“Why her? Why does she look so good? Why does it seem so easy for her? We do the same workout and she drops fat like it’s nothing. I workout harder. I’m stronger. I’m faster. I’m better. Maybe it’s her genetics. Maybe she has a faster metabolism. Maybe it’s her supplements. Do you think she is doing steroids? Do you think she has “help”? Maybe the doctor is giving her something to help her get faster results. Maybe I need to see my doctor. Maybe my body just doesn’t work like hers. Maybe it’s my thyroid. Maybe I’ll never be able to look like that.”
This is one downward spiral fueled by an unrealistic negative mindset that is focused on blaming on ANYone else but yourself. We can’t judge a person by what they do in the gym. It’s an hour a day. Have you ever thought that it could be what she is doing the other 23 hours a day that’s getting her the results you want?
I see this in boot camp all the time. People do the same exact workout. They get the same information, yet one person loses 30lbs and gets shredded while their BFF leaves the same weight as they started. Did the BFF lose fat and gain muscle? Probably. But did they radically change like their friend? No. Why? It wasn’t what they did in the gym. It was what they weren’t doing when they left.
Think of it this way. We all know going to church won’t get you to heaven. There have been plenty of criminals who have gone to church. They might have even served as a deacon. They could have had the best intentions. They might have gone down to the front, or raised their hand, to say they wanted to change. They might have cried buckets of tears in complete misery with how they were living life, begging God to help them to change. They could have attended every service, gone to every Bible Study, and did everything other church members did, but their life would NEVER change if they didn’t change the way they lived OUTSIDE the church. That would require surrender. It requires discipline. It requires perseverance. It requires a lifestyle change.
Transformation requires DOING not just HEARING. We teach our fitness competitors the SAME stuff we teach our boot campers and clients. Some reach their fullest potential and some never even scratch the surface. Why? Like with church, the “message” is the same. My pastor is giving the same message to 4 different services, and hundreds of people. Each time his words penetrate our hearts and we take it home and practice it (practice also means we try and fail, and we keep trying anyway).
Our life is not the same as it was the first time we showed up. Our lives are being transformed – and we are not alone. I’ve seen radical life changes – HUGE transformations. So why isn’t EVERYONE that goes to our church having these same awesome experiences as we are? Because the keep going right back to the same way they are living, without applying what they are hearing. They expect to magically be transformed by the one-hour spiritual workout a week – and they fail.
I’ve gone to church all my life. I failed in life when I quit applying what I’ve learned at HOME. It’s not what I do at church or the gym that transforms my life. My workouts are almost the exact same now as they were when I was 20lbs heavier. What changed is what I was putting in to my body on a daily basis. It’s the consistency of eating clean and denying the flesh what it craves (chips and salsa, cookies, overeating, snacking, etc). If I eat junk, I’ll look like junk. If I eat too much, I’m going to weigh too much. If I eat clean, I will look lean. If I eat healthy, I will feel healthy. What I put in my body (and soul) absolutely has a radical affect on my life.
If you want to transform your life – whether physically or spiritually, you have to quit feeding your flesh (quit literally feeding your body the things it wants opposed to the things it needs – both physically and spiritually). You need to do more than rely on a Sunday message or a motivational mantra. It takes more than “good works” or a good workout. It takes a life change – 24 hours a day. Will you fail? Heck yeah – and you will STILL be SO much better off trying.
No more complacency.
No more pointing the finger.
No more excuses.
Where is your primary focus? Is it on how much you hate working out. How much time it takes and how little time you have? Do you focus on how far you have to go? Is your goal so far away that it drags you down? Maybe your focus is on others, and how great everyone else seems to be doing, and how much further ahead they are.
Where your focus is, is what you will see. What you see, is who you’ll be. In this quote Alphonse (1800’s French novelist) shows his focus is not on the thorns, but the roses. Instead of looking at a rose bush as having flaws in the thorns, he sees how awesome it is that a thorny bush could have such beautiful flowers.
