I am finally vindicating, 31 years later, the college guidance counselor who determined that my best career paths would be as a brick layer or a minister. I certainly would like to think that my advice and guidance is helping to give people a strong foundation to build their fitness and health on. I am also finally accepting that I am not a businessman. My dad was a farmer who ran a farm, not an agribusinessman. I learned caring and nurturing from my parents, not profit and loss statements.
So what am I practicing and preaching? I am practicing and preaching the gospel of fitness. That means that part of every day is dedicated to ministering to the needs of my physical being. I do some form of physical exercise every day (or if my body tells me so, give it a rest and recuperation day) and eat for the sole purpose of giving my body fuel. When you pull up to a gas station to get gas for the vehicle that gets you from place to place and that you depend on, you give it only gas (or diesel). You wouldn’t ever think of going into the little store that is inevitably associated with a gas station, buying some junk food and coming out and sticking it in your gas tank, would you?
You depend on your body to get you from place to place significantly more than you rely on your vehicle, right? So why would you put junk food or fast food in your “gas tank” when you know perfectly well that is not the fuel that will make your human vehicle move and perform.
The way in which this analogy diverges is that your mechanical vehicle doesn’t need exercise like your human vehicle. In fact you want to use it less so that it doesn’t wear out as fast. By contrast, your human vehicle absolutely needs exercise every day to keep its moving parts from oxidizing and to keep from increasing in weight, among other reasons. Can you imagine how you would feel driving around in a vehicle that started bulging here and there because it was taking in more fuel than its gas tank could hold and starting creaking and lurching from rusting parts because you had “abused” it?
I work out to be healthier, have more energy, maintain my ideal weight and so that my body does not fall into entropy. As Tom Venuto so beautifully explains in his article, Entropy – The Disuse Syndrome – “Entropy is the tendency of all matter to fall apart, wear out or disintegrate into the substance from which it came. Entropy occurs in the human body in the opposite fashion: It falls apart when it is NOT used. Differently stated, ‘Use it or lose it'”.
So I am practicing “using it so I don’t lose it” and preaching “use it or lose it”. And if you think that my analogy of comparing your mechanical vehicle to your human vehicle is silly, then try pouring a bag of potato chips or some french fries into your vehicle’s gas tank. Then, as Dr. Phil would say, let me know how that’s working for you!