How to Obsess about Trivia

Round is a ShapeGuys, you know you have been wondering about this. You know you’ve been parking yourself in front of the mirror after pulling that t-shirt over your head and puzzling, “How can I look more like a super macho guy in this shirt?” If that’s the case, then your desires are about to be fulfilled. Browse on over to the always-spiritual pages of Men’s Fitness and read an article that answers just such a question.

In case you can’t wait for your browser to make that jump–which does require a painstaking few seconds of advertising before loading the article–I can sum up the basics here:

While attacking the large muscle groups in your upper body—your back, chest, shoulders—is obviously important, the key to looking great in a t-shirt is in the finer details. In other words, it’s all about targeting the little muscles within the bigger muscles.

The author then goes on to detail some of those little muscles and to prescribe exercises designed to target them. If you’re taking notes, you might need to add hammer curls and dumbbell skull crushers–hey, I’m not making this stuff up–to your workout routine.

In the interests of full disclosure, when someone asks me–no one has, by the way–“Do you even lift, bro?” I can say that I do lift weights 4 or 5 days a week. Why? As a runner and a biker and a guy who likes to be able to do stuff around the house, I would like to have a strong body. I’m a functional lifter.

I do not, however, lift in order to look better in my t-shirts, and I will not be adding hammer curls to work on my brachialis muscles for that purpose.  I might add hammer curls or work on my brachialis if I felt that such action would help me to do something like run faster or leap tall buildings in a single bound.

In 1 Samuel 16:7, when Samuel is trying to determine which of Jesse’s sons God wants him to anoint as king, Samuel is warned not to consider how these guys looked in t-shirts: “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Although I intend to continue lifting weights, I will not be paying much attention to the article linked above. When I enter heaven, I hope to be greeted as a good and faithful servant. I’m pretty certain that God will not be looking at me and saying, “Nice pecs, dude!”

A Strong Man Enters–Psalm 5:7

But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.–Psalm 5:7

Although I am primarily a runner–and recently a bike rider–I do now and again lift weights. Years ago, when I was in high school, I really got into lifting weights. During my junior year, I quit the wrestling team when faced with the choice between suffering through Thanksgiving break or making weight. I opted for turkey. After that, I started going to the gym each day rather than to wrestling practice, and through months of work, I saw some very good outcomes.

Today, when I’m on the machines at Planet Fitness, I see the weight lifters. They’re in the squat racks performing unusual exercises. They carry clipboards to record their routines. My limited weight lifting is simple enough that I can keep track of my routine in my head.

Weight lifting can be addictive. You get that rush of blood to your muscles without making your lungs and heart feel as if they’re going to explode. Your muscles swell up after the workout so you feel like Arnold, plus, over time, they get bigger. You get stronger. Strong is good.

Strength is good, whether it be how much you can bench press, how fast you can move a bicycle, or how far you can hit a golf ball. It’s good to be strong in front of the buffet or when tempted to squander your money. But as useful as strength is on this earth, it does absolutely zero good when we come before God.

You think you’re strong? God can out lift you, out run you, and out jump you. His self control, His wealth, and His skill can make yours seem puny. Come before Him saying, “I am strong,” and He may very well show you that you are not strong.

In this world, I possess some strength, but only when I come before my God in reverence, only when I bow, can I enter His house. And frankly, if I cannot enter that house, then all the strength in all the other places of this world isn’t worth a five-pound dumbbell.

Another Exercise Excuse Squashed

DumbbellDo you need to spend as much time as Hans and Franz in the gym in order to experience good outcomes–specifically weight loss? Absolutely not. How do I know this? That greatest of all sources, said so!

This article shares some common sense facts for the person who thinks that since they cannot spend eight hours a week pumping iron or spinning bike pedals or somesuch, then they might as well stay on the couch and accept their flabby sentence.

The article also pointed out something that I’ve let slide from my own routine: the value of strength training.

While cardio may not yield the highest ROI [return on investment] when it comes to exercising for weight loss, strength training is the opposite. Strength training allows you to add additional lean body mass, which burns calories at rest.

I don’t want to look like Hans and Franz, but I’m pretty sure that a few sets with weights each week will make a difference in several areas of my life.