It’s time for action. It is time for us to love and care for our bodies the way the Lord does. God did something incredible when he created the material world and our bodies. God is Spirit and so are His angels, but humans are heaven and earth combined. Our bodies are made of earth but we are infused with a spiritual rational soul. It is so cool that God decided to give us physical bodies, we get to experience so many awesome things because of the way he made us. The thrill of dropping in on a big wave, or leaning into a corner on our motorcycle or sprinting to catch a perfectly thrown football. We get to enjoy the taste of great food and the smell of plumerias and roses. We are especially designed to give ourselves and become one with another in nuptial love with someone of the other sex. And yet, I am shocked when I come to the mainland from the islands to see how people have neglected and abused this beautiful gift of God, their bodies.
Are we caring for our bodies and treating them with the same dignity that God intended? How many Christians today do not have the mental alertness and physical fitness to fulfill the mission that they are called to and who will become disabled early in life and die young because of their lack of diligence in caring for their bodies; the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Sloth and gluttony, two of the seven deadly sins get a pass in today’s homilies. But, we need to take dead aim atthem. We need a positive plan of action to establish virtue within the realm of our bodies.
As a two-time world champion tandem surfer, I had to make weight before every contest because my partner had to weigh at least half my body weight. To compete I had to maintain a healthy weight. Competition also required the stamina and strength to win the paddle battles and to hold my partner in extreme over-head lifts. As a Ninja blackbelt, I had to focus on flexibility and stamina. Bicycling from San Diego, Ca to Jacksonville, FL required me to develop my cardio. Paddling my surfboard across the twenty-seven mile treacherous channel between the islands of Molokai and Oahu required strength and fortitude. I am sixty-six years old and my wife and I still win Tandem Surfing Competitions around the world. We can only do this because we have a true championship training regimen. You can too. Afterall, what is more important; winning a world title or being able to fulfill the cause that the Lord has given you for your life mission. To love your families and the people God has called you to serve and to share the gospel in the creative ways that He has called you to, takes the stamina, strength and mental alertness that comes from being physically fit.
You need Fitness to Witness.
It’s time right now for each of us to recommit to a healthy ascetic life where our soul tells our body, you are not in charge today. As I submit to the will of the Holy Spirt my body needs to submit to my will. The monks of the desert practiced an extreme ascetic lifestyle so that they could fully engage in spiritual warfare and in seeking intimacy with God. What I am proposing here is a modern asceticism.
HOW TO BE AN ASCETIC IN TODAY’S WORLD
Let’s talk about the different areas of our physical life and how to bring them under God’s dominion.
- EATING REGIMEN: Our eating habits should not just be what every we feel like eating at the moment. We should eat based on a pre-determined plan. We each need to figure out what works best for us but, for most people, what I do to lose and maintain weight works. I have coached dozens of people as they have lost weight and kept it off. My wife and I have each lived a keto-genic eating regimen for over thirty years. Back when we started, it was called the Atkins diet. Now it is referred to as a low carb diet or keto-regimen.
What this means is that I strive to keep my sugar carbs below 30 grams a day and when I am working to lose weight I keep them below 20 sugar carbs. This means I eat lots of vegetables for their healthy fiber carbs plus meat with it’s healthy fat, but I avoid pastas, breads potatoes and even too much of God’s candy; fruit. It means I do not shop in the inner islands of the Super Market because that’s where processed foods are with their sugar carbs. Corn syrup for example, seems to be in everything in those inner aisles. It means that I eat healthy grass-fed meats with good fats. Fast Food does not exist anymore for me.
You can find out more about a keto diet by reading Dr Atkins or other great books out there. When you go on a keto regimen you will find that within three days you have lost two to four pounds of water weight. You will find that you are a lot more alert and that you sleep much better and you will find that the burning raging hunger fired by those sugar carbs is gone. You will find yourself forgetting to eat a meal and pushing away half of the food on your plate because you are just not hungry. Real hunger comes from a totally different place than sugar hunger. You will know when you need fuel.
I also recommend that you eat only during a ten hour window each day which can be part of practice of intermittent fasting regimen for you too.
