Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why I Consider Myself a Bodybuilder

It's safe to say I've experienced my share of turned-up noses and raised eyebrows when people find out I'm a "bodybuilder." For a while, I hesitated to call it "bodybuilding," and often answered questions of what I've been up to with a casual referral to "training" or "new workout regimen I'm trying out." However, I've decided to embrace the label of bodybuilding, and maybe clarify what it means to me.

I do bodybuilding because I want my physical body to reflect the strength and beauty that's being produced on the inside of my body. 

There's a hardcore, never-ending fitness class going on deep within my spirit, a conditioning brought on by the Holy Spirit, that if I allow it to, will tear apart my soul and rebuild it just like a hardcore workout does to your muscles.

I've told people before that I believe fitness is God's preferred method of communication with me, and hey, I'm not going to question his methods. Whatever he's doing, it's working, and I like it.

Sure, competing in shows has given me a platform to start my own business, become a credible source of nutrition and fitness knowledge, as well as become an inspiration to those wanting to perfect their aesthetics. I think all of those reasons are proof enough of why it's an honorable position to be in as a bodybuilder. But, what I think can sometimes get blurry for competitors is discovering why they care about being an inspiration any way. 

I'm afraid if achieving physical perfection was my only motivation for me crawling out of bed at 5 a.m. and crawling up the ladder of death, I mean, stairclimber, every morning, I would have worn myself out after a couple shows and over-tanned, vein-popping photographs, and then marked it off my checklist a long time ago. 

So, why do I keep on going like the Energizer Bunny? 

Not because I think working out is a Biblical law or spiritual discipline.

Not because I think I'm worthier of a person if I look and feel better.

Not because I think God loves me more if I work hard enough to prove to him I'm a hard worker.

Because the revelations in my spiritual life motivate me to shine out God's light in every which way I can, and to me, doing the shows keeps me accountable and challenged enough to never stop ... to never give up.

That's why no matter what critique a judge gives me, whether I'm too lean, too thin, or too whatever, I keep pushing myself and pushing myself, because I know who the real judge is. And he has whispered in my ear, "Good job, my precious daughter," enough times to remind me of why I'm here.

My hope is that you find encouragement to dig deep and hear what God is saying to you. If you feel encouraged to pick up a weight or two in the meantime, that's just a bonus. ;)

Monday, December 2, 2013

'Tis the Season to Lift Heavy Things

One question I get asked a lot these days is if I'm training for another show some time soon. I hate my answer ... "No, I'm in my off-season right now ... bulking and building muscle." 

Prejudging at my last show in October, the NPC Heartland.
I hate using the word "bulking." It makes me sound like a d-bag body-builder wannabe. I guess a better answer would be "Yes, I am training for a show or two next spring, but right now, I'm adding more muscle mass to my physique."

Learning how to refuel my body and add muscle mass, rather than just maintain, has been a huge knowledge-bearing season for me. I've learned how to stay lean and get stronger at the same time.

In the bodybuilding world, this often means, lifting heavier weight for as many reps as you can, fatiguing the muscle some days and then allowing those muscles to rest on others. For me, I've really been using the pyramid scheme of adding weight and decreasing reps (and then repeat the other way around). This style of weight-training has been immensely helpful in adding muscle mass and maintaining a lean physique.

As I've researched and experimented with my physical body in how to get stronger, I've learned that this process is similar to the feat we face in our spirits. We can choose to maintain our current spiritual "physique," or we can choose to get stronger. To me, this has meant trying new things, starting new disciplines, becoming a little bit more vulnerable, taking risks, and over all, being different.

Following Jesus is all about being different. It's not about doing the same things all the other Christians are doing and saying, but it's about your relationship with Jesus, and hearing what Jesus has to say to you. Everyone walks out their purpose a little bit differently. And trust me, nobody walks it out in a straight line. Each of us has bumps in the road, a mountain we must climb, or a wrong turn in our trail. The most important thing to remember is that just because we slip up a couple of times, it doesn't mean we need to throw in the towel and give up.

Never. Give. Up.

Just like we trainers preach to our clients — to not let your poor choice of a cheat convince you to forever eat cheetos and forget about the gym. We all make poor choices. It's the choice to move past that, accept God's grace and move forward in the right direction that separates you from the losers.

Don't be a loser.

Choose grace. Choose the high road. Bulk up and build muscle, ladies! ... And gents! ;)

For help in building muscle, shoot me an email or see what you might be interested in on my Services tab above. 
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