What Should I Wear–to the Gym?

December 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Cami Checketts –

As a woman I’m always a bit concerned about what I’m going to wear. It may seem vain, but I find if I’m dressed appropriately I’m more confident and comfortable.  The older I get the more conscious I become about dressing modestly, covering my body in a manner that is appropriate for a Christian.

To be honest I didn’t always feel the same rules of modesty applied at the gym. When I exercise, I work hard and all I cared about was being comfortable. But then I started to notice that my fellow gym rats were watching me a bit too closely. I realized that I couldn’t use the excuse that I was a Mom and nobody should be looking, because they were looking.

While getting dressed for the gym one morning, Jesus’ words came to mind: “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28 KJV).

I’m not saying that these men were lusting after me, but I wasn’t being fair to them or myself by wearing a tank top that was a little too tight or shorts that were a little too short. If I’m not careful to cover my body appropriately, no matter what activity I’m participating in, I’m using my body as a walking billboard that definitely isn’t furthering the Savior’s work.

I know this is a tough subject. I have many relatives and friends whom I love and respect who disagree with me. They feel that the gym is a safe spot where you can wear what you want and nobody should be looking. The problem is that they do look, sometimes not intentionally, but they still get the view that can detract from their spirituality… and yours.

Please share your opinions on this subject. I would love to hear from you!

Life’s Too Hard Right Now…Or Is It?

December 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

“I can’t lose weight. Life’s just too hard right now. Maybe later when things settle down,” Susanne said dejectedly.

She had come to me the week before, ready to take her first step toward healthy living, but after trying a few days to make a few simple changes, she had already given up.

She was clinging to food as if it were a life raft that was her only hope in a turbulent sea.

I encouraged Susanne not to rely on food to numb her worries, but the Lord as her only hope in these troubled times. And I told her what she already had discovered: there will always be troubles. Life is never easy, and if we put off making needed changes until that perfect time, things will just go from bad to worse.

Susanne and I had a long talk about baby steps she could take to start on her journey toward healthy living. We mapped out a simple strategy that would help her to stay on track with her eating, exercising and quiet time goals.

Here’s what Suzanne said she would do:

  1. I will have a quiet time every morning for just a few minutes to write a prayer about my eating, asking God for the willingness to make healthier choices and the ability to cast my cares on Him—not the refrigerator.
  2. I will listen to my Bible CD in the car on the way to work.
  3. I will write down on a little tablet what I eat during the day.

She was able to do these things for two weeks, so she decided to add two more goals:

  1. I will limit trigger foods that make my cravings worse. (For Suzanne these were things with sugar.)
  2. After eating a sandwich and fruit during my lunch break, I will walk up and down the stairs in my office building.

A few weeks later, after success with those goals, she added another one.

  1. Every time I eat, I will make the healthiest choice possible.

Finally a week or two later, she heard about a Christian weight-loss group and decided to join them. She made going to that group a final goal that helped her to learn how to rely on God’s power to eat right and make other healthy lifestyle changes… instead of her shaky willpower.

During our last counseling session, a thinner Suzanne told me that she felt so much better, and even though her challenges hadn’t changed, her ability to cope with them had. She said, “All of the things I’ve been able to do wouldn’t have been possible without my quiet time every morning. Those 10-15 minutes have made all the difference! And it’s also such a big help to have my Christian weight-loss group to encourage me!”

Then she added something that so many people need to understand: “I’m really glad I didn’t wait until things were easier to try to lose weight. I thought that overeating was making my life easier, but it was really making it harder. Carrying around all of those extra pounds and experiencing those sugar highs and lows made me too exhausted to deal with my problems. And thinking about food all the time distracted me from the Lord and the helping hand He was holding out to me.”

Learn How to Eat Out Without Widening Out!

December 7, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

We are all sooo busy these days and it’s easy to shovel down fast food when we’re exhausted. Over 25 percent of Americans consume fast food every day.  Not all fast food is unhealthy, but most of it is. Do you want to learn some quick tips so you can develop the art of eating out without widening out?

  • Almost all fast food restaurants have nutritional info on their websites. Check them out and make a healthy choice before hitting the drive-thru.
  • Don’t super-size!
  • Ask them to hold the cheese.
  • Stay away from sugary soft drinks.
  • Limit sauces such as mayonnaise, tartar sauce or salad dressing. Order sandwiches without them or on the side so you can add your own. Choose low-fat or reduced-fat options when possible.
  • Salads are usually a healthy option, especially with a low-fat dressing.
  • Limit fried foods. Choose items that are grilled or baked.
  • Order from the kids’ menu. The portions are smaller, and you can usually make substitutions.
  • Get a to-go box to bring half of what you order home.
  • Choose from the items labeled as “healthy” or “light.”

Here are a few of the worst fast foods. (Keep in mind that most people aim to eat less than 2,000 calories a day.)

  • Hardee’s Monster Thickburger 1420 calories
  • Dairy Queen’s Large Choc. Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard 1320 calories
  • Burger King’s TRIPLE WHOPPER Sandwich With Cheese 1230 calories
  • McDonalds’ Deluxe Breakfast 1140 calories (not including butter and syrup)
  • Arby’s Meatball Toasted Sub 1000 calories

The following are some lower-calorie fast food options:

  • Burger King’s Whopper Jr. 290 calories.
  • McDonalds’ Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad 220 calories with Newman’s Own Low- Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing 40 calories
  • Panera Bread Banana Nut Muffin  230 calories with fruit cup 70 calories
  • Subway’s 6 grams or less menu sandwiches 330 calories or less (hold the cheese) with honey mustard select sauce 28 calories
  • Taco Bell’s Fresco Style Chicken Ranchero Taco 170 calories or Bean Burrito 350 calories
  • Wendy’s Mandarin Chicken Salad  170 with Fat-Free French dressing 80 calories
  • Chick-fil-A Icedream Cone 140 calories

Whether you’re eating by yourself, with your children or friends who are watching their weight, make a game of finding the biggest fast-food “bargain.” Develop the art of making healthy choices no matter where you are, and you’ll be able to eat out without widening out!

