Pastors are known for many things. Unfortunately, physical fitness may not crack the Top 10. If you are a pastor (or busy leader) that needs to get in shape, this post is for you. Ask yourself, “How much more effective could I be if I lived with increased energy, mental sharpness and emotional lift?” It’s time to find out.
Here are some tips you can start applying today…
Drink water. Drink a lot of water all day, every day. Make a goal of at least 80-100 ounces a day. Stop drinking sodas and/or other sugary drinks. You drink diet? It’s worse. Sodas of any kind are akin to embalming fluid. Our adult bodies average between 57-60% water content and the world we live in is around 71%. Get into the stuff you’re made of and stay hydrated.
Eat clean. Alright, eat cleaner. Here’s the tough part… cut way down on carbs and increase lean proteins. NO late night feeding frenzies. Don’t eat bread with every meal and, c’mon pastor, put down that doughnut! Did we mention “fast food?” When and if you must, choose grilled options and salads over fried and keep your portions sensible.
Here’s the fun part… eat more! Eat 4-6 smaller meals instead of 3 pig-outs and a midnight “4th meal.” Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal. Here’s a secret, your tastebuds will change. Believe it or not, you will eventually prefer grilled chicken, fish and lean beef over deep fried anything. When you start feeling hungry, don’t reach for food first. Drink 12 oz of water and then see if you still feel hungry. Still need a snack? Reach for that banana or natural granola, almonds, etc. Keep some peanut butter or almond butter handy and try a spoonful to quiet the growling stomach.
Get and stay active. Get up. Get moving. You can do this. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Walk at lunch. Walk when you get a phone call. They’re called mobile phones for a reason. Take up hiking, cycling, cross training, even yoga, get a gym membership and work out on a regular basis. Now… stop, drop and do some push-ups or lunges before the next tip!
Try a standing work station. Don’t just sit there while you work, study and sermonize. Take a stand! I use an adjustable cafe style table so I can stand without leaning over. I use it about 80% of my office time and it makes a daily difference. No more dozing off in the late morning or afternoon. Work on your feet and find your energy and creativity increase overall.
Sleep more. That’s right, take that power nap whenever possible. Go to bed a 1/2 hour early. Go for 7-8 hours per night. Take time to recharge by catching some much needed zzz’s. You won’t get any medals for waking up earlier, staying up later or working yourself into an early grave. Model proper life management and remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
No excuses. Going on the road for that conference, retreat or revival? Get in 15 minutes of exercise in early morning or late night. Here is a link to a great workout. 7 Minute Workout Can’t do it all at first? Do what you can when you can. No excuses.
Be accountable. The best athletes have great coaches and training partners. Find some friends who will call you up and call you out when it comes to the new lifestyle you have chosen. Set some reasonable goals together and encourage one another along the way.
Start small and get fit over the long haul. This is a lifestyle change, not just some new diet. You may not be anywhere close to running a marathon. Don’t overdo it in your zeal. Do check with your local doctor to assure you are getting in shape with a pace that is right for you. Start small and grow into greater health and physical well-being.
We set the example in soul, mind and body as leaders. Start today. You can do this! Need some encouragement? Let me know how I can help. It would be a privilege to come alongside you and/or your team for a conference, retreat or ongoing coaching relationship.