3 Tips for the Sanctity of the Lifting Man

Travis, everyone’s favorite director of development, is here with some epic tips on how to improve your workouts and your prayer!

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{photo from Jared Zimmerer}

This one is for the Catholic meat heads of the world. If done right there should be few places holier than the weight room, where weights clanking together sound as sweet as church bells, chalk fills the room like incense in Mass, and men and women approach the iron like it’s the answer to their prayers. Well… it’s not the answer to your prayers but it can help aid your prayer and help you to grow in virtue. Below are a few tips to help you add virtue to you gym sessions:

1) “Pray before, after, and during your lifts” – Jared Zimmerer
A workout is the perfect place to figure out the intricacies of your soul. It is interesting that in order to grow our muscles we have to tear them down first. It is the same with our souls, if you invite Christ and His Blessed Mother to the gym with you they will reveal to you things you never knew about yourself. Trust me on this.
“Let us work. Let us work a lot and work well, without forgetting that prayer is our best weapon. That is why I will never tire of repeating that we have to be contemplative souls in the middle of the world, who try to convert their work into prayer” – St. Josemaria Escriva.

2) Train until failure.

Your time in the gym is a time to remember your mortality. Not only will you build more muscle, but in choosing to do those extra reps that are so difficult and painful, you will be able to make difficult choices outside of the gym. When the temptation to be lazy at work arises, or to give in to that moment of weakness in front of your laptop, you will know what it’s like to push yourself to your limits and you will be able to overcome. It is also important lesson in perseverance, if a person is stuck benching 225 lbs. for 8 reps, does he stop trying to get the 9th rep. No, that person continues to work and fail at 8 reps until he can do 9. In a similar way, when we fall into sin, especially into mortal sin, you get to confession and get back to work! When you fall again, you do the same thing. Discouragement IS the devil so when you fail the only thing you should be thinking about is your next set. Get back on the bench and try again!
“We expect that God, in his omnipotence, will defeat injustice, evil, sin and suffering with a triumphant divine victory. Instead, God shows us a humble victory that in human terms seems to be a failure.”- Pope Francis

3) Absolutely never say no to spotting a fellow lifter- especially if they are new to the gym!

Especially when someone is new to the gym, they could be extra vulnerable. Nothing drives me crazier than when someone is too into themselves to take five seconds out of their workout to help spot and motivate someone else in the gym. When someone is new to the gym, one bad experience can sour them forever. This reminds me of another place where people get soured because they were not welcomed in the proper way…oh yeah CHURCH. The bottom line is, when someone needs help and you’re in a position to offer help (in this case you always are), you offer help. Period. “Iron is sharpened by Iron; one person sharpens another”- Psalm 27:17.
As Catholics, our bodies are temples of the most wonderful gift on earth, the Eucharist. So when we are pursuing our fitness goals, we should keep this in mind and make sure the process is virtuous. We wouldn’t want to build a parish for our own glory we would want it to represent the beauty inside. So the same goes for your body, when you are sculpting and building your temple make sure it is for the right reasons! Also, for the love of God enjoy your workouts!

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