Viewing entries tagged
Troy Ismir Men's Health Coach

It’s NOT about the Fitness

Comment

It’s NOT about the Fitness

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

Comment

Creating the Habit of Greatness

Comment

Creating the Habit of Greatness

Whether we want to admit it or not we are all creatures of habit.   The vast majority of us do the same things day after day.  We eat the same foods, we think the same thoughts, we drive to work the same way.

Of course that is good in many ways.  Thank goodness we don’t have to re-learn how to drive a car every day.  We have that habit instilled in us to the point we often times drive somewhere and have no recollection of how we even got there.  That’s a little scary isn’t it?

Case in point when I was living in Orlando I had moved to a new house and had been living there for over a month.  I completely went on auto-pilot when I realized I was driving to my old home.  I had developed the habit of driving to my old home and completely forgot I had moved.

But the problem really lies in our habit of thinking.   We have created these destructive thinking habits that have become hard-wired into our subconscious mind.  Thoughts of fear, lack, being the victim, anger, pride, suffering, shame, guilt and the list of negative emotions goes on and on. 

I realized not that long ago that I was living my life from a place of destructive emotions.   Who wants to follow a leader that isn’t living from a place of joy, love and happiness?  It hit me right between the eyes. 

Philippians48.jpg

Since that time I have been working really hard on creating the habit of greatness, the habit of joy.  But the ultimate habit I am working on is creating the habit of expressing God through me.  I certainly can’t do that when I am living in a place of destructive habits and thoughts. 

Since we are hard-wired to create habits, why not create habits that are positive and healthy?   Why not create habits thing bring us to a place of joy, peace, freedom, love and happiness.

Once I realized that I am my own worst enemy and started to get out of my own way, the world is responding to me in a much different way.  God is opening up doors for me that have been amazing.  God is working in me and through me in a way I never thought possible. 

The hardest thing to do is to remove the limits we put on ourselves and the limits we put on God.  We have developed habits that limit our true greatness. 

How do we go about creating the habit of greatness?  It doesn’t happen by accident.   It takes training our mind daily.  It takes being intentional about what we think about. 

To be more like Christ, we must train ourselves to think like Christ.  One way of doing that is through spending time meditating.  Asking God to work in us and through us.  Asking God to change our destructive thinking habits to thinking habits that lead to greatness.  Being still and letting God work in our hearts. 

Another way to change our way of thinking is by what we allow into our minds.  How much time are we spending reading the Bible, praying, spending time with other godly people, reading inspirational books and listening to podcasts?

I refuse to start my day watching the news or reading the newspaper.  I will skim the paper later in the day just so I am up on current events, but my morning time is spent studying the word of God, journaling, praying, meditating and setting my intention for the day. 

I don’t care how early I have to get up.  Recently it has been as early as 3:45.  To me it’s worth it as I am working on cultivating the habit of greatness.  Unless I believe I am great, no one else will either.  Not out of pride, but from a place of being a son of God.  He created me for greatness and being anything less than great isn’t truly expressing God through me. 

I want to encourage you to start to instill habits of greatness into your life.  Start to think differently and you will start to see amazing things happen around you.  We change the world by first changing ourselves.  I pray that God continues to work in you and through you for His glory. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

 

 

 

Comment

Addicted to God

Addicted to God

I have been a personal trainer and health coach for over twenty-five years and by far the biggest challenge I see people facing is the struggle with emotional eating.  Eating for reasons other than hunger.  

The majority of my clients come to me with long standing patterns of making unhealthy lifestyle choices and a poor relationship with food.  The struggle is real.  It’s a pattern that can be changed, but takes a great deal of work, patience and persistence. 

There is no magic pill for making sustainable lifestyle changes.  Sure, we live in a culture where everyone is promising the 21 day program for ripped abs, 14 days to lose 14 pounds or add 10 pounds of muscle in 30 days. 

