Exercise and Fitness

Being on sabbatical is in some ways a treat. Reading, writing, reflecting on the Word of the Lord. Fielding phone calls, emails, and texts. Saying Masses for the good hermits in the woods of southern Mississippi. Adoring the Lord, praying the Office, reflecting on the life in the Spirit.

And as inevitably is going to happen in any such time of potentially sedentary activity the subjects of strength and fitness come up. One can’t live out in the woods and not have some level of physical activity that requires an alert body, mind, and spirit. Dodging the spiders and snakes alone means one has to be nimble as a deer. And walking the woods, trails, and roads is always a healthy exercise.

So this caught my eye on the Twitter this morning.

Comments attest that many confirm the shoulder solution, if thats the diagnosis.

How does one grow to such wisdom of years without knowing these simple facts of exercise and fitness? When you’re 6’6″ and looking down at a shorter world constantly, sometimes it’s all about the shoulders. And the neck, the back, and the core.

Here’s to staying well, being healthy, and holy. Will be working on some essays, reworking Social Media presence, considering this website, and other intriguing tasks of the day. ‘Til next time.


The Fitbit Flex – or How I came to Realize I was Fat

the fitbit flex

Awhile ago I bought a Fitbit Flex, began using it religiously, and put it down when the band broke.  Which is my big criticism, as the band is kind of cheap, and prone to breaking.

The good news is that the bands are inexpensive and easily replaced.  I highly suspected as much, and the other day came across an all in one package in the WalMart, which included a new band and and new USB charger.  About which I was very happy, as I could not find my USB charger anywhere.

As Benjamin Franklin wrote in The Way to Wealth, so long ago, and which I should no doubt read more often, expenses will always be with us.  So I shelled out the $15 and brought it home and cranked it up.  Mainly because my friend Billy added me as a friend in fitbit.com, and I figured this was a great way to re-start the lifelong process of “getting back into shape”.

Which all came about because, after a year’s worth of coaching with Precision Nutrition Coaching, which is really a great program, I realized I’m still fat, essentially out of shape, and never going to live a long full life if I don’t get with the program and make some changes.

A lot of which I’ve already made, as a matter of fact. Fitness used to be a way of life for me, from about 18 on, after growing up an overweight, bookish, Star Trek and film nerd.

But, when push comes to shove, “it’s the diet, stupid.”  I would go into dietary changes Im considering at length, but…. I have to get walking, people!  I think that the phrase “plant strong” about sums it up though.

Feel free to look me up on fitbit.  I could definitely use the support and motivation.

Why Fitness?

To tidy up this ‘fitness’ thing, which is not a New Year’s Resolution at all, I’m currently working through, here are a few more thoughts to ponder.

  • Most of my life has included rigorous excercise.
  • Priesthood can be one of the most sedentary professions on earth, for many reasons. Schedules get busy, emergency calls come in all the time, people need appointments for various things, reading is a constant.
  • At various assignments it’s been difficult to truly maintain a program, for various reasons.

So, while walking and cycling have been able to remain more or less constants, what’s gone out the window is strength training.

One of the most successful “programs” I’ve ever worked out and followed is a Tarketed Ketogenic Diet, from the Book by Lyle McDonald, which I made time for my first year in seminary, after years of being in the memorable Low Carb and Exercise List back in the day of UseNet. It’s nothing I can keep up with on a long term basis (obviously, or I would not be typing up this post.)

starting strength
But as the old saying goes, if you need to lose weight, then you need to eat less, move more, and lift heavy things. It doesn’t get more simple than that. I’ve been doing pretty good with the first two, it’s the third one, the “lifting heavy things part,” where I’ve been truly a slacker.

Which leads to this book I’ve been reading again: Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.

The picture of Mr. Rippetoe pretty much sums up the point of strength training: relaxing on the veranda with a whiskey. Strength helps you to enjoy life.

I hope to be hiking and biking well into my later years, God willing. A few years ago I joined the Adventure Cycling Association, when I realized that I needed to reprioritize for a more active lifestyle. I had only taken a bout two years off, and intertia is a force to be reckoned with as you age! rippetoe

But to that point, after several years of being away from free weights, I’m back in the weight room like a toddler, making sure my form is correct and my programs are lined up so that I don’t end up with any easily avoided injuries. And as ever, I go to the gym when I figure no one will be there. There were times I’ve felt like I was king of the hill, and walked around the gym doing whatever I wanted (well, that’s another story and not necessarily for this blog.) But a simple, sober routine for building strength is great for having a solid basis to work with. I’m not out to impress anyone, or to relive any past “glories” (mostly since I’m a late bloomer and the glories are all about us throughout life.) I’m just out to grow in strength, to better plan for future health so I that can fulfill my Priestly duties better, and to learn and grow with enjoyable habits.

Other things in the mix…. hopefully we’ll get around to that in the not too distant future.

Priestly Fitness

A large part of my life has been devoted to exercise, trying to eat right, and fitness in general. I’ve been striving to get that balance back, and have been doing well for the most part in that I went backpacking 84 miles a few months ago, my cycling mileage is getting better (“better” beings relative term of course. Better than what? You may well ask. Better than nothing! Heh… But I’m doing 20-30 mile rides with some regularity, and even a 50 miler right before Christmas.).

But what’s been missing is an intelligent strength training routine, to round this all out. I’ve been playing around with various weights and machines at the gym to sort of build a base from which to work (i.e unintelligent routine,) and have been reading and sorting through some things to build strength.

First up is something in my shelf for years, the “Seven Minute Rotator Cuff Solution”, which is actually now available for free PDF download. 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution

But the plan is to build strength in my shoulders to better handle workout stressors. It’s a start… And we’re off.

Fr. Kenneth Allen