Being Battle Tested

Comment

Being Battle Tested

How does God bring out the warrior in a man?  It’s typically through hardship, trials and tribulation.  James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  

I know for me my spiritual growth has come through my hardships.   A divorce about seven years ago put me through my greatest test.  Many people become bitter when hardship is placed in their path.   It’s a choice we have to make when life doesn’t turn out the way we expect it to and it usually never does. 

If we don’t find meaning for our pain and suffering and if we don’t use our pain to do good in the world, it will end up crushing us.  As I was sitting through a church service one Sunday morning as I was right in the thick of my divorce my pastor was talking about pain.  He said something I will never forget and it altered the course of my life from that point forward.  He said whatever pain you are going through in your life right now, embrace every ounce of it and use it to do good.  I made a decision on that day that the pain of my divorce would be used to make a difference in other people’s lives. 

We all have pain in our life at some point.  I don’t know what you are walking through right now, but my prayer for you is that you somehow find purpose in your pain.  In Romans 8:28, a scripture I recite to myself often says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  I have seen that come to fruition in my life. 

Through my pain God has transformed my heart.  He continues to work in me and through me.  Since my divorce God has worked through me in the following capacaties:

  • Led community groups at my church.
  • Published a book on Amazon that honors my father called, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”.
  • Started a fitness ministry.
  • I have a weekly podcast called the Divine Wellness Academy.
  • Written an article in Faith and Fitness magazine
  • Started a Faith and Fitness class at a local church
  • Started a men’s discipleship program called Bible and Barbells
  • Started a public speaking career

I tell you this as a way of encouragement and hope, that God can use you through your pain if you allow him to.  We grow through pain.  It is part of our warrior training.

I pray every day that God gives me the strength, patience and perseverance to rise up and accept my warrior training.  I pray that when I doubt myself,  God will give me His grace and encouragement to continue the battle because the recovery of the warrior is absolutely critical to the recovery of the heart of a man. 

A warrior heart is hard wired into the DNA of every man.  We need you to fight the good fight.  To not be passive and get out there and make a difference in the world.  We are meant to act and to not be passive.  We need you fully alive, because the glory of God is man fully alive. 

If you are struggling to find purpose for your pain, I am here to help.  The biggest mistake men make is to go into isolation when they are struggling or losing hope.  A true sign of strength and grit is reaching out for help when you are struggling.  I would be honored to be a part of your tribe to help you reclaim your inner warrior.  Please reach out to me at troy@troyismir.com to see how we can partner together on your journey to having more vitality, adventure and purpose in your life.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

 

 

 

Comment

Move:  For Men’s Health  (A Fight for Your Life)

Comment

Move:  For Men’s Health  (A Fight for Your Life)

This is a statistic I have a hard time believing, but it is true.    Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality and it causes 3.2 million deaths globally.  Physical inactivity is literally killing us.

41% of men don’t get enough exercise and that puts us at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity and certain cancers.   

From the American Cancer Society research shows that being physically active helps reduce the risk of a variety of cancers.  Physical activity also helps to reduce the risk of developing obesity-related cancers because of its role in maintaining a healthy weight. 

Being active is thought to reduce the cancer risk by improving energy metabolism and reducing circulating concentrations of insulin and insulin-like growth factor. 

Carrying an excess amount of abdominal fat has been shown to increase your risk of colorectal cancer and may be related to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. 

Also, more evidence is being shown that obesity increases the risk of cancer recurrence and decreases survival rates for several cancers.   

So men, we have to get on the move.  We are in a fight for our lives.  Here are 3 ways that you can find some motivation to get off of the couch and into the game. 

1.  Find your why:  Have a transcendent cause greater than yourself.  Weight loss is a great goal, but when you tie your health to a deeper why it is much easier to make sustainable lifestyle changes.

2.  Come up with goals that have meaning to you:  Come up with goals that are realistic, but also challenging. 

3.  Have accountability and support:  The number one reason people make lasting lifestyle changes is because they have accountability and support.  Find a group of fellow brothers that will encourage, support and hold you accountable for getting more movement in your life.  Go to the gym together, play some basketball or simply go for a walk. 

Men, we need to be healthy for ourselves, for our family and ultimately to serve God.  Without our health, we won't have the energy and vitality to live the life we were created to live.  Let’s be purposeful in our movement. 