We should learn from Alphonse, and realize we have a choice of what we see based on what we focus on. We have a choice to be appreciative of everything that is wonderful, and overlook the thorns in our life. When we look past the thorns, we see less thorns in others too. Our whole view changes.
Try, with all your might, not to think about how hard dieting is, how challenging your workouts are. Try hard not to focus on your own shortcomings and focus on all the good that is blossoming in you. Fitness grows strength, beauty, confidence, health, physical improvements and improved performance – and that’s just the physical. If you focus on your spiritual growth, and all your gifts and talents instead of your limitations, you will realize you are like a beautiful bouquet to your peers – beautiful, with a sweet aroma to anyone who gets close.
Get the Fertilizer Out
In many ways, we are all thorny. We all have our hurts, our struggles, our selfish ways, our prickly personality – but, we all have our own roses too. It just depends on how we care for ourself – and it’s difficult to want to take care of a thorn bush, if that’s all we see. However, if we see ourselves for who we really are (a prize rose bush), you will be more apt to treat it with care. Another words, you must love yourself – and that’s difficult to do if you cannot see the good in you.
We need certain things to really blossom – just like roses. We can’t expect to act beautiful if we deprive ourself of life’s water, food and proper care. If you neglect your mind, body and spirit, like if we neglect caring for a plant, you will be nothing but thorns, with little flowering, and little life, left in you. This will make it even more difficult to love yourself. However, if you take the time to care for your body, you will blossom SO much and you will begin to see your value – and the last thing anyone will ever see are your thorns.
If you look in the mirror (and look inside) and all you see is thorns, here are a few tips on how to care for a dying plant (which totally applies to our life too):
1. Strengthen your roots. If you are dying inside, you may be rooted in the wrong soil and need to be transplanted. Nourishment comes from your roots. Are your roots in unhealthy soil? Are your roots strong, or are they so shallow that you’ll blow over with the first big wind? For me, roots are God first, then family and friends. That is my foundation. Without that, I am weak and cannot weather any storm. “Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.” (Colossians 2:7)
2. Cut away the dead stuff. One way to get stronger roots is to prune the tree. The weaker the roots, the more cutting you have to do. Another reason for cutting away the dying stuff in us is so nourishment is confined to only what is healthy in you. There is no need to nourish the parts of you that are already dying, or unhealthy. In the fitness world, you may need to cut away junk food, unsupportive friends, laziness and doubt. In life it may be friendships, bad habits, things that steal your time, selfishness or an unhealthy lifestyle that need to go if you want to get healthy and really blossom.
3. Live in right environment. Even if you have the right soil, and you get rid of the bad stuff, you will never blossom without the right environment. As you know, certain plants do not do well in direct sunlight. They need a filter. We too need the right environment to grow, and often times need to be filtered from this harsh world. If you are not sure what that looks like, then think of a time in your life that you were the healthiest. If you don’t feel you have every been healthy, look at other people you respect (not the ones who may look successful, but the ones how have peace and joy – because money doesn’t last, but joy can continue with or without money). Then plant yourself near them, or in a similar environment, and get the same nourishment they get.
4. Care for yourself daily. If you take care of your roots, you trim away the yucky stuff and you make sure you are in the right environment, that still isn’t enough to get the results you want. Sadly, many people do this in fitness. They join a gym, cut out all the junk and get in the right circles, but they don’t consistently take care of themselves. They are hit or miss with their workouts, they are hit or miss with their eating, and they are hit or miss with their commitment. The same way a plant needs consistent loving care, YOU need consistent loving care. If you don’t consistently get the nourishment you need, you will first lose your blossoms, then you will go limp and weak. Then you will begin to dry out and shrivel up. However, I think we all know, even if you have little life left in you, it is never too late to revive your life.
We all are born with the same potential. What you do with your life is up to you. You have the power to decide. Will you be a living thriving strong grounded flowering life, or a dying malnourished thorny bush?