SMART Fitness

Coaching people to EAT SMARTER and MOVE SMARTER so they can develop the habits necessary to achieve their HEALTH and FITNESS goals and keep them for LIFE



The Enthusiasm of a Child

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, our family goes to the same little place every year to get a “real, live” Christmas tree. We bring it home and decorate it that evening. Our kids are 6 and 8 this year so my wife and I are trying to make sure they understand the true meaning of Christmas. This is no easy task with the commercialism they see everywhere, especially all of the Christmas specials on TV.

I mentioned wanting to read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke to them sometime this season. The next morning Sarah, my six year old comes downstairs carrying my bible ready to read. We started in Luke chapter 1. I would read a paragraph, and then she would read one. In first grade she is learning about punctuation: periods, commas, quotation marks, and exclamation points. She is supposed to read it the way it would really sound.

She was reading when we got to verse 28:

Gabriel appeared to her [Mary] and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28).

She reads this verse with so much enthusiasm it kind of takes me by surprise. She didn’t stop reading until we got to verse 56! She was so excited to hear how Mary found out she was going to be the mother of Jesus! I’ve read or heard this story so many times I had forgotten how amazing it is. Jesus tells us in Mark 10: “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15 NLT)

I needed to be reminded that the real magic of Christmas is that God sent his son to earth through an innocent young girl to be born in a stable, live among regular people, die for our sins, and then rise again to rule the entire universe! Now that’s something to be excited about!!


The Courage of a Six year old

Recently, my six year old daughter had her tonsils removed. Before that happened though, she had a sleep study to determine how much of an effect her “enormous” tonsils were having on the quality of her sleep. It was bad enough to require a trip to the ear, nose, and throat specialist. He looked at her tonsils, and just said, “Wow”. I remember listening to the doctor describe the procedure for her tonsil surgery to us and thinking maybe she shouldn’t hear some of this because he’s scaring me, and I’m not even having the surgery!

Leading up to the surgery she asked lots of questions, got a little scared a few times, but her mommy and I were always there to assure her that everything was going to be ok. We told her the doctor had done this lots of times before, that she would sleep better and feel better afterwards, and it would all be worth it. The night before the surgery she couldn’t wait to go to bed so she could get up the next morning and go get her tonsils out. I on the other hand spent most of the night before having an almost continuous conversation with God about keeping my baby girl safe–please, oh please don’t let anything happen to her!

The morning of the surgery we were brought back to the prep area to get her ready: dressed in her hospital gown, vitals taken, and special instructions. She was so unbelievably BRAVE, and I was on the edge of tears because of worry! She’s sitting there happy as can be, without a worry in the world, coloring a picture of Ariel, the little Mermaid!

As I was sitting in the waiting room praying AGAIN, it hit me! The reason she was so brave is because she COMPLETELY TRUSTED her parents. When we told her not to be afraid, that everything would be okay, she BELIEVED us. How amazing is that! I get reminded of how important it is to trust in God by my six year old daughter!

God tells us not to be afraid 365 times in the Bible. He tells us to trust Him for ALL of our needs. I think sometimes, as an adult, we are so tainted by our so called “knowledge” of things that we forget that God can be trusted even in the smallest of things. We just need to remember….every single day! And sometimes that reminder comes from the unlikeliest of places. I love being a daddy!!!

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:30-33 NLT

A New Hobby

Back in June Lori and I decided we were going to start training for our first triathlon. We picked the Charleston Sprint Triathlon on August 15th. The distances for each leg were 600 meter swim, 12.8 mile bike, and 5K run. At the time neither of us had a road bike so we put road slicks on our mountain bikes and began our training…and really took to biking. Being mostly a runner for the last few years, I found myself looking forward to my cycling workouts more than my runs. We both were actually. We also knew that most triathletes would be competing using an actual road bike, but we were trying to be frugal. Also, it would be our first event, and we just wanted to see what it was all about, not really try and break any records if you know what I mean.

So, fast forward a bit: I injure my shoulder while swimming so I’m out of this triathlon. Lori competes and does awesome. But while we are there we see some amazing road bikes, and according to Lori, she gets passed by most of them. Before we even got to the race, I had a feeling we were going to both be wanting road bikes by the time we left. Unfortunately, I was right.

