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Fitness, Nutrition

You Can’t Compete With What You Eat

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The truth is that body transformation has more to do with what you eat than how much you exercise. The saying, “You can’t out work a bad diet,” is exactly true. I am living proof of that. During triathlon training a few years ago I experimented with different ‘diets’ – most of them were calorie based. The basic premise was to shove calories down my throat like garbage into the incinerator. Making fire for sure, but not burning efficiently at all. In fact, my physical shape did not change at all even though I was swimming, biking, and running 10-13 hrs/ week!  If you really want to see changes in how you look and feel from the inside out, you gotta get the food part right.

Ugh. I know. It’s so hard. Cookies…

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far on my journey:
1. Remember: FOOD IS FUEL! Your results are dependent upon how well you fuel your body. Don’t think of food as a reward or use it for comfort. That’s a hard habit to break! Recognize your weakest time of the day and plan ahead for it.

2. Several smaller meals allow you to better absorb nutrients and keep your blood sugar steady. Try to eat three meals a day, with two or three snacks in between. Yay! Snacks!

3. Here’s a good one:
Eat Less CRAP:
Carbonated drinks
Refined sugar
Artificial sweeteners and sugars
Processed foods

Eat More FOOD:
Fruits and veggies
Organic lean proteins
Omega-3 fatty acids
Drink water

4. DON’T GIVE UP!
One bad meal does not ruin you, just as much as one good meal would change you. It’s all about CONSISTENCY OVER TIME. Put the bad meal behind you and KEEP GOING. It will take time, but I promise it will pay off!

5.For additional meal ideas, visit my recipe section on my website, search “clean eating recipes” on Pinterest, and be sure to check out my favorite clean eating resource at 90/10 Nutrition!
CLEAN EATING just means taking out all of the additives to processed food; eating food in it’s purest form. Changing just a few things here and there in my family’s diet has made a huge difference!

faith, Family

A Marriage Prayer

A while ago I wrote the following notes in my journal. I am compelled to share it with you in hopes that it will encourage you as it does me. Marriage is hard work and we desperately need the Lord’s help to love well.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love. Thank you for displaying that love to me long before I did anything in response to it. Teach me to love like this. Teach me to love like Jesus. My wife is a gift from you and I will love her as the best gift I have ever received. Give me creativity in the ways I can pursue her romantically. Give me strength to hold her up when she is tired. Give me eyes to see when she needs my attention. Give me ears to hear her heart. Give me the words to speak life into her. Help me to choose love even when things get hard. In Jesus name Amen.

What follows is my personal, raw commentary on the work of loving like Jesus in marriage. Where I use Angie in the text, please insert your spouse’s name and see if it makes the notes more personal to you.

Loving Angie will at times be inconvenient to my flesh. Love her anyways. Loving Angie will at times not make sense because she hurt me. Love her anyways. Loving Angie will at times be a challenge because she does not respond to it the way I expect. Love her anyways. When my marriage feels broken, love her anyways.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:25-33

Only God can give me the strength to love Angie unconditionally. My motivation to love must come from an intimate relationship with God. My love for Angie is motivated by His love for me.

When I find myself struggling to love and care for Angie, it should raise a red flag in my mind to take a sober self-assessment. I bet that my struggle is more about me than her. I have taken my eye off Jesus and his incredible love for me. Jesus’s kind of love has given me literally everything while still being a wretched sinner in desperate need of a savior.

When I put into perspective how Jesus loves me, how he willingly sacrificed himself by violent death on a Roman cross while I literally spit in his face with my selfishness, pride, and sinful rebellion, and how he continues to bless me though I can do nothing to deserve his favor, I find that when I actually receive that love from Jesus I am compelled to love in return. Not because I feel duty or obligation, but because my soul is filled to overflowing. Out of the abundance of love I have received I give to others. I can patiently and graciously endure rejection, stubbornness, harsh words, etc. and truly give without expecting anything in return. All that to say, and I don’t mean to simplify the key to loving relationship, but the truth is that when we can see Jesus, ourselves, and our life circumstances like this, we can love others well.

The bottom line is that when I’m not feeling like loving well, or I feel like I’m not being loved by others so I can’t love in return, I really need to take a breath, search my heart, and refocus from me to Jesus. Simple, but really hard sometimes. This is a mental and spiritual exercise that is strengthened with practice and perfected only after death. We are all a work in progress, but if we can wrap our minds around these ideas, we will gain traction in our relationships.

