Revamp Monday: God is in the Gym!

Every year Writer’s Digest comes out with their “101 Best Websites for Writers” and I LOVE flipping through the pages of those issues then surfing the web for the latest sites and resources. There’s just so much fantastic stuff out there for writers! There’s the traditional stuff like critique or discussion forums and “everything agents,” job listings and writers’ conferences.  But then there’s the non-traditional, inspirational, stuff, like the creativity portal which offers a slew of brain teasers and visual prompts to spark the imagination, or coffitivity.com, a site that provides the background noise you would hear in a coffee shop–you know, in case you can’t get to an actual coffee shop to do your work!

My point is that Writer’s Digest has the same idea that I do.  We recognize that writers need all kinds of resources. Yes, we need to talk about writing, but we also need inspiration that will motivate us to write! That’s what Mayhem Mondays are all about! I’m trying to get us motivated to do the work that we were meant to do!  That’s also why I’m glad to have Tanzy back again to inspire us to keep pushing–whether it’s pencils or power squats!

GOD IS IN THE GYM

 In my experience, I’ve found that physical activity has the ability to mimic many of my personal spiritual experiences. My intangible journey of faith suddenly takes on shape, form and weight, when I’m in the gym.

The heaviness of the bars I press, remind me of the heaviness I feel at times when raising my arms to praise God. Struggling against the burden of complacency to honor Him through worship.

Tanz3

Running miles, up and down hills on the treadmill as my heart aches in my chest. Step after step in agonizing fatigue, mirroring the deliverance I’ve been desperately pursuing. Pleading for the finish line to come into view.

The rope I grasp to pull my body vertically against gravity, is not unfamiliar to the ditch of depression I’ve tried to pull myself out of, time and time again. Muscles of hope burning as I grip tighter and pray harder that I can make it out this time.

The delicate yoga poses I hold are identical to the moments that I am expected to be still, and know that HE IS GOD.  Breathing deep and slow, as I patiently wait for God to instruct me to change position.  But until then I am forced to make still my anxious thoughts and trust in my creator.

For me, physical movement is capable of materializing my walk with Christ. God is indeed present with me in the gym.

Speaking to me on the bike trail.

Whispering to me with each lap in the pool.

Lifting with me rep after rep.

He helps me as I battle against the voice that says, “You can’t do this”. The spirit reminds me, “I can do all things”. In my world, he resides not only in the church, but also in the gym and Exercise is my reasonable act of worship. It’s my way of giving God praise for the gift of my body. It’s His way of  teaching me that I can overcome any challenge he calls me to face.

Physical fitness is the language God uses to save my soul.  A strong body is simply a side effect.

Tanzy Chandler

Founder of REVAMP FITNESS

Thanks, Tanzy!

Tanzy Chandler joins us on the first Monday of every month. Check out her article “Demote the Scale” and her YouTube channel! Also, for more Mayhem Monday Madness, check back every Monday and throughout the week for writing and word play.  Also, check out my  recipes  (I have a new kale salad that’s yum!) and energizers, ’cause you can’t write–or exercise–on an empty stomach!

smallsignature

Monday Mayhem: Introducing Revamp Mondays!

I am so excited to introduce to you a young lady whom I met several years ago through a mutual friend. She is a physical therapist and fitness enthusiast, but besides that she is just a genuinely nice person–kind and easy-going–easy to love and  loved by many! Her name is Tanzy Chandler and she has launched Revamp Fitness, which is all about promoting health and fitness in Tanzy’s own unique way. What I love most is how Tanzy perfectly blends her strength with femininity and demonstrates how to challenge self-perceived limits to push past impossible!

