You’re Not a Burden

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.”  Galatians 6:2

The other day I was talking with an acquaintance about the shared experience of adoption, and we were talking about how both of us involved other people in providing for the adoption of our children.  We loved the fact that people we cared about were able to be a part of our children’s stories.  We also found it interesting that while other cultures in the world embrace the idea of eliciting the help of others, our western culture is less inclined to ask for help.  Maybe it’s a pride thing.  We don’t want to admit that we can’t do it on our own.  Maybe it harkens back to the “American Dream” mentality of our ancestors.  Pull up your bootstraps and get it done because nobody’s going to do it for you.  Maybe it goes back even further than that to the founding of our nation.  We don’t need another country telling us what to do.  We want to be independent.  Whatever the reason, the simple fact is that we don’t like to ask for help.  We don’t want to burden someone else with our problems.  But this thinking is flawed.

Your life journey was not meant to be a solo effort.  Why else would God have created people with different skill sets, different personalities, and different passions?  We are made to live in community, and the purpose of this community is to come together to build one another up.  To help each other out according to the strengths that we have been given.  By not asking for help, you are actually denying another individual the opportunity to help.  We think it is selfish to ask for help, but I’ll say that it is selfish not to ask for help.  Who are you to deny another person the opportunity to use their God-given gifts in service?

Trying to better your personal health, especially when it comes to weight loss, is often a very personal struggle.  Most don’t readily open up to just anyone about their hang-ups.  But it is very difficult to stick with a journey that is this challenging if you do it alone.  You need someone to keep you accountable when the temptation to slack off comes (because it will).  You need someone to share the pain of exercise with (it is much more tolerable that way).  You need someone to talk to who will encourage you when you feel like giving up.  I know that there are people in your life that want to help you.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  They are going to bless your life, and what you might not realize is that you are going to be a blessing to them in the process, not a burden.

J

CWD Workout 2

Circuit #1:
Squat Jumps x 15-20 repetitions
Crab Walk x 10-15 meters
Ab Crunch x 20-25 repetitions
Crab Walk x 10-15 meters
(Do each exercise back to back, then repeat once or twice)

Circuit #2:
Around the Worlds x 10 repetitions each direction
Bear Crawl x 10-15 meters
Alternating Supermans x 15-20 repetitions each side
Bear Crawl x 10-15 meters
(Do each exercise back to back, then repeat once or twice)

Circuit #3:
Supine Leg Kicks x 20-25 repetitions each leg
Frog Jumps x 10-15 meters
Prone Jacknife Hops x 15-20 repetitions
Frog Jumps x 10-15 meters
(Do each exercise back to back, then repeat once or twice)

Click on the link on each exercise to see a demonstration.

Minimal rest between exercises, and 3 minutes rest between circuits.  This workout does not require any equipment and can be performed by both children and adults.  This is a great program for parents and children to do together.

CWD Workout 1

Circuit #1
Push-ups x 15-20 repetitions
Prisoner Squats x 20-30 repetitions
Jumping Jacks x 30-40 repetitions
(Do each exercise back to back, then repeat once or twice)

Circuit #2:
Prone Pull-Throughs x 15-20 repetitions
Alternating Reverse Lunges x 15-20 repetitions each side
Prone Side Hops x 15-20 repetitions each side
(Do each exercise back to back, then repeat once or twice)

Circuit #3:
Alternating Cross Crunches x 15-20 repetitions each side
Mountain Climbers x 20-25 repetitions each side
Plank x 30-60 seconds
(Do each exercise back to back, then repeat once or twice)

Click on the link for each exercise to see demonstration

Minimal rest between exercises, and 3 minutes rest between circuits.  This workout does not require any equipment and can be performed by both children and adults.  This is a great program for parents and children to do together.

The Power of Small Changes

Think of the last time you decided to make a complete overhaul of something you wanted to change in your life.  How did that turn out for you?  What about the time you were going to wake up 1 hour earlier every morning to read your Bible and pray?  How long did that last?  Did you make it a week?  What about the time you cut out all extra activities in your life to spend more time at home with your family?  How long did it take for “important” things to start creeping back in?  I applaud those of you that recognize that it is time to make some changes in your life.  That is the first, and possibly the most important step in the process of change.  But where you go from there is key to whether or not your pursuit will end in success or failure.

In the area of health and fitness, I have found that more often people approach change with an “all-or-nothing” mentality.  It’s time to start exercising, so they get an expensive gym membership and commit to 6 days a week working out.  Or it’s time to start eating right, so they decide to eat a diet of 1000 calories consisting of nothing but rice cakes and water.  How long do these changes last?  A week?  Two weeks?  A month if you’re lucky.  Most people set out desiring permanent changes, but approach it with the mentality of an actor or actress prepping for a temporary movie role.  And the results are nearly always the same.  All progress, if any was even made to begin with, is lost as soon as the individual “burns out” and is no longer able to keep up the pace.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SMALL CHANGES OVER TIME! 

Small adjustments that are readily achievable create habits that last.  Did you know that by removing one soda a day from your diet, you could lose over 15 lbs in a year?  Did you know that by cutting the average dinner portion in half you could lose nearly 30 lbs in a year?  Forget the wholesale overhaul that you and I both know won’t last.  Find something small in your diet that you can change.  Something that doesn’t need to be there, and that you know you can live without and start there.  Be patient and you will start to see real changes.  Lasting changes.

J

Free Weights vs Exercise Machines Part 2

Question of the Week:  What makes more of a difference in the long run, the big things or the little things?

Nugget of the Day:  Body weight and free weight exercises are superior to exercise machines for increasing calorie burn.

In Part 1 of comparing free weight exercises to exercise machines, I talked about how free weight exercises mimic natural human movement more closely, and therefore are more effective for developing functional strength.  If that was not enough to get you to drop that favorite security blanket machine, how about another reason?  If you are anything like the typical exerciser, you are looking for your workouts to burn some calories.  In fact, you are most likely looking to burn as many calories as possible.  A simple understanding of calorie burn dictates that the more you move, the more calories you burn.  Along that same line, the more muscle groups that you incorporate into a movement, the more calories you burn as well.  Moving a limb requires that the muscles contract to create the movement.  Muscle contraction takes energy.  The typical exercise machine seeks to isolate individual muscle groups.  While this can be effective for getting focused work in one area, it limits the energy usage to that area alone, unlike many free weight exercises which seek to incorporate multiple muscle groups into the movement.  More muscles involved, more energy used.  Here’s an example:

The tricep extension is an exercise that works the muscles of the back of the arms.  In the typical tricep extension machine you sit on a bench, rest your arms on a pad, grasp handles and push them downwards.  Now contrast that with a stability ball tricep extension.  For this exercise, you lie on your back with your head and shoulders on a stability ball, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  From this position, you bring dumbbells down alongside the head by flexing the elbows, and then press them up by extending the elbows.  This exercise involves the muscles of the hips and legs, abdominals, low back, and chest and shoulders all engaged in the stabilization of the movement.  Then there are the triceps working to press the dumbbells.  So while the machine gets just the triceps, the free weight version works the triceps and a variety of stabilizers.  Not only is this more effective for functional strength outside of the gym, but the engagement of additional muscle groups increases the energy requirement for the exercise.  Increased energy requirement = increased calorie burn.  So if your goal with your workouts is to burn more calories, get up off your machine seat and up on your feet.  Start incorporating more free weight exercises into your routine.  You’ll feel the difference almost immediately.  For some ideas for free-weight and body weight exercises, check out some of our featured exercises.

J