I started CrossFit in May 2011. My paleo journey began shortly thereafter with these simple instructions: “Eat lean meats, veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.” It seemed simple enough. However I was finishing my collegiate running career and was still stuck on the high-carbohydrate diet that is preached relentlessly to long distance runners. How in the world could I sustain my energy without grains? What about calcium? Don’t I need milk to prevent my bones from stress fractures? And what about my sweet tooth? Yikes. I could (and did, several times) down an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting. All that to say, I dabbled in sautéing brussel sprouts and baking with almond flour, but it was a pathetic excuse for paleo.
Then I came to Talon. Seeing the coaches and members embrace the paleo lifestyle – and thrive off of it – I was compelled to try it wholeheartedly. Or should I say, whole30ly. My first whole30-err whole11 was tough. Day 12 was disrupted when my roommates from college came to town for a visit and we went out for burgers and ice cream. Woah. The phrase “gut bomb” had never been so true. It had only been 11 days, but I was convinced I needed to make a long-term change.
Unfortunately, this incident didn’t elicit a magic switch that all of a sudden repulsed me from anything non-paleo. But it was a strong motivator to dedicate time, money, and energy into learning how to improve my diet. The more recipes I tried, the more I was empowered and encouraged to eat clean. Comments at work gradually changed from “Ew, what ARE you eating?” to “What’s for lunch? That smells good!” The non-paleo items that once tempted me became less and less appetizing. Especially because I knew that even if they would taste good, I wouldn’t feel good afterwards. On the days I decided it was still worth the splurge, I was reminded of the consequences.
Making the switch to eating clean has not only affected my diet, it has now inspired me towards living clean. I’m more conscious of my personal care products (more like personal care product – I use coconut oil for almost everything! Ha!). I’ve made changes in my make-up, deodorant, lotions, and sunscreen. I hope to tackle cleaning solutions next. The process is empowering. It’s not easy, as there’s a lot of grace that has to be extended in the process. But I’m working on it.
Since my first day at Talon, I’m up 7lbs of muscle, 55lbs of back squat, and my skin has never been so happy. I’m truly experiencing the power of eating and living clean – and it’s awesome. I hope you have a similar testimony.
As a community, I also hope this testimony of “living clean” is true in our faith. We are called to be holy, just as the God who chose us is holy (1 Peter 15-16). We are called to live pure, clean lives. When we do this, we experience the POWER and victory of Christ.
“Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Phil 2:12. What good would this paleo and CrossFit lifestyle be if I had no testimony of improvement? No matter what the critics say about my preferred exercise and meal plan, I have a testimony of success. You can’t debate that! And there’s more to come.
We all know there is always something to work on – double-unders, muscle-ups, the dreaded overhead squat. We listen to the standards of the movement and we work at them, little by little. The first day you walk into a CrossFit gym, especially one like Talon, you are taught these standards. Each movement has them. When I first started CrossFit as a seasoned Division 1 athlete, you know what the hardest standard for me was? Getting that darn hip crease below the knee. The struggle was real folks. And then it was getting my chin up and over that bar – with two bands. To a new CrossFitter, these standards may seem depressing, tedious, or even unattainable. I remember those feelings. But to the lover of CrossFit, these standards are the lifeblood of what we do. These standards discipline us and literally bring us to a place of power. We learn to listen and appreciate our coach’s cues, “Lower!” “Get that chin over the bar!” “Lock out!” and even, “No rep!” That correction is welcomed because it drives us that much closer to perfection.
In the same way, we as citizens of Heaven have standards for holy living. They allow us to experience the victory of Christ today. Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.”
The word of God is full of these standards. I encourage you to seek them out and meditate on them for yourself. A good place to start is Philippians 4:4-9. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again–rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
There are so many gems in this section. The main take-away I would like to point out is that we are to be marked by joy, not by worry. We do this not by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and trying harder, but by repenting and turning to Jesus. We pray about everything, and we only entertain thoughts that meet the standards: true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, worthy of praise. All other thoughts we toss out. No rep!
This requires sacrifice. This requires trading in the world’s valuables for the things Christ calls valuable. But beloved it is so worth it! Just as Lisa’s brussel sprout slaw is so much better than a Krispy Kreme! If you find yourself still longingly looking at the Krispy Kremes of the world, know that God can change your desires when you look to Him. The more we focus on Him and the victorious life He has for us, the less we want the things of this world. Gosh, isn’t that so true?! The more I CrossFit and eat paleo and see the results, the more I want these things!
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Phil 3:12-14.
My prayer for us is that as we fix our eyes on Jesus, we fall more and more in love with Him. Above all, it is our love for CrossFit that compels us to keep coming – and bringing friends. May our faith be that way and even more so! For “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8. May we be disciplined and strengthened, that it would compel others to follow in our footsteps. May we know, “God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” Heb 12:10-13.
May we be strong.