First Love FITNESS, Week Two ~ “No Pain, No Gain”

Posted on Sep 22, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 69 comments

IMG_1786First, I want to apologize for not getting this recap of “First Love FITNESS ~ Week Two” written and posted sooner.  Suffice it to say I’ve been busy as a mom.  I imagine other mothers out there understand, but still I’m sorry I didn’t at least get our daily gospel reading schedule posted for you.  I will try to do better in the future, and I thank you for your grace!

As you can see, I had a helper at “First Love FITNESS” this past week: a precious little princess named Candice, the daughter of one of the ladies in my class. Our workout went longer than expected, so Candice joined in at the end. Copying her mommy’s every exercise move, excitedly lifting a pink 6-lb. medicine ball, and proudly showing me how fast she can run, I observed a little girl passionate about fitness! I think God may have planted a new seed within me… maybe “First Love FITNESS–for Kids!” will be next….

But back to our class, I was so blessed to meet again with ladies desiring to become physically and spiritually fit. After opening with prayer, I loved hearing the difference that some of last week’s scriptures had made in their lives, especially 2 Timothy 1:7… “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Because self-discipline can be an area of such great struggle, our group as a whole found it extremely encouraging that God GIVES us the spirit we need to overcome our weaknesses and temptations.

I shared that my favorite part of the week had been my daily journaling of one special verse from our corporate reading of the “Good News” of Jesus. If you’re not already doing so, I encourage you to join us in reading the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John during these 10 weeks of “First Love FITNESS.” Not only is reading the Word of God enlightening and empowering, but by writing down every day one verse that seems to jump out at you with personal significance, you’ll be creating your own journal with your First Love… recording your own journey with Jesus.

Moving on to Week Two’s lesson, I asked if anyone had experienced muscle soreness after Week One’s workout? I know I did! If you haven’t done them for a while, uphill lunges and “skull crushers” (for the triceps) will get you every time. I told the sweet faces staring back at me I had purposely led them through a workout I thought would make them sore… and that that is a good thing!

Week Two is entitled “No Pain, No Gain,” which is a loving, foundational truth for “First Love FITNESS.” In our quest towards becoming physically and spiritually fit, building muscle is key. Not just physical muscle, but spiritual muscle, too.  Becoming stronger–in our heart, mind, body and soul.

I told the ladies about a time God spoke a profound and healing truth into my broken heart and life. It was about six weeks after my baby was born and died. I had started working with a personal trainer to help me lose the 35 pounds I’d gained during pregnancy. With my four prior children, I had always lost my pregnancy weight, but this time I had no baby to help nurse off the excess pounds.

I was a beginner when it came to lifting weights, and I would get very sore the day after my workouts. I noticed my trainer would mention my muscles’ tearing. This sounded terrible to me; I was already incredibly depressed and didn’t need more hardship in my life. But the way my trainer spoke of the tearing, it didn’t seem to be a bad thing. In fact it sounded like something positive. I didn’t understand. But he was 6’5” and 225 pounds. I felt intimidated to ask.

But soon I became so curious that I got up the courage to ask. He explained that when muscles are worked, they tear. That’s why we feel sore. But the building of the muscle occurs when the torn parts come back together. In this mending process, the muscle becomes bigger and stronger than it was before.

So the painful tear is essential to building the muscle. The hurt is crucial to becoming stronger.

God had just used a 24-year-old personal trainer to speak His love into my life. The Almighty God of the universe, the One Who had carried me through every bit of my pre- and post-death grief losing my baby, was telling me that my broken heart would not only heal but become stronger. That my mind, my body–every part of me that felt so weak and broken–would mend, too, and be renewed with an even greater strength than was there before.

This is what I want to proclaim from the mountaintops–that with Jesus there is ALWAYS hope for renewed life. God gave an example for all mankind when He raised His Son from the dead. With Jesus, resurrection follows crucifixion. God restores and redeems, my friend. No matter how broken, torn or shattered your parts may be, God has new strength and greater things ahead.  “‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty.  ‘And in this place I will grant peace….'” (Haggai 2:9).

I encouraged the ladies in my class, and I encourage you, to prayerfully ponder our memory verse for Week Two:  “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). I understand if this scripture is not easy to say, which is why I pray you’ll spend time with God contemplating its meaning…for you.  Many years ago, next to this verse in the margin of my Bible, I wrote down a quote by Beth Moore: “This is where abundant life really begins.”

Having experienced the various sufferings and “resurrections” I have in my own journey with Jesus, I agree with Beth.  Being able to say the apostle Paul’s words (and really mean them) opens the door to knowing true freedom and joy in Christ. Additional verses from God’s love letter to you this week are Jeremiah 31:3-4, 12-13; Isaiah 51:3, 53:10-12, 58:11-12, 61:1,3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17, 12:9; Deuteronomy 4:20; and Job 42:12.

For our physical fitness, I spoke on the importance of PROTEIN. Especially after a workout, when our muscles are torn, will our body benefit from protein.  Protein aids the mending process, helping our muscles grow back together and become stronger.

Back when I was first working out, my trainer introduced me to a chocolate protein shake. Because of my depression I was barely eating, but something that tasted like chocolate milk was desirable even to me. After all these years, chocolate protein shakes are still a staple in my diet. I drink some before and after every workout, and I almost always have one ready-made, cold in my refrigerator, to drink or sip any time, day or night.

Other good sources of protein are skinless chicken or turkey breast meat (white, not dark); egg whites (eating one yolk a day is fine); salmon/tuna/white fish; nuts and seeds (watch the amount due to fat content); nonfat or low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese; beans (black, pinto, garbanzo); edamame; tofu; lean or extra-lean ground turkey meat; and an occasional lean steak (flank).

The ladies did a great job with Week Two’s workout circuit (which Candice is showing you).  Their sweat and heavy breathing proved it:)

Keep drinking lots of water, try adding a protein shake to your daily diet, and enjoy reading (and journaling) scripture every day!  For the ladies in my class, the “Good News” reading schedule is as follows (but since I’m posting late, catch up as you can):  Friday, Sept. 19 – Matthew 11; Saturday, Sept. 20 – Matthew 12; Sunday, Sept. 21 – Matthew 13; Monday, Sept. 22 – Matthew 14; Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Matthew 15; Wednesday, Sept. 24 – Matthew 16; and Thursday, Sept. 25 – Matthew 17.

As always, please ask if you have questions and feel free to share comments… I would love to hear from you:)  Happy training!

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