It’s NOT about the Fitness

I love to work out.  It has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.  In elementary school starting around 5th grade I would get up two hours before I needed to be at school so I could run 5 miles before starting my school day.  

I would lace up my Converse shoes with the theme song from Rocky thumping through my brain.  I would get that runners high, even in elementary school.

Fast forward about forty years and I am still as passionate about fitness as I was when I was ten.  The only difference now is that it isn’t about the fitness. 

Now my time in the gym, my time on the bike, my outdoor adventures are all ways to draw closer to God.  To spend time in prayer.  To train my mind and spirit to be more like Christ.   Working out has become so much more than the way I look, which is a side benefit, but not my main priority. 

Pushing myself to my limits connects me to what Jesus has done for me on the cross.  A little suffering is good for my soul.  It makes me feel fully alive.

Now I recognize, not everyone loves to work out like I do.  In fact some people can’t stand it.  A lot of that has to do with our perspective on exercise and why we do it. 

We have made exercise so much about weight loss, burning calories and how we look that it becomes a very superficial experience.  Trust me I get it.  Bodybuilding for me was always about appearance.  I am so glad that I am moving away from the superficial and moving towards my health and physical well-being as being a vital part of my spiritual growth journey.

It’s NOT about the fitness.  It’s about being my best self physically, mentally and spiritually.  It’s about being more like Christ.  It’s about honoring God with every rep I do in the gym.  It’s about connecting with God in prayer and meditation when I am on the bike. 

What about for you?  How can you have a deeper spiritual experience through movement and fitness?  What if exercise wasn’t really about exercise, but about feeling fully alive.  About our lives being completely transformed from the inside out. 

So many people struggle with their health, weight and fitness.  I want to challenge you to think of fitness differently.  It’s really NOT about the fitness at all. 

It’s about honoring God with our body.  It’s about treating our body as the precious vessel that it is.  It’s about pushing our limits and becoming the best version of ourselves. 

My hope and prayer is that we become passionate about fitness, not just so we look a certain way, but because it will give us the abundance of energy that we need to do the work that God is calling us to do.

When we use our exercise time as a form of worship, it puts a whole new perspective on our why behind fitness.  In fact it’s really NOT about the fitness at all.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

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