Looking better vs. moving better
I have a hard time working out regularly.
The desire doesn’t come naturally, so my wife is usually the one who is getting us out the door. This morning was the same story.
We had agreed to do a group workout with some friends of ours at 6:30, but when I woke up, I was instantly angry. Very unusual. What’s weird is I make excuses all the time in order to not work out. Too tired, not enough time, not worth it, etc. But if we were to approach all of life with that attitude, we wouldn’t go to work half the time!
Being disciplined means doing something when you don’t feel like it, trusting that it is good. I guess what I’m saying is that I still need discipline in this area because I let excuses stop me from doing what I know is right.
When we got to the workout at the park, there were a couple of other guys that made the time really fun. They were hilarious. They didn’t take themselves too seriously. Just like I do when I workout. So I felt affinity right from the start.
At the end, one of the guys and I got talking. He owns and teaches a unique class called NDS Athletics. He asked me, “What do you think defines an athlete? The way they move or the way they look?”
After I thought about it for a second, I said, “I guess it’s the way they move.”
Turns out I was right. To be an athlete, you have to be focused on moving well, functioning proficiently in order to win the race. Your image does not win the race, your competency does. That’s part of why I love Eric Metaxas’s short biography of Olympic runner, Eric Liddell (Chariots of Fire). He ran with his arms flailing, but that didn’t matter. He won races. He may not have looked sleek while winning, but he won.
Most people go to the gym to look better. Have a sexier image. Lose some flabbiness in their arms and legs. But NDS is not about that. They train your body to move and function well. The weight loss just comes as a byproduct. It’s not the goal.
I love his qualifying question for new members. He asks them, “So why are you here? Is it to look better or to move better?” That really clears up the motivating factors in the decision to come to NDS.
I wonder how many times in life we go for the image instead of the function. We pray to be seen by others instead of to be known by the Father in secret. We do good deeds for the poor but make sure that others are looking. Or when the offering plate in church is handed to you, you don’t put anything in and then have the urge to whisper to the next person, “I give online.” I think the offering plate dilemma is so funny, partially since I’ve had that urge many times myself. I feel the need to explain myself–to justify my actions because of what the person next to me might think. But that is foolish. Character is not based on what others think of you–that’s reputation–character is based on who you are in secret. The reputation follows.
We have such a need to appear well and focus on developing our external image that we lose sight of what really matters in the end: the underneath, the heart, the unseen habits that aren’t done for looks.