Monday, October 31, 2011

The "fit" employee: Attitude

What does it mean to be a fit employee?

Quite simply, it is to have the mental and physical faculties to be able to do your job well. While the definition may not be precise, the point is that I am still discovering what it means to be truly fit. Since I spend most of the day at work, my work is an area I cannot ignore in my pursuit of 4-D Fitness.

One of the more difficult things to do is to have the proper attitude over the long haul. This does not mean always smiling - something I like doing :) But rather, having the right motivation and heart at work. I find that attitude fuels fitness at work. The wrong kind of attitude is like eating deep fried goodness (e.g. bad fuel) to prepare for a marathon.

Paul wrote something to the Ephesians a while back that really hit home for me:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
-- Ephesians 6:5-8

Attitude is important. And I always knew that. I never thought about treating my employers with reverence, as if God was my employer.

Striking a chord

I enjoy music. Growing up classically trained, I have developed an appreciation for classical music. One of my favorites is Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony, especially the 4th movement. It's one of those songs that strikes a chord with me.

When your life is being sucked dry ...

... drink up!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dialing in my nutrition

Nutrition is a funny thing. I can stare it right in the face and know what to do. But when "un-nutrition" appears, its allure is virtually irresistible! For example, today I had "all-you-can-eat" sushi. The end.

More seriously, I am dialing in my nutrition. I still have a lot of work to do, including cooking my meals more  frequently and eating more wholesome foods. However, I made a previous post of some supplements I picked up. I'm not sure what is helping (probably the vitamins and the greens), but I am feeling better. I feel I have more natural energy and less dependence on coffee!

To follow-up on the most recent post, I did not end up doing my long run this morning. My body told me to rest and recover for the long week ahead. While the sleep helped, I need to be careful of resting too much. I need wisdom to discern which fights to fight, and courage to fight.

Base Fitness

It's been a while since I worked out. My physical fitness definitely needs work. And I learned the hard way that I need to dial in my nutrition (not fun when you have to go for a GD when you're out for a run in the country).

100 Burpees for Time 

A friend of mine has this competition / fitness program called Game Changers. To qualify, I need to submit a video of 100 chest-to-ground burpees in under 8 mins. Curious to see where I was at, I did the 100 when I came back from Parry Sound. I was pleased to finish it in 7:50.

There were many times I wanted to quit. My lungs were burning. I was sick. Tired and exhausted from work. I almost quit several times. But hey, I'm a fighter!

As a fighter (okay, I'm not a "fighter" fighter ... it's more metaphorical), I continue to learn that how you fight is just as important as which fights you choose. Sometimes you need to back down. Other times, you need to never back down, fighting with a fierce tenacity.


It's been almost 2 months since my last CrossFit WOD. I went to CrossFit today with Carol and got totally destroyed. I definitely enjoyed the workout, yet I continue to realize I weak I am.


As you can probably surmise from my previous post, if I want to run / pace any more marathons, I need to start training! And first thing for me to do is to be consistent with my long runs. Okay, for those who subscribe to the heavy lifting / speed work, I agree too! But right now, my base fitness needs work.

I need long runs for endurance. Speed work and hill training will be gradually added. But first, I need a regimen. I'll start with trying to join the Running Room people tomorrow morning before church.


Around a year ago, I tried watching this movie. I almost died of boredom (it's about "fireproofing" marriage .. how cheesy is that!). I tried watching it again today and was about to die from boredom again. But I resolved to stick it out. As the minutes passed, I became more intrigued and eventually finished the whole movie! I may blog about this later, but for now, all I can say is "Wow..." (in a good way)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Morning Commute

A tricky photo to take this morning :)

Left to Right: Boston Cream, Large Coffee - Black
Ahead: Traffic :)

Excited for the start of a new week! Smiling from the inside out :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trip to Pop Eye's

(Left to Right: Omega 3, Accelerade Sports Drink, Multivitamin, and Green supplement)

After church, I was looking for a supplements store in hopes of replenishing my supply of Vega - especially the Whole Food Health Optimizer. Healthy Planet was closed at the time so I decided to drop into Pop Eye's.

Pop Eye's

When I first entered, I was quite unimpressed. Protein this, protein that. Super stack, explode your muscles, and be "awesome"! For those who do not yet know me, I want to keep my supplements as natural as possible, and as minimal as possible - getting most of my foods from whole foods.

I ended up walking out with 4 supplements. I'll give a brief description as to why I picked them up. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion too.
Omega 3's
Apparently they're essential for your body, maintaining good health and support cardiovascular health, and brain function, and blah blah blah. Anyways, I also heard they're good for recovery and joint health, so I'm hoping this will help me with my endurance training. 
Endorsed by Dean Karnazes himself (not sure if he still endorses it), this drink has a bit of protein to help with recovery. The price was reasonable and I just took it for a test jog and felt pretty good. 
If I could get it all from food, I would. But I have been feeling more tired lately and have been borrowing "energy credit" from coffee. I'm hoping this and the Green Supplement (below) will help me break from my dependence on coffee. 
Green stuff
In addition to helping me get natural energy, it has fiber to help with .... flow :) And helps keep my body alkaline -- which apparently is a good thing.