If this is an area you are struggling with, I am here to help in any way I can.  As a personal trainer and men’s health coach, I specialize in helping men get off the couch and back into an active and healthy lifestyle.  Please reach out to me at troy@troyismir.com.  I would be honored to be a part of your tribe.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior

Personal Trainer and Men’s Health Coach

Helping men have faith in themselves through faith in God.

 

 

Comment

Expect a Miracle

2 Comments

Expect a Miracle

I am a very driven person.  I have always found a way to be successful in my career or in athletics.  I would push myself by learning whatever I needed to do to become successful at it.  I remember the first year I transitioned out of health and fitness full time and into pharmaceutical sales.   A decision I made that I felt was in the best interest of my young family at the time. 

The first year of pharmaceutical sales I hated it.  I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and face the rejection of people not wanting to see me.   I went from getting paid $80 an hour for my personal training and relationship skills to having the door shut in my face because doctors didn’t have the time to see me.  I was so frustrated and dejected. 

But, I knew this was the choice I made so I had to find a way to be successful at my new chosen career.  I kept just showing up and treated every one with compassion and kindness.  Eventually I built trust with the office staff and the doctors and after a year things started to change.  I felt like I was starting to make an impact.   My patience, persistence and inner drive led me to 17 years of great success in the pharmaceutical industry. 

I have since transitioned out of pharmaceutical sales and now I am starting another career as an entrepreneur.  I have started a fitness ministry in Northern Colorado after living in Orlando for 20 years.  Of course I am going to need a certain level of drive to be successful, but I am being shown in the six months that I have been in Colorado that it is going to take so much more than inner drive. 

I have a tendency to want to do things under my own power and my own strength.  I drive and I push.  What I am being shown since I moved to Fort Collins, both personally and professionally, that my dreams and my vision for my ministry and my personal life are way bigger than what I can do on my own.

I have been divorced for over 7 seven years and one of my biggest prayers is to be in a relationship with a woman who loves the Lord and draws me closer to Him.  Where we can seek first the Kingdom of God together.  I have met some amazing women along the way and for whatever reason those relationships haven’t worked out and have ended in heartbreak.  In some cases I have been trying to force the issue, moving too fast and not trusting the process for the relationship to play out the way God intends. 

What I am learning is that faith is more about allowing than forcing.   I came across a daily devotion by Pastor Rick Warren that I would like to share with you.  The main point is instead of trying harder we trust more.  He identified four ways of what surrendering your life to God means.

1.       Following God’s lead without knowing where he is sending you.

2.      Waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come.

3.      Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide.

4.      Trusting God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances.

Psalm 37:7 says, “Surrender yourself to the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”  What if we lived each day with childlike anticipation of expecting a miracle from God without knowing how that will happen?  Every time I think that way I get a huge smile on my face.  But I am also reminded that each breath I take is a miracle and the grace of God is a miracle in and of itself along with the gift of eternal life.

So as I wait in childlike anticipation for my wife to be,  I will not try harder, I will trust more.  I know you are out there and I can’t wait to meet you and who knows maybe we have already crossed paths somehow.    

My prayer is that God is working in your heart just like he has been working in mine to prepare us for a relationship that truly honors God and furthers His Kingdom.  I will wait for your timing without knowing when it will come.  I will follow your lead without knowing where you are sending me.  I will expect a miracle without knowing how it will come.  I will trust your purpose for me without understanding the circumstances. 

I am surrendered to you Lord and I will wait patiently for my wife to be and my fitness ministry to flourish.  I will stop trying so hard and will trust more. 

What area of your life needs to be surrendered to God?  Your health?  Your finances?  Your relationships?  Any strongholds or addictions?   Try the approach of not trying harder and trusting more.   Allow rather than force.  It is a freeing feeling.     

If this is an area you are struggling in, I would love to help.  Please send me an e-mail at troy@troyismir.com.  My mission is to help men have faith in themselves through faith in God so we can live the powerful lives we were created to live.  

Troy Ismir, MS

Men’s Health Coach and Personal Trainer

Helping men have faith in themselves through faith in God.

2 Comments

Do You Have Faith in Yourself?

Comment

Do You Have Faith in Yourself?

Do you have faith in yourself?  This is a question I have been wrestling with over the last several days, well actually the last 30 years, I just didn’t know it.   Let me explain.  I have been digging deep into my work lately with my business and life coach, Kim Dawson.  I have a fitness ministry that is geared towards men.   Doing the work and learning my voice in this space means asking myself some hard questions.  I have really had to take a hard look in the mirror and do some self-discovery. 

