Yesterday, I began a series entitled Life’s Essential Ingredients, where I listed ten things I’d like to accomplish each day. Today, we will look at working out and worship. I have found a way to link my gym and devotional time that may open up some options for you, as well.
1. Get to the gym (before 5:30).
A. Go to bed by 9:30pm the night before. If I don’t get to bed at a reasonable time, I just can’t make it out of bed in time. It is the constant battle of fitness vs sleep, and sleep almost always wins.
B. Lay out my workout clothes the night before. Since I am currently sharing a room with our girls, I can’t be rummaging through the closet at 5:15am, risking waking them up. Also, have a water bottle ready to go. (This is what Elle Macpherson wears to the gym, from http://www.modelinia.com.)
C. Get out of bed. My body naturally wakes up around 5:00ish to use the restroom; I just have to take advantage of that internal prompting to get out of my warm, cozy bed, and get out the door.
2. Spend time in prayer, bible reading and preparation for the day ahead.
Ideally, this time would be in a quiet, undisturbed area with a cup of steaming tea, but with five children, that’s tricky in the morning, especially because I’m taking that first hour at the gym (which is pretty non-negotiable). Here’s an alternate plan that I have partially implemented and so far has been working for me:
A. Bible reading: Read my Bible on the treadmill. I do this already during my five minute warm-up time when I first arrive. I like it because I am alone, I am ingesting Scripture directly upon waking, and it’s a set amount of time (I can read and savor about a chapter during that time).
B. Planning out my day: If I plan out the next day the night before, the planning segment should just be a quick review in the morning. I have a homemade notebook planner assembled, using sheets from Organized Home (http://organizedhome.com/printable). They are a simple, attractive, and (my favorite) free resource. Also, as with my workout clothes and water bottle, I could lay out any other pertinent items during that time, so I’m not scrambling for them later. As a matter of fact, I have a large, wicker basket that might serve this purpose well.
C. Time in prayer: I could bring a prayer list along to the gym to reflect upon while I workout. One idea I recently read about is the idea of a fitness journal (or small notebook), where you keep track of the dates you work out and what you do while you’re at the gym. I could just have a page in there dedicated to prayer requests, etc. that I refer to on the treadmill or between sets in the weight room.
In addition, I listen to worship music on the treadmill during my cardio time, which engages my mind and heart toward God. There are times when I wish I could raise my hands up in praise or sing along out loud, but I have disciplined myself to worship in silence, so as not to frighten those around me:). Listening to a song that extols God’s greatness as the sun emerges from the darkness in vivid purples, oranges, pinks while I walk on the treadmill is as good a time of worship as any.
I understand that there are some who may not like my idea of combining my devotion time with workout time, because I am not giving God His due, but my time at the gym is quiet and personal (one of the few places in my life that is), so this works for me. If I choose to miss my gym time, it is a double loss, because I will miss that early time with the Lord, as well.