I am here to tell you those programs may work in the short-term, but they rarely if ever work over the long haul.  It just gives people false hope.  Until you learn to change your mind set, it’s going to be very challenging to make sustainable lifestyle changes.   You never hear about the year-long program to ultimate health and fitness, because we live in a microwave society that wants results NOW!

A big part of my purpose with starting Divine Wellness Ministries is to help people make SUSTAINBLE lifestyle changes through Christ-centered principles.  The journey isn’t about the weight loss, although that will be a healthy side effect, it’s more about developing your character to be more Christ like.  To learn how to love yourself unconditionally like God does.  To start to see yourself the way God sees you.  To grow spiritually in joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control.

God wants us to be health in mind, body and spirit.  Our thought life plays such a significant role in our overall health.    “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”  (Proverbs 4:23)  But yet, how many of us suffer from toxic thinking?  How many of us look in the mirror and can’t stand our reflection in the mirror?  It’s going to be really challenging to make lasting lifestyle changes until we have a mind and heart change.

It’s one thing to read scripture, it’s another thing to truly let it sink into our hearts and our souls.  Until we allow God’s words to transform our minds we will continually look for quick fixes, unhealthy habits and repetitive sin. 

“My son pay attention to what I say.  Turn your ear to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22).

SIXTY THREE DAYS TO DEVELOP A HABIT

habits2.jpg

I have been digging into a lot of Dr. Caroline Leaf’s work lately.  She is a neuroscientist that ties her research into Biblical principles.  It is very fascinating.  The book I am currently reading is called, “Think and Eat Yourself Smart.” 

She talks about how our mind controls our brain and that we aren’t victims of our circumstances.  We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our response to what happens to us.    It comes down to choices. 

One of the things I tell my clients all of the time is that every time you put something into your mouth you are either moving towards better health or disease.  When you choose a fruit or a vegetable over a sugar laden snack you are moving towards health.  When you decide to have that soda vs. a glass of water you are moving towards disease.  It’s your choice. 

What happens over time is that we develop long-standing habits that are hard to be broken.  Many of my clients have been eating unhealthy for years.  It takes hard work and persistence to start to make lifestyle changes.  I tell all of my clients to give themselves at least a full year to implement the changes they want and most importantly to make them “stick.”

It’s not a popular thing to tell them, but it’s the truth.  As their coach, I feel like I would be misleading them if I told them something different. 

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf’s work, over a period of 21 days a short term memory becomes a long term memory, but it takes another 42 days for it to become a habit.   Therefore, it takes a minimum of 63 days to form a habit, not 21.  The good news is that over the course of a year you can change six long-standing habits. 

FOCUS ON ONE CHANGE AT A TIME

onething.jpg

My suggestion to my clients is to only work on one habit at a time.  It can be overwhelming to try to make a complete lifestyle overhaul.   When you focus on making one change at a time you can be much more deliberate around that change and the likelihood for long term success is much greater. 

Dr. Leaf refers to this as the Quantum Zeno Effect.  This enables us to fully direct our attention, focus our reflections and rigorous effort to a particular issue which leads to true learning.  When we constantly focus on one thing and learn everything about it, it creates a genetic change and learning takes place.   These new thoughts and habits become entrenched and implanted into our minds. 

Now of course that can work against us too.  Think food marketing.  Food marketers put thoughts into our nonconscious mind.  If we aren’t deliberate about what we watch and listen to, it can easily seep into our mind, without us really being aware of the power that can have over us. 

ADDICTED TO GOD

addicted.jpg

So how do we overcome our propensity to eat emotionally and become addicted to food as the food industry thrives on?  My suggested is that we become addicted to God instead of addicted to food.  God gave us the power of free will.  We get to choose what we eat.  We get to choose what we think about.  We get to choose if we want to live a healthy lifestyle or not.  We are not victims, we are given a spirit that doesn’t make us afraid, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). 