Lori and I with our new Cannondale road bikes

Now to figure out what we can afford and how to pay for it. When we got home we started doing some research on the internet. I also talked to my friend Chris M. who along with another friend (Mike Q.) are dedicated cyclists with very nice bikes. They gave some great advice. We ended up finding the best deal for our money at Cycle Center. I found a 2009 Cannondale Six on close-out, and Lori got a 2010 Cannondale CAAD9 Feminine for 10% off because we were getting two bikes. Our anniversary was August 17th so these would count as anniversary gifts to each other. My birthday is September 28th, so it would also count as a birthday gift….AND Christmas. Yes, they were pretty expensive, but it is something we can do as a couple and as a family that is good for us and gets us outside. We have been riding them for almost a month now and having a blast. I’ve even reconnected with a buddy (Darryl S.) from high school who is an avid cyclist.

Now, for some reason a few nights ago in the middle of the night, I woke up and could not go to sleep. I started thinking about bikes and cycling and how I could connect my new love for them with my faith. Hmmm…. Not sure where to go with that, but it is intriguing. Maybe Lori and my other cycling friends can help.

My Cannondale road bike


We make decisions of all kinds every single day. Simple decisions like:

  • What time should I wake up tomorrow?
  • What do I “need” to do today?
  • What do I “want” to do today?
  • What should I eat?

Some of the more complex decisions are:

  • Where should I go to college?
  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • Should I marry him/her?
  • Should I take this job or that job?

From time to time we must make decisions we wish we didn’t have to make. These are the “tough” decisions between that which is good and that which is best. “Best” could also be defined as “that which is most wise”. Andy Stanley gives excellent guidance on making tough decisions in his book titled The Best Question Ever: “In light of your past experience, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for you to do? [And] what do the wise people around you consider the wisest course of action for you to take?”

Unfortunately, there are times when these decisions will have a negative impact on people you really care about. I recently had to make a tough decision like this, and it sucks. Sometimes discerning God’s will for your life can be….tough.

Love fights fair

Every married couple will experience conflict–period.  Just as Paul warned us we will all experience trials when we follow Christ, every one who choses to marry another person, because of our fallen nature, should expect to also go through trials in their marriage.  Here are some of the key paragraphs from The Love Dare followed by some rules to help make sure your “heated fellowship” stays fair…and above the belt, so to speak.

The deepest, most heartbreaking damage you’ll ever do (or ever have done) to your marriage will most likely occur in the heat of conflict. That’s because this is when your pride is strongest, and your anger is hottest. You’re the most selfish and judgmental.  Your words contain the most venom.  You make the worst decisions.  A great marriage on Monday can start driving off the cliff on Tuesday if unbridled conflict takes over and neither of you has your foot on the brakes.

But love steps in and changes things.  Love reminds you that your marriage is too valuable to allow it to self-destruct, and that your love for your spouse is more important than whatever you are fighting about.  Love helps you install air bags, and to set up guardrails in your relationship.  It reminds you that conflict can actually be turned around for good.  Married couples who learn to work through conflict tend to be closer, more trusting, more intimate, and enjoy a much deeper connection afterwards.

But HOW?  The wisest way is to learn to fight clean by establishing healthy rules of engagement.  Basically there are two types of boundaries for dealing with conflict: “We” boundaries and “Me” boundaries.

“We” boundaries are rules you both agree on beforehand that apply during any fight or conflict.  And each of you has the right to gently but directly enforce them if these rules are violated.

    1. We will NEVER mention divorce!
    2. We will NOT bring up old, unrelated issues from the past.
    3. We will NEVER fight in public or in front of the children!!
    4. We will call a TIME OUT if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
    5. We will NEVER EVER touch one another in a harmful way!
    6. We will NEVER EVER go to bed angry.
    7. Failure is NOT an option. Whatever it takes, we WILL work this out!

“Me” boundaries are rules you personally practice on your own. Here are some examples:

    1. I will LISTEN first before speaking. “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” (James 1:19)
    2. I will deal with my own issues up-front. “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s [spouse’s] eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?’ (Matthew 7:3)
    3. I will SPEAK GENTLY and keep my voice down. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

Fighting fair means changing your weapons. Disagreeing with dignity. It should result in building a bridge instead of burning one down.

Remember, love is not a fight, but it’s ALWAYS worth fighting for.

This may be the best advice a married couple could get.  Here’s a suggestion: cut and paste the above rules onto something you can print.  Make a couple of copies. Maybe even laminate it and keep it somewhere you can find it when you need it.  Maybe give a copy to a friend.  I know I plan to.

One more thing: Choose to follow these rules NO MATTER WHAT….even if your spouse chooses to break them.  And yes, this advice is for me too!

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