My entire life has been surrounded by a component of fitness. I started gymnastics at 2.5 years old and didn’t stop until I
was 17. I danced, I cheered, I dabbled in some other sports too and I found myself to be decent at most things I try due to my longevity in movement. My family, just like when I was little, is still very invested in their health too, which I think is a key component to maintaining success in the area.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve continued my interest in fitness, mainly because I know the importance of it, but also because I love the way I feel in my own skin when I’m staying active.
However, I am well aware that fitness wasn’t a part of everyone’s childhood, therefore making adopting it in adulthood being much more difficult. I took a liking to personal training people in my young twenties. Partially as a way to make money, but also the joys of watching women transform, both physically and mentally throughout the process. I have had the opportunity of training women of all ages and sizes and in the beginning it caught me by surprise that they weren’t capable of certain things.
But you can’t expect someone to cold turkey stop eating sugar and carbs if it’s a huge part of their diet and all they have ever known. Just like you can’t expect someone to pick up a set of 20lb dumbbells and get to work on busting out 20 bicep curl wall-sits if it’s their first time working out. People have determination and they can even have a lot of heart, but by day 5 when their sugar headache hasn’t stopped and they are on bicep curl number 6 and can’t lift their arm above their waist line, they usually throw in the towel – even if they jump back on the wagon the next day.
We’ve heard it 1000 times, “practice makes perfect.” But I’ve practiced diligently for quite a few fitness goals in my lifetime and I’ve never hit perfection. And if you know my take on “perfection” as a whole, you know that I believe its unattainable and impractical and honestly just too much of a burden to carry. So I’d like to alter the saying:
Progression leads to positive performance. Progression doesn’t come without practice. And performance, though not always perfect, will be more often on the positive pendulum if you have diligently practiced.
But I’m not really writing to share with you about my workout regimen or how practicing a pull-up will eventually lead to a pull-up. My intention is to show you a valid parallel that was unveiled to me in a conversation with my trainer. And the question circling your head is ok to ask – yes, trainers need trainers. Which again will add to the analogy…keep reading.
Your fitness journey is like your spiritual journey.
We all start somewhere. We all have history from generational experience and input. We all have situational and community influences that pour into or pull from our own journey. We all have some type of muscle memory both mentally and physically. We all have a perspective on what it means to us personally. We all have positives and negatives, successes and failures. We all have doubts in our abilities. We all have hopes for what we will one day be.
I knew about Christianity from childhood; I heard Jesus’s name and I said nighttime prayers. I went to churches. I went to camps. Family, friends and even strangers influenced me. I was only lifting a baby weight of about 2 lbs., which wasn’t building my strength, endurance or health. I was weak. And with that weakness I got hurt trying to take on weight that I wasn’t ready or intended to. It was when I fell, when I was brokenand I had to heal my muscles and start from scratch that I was actually able to learn the right way to approach my physical and mental design.
I had to train myself to be ok with starting with the lightweights. Learn the movements, learn the reason behind the movements and recommit to the end goal. Fad diets don’t work – you have to find what works for you without starving yourself. And you can’t just run a marathon if you’ve never run a 5k – pace yourself.
I didn’t always know what my body was capable of, just like I didn’t always know what my heart was capable of.
I never knew the depth of His love until I committed myself to learning and practicing. I’m living my life in a new state of physical and mental health and I didn’t get there without many trainers who taught me right from wrong and pushed me to dig deeper.
It is a process – always evolving. If we pour ourselves into it and if we practice enough, progress turns into positive performance.
What muscles are you putting to work in your spiritual walk?