What if we became addicted to God?  What would your life be like if you let the Word of God sink into your heart instead of reaching for food that isn’t health sustaining.  What if you followed this scripture daily “My son pay attention to what I say.  Turn your ear to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22).

Try becoming addicted to God and not food.  Focus on your thought life, allow time to be your friend when it comes to making sustainable lifestyle changes.  And finally, don’ try to do this alone.  Making sustainable lifestyle changes is one of the hardest thing you will do.    I specialize in helping people make lasting lifestyle changes based on Christ-centered principles.  I promise no quick-fixes, but I do promise results over time. 

Please send me an e-mail to troy@troyismir.com if you are ready to make lasting changes in your life.

Troy Ismir, MS

Personal Trainer and Health Coach

Divine Wellness Ministries 

 

What's Your Reason for Getting Up in the Morning?

Comment

What's Your Reason for Getting Up in the Morning?

How many of you woke up this morning knowing exactly what your purpose is in life?  If I asked you right now, what is your reason you got up this morning, would you be able to tell me in a heartbeat? 

This blog post is about finding your ikigai?    According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai.  An ikigai is basically a reason to get up in the morning.  A reason to enjoy life.  A reason for being.  Finding your ikigai requires a deep and often lengthy search of self.   I want to invite you on this journey with me of taking a deep introspective look at your life.  If there is one thing that I have learned over the years, is that life is too short not to know what your ikigai is. 

I recently read this fascinating book called the Blue Zones.  The author spent five years visiting areas of the world where people tend to live longer, healthier lives, areas he calls Blue Zones.  One of those Blue Zones was in Okinawa Japan.  Okinawa is located on the Ryukyu Islands between the North Pacific and the East China Sea.  The population consists of 1.3 million Okinawans. 

Okinawans have one of the highest percentages of centenarians in the world, people who live to be 100.  One of the main reasons for this is that they keep their traditional roles throughout their life.  They maintain their ikigai.  The reason for getting up in the morning. 

I want to share a story with you about Ushi Okushima, one of the most famous centenarians who ever lived.   She was born on August 7th, 1901 in Okinawa Japan and lived to be 109 years old.   She was a woman of great vigor, growing her own food and hosting parties for her friends.  Rumor has it that there was plenty of Saki flowing at these parties.  People from all over the world would come to visit her.   And there was a reason for this.  It was said that you could feel this wisdom from her that she got from walking this earth for over 100 years.  So many people fear getting old, but Ushi defied all the odds, living a life of vibrancy right until the end.   The way she lived would make you look forward to aging.   

So what was Ushi’s ikigai?  According to her daughter it was her longevity itself.  She brought pride to her family and to her village.  She felt she must keep living even though she was often tired.  When Ushi was asked this question, she said her ikigai was playing an important role to her family.  She said, “If they die, I will wonder why I am still living.”  And it is when people lose that sense of their role in life things usually deteriorate pretty quickly. 

A sudden loss of a person’s traditional role can have a significant impact on mortality.  There is evidence that early retirement can lead to early death.  One study showed that people who retired at age 55 are 89% more likely to die in the 10 years after retirement than those who retire at age 65. 

Two real world examples of this are from the college football coaching world.  Joe Paterno who lost his job of coaching after 46 years, died just two months later.  Bear Bryant, the once legendary coach at Alabama died just four weeks after his final game at Alabama.  This confirmed his prediction that he would probably croak in a week after retirement.   These two coaches had a very clear sense of purpose and were very well respected.  Once they retired, they lost that sense of purpose and their health declined rapidly. 

The Okinawans had this strong sense of purpose and this correlated into living longer lives.    Knowing your purpose in life can potentially be worth up to seven years of life expectancy according to the Blue Zones research.   In the Okinawan language there isn’t even a word for retirement. 