You should set your goal weight, when you are going to accomplish it and how much you intend to lose each day. Set a goal weight for each day and each week as you progress. Weight goes up and down daily but you need metrics to see if you are on track so a daily morning weigh in, before you eat is essential.
- SLEEP REGIMEN: Establish a sleep pattern and seek to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. This is the time your body restores you mentally and physically and it needs to be just as much a discipline as every other area of your physical health. My fitbit watch tells me that I only get about six hours and forty minutes a day of sleep even though I am in bed for eight hours. Set a regular bed time and wake up time so your body can find it’s rhythm.
- STRENGTH TRAINING: Whether we are speaking spiritually or physically, we grow stronger only through resistance. I stand up paddle surf about three miles every day. This exercise provides me with the anaerobic resistance training that I need as well as a cardio regimen. But there are days when I travel when all I can do is use my resistance bands that I pack in my backpack or when I am at home but the weather is bad, I need to revert to using my free weights. We need to be physically strong. Without maintaining our strength, we can easily pull a muscle or damage a joint.
We need to be strong so that we can take care of simple physical work and also protect those that God has called us to serve. I see so many weak men these days whose arms seem to hang off their shoulders by just their ligaments. Be a man. Get strong.
- FLEXIBILTY TRAINING: When I trained in martial arts and when I competed for my tandem surfing world titles I did flexibility training for three to five hours a week. If you lose your flexibility you will pull a muscle or injure yourself. Develop a daily ten to twenty minute stretching work out. Your body is begging you to do it.
- CARDIO: I remember when I was about thirty years old, I was on my way to take a coffee break with my peers and I heard in my soul very clearly the Lord say to me. “You are my Walking Man. Now Go Walk.” Since that day I have carved out about an hour every day to get my walking/prayer time in. I specifically walk barefooted on the beach most days. Stepping at the odd angles that the beach presents and the shifting sand provides a unique work out for my joints as well as my muscle. My Standup Paddle Surfing also factors into the cardio equation.
I use my Garmin GPS watch to track my SUP surfing on the water and I use my fitbit watch to track my daily steps. My goal is three miles a day of surfing and ten thousand steps per day of walking. This last year I SUP surfed 472 miles and I walked over 400,000 steps which is about 1100 miles. So my combined cardio is about 1500 miles last year. That is the distance between San Diego and New Orleans. I highly recommend that you wear a fit bit watch to track your cardio distance, your sleep and your daily weight.
When I was training for my first black belt test, I developed my cardio by running in the mountains. My sensei told me that the key was to start out with shorter distances but each day add about the distance between two telephone poles to my work out. As you begin your walking or running regimen add just a little bit of distance each day and in time you will be able to go three to five miles.
Remember this time of walking can be a time of prayer, of reflection or enjoying time with your spouse, family member or friend.
- PLAY TIME: The one thing that makes my workouts so different then most is that there is very little actual work involved. Mostly what I do is play. Surfers are still like little children. We go out in the ocean and play. Find something physical that you enjoy doing and go out and play and try not to take it too seriously.
IT’S TIME FOR ACTION
Often people tell me that they just do not have the time to devote to their overall physical health, but the fact is that you do. If you neglect your body. you will feel lethargic and depressed and live in a mental in physical fog. Any time that you think that you are saving by not exercising or eating right you are actually losing in productivity and ultimately in the quality and length of your life.
The benefits to you when you establish a healthy physical regimen is a big uptick in endorphins so that your attitude is more happy, a big uptick in testosterone which helps you maintain an overall vitality, a big uptick in energy and alertness and a much longer more productive quality life.
I have listed below two products that have helped me tremendously in my physical life. Xango’s “mangosteen” has had a huge impact on joint inflammation. I began to drink it ten years ago when I thought I was going to require a second meniscus surgery due to joint pain in my knee. I kept putting off going to the doctor for about a year. Within ten days of drinking mangosteen the inflammation in my knee that was causing my ligaments and joints to rub against each other was gone.
I have also been fortunate to be sponsored by Onnit. They are the best supplement company that I know of. There “Total Human Optimization” daily vitamin pack hits most areas that you need. I especially find their Alpha Brain supplement to elevate my mental acuity and their joint oil keeps me healthy for all of my physical challenges.
There are links to both of those products here: