Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Warrior Fitness

"An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.” Gen. George S. Patton. I’d add to this that an active spirit can’t exist in an inactive body either. 

Physical fitness is integral to spiritual growth.  Our spirits cannot ascend to celestial glory without our bodies.  Our bodies are the temple where our spirit dwells.  It is our duty and obligation to care for that temple (indeed I could argue that learning to care for our physical bodies is a key part of our earthly test).  Being physically fit will see spiritual rewards as well as physical because our bodies and spirits function as one.  This becomes readily apparent when you get out and push yourself on a run or bike ride.  As  your body craves rest and ease, your spirit pushes it on.  It is an amazing experience that many don’t believe until they put it to the test.

Take a look at any real world WARRIOR training program and they all begin and end with PT (Physical Training).  An effective warrior must be fit.  He cannot function otherwise.

My belief is that it is the same for Priesthood Warriors.  As LDS-Special Forces it is important to develop a habit of physical fitness. Being physically fit will have a dramatic impact on your ability to feel and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  You become more effective in your priesthood man roles. You have more energy, you are more alert and you have greater capacity to be productive!

I have personally put this to the test and can attest that it WORKS! Here are the essentials of a basic fitness program:

I believe that any fitness program revolves around a good running program. The human body is designed to be a distance running machine (if you have the time/desire I highly recommend reading Born To Run  by Chris Macdougall…it will change the way you run forever).  All WARRIOR training programs include a heavy dose of running (by some statistics those men at BUD/S training to be Navy SEALS run between 14-20 miles a day) Clearly not every person can run…yet…but I do think that everybody should be working toward that goal.  Running, walking, biking, jogging, wheelchair racing, treadmill, etc…whatever the activity – you should start today.  Get up and move your legs.  I’ve just started using www.runkeeper.com to track my daily runs.  Feel free to join my 'Street Team' (I’m in there as Anthony Peters from Kaysville) there and we can track and encourage each other in our efforts to be physically fit.

The best way to start a running program was the old Duty to God program of the 3’s: Run for 30 minutes, 3 times a week, for 3 months.  That system of 3’s gets you started and will help establish your habit.  Then you can grow it from there. (Obviously you should check with your doctor before you start any exercise programs.)

The second thing that every good Priesthood Warrior fitness program needs is weight lifting.  Not only does it develop muscles but it is also good for your bones. Here are a couple of links that I’ve found key to helping establish a good weight lifting program:
www.scoobysworkshop.com
http://www.mensjournal.com/everything-you-know-about-fitness-is-a-lie
(this article is particularly interesting as you think about fitness and how to apply it in your life)

I’ve also been able to glean a lot of fitness information from the following site (not only about exercise but about eating healthy as well)

www.stewsmith.com he publishes a lot of free articles on fitness and nutrition that are really helpful.

The third key component to being a Priesthood Warrior is to eat better.  In our society (especially LDS culture) we’ve developed some terrible eating habits. We are good at shunning the key ‘bad things’ that the Word of Wisdom prohibits, but we’ve replaced them with all kinds of things that are almost as bad for us… ( I mean really, we bless doughnuts to “nourish and strengthen our bodies”…do we really think that praying over it will make that pile of sugar good for us?  The term refreshments has become synonymous with cake, pie, soda and any other sugary concoction we can come up with).  Men if you will simply eliminate most sugars and increase your protein intake, you will instantly lose some weight.  AND YOU’LL FEEL AWESOME!  (I believe that the absolute WORST thing you can put into your body is soda with junk food coming in a close second. These things are detrimental to your health and I would contend that they are slowly killing us).

Read this article and it will change the way you think about food.

http://www.mensjournal.com/everything-you-know-about-nutrition-is-wrong

The fourth Key to being Priesthood Warrior fit is to find your motivation.  This is way easy to say, and probably the hardest thing to do.  For some of us that motivation has to come in the form of a health crisis where we find ourselves in the position of being so unhealthy at the age of 35 that we can’t even play with our kids.  That was me.  Overweight, out of energy, on several medications for different conditions and looking at more.  I was terribly unhappy and had no motivation.  Luckily I took seriously the challenge to do the Duty to God program as a Young Men’s leader and I was determined to see it though.  I set for myself the fitness goal of being able to pass the minimum requirements for the Navy SEAL entrance test (see the “WHY WARRIORS?” tab).  Now, several years later, I’ve been able to lead a stake Pioneer Trek, go on a 50 mile backpacking trip and get off most of the medications I was taking.  I’m happier, healthier and most importantly…I can play with my kids.  I can run with my teenage son and play soccer with them.  I can pick up my daughter and when I tell her that her boyfriends need to be able to wrestle me…I can back that up!  What is  your motivation?  Find it and  you’ve started on that road to fitness success.

Lastly – to ANYONE who says the following: “I don’t have time to exercise.”  I say “BALONEY”.  Simply TURN OFF THE TV, VIDEO GAMES, FACEBOOK, TEXTING whatever “SCREEN” is eating up all your time.  It will be painful (see my thoughts on PAIN) but you will live, and you will find a whole new life as you get up and MOVE.  You can still participate in entertainment, but you’ll find more and more that you enjoy life a LOT MORE without all that screen time.  I promise you will.  I’VE DONE IT IN MY LIFE AND I KNOW IT WORKS!!!!

I hope to be able to post ideas, tips and advice from myself and other Warriors who want to share their experience with their brothers of the Priesthood...so let me know of your success' and we can all grow together.

So go on…TRY IT…I tripple-dog dare you!