Upping the Tempo in Your Training

November 27, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Don Otis –

The track workouts at my suburban Los Angeles high school were brutal. A typical mid-week workout included intervals, a combination of 200- or 400-yard sprints with very little rest. The purpose behind these workouts was to teach our muscles to adapt to the speed. If you want to be fast, you have to train fast. This is true in any sport, but it is especially true of professional athletes.  So what does this have to do with recreational athletes or those just wanting to stay in shape?

There are two types of muscle fibers: slow-twitch and fast-twitch. The former are oxygen-rich and darker in color. The latter appear white. A marathon runner has slow-twitch fibers while a sprinter has fast-twitch.  There are no differences between men and women in terms of fiber-type distribution. Nevertheless, in general men are stronger because they have a greater amount of muscle tissue. Likewise, some people inherit a high percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers. This genetic effect means they have a greater potential for endurance activities.

You will notice a marked difference between sprinters (more muscle mass) than distance runners (leaner).  As we age, we lose more of the fast-twitch (speed) capabilities we had when we were younger. We also lose our capacity to process oxygen, which makes distance training more difficult. It is important, however, even for those who are just trying to stay in shape, to include at least one workout a week that engages fast-twitch muscles. Here’s why.

There is a direct correlation between the intensity of your workouts and engaging your fast-twitch fibers.  If the intensity of your workouts is always the same, your results will remain flat. I recommend some form of higher-intensity workout each week. In practical terms, this means doing whatever you do–but faster and for shorter periods of time. For example, if you swim 1000 meters three days a week, try adding 6 X 100 meters at a faster-than-average pace. The same is true for running. Increase your speed for shorter distances. When you do intervals it’s expected that you will rest between each–thirty to sixty seconds. It is expected that you should be out of breath from the effort.

You can achieve the same effect through other exercises such as jumping rope or increasing the tempo in an aerobics class. While I suggest you keep your exercise intensity high during regular workouts too, the fatigue from higher intensity exercise should leave you feeling added fatigue from the effort.  I am a proponent of spending less time to get the same or often better training results from workouts. You don’t have to spend an hour on an elliptical machine. Instead, push the tempo harder and get your heart rate into a higher zone.

By increasing your speed you burn more calories as well. Keep in mind the universal formula of 220-your age. This will give you a general idea of your maximum heart rate. Then, divide that number by 70 percent. If you are 40, here’s how it works: 220-40=180 beats per minute. This is your maximum. You want to train at 70-80 percent of this which is calculated by .70X180=126.

Fight the urge in your workouts to “just get through.” Instead, focus on the quality of your efforts.

What Is the Secret Weapon for Busy Believers?

November 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Laurette Willis –

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV).

“Choose life” is the Secret Weapon for Busy Believers.

What’s one of the quickest ways to experience positive change in our lives? Choose life. How about for weight management, fitness and vibrant health? Yes, the “choose life” decision can be made in a minute and lived moment by moment, one day at a time. Choose life.

I have found these two simple, yet startlingly powerful words have kept me from falling prey to sudden urges for “just one” (bite, cookie, candy bar, soda, binge or foray into Debtsville). For me “just one” rarely ends with just one.

Whenever I simply stop and say to myself, “I choose life,” my spirit (the real me) rises up with strength to overcome the flesh and I’m suddenly able to say “No” to temptation.

These two potent little words from scripture can also help us get moving when our flesh wants to “veg out” or skip that day’s fitness commitment.

“I choose life,” I’d say as I laced my running shoes and headed for the door or mini-trampoline.

“Choose life,” I’d say to myself when I wanted to “punish” my husband for hurting my feelings instead of forgiving him. “Choose life” would often turn the whole situation around.

What IS “Life”?  
 

Jesus said His words are life. “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life,” He said in John 6:63.

We are presented with countless choices every day, which affect the health and fitness of our spirit, soul and body. My flesh would cry, “I want it and I want it NOW!” I had to have my favorite snack, drink, a second helping. Like a child, the desire of the present moment took over. It didn’t matter how strong my will power had been or how solid I thought my commitment was. My flesh would scream and I’d cave in like a startled soufflé.

“Choose life.” I’d be faced with a temptation to forgo my food plan for the day, or neglect the exercise I’d purposed to do and the words would come to me: “Choose life.” I’d want to blow off a commitment I’d made, or stay in bed instead of getting up early to invest in my relationship with the Lord, and the Word whispered, “Choose life.”

A third-party report (i.e., gossip) would come to me and I’d want to share the “news,” but then I’d hear the words in my heart, “Choose life” calling me to make a godly choice.

To choose life is to choose God’s way of doing things. Can we override the gentle nudge of the Spirit of God bringing His Word to our remembrance? Yes. The Lord’s still, small voice doesn’t come with a two-by-four to enforce compliance. While we may try “reasoning” or bargaining with the Lord, the more time we invest in reading, meditating and speaking His Word, the more we will want to heed His gentle reminder to “Choose LIFE,” the secret weapon for the Busy Believer.

(Adapted from The Busy Woman’s Guide to Total Fitness by Laurette Willis, Harvest House Publishers)

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