There was a time when my lifestyle reflected exactly what you’d expect from a geek like me. I managed to pull off both skinny and fat, with a small frame that hid a lot of excess pounds in creative places. You’d never guess I had stretch marks over ten inches long, but my unfortunate wife was witness to these ironic atrocities, and I gave only lip service to actual change.
I didn’t eat terribly, but I’d say “poorly” would be a suitable descriptor. I ate good food at bad times and junk food at other times.
My fingers kept in shape due to extended time at keyboards and game controllers. And I suppose you could argue that my heart had continual workouts, though more from perpetual overcaffeination than from any sort of cardio exercise. I had a desk job, a long commute, and after all that time sitting on my butt, the first thing I wanted to do at home was—you guessed it—sit on my butt.
Making a Change
Like many other aspects of my life, my approach to fitness and health shifted during my brief stay in prison. I decided to take diet and exercise seriously. That’s the cliché, right: Go to prison and then come out all buff and stuff? I figured that if I released looking like I did when I surrendered, I was quite simply doing it wrong.
But more than that, I recognized that I was taking myself away from my wife and son for two years. I at least owed them a bit of improved longevity (and aesthetics for my wife to enjoy) due to increased health.
And as I learned, I lost. A good thirty pounds of fat, though I also packed on more muscle than I ever thought I could carry.
What was truly unexpected was how fascinating I found the whole process. I began studying training manuals, reading books, and learning about the complex ecosystem of the human body that I’d been taking for granted. I began to relate it to a complex software platform with dozens of components intricately interwoven within a shared framework. It took some analysis, but to me it just made sense.
Soon, I was training fellow inmates and studying for my own personal training certification. I truly never saw that turn of events coming.
I thought it might be good to mention exactly what my goals are as I continue this journey of fitness, as I believe goals are important for anyone who seeks to embark on this journey.
I’d like to look better than I do (wouldn’t we all?), and I suspect I will given time. But I’m in no hurry.
I’d like to lift more weight for more reps, and I suspect I will given time. But I’m in no hurry.
I’d like to go longer, to have increased endurance, and I suspect I will given time. But I’m in no hurry.
If I lose a couple of inches from my waistline or gain a couple on my biceps, I certainly won’t complain. If I ever bench press 150% of my weight, I’ll be pretty pleased. If I could ever outpace my wife on an elliptical (seriously, she’s a beast), I’d be more than proud of myself. But if I don’t, that’s okay, too.
My goal is simply to be healthy.
I want to live longer and have a better quality of life. That’s my primary concern.
How that manifests may vary. Perhaps I’ll be able to hold a scorpion pose for two minutes, or do thirty pull-ups, or run a 5k. I’m always up for a challenge. What matters is that I’m honoring this body God has entrusted me to steward, this flesh that is given such a bad rap in Christian culture but is nonetheless a gift I’m to treat with reverence and care.