My coach asked me this question, “Do you have faith in God?”  Of course I answered yes without hesitation.  She next asked the question, “Do you have faith in yourself?”   I wasn’t quite as quick to answer that question.  I paused and hesitated and mumbled to her, not really. 

As I look back at my life, I have always struggled with having faith in myself.  So that begs to question, if I have faith in God, how can I not have faith in myself, after all he’s the one who created me?  I have thrown myself into understanding that over the course of the last several days.  I have dug into scripture more than I ever have before.  I also know this is a struggle with other men I have spoken to over the years. 

Here is what I have learned.   I have realized that my deepest pain over the course of my life was caused by my lack of faith in myself because I haven’t seen myself the way God sees me.  God loves me deeply and gives me my value and worth because he created me.   My deepest pain was caused by valuing other people’s opinion of me rather than God’s. 

In Genesis 1:26-27 it says, “Then God said, Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.  So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

When we know that we are created in God’s image and that we share many of his characteristics this should provide our foundation for self-worth.   But what we do instead we seek out approval from others.   Our deepest pain comes from evaluating ourselves from worldly standards of success, achievement, possessions and physical attractiveness.  This causes us to think too much about our worth in the eyes of others.

I would like to invite you to a new possibility of knowing that your true value is God’s estimate of your worth not your peer’s estimate.  God says that you are deeply loved, adequately equipped and are worthy.   Absolutely nothing can ever change how God feels about you.  

If you always saw yourself the way God sees you, how would you choose to be and what would you choose to do?  One thing I have started to do is to repeat this affirmation over and over in my mind, “I have no insecurities because I see myself the way God sees me.”  What a powerful way to show up in the world. 

If you don’t have faith in yourself it’s because you don’t see yourself the way God sees you and that is no way to live.  It causes us to have low self-esteem and to shrink back in this world.  There is no way we can be at our best to serve God if we don’t have faith in ourselves through faith in God.

I would like to invite you to create a new possibility for yourself by seeing yourself the way God sees you because of your deep faith in God.  It will change your lens of the way you see yourself and the world.

If you are struggling in the area of having faith in yourself, I would welcome the opportunity to be a part of your tribe.  My mission is to help men to build their physical, mental and spiritual fitness to better serve God.  Please send me an e-mail at troy@troyismir.com.  It would be great to connect with you.

Troy Ismir, MS

Men’s Health Coach

 

Comment

Simple Strategies for Lasting Weight Loss

Comment

Simple Strategies for Lasting Weight Loss

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

We have become a society of over-abundance when it comes to eating.  7 out of 10 Americans are overweight and 4 out of 10 Americans are obese.   Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than being underweight.   Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.  It is safe to say we have an epidemic on our hands.  

As a society we are overweight and obese, but completely undernourished with the influx of processed and fast foods into our world.   My mission in life is to reverse this trend.  My mission is to help people to live long and healthy lives so they can have the energy they need to further God’s kingdom. 

One of my favorite books about health and longevity is called “The Blue Zones:  9 lessons For Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.”    The author Dan Buettner identified five areas in the world where people live longer and better lives.  One of those areas was Okinawa Japan.  The trait that the Okinawans implemented was known as “hara hachi bu” or quite simply eating until 80% full.   The Okinawans say this mantra before each meal as a reminder to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full.  It sounds very simple and easy to do, but it isn’t.  

One of the main reasons that this is so challenging is that the vast majority of time we eat unconsciously.  We shovel food into our mouths so fast, that our body doesn’t have enough time to signal to the brain that it is full.  It takes about 20 minutes from the signal to go from the stomach to the brain telling it is full and to stop eating. 

This 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between weight loss and weight gain.   People who lived in the healthiest regions in the world ate a big breakfast, had a moderate lunch and then had their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.  I would say that we have that completely reversed here in the United States.  We often times eat like we are never going to see food again. 

Restricting calories has been shown to prolong life in lab animals and has been associated with better heart health in humans.  Some of these benefits of reducing calories may result from reduced cellular damage from free radicals. 

There is also another great benefit from reducing calories, weight loss.  Losing just 10% of your body weight can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease. 

What is normally done to lose weight is to go on a diet.  I emphatically telling you to never go on a diet!  Diets don’t work!  People who lived in blue zones, the healthiest regions in the world, never went on a diet. 