I think you will enjoy hearing her unique perspective, so I’ve decided that the first Monday of each month “Monday Mayhem” will be “Revamp Monday” and Tanzy will inspire us with fitness advice, tips and videos to get us charged up for our work week. Today we’re starting with “Demote the Scale!”

scale2

I’ve come to realize an error that we’ve made in our community.  We’ve got things backwards–we’ve elevated the trivial things and minimized important things. Case in point: The Scale. This flat, plastic device scrolls through a series of numbers and the 3 digits it rests on seem to be able to speak life or death into our hearts. A smaller number boosts our ego and a larger number fills us with shame.

What if we put the scale in its rightful place?  On the ground instead of on a pedestal.

We’ve mistakenly given it the power to measure our worth. In our lives, the scale has the power to dictate our happiness, our mood, and even the way we are perceived. We lift it up high as if it were a god and we allow it’s numbers to rule us. What if we took the scale off its man-made throne and demoted it to its rightful position? The ground.

scale

It is meant to lay under our feet because it is the least of all the measuring tools that exists. It cannot measure our character, nor our integrity. It has no sense of our faith, or our thoughts. It cares nothing about how much we nurture, or cultivate friendships. It knows nothing of our past and cares nothing of our future. It has no insight into our dreams and passions, desires or delights. It cannot evaluate our purpose, or our pursuits.

There’s no need for me to wear the scale as a crown on my head or as a noose around my neck. It doesn’t belong in either place.  When we understand the truth about the scale, when the scale is put in its rightful place, we can smile at it no matter how the numbers line up. We are no longer afraid of its commentary because it’s voice is powerless.

I think it’s time that we demote the scale.

Tanzy Chandler

Founder of Revamp Fitness

Inspired? Check out my Monday Mayhem series for more inspiration to kick off your work week! And don’t forget to check out my recipes which will give you energy to get through the day.

Happy Monday!

smallsignature

Monday Mayhem: Tabata Mania!

Good morning and Happy Monday!

This weekend my husband and I retreated to a remote bed and breakfast in Andrews, North Carolina called Hawkesdene. In a word, it was amazing!

I’ll share more about the vacay in another post, but for today’s Monday Mayhem, I’m pushing myself as I push all of you to jump back into the work week with both feet! Here’s how:

I’ve already shared my new favorite HIIT workout–Tabata–in an earlier Monday Mayhem, now here’s another resource for you. Fit mom, Lindsay Brin shows us 20 high energy exercises with modifications that we can do every morning to get our hearts pumping and blood flowing!

You don’t have to do all 20 at once, just pick and choose what you want to do for each day’s workout.  Just remember:

  • each set is 20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest
  • two sets per minute = 1 round.
  • a complete Tabata is 8 sets or 4 rounds = 4 minutes

You can choose to repeat the same exercise for each set or do a different exercise for each set as long as you maintain that 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest ratio! Allow yourself an extra minute or two to recover after every round and do as many or as few rounds as you have time (and energy) for! At the very minimum, do one full Tabata (4 minutes). At the maximum do fifteen Tabatas (60 minutes), but I would recommend four to six Tabatas (apx 20-30 minutes). That’s really all you need every other day to get (or stay) in shape.

Have fun!

signature

Monday Mayhem: Get Fit in 5 Minutes Flat!

In a former life I was a certified aerobics instructor and personal trainer and people would ask me all the time how they could lose weight and get in shape.  For years I’ve, pretty much, given the same answer: exercise often and eat healthier. But, in response I would often hear two things: “I do eat healthy, but I’m still overweight” and “I don’t have time to (or don’t want to) exercise.”

Well, now I have an answer to both!

First of all, it’s not just what you eat, but when and how much.  Because the metabolism is on an upward swing in the morning and begins to decline towards the end of the day, it is important to eat your heavier meals early when you have more time in the day to burn off the calories.  Save your snacking for the evening.  But by “snacking” I don’t mean donuts and chips! How about hummus and pretzels? Air popped, lightly salted popcorn? Or Aiyesha Curry’s Yogurt Parfait? Fruit salad?  Or, my favorite, a cup of tea or Postum?  These kinds of snacks, in the evening, a couple of hours before bedtime should satisfy you without piling on the pounds.