Another way to say it is that when I think another is unlovable because of their behavior, I should be very careful that I’m not judging them more harshly than I want God to judge me. In comparison to God’s holy perfection, I am a terrible wretch. If I do not see myself this way, I am deceived and my self-righteousness is sin proving my need for a savior. Jesus is our example we are called to follow. He loves despite my fears, faults, and failures, so I can do the same for others.

Not seeing the enormous gap between my depravity and God’s holiness is making God too small. Yet despite this gap, Jesus bridges it with his own sacrifice for our sake. He makes us saints before the almighty, holy God of the universe. That’s pretty cool. This is why we should preach the gospel to ourselves everyday. It keeps the focus on Jesus and not ourselves, enabling us to love others well. So there you have it, the solution to loving relationships is to simply preach the gospel to yourself.

faith, Personal Development

When Decisions Disappoint | Letter To My Son

I’m sharing a series of “letters” originally written by Vince Miller. I regard Vince as a trusted resource for wisdom and insight on faith and family especially as it pertains to men and fathers. His bio is at the bottom of the post. Look him up. What follows is his work entirely. Vince communicates the messages I want my son to hear in a far more clear and concise way than I could ever say. Consider using these as conversation starters. I encourage you to share these letters with the important men in your life.

Son, there will be times in your life that you will make decisions that will bring on some unfortunate consequences. These consequences are going to be of various levels of consequence. Some will have little pain like a prick to the finger that throbs and bleeds for a moment, but healing comes quickly. Other decisions, however, will not. These are the decisions that most concern this letter. They are the ones that feel more like you have broken a bone or even worse severed a limb, that can never be perfectly reset or used perhaps used like it once was. It results in permanent damage that cannot be undone. These are the decisions I am writing to you about today.

So I pray as you read this letter, you will remember these things, and without hesitation, you will recall them when you are presented with decisions in your life.

First | The Consequence of Choice

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

We often don’t think about the consequence of our decisions. We just make a choice, thinking we are invincible in our younger years to pain and seek the adventure of a thing. And adventure is a delight to a man when he considers beforehand the inevitable consequences.

In this verse, there are consequences. The writer calls them wages. They are things we earn. Like earning a wage at work—you will deserve it, even demand it when you don’t get it because you feel it is deserving. But it plays out for both the good and bad choices—even the consequences you don’t feel you deserve. The wrong choices in this text deserve death, the excellent choice results in life. While this is commonly a noble life principle, in this text, the writer is talking about the ultimate decision we all make about God and our eternity.

Son, this lesson is so important. And why? Because you have to start seeing the consequences (the wages) of your decisions a little earlier. You need to play the tapes forward and foresee the consequences of a wrong decision that could result in wages you don’t want to pay and halt the process before it results in permanent limping in your life—things that can never be undone. We men tend to only learn from pain, but a little proactive processing can stop years of limping that you will regret. Ask any man who has limped along in life—even me.

Second | Your Bad Choices Crush Me

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

Psalm 127:3-4

I have this deep sense of great pride in you, merely because you are my child. You are my heritage. As my son, there is something about you that makes me stand proud of you. When I see you lead your friends. When you play a sport with excellence. When you serve at home. When people flock to your call. There are so many moments, many that go unspoken, where I puff my chest in pride at the things you do.

But there are times my soul is crushed. It is the only way I know to explain it. I feel a caving in of my chest. My breath is taken from me. Anger wells up in me, and disappointment strikes. And this crushing is not because I am disappointed in you, but instead for what it reveals. Here is what I mean. 

I, and you, are of the age today where I cannot tend to your every choice. You must make choices of your own free will, independent of me. And as a father, I want you to make the very best decisions. But let’s be honest; neither of us always do. And now your choices are a reflection on you—not me. While every right decision reflects on you, the wrong ones do as well. And both the bad and good choices reveal your character—who you are. They will reveal if you are full of integrity or rather if you lack it. They will reveal if you are compassionate and kind or if you lack it. They will reveal if you are truthful, honest, and pure, or not. And this is what crushes me. It’s what your choices reveal.

The verse above says it all for me. You are an arrow in my hand. Like a warrior, I must shoot you out. But I want you to know, I stand proud and pull back hard on my bow as I do. But only you can determine the flight of your arrow’s trajectory, speed, arch, and trueness. I have the highest hopes that your flight will be long and perfect, hitting the mark in this life.