So if you don’t know what your ikigai is, how do you find it?   The first thing you have to do is to become a spiritual warrior.  You have to become very introspective and look deep within yourself to see what path you are currently on.   Are you excited to get up in the morning or do you have that feeling of dread come over you?  Are you living a passionate and adventure filled life?  As they say this life isn’t a dress rehearsal, we only get one shot at it.  If you aren’t excited about getting up in the morning, then it may be time to look at making some changes in your life.  This may be just an attitude shift, a change in perspective. 

There was a period in my life, not too long ago where I was struggling with my ikigai.     I wasn’t engaged in life like I should have been.  Every day was an exercise in drudgery.  I was simply checking the box day in and day out.  Does anyone know what I am talking about?   Have you ever felt that sense of dread in the morning that you have to get up and go to work?  Or maybe it hits you on Sunday evening that the weekend is almost over.  I saw this quote the other day that says can we start the weekend over again?  That’s how I felt.   On Monday I was already looking forward to getting to the weekend.  Not exactly a good way to have an effective work week. 

Why did I have that sense of dread about going to work?  It all happened because I wasn’t clear on my ikigai.  I didn’t have a strong enough why to be excited about when my morning came around. 

I was listening to a podcast the other day and the speaker was talking about how we should be tap dancing to work.  We should be so excited to get up in the morning because we get to go to work.  We should be literally tap dancing to work.  If you aren’t doing a two-step, then you seriously need to consider another career or at the very least change your perspective on what you do day in and day out. 

When I am struggling with my purpose, it usually just takes a shift in perspective and not a complete overhaul.

One way to shift your perspective is how you view your job.  Instead of thinking about your work as a job, start to view it as a calling.  A job is simply a material task you do in exchange for money.  A calling emerges from the deepest aspect of who you are.  It is a fulfillment of what you were created to be and to do.  You have a calling in life simply because you are alive.  You have a calling in life because you were put on this earth with a purpose.  Your purpose is to elevate yourself to be the best you can intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically in order to make the world a better place. 

The second thing you need to do to find your ikigai is to write a personal mission statement.  Begin by answering this question:  Why do I get up in the morning?  Take into consideration what you are passionate about.  What is your hearts burning desire?  What can you not stop talking about?   For me I love to talk about health, fitness and nutrition.  I can learn and talk about it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  My reason for getting up in the morning is to help people make transformational lifestyle changes.  That is my burning desire.  To help people live their best life.  My personal mission statement is: I will be the light for other people.  I am here to contribute to the healing of the world.  There is so much pain and darkness in the world.  If I can be the source of light and encouragement for just one person each and every day, I know I served my purpose on that day.  This gets me excited to wake up each and every morning because I don’t know who is going to come across my path that is going through pain and darkness and needs some encouragement.  Not a bad reason to get up in the morning. 

I think of Mother Theresa and her ikigai of humbly ministering to lepers, the homeless and the poorest of poor in the slums of Calcutta.  What a great sense of purpose she must have woken up to each and every morning.   Her mission statement was to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. 

I think of Tim Tebow and what his ikigai is.  He has developed a platform to share his faith and to do charity work.  The mission statement of the Tim Tebow foundation is to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.    I am sure Tim Tebow can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and tap dance to work.  

But you don’t have to be Tim Tebow or Mother Theresa to have personal mission statement.  Maybe you are a stay at home mom.  It may sound something like this.   To provide a peaceful home environment for my family that is conducive to living simply, loving deeply and laughing abundantly

Finally, find someone to hold you accountable to living your ikigai.  It is easy to get bogged down in the busyness of life and forget about why we are put on this earth.  To bottom line it, we are here to love and serve others.  Having someone to hold you accountable to living your life with purpose can make all the difference in the world.

One of Pastor Rick Warren’s quotes is, “If you are alive, there’s a purpose for your life.  Find your ikigai and you will be on a path of fulfillment and happiness.  You will feel your energy increase as your serve others and make a difference their life.   The only way to be fully alive is to live a life of purpose.  So what’s your ikigai?