So I am ready for a new day! Looking forward to redeem my energy :) I'm not set on quitting coffee just yet. At present, I would just like to hold coffee and smile (recently, I have been holding coffee, drinking it in desperation just to get through the day).

And of course, nothing beats the real deal :) Lunch below courtesy of my awesome mom :) And ... I believe this is paleo =)

Kudos to my friends at CrossFit Markham doing the Paleo Challenge!


(Australian artists jayesslee singing Unashamed by Starfield)

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9

Today I went to Harvest Bible Chapel. The pastor preached from 1 John 1:5-10. Verse 9 really stood out to me. 

I had difficulty holding back tears, overwhelmed by God's amazing grace. My smile today shone with new liberation :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 21, 2011 ...

... was yesterday. Today is October 22!

Yesterday ...
... completed the 100 chest-to-ground under-the-desk push-ups
Today ...
... sore :)

Yesterday ...
... went with Carol to a cooking show (free dinner) and managed to slip away without forking out $$$
Today ...
... cooked my own food :)

Yesterday ...
... listened to Blessed by Your Name
Today ...
... blessing His Name as I delightfully drink a warm cup of smile-inducing coffee

Yesterday ...
... "was a wrinkle on your forehead"
Today ...
... how will you live your life?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Staying fit at work

It is almost lunchtime and I am starting to get hungry. The cafeteria is cooking some awesome food and I have an amazing lunch packed.

I have also been eating more and working out less. In an effort to maintain an active lifestyle, I came up with a "brilliant" idea.

100 chest-to-ground under-the-desk push-ups before I eat anything.

40 down. 60 more to go. I definitely got weaker.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think there's something under my desk ;)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Motivational movie for my next endurance event :)

Mark of a Man - Integrity

Standing in the breach

"And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none."
Ezekiel 22:30

Will you stand in the breach?


Blurry lights. Hues of the morning sunrise. What do you see?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Keeping pace

(Photos courtesy of Carol's dad) 

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a pacer for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I was the 4:40 marathon run/walk pacer (10 min run, 1 min walk). My job was to keep a steady pace throughout the entire race so that runners who want to finish in 4:40 can follow me.

An hour into the run, I could feel the bottom of my feet aching. (Uh oh ... this feeling is 2 hours early!) But I had to keep going. I couldn't stop. People were depending on me. The weight of responsibility drew out strength I never knew I had.

And that's when I saw the crowd from Team in Training. I trained for my first marathon (Rome) with them and was ecstatic to see their smiles and cheers. Most memorable was Hart's "Josh! Josh! Josh!..." I sported my purple Team in Training shirt under my pacer shirt :)

About an hour and a half later, my legs were really starting to cramp and the pain in my feet got worse with each step. (I should have trained ... or at least worked out. It was a mistake to take the marathon lightly)

And just when I was losing consciousness, I found myself in the Beaches. As I was running, I spotted Anna and Bruce and their kids. Their cheers invigorated me with renewed energy. As I was leaving, Bruce gave me some encouragements and I saw Jonathan too! I was heading back downtown - this was the home stretch!

As I was pulling away from the crowd and excitement, the pain started to come back. I tried to avoid drinking too much water, but felt my body needing water pretty desperately. I started the run feeling a bit sick and tired. With the effect of the morning's coffee wearing off, I felt everything starting to slowly shut down. My body was hurting a lot and my whole body felt weak. Nevertheless, I kept faking it, encouraging my group to stay on pace and keep running the race.

I finally broke around the 35-37km mark. I had to use the washroom and lost my pace group. When I tried to resume running, I broke into a hobble. Not good.

Throughout the race, especially after the half marathon point, I contemplated running off the course and just finding another way back. I wasn't sure if I could continue to keep the pace. I was tempted to "accidentally" trip, so I could just lie down and pass out for a few days.

As I was entering the last few kilometres, I could not run. I had to walk. It was pretty humiliating. I wanted to tear those bunny ears off. Then I heard some familiar voices: "Josh! Josh! Josh!" (Oh no ... it's the TNT crew ... I lost my pace crew and I can't even respond to their cheers with a run) They tried to get me running, but upon realizing how broken I was, they got one of the coaches to pace me to the finish line - another coach took over closer to the finish line.

As I rounded the corner, I started to run. I decided to keep the bunny ears on. And the 4:40 signs on my front and back. The time would show a huge discrepancy. I would be a failure. But I would still press on.

I made a big mistake in underestimating the marathon. And I paid the price. I will learn for next time, but right now, I need to cross that finish line. I started as a pacer, and I will finish as a pacer.

I ran a good race and did my best, given the circumstances. I felt bad for not keeping pace to the end, but I knew I had to finish my race, and get up and try again.