Third | Seek Forgiveness and Reconciliation

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

When men sin, they seek forgiveness. There could not be a more masculine thing to do. Yet some believe confession and forgiveness is a sign of weakness—it is not. The man who seeks forgiveness is strong among men. Only great men do it because they realize that they are not perfect and never will be. Godly men understand this unalterable principle.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

Son, we are both men who sin, and the first person we must seek forgiveness from is God. In this life, as children of God, we will desire independence from God, displayed in our disobedience to him. We sin, or make bad choices, because we want to be our own god—do things our own way without giving attention to God. This is rebellion against God—to sin. Therefore we must run to God and seek his forgiveness primarily (not to mention those we have hurt). You will find that God is loving, caring, gracious, merciful, and forgiving and that he is the perfect Father—I am not. He will listen and accept you just as you are, and will welcome you back into his arms with a loving embrace. I know this is true as I have experienced this time and time again. Listen to this interaction of a lost son who has come home to God his Father in the greatest story ever told by Jesus. The story of the Prodigal Son.

And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.

Luke 15:21-24

God loves you. He is ready to accept you. He welcomes you home and is prepared to celebrate. So run to him and seek his forgiveness. Fall in love with this Father. He is the best of all.

Son, I love you, your human Dad.

Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God’s Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men’s Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest study Men & Marriage: Overcoming 6 Unspoken Tensions.

Fitness

5 Terrible ( Yet Common) Healthy Living Habits

Most people would agree that to make healthy eating and fitness into a lifestyle, you will need healthy habits. Helping people create healthy habits that stick long term is a key purpose of Team Quadzilla. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and examine if your healthy habits are as healthy as you think. Read on to see if you relate to any of these common habits that do more harm than good.

1. RUSHING TO THE GYM

Everyone is busy. Probably too busy, but that’s a topic for another time. Stressing, speeding, and leaving no time to shift your mind and body from work mode to exercise mode is not healthy. Give yourself time to warm up and mentally focus in order to prevent injury and get the most out of your workout.

Better yet, skip the gym altogether. There are fantastic options for all fitness interests and abilities streamed to your enabled devices at Beachbody On Demand – my go-to for efficient workouts at home. No frantic drive through traffic, no crowds, lunks, or gawkers, no sweaty machines, you get the idea. Ask me how to try BOD for free. You’ll save time and money and very likely get better results.

2. LOUSY GOAL SETTING

In a moment of inspiration, or desperation, you sign up for next month’s Tough Mudder, or half marathon, even though you haven’t exercised in a few years. Or maybe you realize a wedding or class reunion snuck up on you and you must shed 20 pounds, so you spring for a 30 day gym membership, or adopt the latest fad diet.

But that’s just part of getting motivated, right? Not exactly.

There is nothing wrong with setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, but you need plan. Work backward from the event date to create incremental baby steps to help you get to your goal. Start small and slow, as going all gung-ho the first few days will likely end in injury, frustration, or burnout and you will fail to meet your goal. I am happy to help you come up with a plan that suits you.

3. IGNORING RECOVERY

Especially if you are feeling good and are highly focused and motivated to reach your goal, it sounds crazy to take a break. However, taking a day off can make your next workout more effective. Research suggests that planned recovery can improve performance and also help you boost intensity. Your body needs to rest and recover. It takes a lot of energy for your body to build and repair sore muscles, and you mind will appreciate the break as well. Recovery day can be complete rest or easy activities like stretch and relax yoga, or an easy cruise on your bike.

It’s not macho or impressive to workout hard every day, it’s foolish. Overtraining is a thing, and it will set you back. Plan rest days and work hard on the exercise days. Your body will thank you with excellent results.

4. WORKOUTS ON REPEAT

“I’m going to run a half marathon, so shouldn’t I just run?” Fair question. The answer is absolutely not. No matter the specific event you are training for, it’s best to mix up your workouts so you’re not overtaxing the same muscle groups. Supporting muscles need attention as well. Without a well-rounded plan, imbalances in the body will crop up eventually lead to injury. A running plan, for example, should include stretching/ yoga type workouts and total body strength training to optimize your results.

Further, you may stop seeing results if you’re doing the same workout every day. Your body gets used to certain exercises quickly, so changing it up can keep you on track to build muscle and endurance. By the way, the Beachbody On Demand programs are designed to incorporate necessary “muscle confusion” expedite total body fitness in minimal time.

5. LAZY NUTRITION

“I exercise every day so I can eat whatever I want.” False. Exercise makes up maybe an hour or so a day, but what you eat over the other 23 hours makes all the difference in your results. And I’m not just talking about weight loss or gain. Eating well has innumerable benefits to your overall human performance including more energy, increasing athletic performance, boosting your immune system, decreasing inflammation, improved mental clarity, etc.

You will never be able to out work a poor diet. Focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods — think healthy fats, lean protein, plenty of vegetables — and being aware of how and when you’re eating. Generally speaking, its helpful to maintain an even blood glucose level in your system which means eating smaller meals more often. Eating when you are bored or stressed is usually a bad idea.

