The Ah-nold, baby

Some say Arnold and I look alike... you be the judge.

Some say Arnold and I look alike… you be the judge.

Last week Friday, I had the pleasure of having one of the funnest (not a word… still using it) days I’ve had in a long time (I should clarify…. with friends. MaK, every day with you, I have fun). Myself, Brent Kruithof, the genius behind Fly Up Fitness and a great friend of mine and another good friend, Jordan Stone went to the Arnold Classic and Fitness Expo in Columbus, OH. To give a little background on the event, there are just as many competitors in The Arnold that compete in the Olympics (18,000)… crazy, huh? Body building, weightlifting, gymnastic, table tennis, and a host of other events are put on at the event and it is quite a spectacle. Also, every fitness company known to man is there promoting their products and thus the reason we were so intrigued with attending. Lets just say the Arnold did not disappoint.

Actually, not disappointing is an understatement. The Arnold brought tears of joy and laughter in many unexpected ways. I’ve never seen THAT amount of fake tan on one person (times a million), decorative work-out thong apparel and muscle-clad men who could barely walk their thighs were so huge. It was like endless entertainment everywhere we looked.

Besides the awesome people watching, I was first and foremost there to help my friend Brent who is in the middle of trying to market, produce, and sell a fitness product that he has designed. Check out the Fly Up here. We thought The Arnold would help give some insight, possible encouragement and a feel for the industry. I will admit though, as soon as we entered the expo I felt like a kid in a candy shop. So many supplements for free!!! It was like ultimate trick-or-treating for weight lifters. I found myself wanting to bag as much free stuff as I could and actually a little embarrassed about how giddy I was each time I acquired a new supplement for free. They probably could have given me a bag of rocks and I would have been just as thrilled putting it into my newly acquired (also free), something-fitness-branded, cheap drawstring bag. I didn’t even care what they were handing out, I wanted them all.

After a couple hours of pillaging the expo I started to think about the cost that each company assumes to give all of this stuff away in the hopes that the consumer will pick their product over another. This type of marketing has worked on me. I use supplements that have been given to me for free, I’ve tried them out, liked them, and continued using them because they worked and I was satisfied with the results. I still couldn’t help but be overwhelmed though with the amount of money these companies were spending to give things away in hopes of acquiring new customers. Someone was shelling out a lot of money to put this free stuff in my bag but I didn’t care as long as I got my free supplements.

This experience stuck with me over the weekend and into Sunday. Our Bible study on Sunday focused around the cost or debt for our salvation. Yes, we are forgiven and yes we have been saved from our sin but the cost for the debt to be paid was high. So often I view the forgiveness for my sins as something that was free. It is freely given by God but the cost of my sins bore a heavy price. I don’t usually take into consideration the payment for my forgiveness, I just freely except that I am forgiven. For one reason or another, being at the Arnold reminded me that someone is bearing the cost for me to receive these free supplements. The Lord has taken my punishment of sin onto himself and even though I am forgiven it came at an ultimate cost. I like the thought of being freely forgiven but when I look at what it cost my Lord it gives me a new sense of purpose and wanting to worship.

“Jesus paid it all, so all to him I owe.”

Ross

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I’ve been working on my fitness

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Ready to pump some iron, Dad

Being a stay at home dad is fantastic but I’ve noticed the need for a constant routine in my life in order to stay productive. Without a routine I think I might go crazy. The one thing that has been consistent in my day to day life (aside from diaper changing and endless bottles) has been my trip to the gym to get my fitness on. Although, this is not the reason I started working out, it has helped me in my transition to being a stay at home dad. Since Maebyn still needs a year or two before she can spot me during my lifts, the $2 daycare at our local rec is quite the commodity.

Athletics, fitness, and working out have always been a big part of my life. God has made me fairly athletic and throughout my life I’ve always enjoyed being active. I’ve learned many life-lessons through playing sports (teamwork, leadership, submission to authority) but it wasn’t until I started weight-lifting that some seriously obvious and important things started to be revealed to me. These things aren’t revolutionary but for me they’ve had some significant impact on my life. The best way I know to explain this is by telling my story….

Like I said, I’ve always been a decent athlete. The sports I played in high school I put little time into getting better, stronger, or smarter. I got by on my natural ability. I went to camps, practiced hard, and gave every sport my focus, because I loved to play, but the truth is when it came to putting in the hard, extra work, I didn’t do it. As I look back, I can see how this mindset really infiltrated most areas of my life. Was I a good athlete? Yes. Was I a decent student? Yes. Was I a good Christian? Sure. However, all these things were easy. I didn’t really work at it, they just came naturally and even worse, I received a lot of affirmation in these areas of my life which led me to believe that I was doing special things. The truth was though that God had blessed me with abilities that I was more than happy to take the praise for but unwilling to put in the hard work to be better.

When I finished my competitive sports career in college I decided to take a break from things like running, lifting weights, and really anything other than pick-up basketball. Needless to say, my body transformed into something I had never seen before. Yikes. Keeping in track with my life, I had never needed to work out in order to be in shape, I just was in shape. After about 2 years of marriage and 25lbs of extra weight (and many double cheeseburgers later) I decided to start working out again. I started working out and quickly lost the weight I had put on in about three months. That seemed easy, so I stopped working out again for about 9 months. Much to my demise, I promptly put back on the weight. So I started back up again in January. I was almost through March and I had the urge to just stop again. I had lost the weight and that was really all I wanted to do. However, I decided to stick with it. Over the next couple months my body transformed. I started putting on a lot of muscle. If you don’t know me, I’ve always been pretty skinny, so having muscle on my body was something new. I fell in love with working out and have been consistently doing it 4-6 times a week for a little over 2 years now.

Through this process The Lord revealed things about my heart to me. I wanted quick fixes to my life problems just like I wanted to go to the gym once a week and transform my body. Can it happen for some people. Yeah, I guess it can, we all have a different story. For me, however, I think the Lord has been teaching me about discipline and the importance of setting out to do a task and grinding at it day after day, especially when things got tough. I’ve also come to realize that you always get a better work out when you work out with somebody. I can work out by myself and see good results but the times I’ve seen the most successes in my work outs have been when I consistently work out with someone else, someone who pushes me to go farther. I’ve noticed the same to be true about my life. Relationships have brought great growth to our lives and marriage, without them we would not be able to go as far as we would on our own.

Hopefully this wasn’t too long winded but hey you needed a mental work out, right?

Ross