As I recover, every part of my body that once screamed in pain now itches to run.


My years of slumber are over. It is time to wake up.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quenching Thirst

(Photo credit: 2k Photography, Flickr)

I'm thirsty.
... so I drink water. My thirst is quenched. When I do not drink, eventually the thirst subsides. But my body still needs water. 

I think about how fortunate I am to quench my thirst. There are many who do not have this choice. Yet with this choice, I often fail to quench my own thirst.

Physical dehydration is not my only problem. I also "thirst" to run. However, many times, I would sleep in and skip my run, later regretting it when watching the beautiful sunrise and smelling the fresh air. I would tell myself I would run tomorrow. This would happen over and over again.

I also "thirst" to pray. To spend time talking to God. And praying for my friends. And for the brokenness in this world. And so I tell myself that I will pray ... later. 

And as I continue to ignore these cravings, my thirst gradually subsides. I still need to pray. I still need to run. I still need water.

Yet not all cravings are meant to be satisfied. This goes without saying.

It is time to stop ignoring these cravings. It is time to quench my thirst. More water. Get to the gym. Wake up earlier. Get on your knees before plopping on your bed. Less talk, more action.

Running again

It's that time of the year again! Pace bunny time! This Sunday I will be the 4:40 pace rabbit for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

I'm a bit nervous since there is some pressure on the pace rabbit to maintain a steady pace. Also, I have not been running nor working out in a while. Work has been all-consuming. While I am adjusting to this new stage of life, it has been difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

On the bright side, I just went for my first run today in Markham's Toogood Pond. I did not worry about a pace or time. I just ran. It has been a while since I just ran for the sake of running.

I am rediscovering my love for running.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In the Stillness

(Photo: Rest stop, en route to Thunder Bay from Rainy River)

Calm in the Storm

"In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there." --Mark 1:35

"After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray." --Mark 6:46

"When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them." --Luke 4:42

"But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." --Luke 5:16

The Cure to Running on Empty

Often we are hardpressed by competing demands. We fight to hold a smile. Reach out. Do good. Be kind. To put others above ourselves.

But sometimes, we reach a limit and enough is enough!

I wrote earlier about running on empty. About pouring myself out and feeling drained, having nothing to fill me. We each have different ways of dealing with stress. Some flip out. Some vent. Some hold it in. These are usually ways of expressing frustration after it is too late.

Stephen Covey talks about sharpening the saw (7 Habits for Highly Effective People). There is a need for renewal. Refreshing. To be poured in and strengthend, so that we can be poured out for others.

Jesus would often pray. To get away. To find strength and spend time with His Father.

What better person to fill you than the Giver of Life Himself?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The True Meaning of 4-Dimensional Fitness

(Photo: Lake Superior, outside Quebec Lodge in Red Rock, where I stayed for work in Northern Ontario)

What does it mean to be 4-dimensionally fit, being fit in body, mind, heart, and soul?

Many of these concepts start off as ideals, and either solidify or crumble when put through fire. Our understanding of the world is often coloured by our own life experiences. For example, does unconditional love exist? Whether or not this is true, if we have only experienced conditional love, it will be hard to believe in the existence of a greater love, especially if we have been deeply hurt in the past.

The idea of 4-dimensional fitness sounded great! I was in school and definitely had my share of challenges and difficulties. However, 4-D fitness made sense. The balance in the chaos made sense. I was not always balanced, but I could see what it looks like and how I could get there.

Learning through adversity

I recently started working. I really enjoy my work and find the projects interesting. However, working is not without its challenges.
  • Unlike graduate school, I had to be at work for relatively fixed portions of the day.
  • The commute was long and strenuous. I could not find time to workout and enjoy the activities I once did when in schol. I found myself beginning to be consumed by work.
  • While the job is enjoyable and the people fun, the demands of the job are sometimes difficult to adapt to. Different personalities, competing priorities, and pressing deadlines all contribute to a vibrant work environment. I found my emotional energy (and sometimes mental capacity) often being drained without being refreshed.
I was running on empty.

4-D Fitness for this Crazy World

I have a concept of 4-D fitness, but I still do not understand it yet. There are still many challenges and complexities in life. One cannot simply live naively.

Ultimately, I want to answer the question: How do I be fit (i.e. having the capacity to perform my utmost for His utmost)?

How do I be a fit employee, doing my work wholeheartedly and with excellence?
How do I be a fit boyfriend, leading in tenderness and listening with heart?
How do I be a fit ... ?

Many times we are not fit. We are not able to do what we are called to do. If running is a problem for you, to be a fit runner, you would have to train, rest, nourish your body, ... consistently. The same is true for every other area of your life.

There is a balance that must be had. There is wisdom to be attained, learning when to say no and when to pursue relentlessly.

I have not discovered the true meaning of 4-D fitness, but I do know that the meaning is much deeper than I once understood. This marks an important milestone of my life journey. I am excited for what lies ahead and in joining with others interested in sharing their life journeys.