Healthy eating habits are best done in baby steps. Change one thing at a time. I recommend to replace foods vs. cutting them. Instead of saying, “I’m going to quit diet soda cold turkey,” try “I’ll replace diet soda with a naturally flavored water.” Once that is normal for you, move on to the next item. Research shows that small, easy changes done over time create more consistency and long-term results.

faith, Fitness

Physical Stewardship | Letter To My Son

I’m sharing a series of “letters” originally written by Vince Miller. I regard Vince as a trusted resource for wisdom and insight on faith and family especially as it pertains to men and fathers. His bio is at the bottom of the post. Look him up. What follows is his work entirely. Vince communicates the messages I want my son to hear in a far more clear and concise way than I could ever say. Consider using these as conversation starters. I encourage you to share these letters with the important men in your life.

 I think permitting the game to become too physical takes away a little bit of the beauty.

-John Wooden

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

I Timothy 4:8

Son I think today most would agree we worship sports and athletic accomplishments based on how much money we spend on the pursuit of these things. But it is fascinating because, amidst our attraction, many nevertheless miss seeing and understanding the value of bodily stewardship. We, by far, enjoy the drama, the competition, or discussion but sometimes fail to see the great life lessons in fitness, exercise, coaching, and athletic pursuit.

I wish that many years ago when I was a teen and young adult that someone would have reinforced to me that I only get one body—a single physical machine—for an entire lifetime and that I must care for it for a lifetime. While we might think this is intuitive, my younger mind always thought I was invincible and unbreakable, and what I put into it and got out of it could be pushed to the limits every day without consequence. Yet this state of mind overlooks the importance of stewarding the physical machine we are given.

Here are a few essential thoughts on good physical stewardship.

One | Physical care is good stewardship

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23

In this life, we are called to steward many things as men. One of the things we often default to thinking about is the stewardship of money. But there are a lot of other things we steward—one we often overlook is our body. The “machine” God gave to each of us during our lifetime is important. It serves an essential purpose, and we must steward it with care. This means we should understand physical care and exercise as needed, and not something we should neglect. We are only given one biological machine for carrying around our spirit and soul, and therefore, we must steward it with excellence. Notice Jesus’s remarks in the Book of Luke:

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

Luke 16:10-12

The life principle is this: how we steward the small things, wealth, or otherwise matters—this is true of anything, including the body. Our body is our means of human existence, interaction, witness, and communication with others. We feed it so that we can have the energy we need to be faithful and fulfill our responsibilities in living out the good news as a witness to the world. This machine needs quality inputs and outputs to ignite strength and vitality to do God’s daily work. And it’s our individual responsibility to care for it.

Two | God cares about your physical body

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:3

If Jesus didn’t care about our bodies, he would not have healed people. But he did so frequently and for many reasons. With renewed energy, men and women who were healed by Jesus went on their way, praising God and telling the world about the One who heals not only the spiritual afflictions but physical ailments. These men and women went forward in life, walking again, seeing again, and experiencing community again. If they were hungry, Jesus fed them. If they were bleeding, Jesus touched them. If they were dying, Jesus saved them. Jesus did these things for people who wanted healed machines, and these people went forward, knowing that they should care for their bodies, stewarding them, because God values spirit and body.

Three | God cares primarily about your eternity

And when he saw their faith, he said [to the paralyzed man], “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”—Luke 5:20, 24

This instance is interesting. Jesus heals both the paralyzed man’s spiritual and physical needs, but notice that Jesus addressed his spiritual needs first. Which if you read the story, you’ll discover created an interesting moment of tension and controversy for a few religious leaders. But this is Jesus, always stirring up controversy by ordering things precisely and correctly.

The general principle is we discover from the order that Jesus performed this healing is “stewardship of the body,” not the “worship of the body.” And we know that we can overdo anything—including how we care and tend to the body. While care for the machine we are given, we should be careful about giving our bodies, sports, or even athletic pursuits priority over God—to the point they become God. Our bodies are the means of worship, not what we worship. Our primary need is for a relationship with God through the forgiveness that God provides, which is why Jesus does this first in the case of this paralyzed man. And at this moment, Jesus puts a big punctuation mark on its importance by doing it first.

So the lesson is this son—steward with care what God has given to you. And steward it in such a way it gives glory to God, not yourself. The body God gave you is your means of witness to the greatness of God. So run this life with endurance and do so with the health and physical stamina God gave you and so run the race with endurance.

Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God’s Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men’s Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest study Men & Marriage: Overcoming 6 Unspoken Tensions.