Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CrossFit and Prayer is the Prescription

I do a horrible job at taking care of myself--both physically and spiritually. This isn't a new thing. I've been this way for all of my life. I don't really have anyone to blame for it except myself. I suppose that if I think about it, one of my major vices is sloth. Here I am, approaching middle age and finally starting to attempt to get over my laziness and treat my body and soul as God wants me to treat it.

I've never really been the physically active type of person. I would say that the only time that I've ever really been in shape is after Marine Corps boot camp and the police academy. Two places where I HAD to be physically active. But left to my own devices, I'd rather sit on the couch than go for a run. If I had a choice, I would rather get an extra value meal from McDonald's than to cook. Because of this, I am a physical mess. I'm overweight and out of shape. Which is sad because, I have a good foundation. I am relatively healthy. My heart isn't diseased as far as I can tell and I've never had any major injuries. I have no excuse for my physical condition except for the fact that I'm lazy.

As far as spiritually, there is no doubt I've abused my soul over the last four decades. I went nearly 30 years going to church sporadically at best. It's only been the last seven years ago that I could even say that that I was a weekly mass attendee. It was much easier to stay at home on the weekends than go to church. It was much easier to do what I wanted to instead of what God wanted me to do. Because of this, I am a spiritual mess. I'm a slave to sin, facing all types of temptations and seeming to fail more often than I succeed. Which is sad, because--like my physical body--my soul has a good foundation. Down deep, I am a good person. I know the right things to do. My soul just succumbs to the desires of the flesh causing me to sin instead of living a virtuous life.

I am happy to say that a year shy of turning forty, I have seen the light and think I'm turning the curve in my desires to become physically and spiritually fit.

I was asked to be part of the test group for CrossFit at the police department. For twelve weeks, myself and eleven other "ambassadors" would go to the academy and go through tortuous workouts. Week by week, I started to see improvements though. I could tell I was doing better on the workouts--able to run further and lift more weights. At the end of the program, I had lost weight and inches and transformed some weight to muscle. My clothes fit better and I felt better about myself. I'm eating better and I feel myself becoming healthier every week.

I've been working on my spirtual sense longer and I am seeing strides there also. Sunday mass isn't a chore but a necessity. Confession isn't a task and instead of dreading it I look forward to it. My prayer life still stinks, but I can tell when I've been saying my prayers regularly as opposed when I've gone awhile without. When I'm not praying regularly, tempations seem much stronger and it seems easier to sin. When I do pray regularly, the temptations aren't as strong and it's easier to live a virtuous life. I feel myself becoming closer and opening up to God bit by bit.

It's not easy and while I can see progress I'm still not happy with where I'm at. Yes, I've toned up and lost weight but I recognize that I'm still overweight and still have awhile to go in order to be physically fit. I realize that it's not going to be easy because the weights are only going to get heavier.

Yes, I'm attending the sacraments regularly and trying to pray regularly but I recognize that I'm still a slave to sin and still have awhile to go in order to be spirtually mature. I also realize that the closer I get to God the more Satan is going to attack me and the crosses are only going to get heavier.

I have a good support system in place though. I have some amazing CrossFit trainers there to encourage me, to push me along and offer me any assistance that I need. There are also amazing CrossFitters at the gym that sweat along with me and offer words as encouragement as they do the workout with me. I couldn't be where I am today without them. I also have amazing spiritual "trainers" such as my spiritual director, my parish priest and others to offer me guidance. I have the sacraments to give me God's grace. I have other Christians who are going through the same things I am, lifting me up and encouraging me along.

It's good to know how far we've come and to know how far we have to go. I know I've made grounds physically as well as spiritually. I also know I have a ways to go. Now, I have to get off my butt and do it.


  1. Good post! I have told myself for three years now that I need to find a Spiritual Director. As a matter of fact, I still have an email from a good priest and friend of mine telling me how to go about finding one. But I haven't done it. I could say I 'm busy....but I am always going to be busy. So really I just need to commit! This is a good reminder for me.

  2. Dear heart, you could re-introduce yourself to the Catholic concept of mortification. It is, they say, a very effective way to build a stronger relationship with Christ, and it's probably the way the human body is at its best. They did studies that indicate that a condition of near starvation resulted in longest life among lab animals, not even 'optimum' diet did as well. If you could just get into saving souls in purgatory, or doing penance for the Church--I mean for all that's going on, offering it for the crucifixion that good priests are going through . I know that sounds--I don't know, creepy. But myself, I'll do things for love I'd never do for health. Maybe you're like that. I don't know any good writings on mortification, but it's an old Catholic practice and I'll bet if you google it you'd find some saint's writing on it. Anyway, good luck, and please take care of yourself, because we need good Catholic professionals so much. SO much! Thanks for your work, by the way.

  3. I found your blog because I googled Crossfit and Catholic. Keep up the good work. Don't every quit. Sometimes when the WOD is really painful and I can make it easier, I remember that someone loves me enough to die for me, so what am I whining about.
    God Bless.

  4. Like "Mike's Wife" - I found your blog by googling Catholic and Crossfit. I started Crossfit a couple months ago after having my 3rd baby and, like you, I see amazing similarities between my faith and my exercise regiment. Just like the idea that people around the country are doing the same workout as me, the idea that people around the globe are experiencing the same Mass that I experience, that is a truly humbling and comforting thought. Keep up the good work!!!!

  5. Amazing! I actually googled "Catholics for CrossFit" bc not only has crossfit changed my life, it has strengthen my faith. What I thought was impossible, became possible and I have learned to overcome my fears by facing them.....even though it may be uncomfortable. The CrossFit motto is to "embrace the pain" the way Christ did for us! It is naturally scarey to feel any slight discomfort or even pain....but pain makes change and it's a good change, a change for the better, a change that can only make you stronger! This is what Christ has taught us....he didn't hide from the cross he embraced it! Thank you for your post! Keep up the good work! God Bless! :)