Random Critical Thinking About Fitness and Death

Squat

Before my wife and I had kids, we loved going to the gym.  We loved working out, getting geek and just spending time together pounding the weights…but having two kids put that whole activity on hiatus for a while.  Today that stopped as we went gym shopping, and I hate gym shopping.  Gyms never let you go check stuff out.  Oh no.  You have to get the tour and have a young, single personal trainer subtly insult you for 30 minutes where they attempt to make you feel fat and out of shape.

I know I’m out of shape.  The fact that I don’t exercise and have a doughnut in my hand kinda suggests that.

But what’s worse is the fancy gyms where you get the package.  We went to a big, fancy gym where we got a bunch of paperwork for us to check off every intimate detail of our diet, daily schedule, etc. (just to rub in our faces that we don’t exercise enough), a low pressure sales pitch for using the personal trainers (which we repeatedly specified that we weren’t interested in), and a copy of the book that was self-published by the guy who founded the gym and is apparently a fitness expert who says things that are simply rationally incoherent.   Here’s an example:

1.  Most people don’t think they look good because they have wrongly “bought into cultural ideas of ‘feminine beauty’ and ‘manliness’…”

2.  We need to stop thinking about beauty the way culture defines it.

3.  “Looking good involves two distinct components. One is feeling good about yourself just for participating in physical activity, feeling good about every improvement you make, as opposed to thinking you will only look good when you’re perfect…The second aspect of looking good is when people say to you ‘You look good’.”

Stop and think about that for a second.

The reason why people don’t think they look good is due to the cultural ideas that they’ve wrongly adopted.  The way to get past those cultural standards is to start feeling good about yourself for trying and…rely on compliments about your body from other people who…most likely…are drowning in the cultural ideas that you’re trying to escape.

Can you say “rational faceplant”?

faceplant

While I listening to the sales pitch, the trainer mentioned something I hadn’t heard of.  Dr. Mehmet Oz and his “real age test” (which the gym apparently does).  I do not follow anything that Dr. Oz does; I have enough trouble keeping up with the quackery and silliness within my own church circles to worry about the tsunami of idiocy in all the various health circles.  Still, seeing that I hadn’t heard of it before, I thought I’d at least look it up.  Watch the following video and have your bolonga detector set for “minimum sensitivity”  I guarantee that it will still redline:

Now listen around the 0:35 mark.  He says “eating six walnuts as a snack makes you 2/10 of a year younger”.

What?

Well, he’s apparently talking about your real age, not your chronological age.  Apparently you can be 50 years old chronologically but really be 17…or something.

Now keep listening at around the 0:54 where Dr. Oz says “But just before we started the show…breaking news…there was a major study that came out that showed a 20% reduction in dying if, if you can actually incorporate nuts into your diet.”

Think about that for a second.

A nameless study where 20% of the people in the study were supposed to die but didn’t because they started eating nuts?

Uh, that’s nuts.

No, that’s worse that nuts.  That’s barking mad.

dog-howling-crop

How in the world did the people performing the study establish the 20% reduction in dying?  What kind of idiotic person references a study like that?

So apparently Dr. Oz has figured out how to extend life by diet, or getting up out of a chair, or whatever.  He has a whole series of intricate formulas worked out where, if you follow his advice, you’ll somehow what?  Outlive your chronological age?

Erm, yeah.

On the basis of that one video, I’d suggest that Dr. Oz is one step worse than the prosperity gospel; he is a modern self-employed Johann Tetzel, a guy who plays off people’s fear of death and sells them the cure that he himself profits off.  What a traitor to medicine…but what does he care?  He’s making money hand over fist.

I’d like to point out two things:

1.  If you are buying into any of the contemporary health crazes, Jesus came and died on the cross so “through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb. 2:14-15). 

Dr. Oz, and every other health guru, can only play on your fear of death to manipulate you, but only Christ can offer solutions.  All anyone else offers is snake oil when it comes to death.

2.  “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Ps. 139:16) and “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matt. 6:25-27).

Dr. Oz, and every other health guru, can not make your life one microsecond longer than it’s supposed to be.  Your days were numbered before your were even born and God overturns the plans of those who think they can overrule his plans.  Dr. Oz and all his talk about real age vs. chronological age is simply a bunch of irrational jabber/calculated deceit.

If and when I return to the gym that gave us the book, I’m already planning what I’m going to say to the sales associate.  Something along the lines of “well, the best way to reach my fitness goals would involve my own death, but I don’t want to leave my wife and kids.  How about I just eat decent and work out and not get anxious about all the things that are God’s responsibility?”

