8. The two are not mutually exclusive…)
So I added a 90-day Bible reading plan as well. (me blows a raspberry at you…)
The New Reality
Day 90 came and went on December 31. I crossed the finish line with what feels to me like a “results, not typical” outcome. My clothes fit. I have energy all day. I can climb a flight of stairs (or 4) without getting winded.
My blood pressure is in line for the first time in my adult life. My bodyweight is no longer in the zone of “very overweight” (though I’m told my frame hid it well ;-) you all are so nice…).
I can pick my girls up and hold them again without fear of throwing my back out…
You guys. It is so much better over here.
You know what I did on day 91? Started back at day 1. I’m doing this from now on. My new goal is to be able to do 5 chin-ups. (I can still do precisely zero…) and a respectable amount of pushups.
P90X3 is only 30 mins a morning. (45-60 with prep and cool-down/shower.) You can’t afford to not do it. (Or something else…)
You can’t afford not to track the number of calories you are putting into your body. You’re killing yourself otherwise.
So, change can happen and should happen.
I promise, however, that I’m just going to enjoy this personally, and not judge you.
Also, you’re going to need some community here. I suggest the Theo.fit community.