Second, high intensity interval training (HIIT)—more specifically, Tabata. It’s my new favorite “go to” workout routine, especially when I’m in a hurry.

Even if you only have 5 minutes, you can burn calories, build strength and endurance.

It’s true! All you have to do is pick an exercise that uses the larger muscle groups; then set your clock and begin!  To make it easier, try this online Tabata Timer or download a Tabata Timer app onto your phone You will do the exercise as quickly as you can for 20 seconds, then you get to rest for 10 seconds before repeating the same exercise. Come on, you can do ANYTHING for 20 seconds!!!  Challenge yourself to maintain the same number of reps for each round. It will get harder each time, but as long as you give it your all for 20 seconds, you will benefit from this exercise. And when the 4 minutes is up, cool down for 1 minute and head for the shower! What? Really? Yes, really! You’re done, in 5 minutes flat!

So, for our Monday Mayhem workout, let’s do some burpees.

If you have more time, try some of these other Tabata workouts. You can do one set or string together several sets to comprise a 15, 20 or 30 minute workout. You won’t need longer than that!

Happy Week!

signature

Monday Mayhem! How to Get Back to Work after Vacation

Good Morning and Welcome to the post-holiday hustle!

For many of us, today marks the first offical day back to work and school after the Christmas and/or New Year’s break. I wouldn’t doubt that many of you are struggling to shake off that holiday sludge and shift into work mode again. Whether you were off for a long weekend or you were lucky enough to enjoy a full two weeks, coming back to work is hard!

For us writers the struggle is the same. When you work from home it’s even harder to shift from “lazy day” to “work day” since the physical space doesn’t change. That’s why we have to get dressed and go to our office or desk or corner that we’ve designated for writing and mentally (if not physically) shut out everything else (i.e. laundry, dishes, cat litter, etc.).

Two things help me jumpstart my work flow: exercise & a power breakfast. So today–and every Monday*–I will share with you a surefire energizer to help you go from “no” to “go” in no time! Now, I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have the time nor the desire for either of these things when you’re already dragging yourself out of bed late and you have to get the kids off to school. But don’t worry! I’m talking about two Monday morning habits that will take very little time–trust me!

Now, as a disclaimer, I would still advise that you find 30-60 minutes at least three times a week to get in a good workout. Find something you enjoy: swimming, basketball, spin class, kickboxing, whatever! Your body will thank you! But, on those mornings, like today, when you’re doing good just to roll out of bed, try this:

  1. throw on some shorts or stay in your pjs and do 10 jumping jacks, up to 10 push-ups and 10 squats (click here to see how you can modify these exercises according to your fitness level)
  2. go start the coffee brewing or heat up the teapot, wake up the kids (if you have kids), then…
  3. repeat step 1!
  4. sweeten your coffee or tea and start prepping Ayesha Curry’s Greek Yogurt parfait…you may also have to shake up the kids again, then…
  5. repeat step 3!
  6. take a shower, finish prepping your power breakfast, then hurry yourself and the kids out the door

What’s great about this is you can congratulate yourself for starting off your Monday with an exercise that will boost your energy level, but won’t require an unreasonable time commitment.

If you have time, sit and enjoy your power breakfast while reading something inspirational like Proverbs 31. If not, prep that parfait in a plastic cup and take it on the road! Your body and your mind should be warmed up now and ready to face the day.

Check back every Monday for another “Monday Mayhem” energizer!

mayhemmondays

*Of course, you don’t have to reserve this routine for Mondays. Since Monday was a holiday, this was written on a Tuesday! Anyway, it works on any day when you’re having a hard time pulling it together. Let me know how you feel after trying this energizer and tell me what you think of Ayesha’s parfait, I think it’s super yummy! Or maybe you found a way to make it your own, tell me about it!

Happy Monday!

signature