Once you reach a certain age, it gets harder to stay in shape. The body doesn’t work like it used to and your eating indiscretions are more difficult to overcome. To top it all off, working out increases your appetite, so any gains you could be making are immediately neutralized by an increase in consumption. You become a walking billboard for the old adage, “you can’t outwork your diet.” So, what’s the solution? It’s quite simple. You have to learn to discipline yourself and make wise choices. You have to have a reason to want to get in shape. As we age, quality of life becomes even more important. We want to be able to enjoy the latter stages of life without being on a first name basis with every pharmacist in town.
A couple of years ago, I got serious about getting in physical shape. I have seen what pastors at my age can look like and it’s not always good. So, I began to take an interest in Crossfit. Perhaps you’ve heard the old joke, “How can you tell if someone does Crossfit?” The answer: “Just wait. They will tell you.” Well, I am telling you- I do Crossfit. I’m not one of those hardcore, all-out Crossfitters. I have not drunk the Kool-Aid, but I do know where they keep it.
Crossfit is defined as “constant varied functional movements performed at high intensity” which includes weightlifting, gymnastics, and various cardiovascular exercises (Defined by crossfit.com). Trust me- the workouts are intense. At first my wife was afraid for my life but over time, my fitness level has drastically improved and she has now joined me.
Workouts are referred to as WODs (workout of the day) and are constantly changing and always challenging. That’s what makes it fun. You never know exactly what you’ll be doing, but you do know that you are going to be pushed to your limit. When you finish a workout, there is a feeling of accomplishment. You feel like an overcomer. It’s good for you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It’s good stuff.
A lot of times when you talk with someone who does Crossfit, you will hear about the injuries they have experienced. Here’s my list. I have busted my shin wide open doing box jumps. It was so bad that it got infected and it limited what I could do while on vacation at the beach. I have also suffered a strained back and I have reinjured an elbow. However, my most painful Crossfit injury has been an intercostal strain. This injury occurs when you tear the muscle between your ribs. Words cannot describe the constant pain that this injury inflicted upon me. I could not do anything to get relief. I couldn’t stand, sit or lie down. It was horrible. But you know what? As soon as I was physically able, I started back. Why? Because I wanted to. I like the challenge and I like to push myself physically. At my age, I don’t want to feel like I am over the hill. I don’t want to just play golf or shuffle board. I don’t want to go gently into the night. Instead, I want to bend some bars and set PRs however slight the bend may be. I want to go down swinging and I don’t want to give up.
As a Christian, I want to have the same “never say die” attitude about my commitment to Christ. I want to overcome setbacks and push myself to live all out for Jesus. I want to have a passion about sharing the Gospel and I want it to cost me to follow Jesus. In Philippians 3:13-14, the Apostle Paul describes the intense concentrated effort that an athlete gives to win a race. He writes, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The imagery is of an athlete who is intensely focused, giving every ounce of effort in order to cross the finish line and win the race. Paul uses this imagery to sum up his commitment to live all out for Jesus.
Although we are saved by grace, we should still live the Christian life with the all-out, overcoming effort of an athlete that is in it to win it. Quitting should never be an option. According to Romans 8:37, we are super overcomers. We not only can make it to the finish line, but we can do so with an unceasing effort.
This imagery is why I like Crossfit so much. It reminds me of how I should live my life as a Christian, and if that is all that I get out of this exercise regiment of varied movements performed at high intensity, then it is worth it!