It might be more witty than that.  I’m tired and winging it.

Wing

Mmmm. Wings.

Pounded out a blog post in 1 hour.  Fastest blog post ever!  Hooray!

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Can’t wait for the new model of this old jalopy” Unger

P.S. – “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Cor. 5:51-54)

YEAH BUDDY!

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12 thoughts on “Random Critical Thinking About Fitness and Death

  1. dude, I echo your sediment. Although, it’s not just about the potential to “die young” but rather energy levels and quality of life. Since I changed my diet and incorporated a new workout routine, I’ve been a more effective minister (homeless shelter), more energy to play with the kids, more devotional time b/c I only need to sleep about 6 hours a night etc… It’s amazing how much your diet (especially) affects your life. Regardless, my first world guilt has been getting to me as of late. Why should I eat a donut, when children around Africa are starving to death, this is just my personal conscience. I heard Paul Washer say this in a sermon, “do you live to eat, or eat to live”. We can glorify God in our eating, right?

    • Oh, I agree with you regarding the “practical” elements of fitness. I definitely go for the increased energy, better sleep, etc. It’s just bizarre how so many people there are worried about extending their mediocre lives by a few years, or somehow getting rid of that last bit of fat so that someone else will finally love them.

      We can definitely glorify God in our eating. It’s worth remembering that God gives us food for enjoyment though, and we’re allowed to enjoy it. If it becomes an idol, then it needs to be smashed…but in this culture, our obsession is with what we eat, not how/why we eat, and in many places the word of the day is “shame”. Shame on me for not eating kelp, or kale, or Quinoa, or whatever.

      And SHAME on me for eating gluten. That’s why the Nazi’s were so angry: gluten.

      You’ve seen my food pyramid, right?

  2. Definitely looking forward to the new model. Tune-ups and oil changes are expensive. Speaking of where’s the coffee and donuts…

  3. If the Lord wills, the next time we hang out, we should go to the gym with a box of donuts and pound weights with them in our mouths. Now that would be hilarious, and others would be repulsed.

  4. I’d love to see a post which explored this further; i.e., why alternative medicine and radical diets have gotten such a free pass in the church. I am so weary of hearing about sinful practices such as homeopathy, flower remedies and energy healing, and OBSESSION with food and “essential oils” peddled by Mormon companies, not to mention anti-vaccination, in my otherwise Biblically healthy church. Invariably the women talk of little else, which to me is at the very least idolatry. We are not to search for Eden on this Earth; it is FALLEN!!

  5. The first half of this made me laugh because I have been through those “tours” before…agony!

    I loved this post though, it brings up so many great points! I know so many people who buy into all of these “fad” diets etc and the reasoning behind most (all?) of them just don’t make sense.

    Everything in moderation. Who doesn’t love a warm nicely glazed doughnut? 🙂

  6. Paul writes that physical exercise profits a little (1 Tim 4:8). Not that it’s unprofitable – and not that it’s the way to a long life. How much more important is the life of Christlikeness. Come to think of it … we often read of Jesus eating, but never once going to the gym or eating the latest fad-laden diet.

    Great post and very much needed among the culture-sensitive Bible-deprived churchianity of our day.

  7. I struggle with this topic as a new Christian. How do I balance a medical condition of diabetes and glorifying God with my eating against idolatry and the pride of life that can become associated with healthy eating? After military retirement I gained weight (eating the same without exercising) and quickly developed diabetes. I did everything the doctors told me to do with regard to diet and exercise and the diabetes became more severe (requiring medication).
    It was due to a very unnatural fear of needles that I decided to pursue “alternative therapies”. Please know that I am not posting here to sell anything or to be argumentative, but to seek wise counsel from likeminded saints. With that being said, after trying a diet consisting of ONLY raw fruits and vegetables was I able to reverse my diabetes.
    I am NOT a hippie, tree hugging, vegan, save the whales guru…even though I look like one. I know that Christians CAN eat animals, donuts etc. I am just wondering, could this be my “thorn in the flesh”? When I stray from this “vegan” style of eating, my diabetes symptoms are quick to return. I know that I cannot add one second to the length of my life and that is not the motive of my heart. I just sometimes struggle and/or feel convicted when I read these types of blog posts; if I am engaging in idolatry with regard to my strict eating regimen. I do not “push” my eating style on Christians or anyone else. I do share my story if people are interested. Anyway, I suppose this is just another “check your heart” issue. So thanks for this post. By the way, I hate going to the gym.

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