Troy Ismir, MS

Health Coach and Personal Trainer

Comment

5 Ways to Overcome Depression in Men

Comment

5 Ways to Overcome Depression in Men

Have you shifted into a pattern of complacency and hopelessness?  Do you find yourself asking this question, “Do I have what it takes to make it in this world?”  I certainly understand because there was a period in my life that I suffered through hopelessness and depression, wondering if I had what it took to make it in this world.  It was a dark period in my life when my marriage was on the rocks that eventually ended in divorce.  There was about a two year period where I suffered from complete hopelessness.

My only way of coping at the time was to physically abuse my body through physical exercise at the gym.  I found myself pushing myself to extremes to deal with the emotional pain I was going through.  It provided a temporary escape, but I knew I couldn’t continue this pattern for the rest of my life.  What is your escape from the emotional pain you are in?   Is it drugs, alcohol, food, work, sex, porn or maybe performance addiction? 

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates at least 6 million men suffer from depressive disorders including suicidal thoughts.  I currently live in Larimer County in Northern Colorado where the suicide rate has reached its highest level in the past ten years.   It’s a trend that is certainly going in the wrong direction. 

Depression in men can show up in many ways, but it often shows up as anger, aggressiveness or some type of addiction.  If that’s you, there is a way out of hopelessness and depression.  Here are 5 things that I found in my life that helped me overcome darkness and despair in my life.

5 Ways to Overcome Depression

1.  Become involved in a great church that you love:   

Find a church that cares about people unconditionally and teaches the message that it’s all about having a personal relationship with God.  It’s not about behavior or rules, but truly about loving God and loving others.  It may take some time to settle in to finding that right church for you, but once you do it can be transformative.  My life started to change once I found C3 Church in Orlando and truly understood what it meant to be part of a loving and caring church that was non-judgemental. 

2.  Use your pain to do good:   

When you are in so much pain it is hard to think of anything but yourself and your circumstances.  The best thing you can do to get over your emotional pain is to go help someone else.  When I started to serve at my church and lead a community group the veil of darkness started to lift as I focused on helping other people.  Find renewed purpose in your life.  Find a transcendent cause greater than yourself.  It was life changing for me.

3.  Be in community with other Godly men:   

When I started to develop a close personal relationship with a couple of guys who I could be completely honest and vulnerable with my life started to turn around.  As men we often times feel like we have to keep our masks on and pretend to be someone we are not.  That can only lead to disappointment and pain.  Find a group of men you can be completely honest and vulnerable with.  It doesn’t have to be many men, just a couple of good solid guys that will listen to you without judgement.   When you surround yourself with men who truly care about you it can change your life. 

4.  Get regular exercise in healthy amounts:

Although I abused exercise during my depression, I believe exercise is still one of the best anti-depressants out there as long as it is done in balance.  Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good and actually work as an anti-depressant.  Find ways to move your body every day even if you don’t feel like it.  The mind and body connection is very powerful.  Our mind controls our body and when we send negative emotions to our body, we feel sick physically and emotionally. 

5.  Seek professional help: 

You are in a battle for your mind and mental health.  Sometimes in life we need to seek out help.  I saw a professional counselor while I was going through my divorce.  There is no shame in this at all, in fact it is a sign of strength. 

Men, we have a battle that we are facing.  We must face the battlefield of the mind.  We must look inward for peace and happiness.  We must look to our Heavenly Father for our validation.  He loves you unconditionally and He is ultimately the only thing that can fill the hole in our heart. 

If you are struggling with depression and hopelessness, I want to invite you to a new possibility.  I want to invite you to think about what it would feel like to be fully alive.  To feel a sense of passion and purpose in your life.    Take a chance on yourself.  I would love to explore those possibilities with you to find renewed purpose, peace and joy.  Please send me an e-mail to troy@troyismir.com to set up a time to talk.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

 

Comment