So what do you need to do to implement the 80% rule?  I am going to outline a few strategies taken from the Blue Zones to help you to implement the hara hachi bu principle.

Strategy #1:  Stop eating when you know longer feel hungry:   Most Americans keep eating until their stomachs feel full, Okinawans stop as soon as they know longer feel hungry.  It is a subtle difference, but a difference none the less.  We typically gain weight by eating mindlessly and eating a little bit too much each and every day.

Strategy #2:  Eat nutrient dense foods:  Eat foods that are low in calories and high in nutrition.  This is typically your fruits and vegetables.  They provide bulk, fiber, phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals.  We usually have it backwards.  Think fast foods.  A typical fast food meal of a large hamburger, large fries and a soft drink contains nearly 1500 calories.  An overabundance of calories and minimal nutrition.  

Strategy #3:  Use smaller plates and glasses:   Get rid of your big dinner plates and glasses.  It has been proven that using smaller plates and narrower glasses leads to eating significantly less without even thinking about it. 

Strategy #4:  Make snacking a hassle:  Rule number one of weight loss, if it is readily available in your house you will eat it.  Do a pantry purge.  Get rid of the junk in your house.  Make this a 911!  Replace it with healthy options like precut up fruit and vegetables.  Challenge yourself to find healthy snacks. Try kale chips or cucumbers dipped in hummus. 

Strategy #5:  Eat more slowly:  Eating faster invariably results in eating more.  Slowing down allows time for the signal to go from our stomach to our brain saying we are full.   How many times have you eaten to the point you feel like you are 100% full and then you get up from the dinner table and you realize you are absolutely stuffed and you are actually in pain because you realize you were 120% full.  Not a great feeling.   Think Thanksgiving Day meal. 

Eat slowly sounds simple, but I think we all know that it isn’t.  It’s simple in theory, but hard in practice, especially in light of the busy world we live in.  Eating slowly and eating until you are 80% full go hand in hand.  It’s really hard to effectively implement one strategy without the other.  Here are some practical tips you can implement when adopting a slow eating lifestyle:

Tip #1:  Put your fork down between bites.  Relax.  Breathe.  Take a few extra moments before you pick up the fork again.

Tip #2:  Set a timer if needed-start with 15 minutes per meal as a basic goal.  Work up to 20 or even 30 minutes.  Chew a few more times than you think you need to.  Enjoy and savor each bite.  If you are eating something delicious, take pleasure in it.  Notice smells, flavors and textures. 

Tip #3:  Eat mindfully without distractions, such as TV, smartphones or the computer.  Pleasant conversation with friends and families is encouraged.  I think eating mindfully is one of the biggest things we need to get back to.  Mindless eating or eating for reasons other than hunger can catch up with you quickly.  Every time you eat you should ask yourself this question, “Am I truly hungry or am I eating because I am stressed, bored, anxious, depressed, etc.?”

 If you are eating for reasons other than hunger you will never be satisfied.  If you are truly hungry than eat.  But if you are going to eat, than just eat.  Turn off the TV and computer and just focus on eating.  You will eat more slowly, eat less and enjoy your food more.

Although eating until 80% full and eating slowly sounds super simple, it can be very challenging to implement these strategies.  Be patient with yourself.  Just like any other habit you are trying to implement it takes time.  It’s normal to struggle with this habit, but it can be a game-changer. 

One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control.    2nd Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.   Lean into God’s strength to help you exercise self -control when it comes to your eating. 

I want to invite you to try these two strategies of eating until you are 80% full and eating slowly as often as you can over the next two weeks.  Notice and name the changes that you see in your eating habits.    Not only will you feel better, you will lose weight as well.  So do as the Okinawans do before each meal.  Take a moment to repeat the mantra of hara hachi bu and give yourself a reminder to slow down and eat until you are only 80% full.

When you are trying to make nutrition changes, don’t go it alone.  The status quo is to try and figure things out on your own and ending up frustrated and discouraged.  I see the possibility of us working together to help you make sustainable life changes so you can be physically, mentally and spiritually fit.  One of the best things you can do is to get coaching.  A great coach will be there to inspire, encourage and teach you about health, fitness, nutrition and spiritual and mental fitness.  To go beyond the status quo and explore this possibility, please reach out to me at troy@troyismir.com or come visit me at The Body in Fort Collins, CO located at 4848 S. College Ave.  

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