Doug Black is a Christ follower, family man, simple church planter, mental health case management supervisor, and CrossFit enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @dougblackjr
It finally hit me one night after the youth ministry we were in charge of. I was about to put my fist through the wall.
You see, we were having a couple major changes in our lives. My beautiful wife and I were expecting our first child. The company we worked at was about to be sold to the biggest hospital in the area, bringing us from a small company of 100 to 7000. We were struggling with figuring out if we could go to one income and make life work. The church we were leading at was struggling, and I had just heard about a student who was leaving home to move in with her boyfriend who she was newly impregnated by.
It was either me or the wall. Gladly, I decided on me.
You see, I have been avoiding getting fit for a long time. I had tried running in college a little bit, but was bored to death. Rather than work out when I got married, I decided to eat emotionally. It was my one of my only outlets in full-time ministry, as well as when I went bivocational (working full-time and doing ministry “part-time”). I have given up exercise in favor of video games and work.
In fact, I had never been health conscious. My family never worked out, or pushed me toward sports. I did ten push-ups as a punishment in 5th grade, but couldn’t do one today. I became a “Fast Food-ie”, and could tell anyone the location of the nearest fast food chain of their choice (on multiple occasions, we drove 2 hours to a White Castle).
But it was time for me to die. At least, a big, tubby part of me.
I had to change. For my own mental health. For my family. For my soon-to-be-born baby. For my ministry. To glorify God with my body. And this Wednesday night was the straw that broke the camels back.
I got up the next morning, weighed in at 255 lbs, and ran two miles. Did I say ran? What I meant was crawled, huffing and puffing, and dying.
Then, my affluent landlord put out two weight benches for the trash. I said, “Thanks for the heads-up God”. I quickly snatched them off the street, and guessed at how to rebuild them from scratch. I then researched like crazy on every muscle group and lifting exercise to work them.
Slowly but surely, the muscle started showing, the fat started going. Three years down. 75 pounds gone. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m honoring God with my body. I decided to eat more vegetables, yogurt, healthy food options.Rather than taking anger out on others, I take it out on my heavy bag. I could do a push-up, and even more than one! I started pull-ups, and sit-ups, and strange combinations of them all. I can enjoy running with my daughter (though, for a 3 year old, she’s surprisingly faster than me).
I feel like I took my life back.
So, there have been some crazy lessons I had to learn on the way:
1) Exercise Is Terrible (At First): The first couple weeks of exercise was awful. My running was belabored at best. My push-ups were on my knees. My weightlifting was light. BUT, it gets better…if you keep going. You may even *gasp* enjoy it someday.
2) Find Something You Like To Do: Part of the reason I never wanted to exercise was that I hated everything I did. I have a pretty bad case of ADD on top of it, so I get bored very easily. So, whenever I get bored, I change up the routine. I learned quick that the more fun you are having, the further you go. So find a partner. Take up a sport. Do Zumba. MMA.
3) Set Fun Goals: Do an adventure race. Set a rep-number goal. Win a championship. Aim for the most fun thing imaginable, and enjoy as many steps as you can along the way. My current goal is to enter the 2013 Crossfit games; let the training begin!