How to Get in Shape...Without it Becoming an Idol

For as long as I can remember I have always struggled with self image. I remember being picked on in school because of my weight and being called names like "buffalo butt". This one time in first grade this kid pulled up my shirt and started playing the bongos on my belly while I squealed in pain and embarrassment. By the time I was fourteen I was already 210 pounds and on Prozac for depression.


Once I started training I was immediately hooked. I began going to class almost everyday. I even went to class after I fractured my ankle doing a tornado kick. I was that hooked!  Amazingly enough, I was actually pretty good at it and after 6 months of training I had lost 60 pounds.

Unfortunately, one thing was missing from our training and that was the importance of nutrition. After demonstrations we would eat at least 5 bowls of rice and a ton of meat. So even though I was training all the time I was never as lean as I wanted to be. It wasn't until I stepped down from teaching at my school that I discovered the invaluable necessity to having a proper diet. 


That all changed when I saw my first kung fu movie: Master Killer. I was captivated immediately. I still remember the caption on the bootlegged VHS box that my friend let me borrow from New York Chinatown. It said, "He was the best... he killed the rest-MASTER KILLER". I was especially enthralled with the epic and renowned training montage that takes place during the second act of the film. It shows San Te who started out as a scrawny, weak teenager as he transformed into the... you guessed it "Master Killer". I remember immediately asking my mom to enroll me in Kung fu classes and, being the amazing single mother that she was, she immediately signed me up even though she could not afford it.


As we are all well aware of, we live in a very voyeuristic and superficial world.

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”                                                      1 Samuel 16:7

It's very easy to find tons of selfies of people showing of their bod in hopes of getting the approval and "likes" of the faceless masses. We are constantly bombarded with photo-shopped celebrities and models on the covers of magazines who perpetuate an image that just can't be obtained naturally. Even for me it's a struggle not to constantly be checking the scale and pinching myself to see how much fat is on my body. It's very easy to become obsessed and make image an idol. To keep things in perspective I always go back to one verse. 

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.            1 Timothy 4:8

You see physical exercise is great! Matter of fact, it's a necessity especially in our very sedentary society we live in. But this life is short and if we are blessed we might live to 80 or 90. But fitness and self-image shouldn't be the crux of our life. Instead, we should invest our time and energy into things that will last forever. I personally don't have time to be a gym rat and I have two children under the age of two that I want to raise. 

 Now before I go into my nutrition plan let me just say that I am not a nutritionist. But I did work with one to come up with this plan so make sure you consult a physcican before you make any drastic changes. But let me just say that this plan works and you don't have to starve yourself. This meal plan is perfect for people who love to eat. 

So depending on what time you wake up you will be eating every 3 hours. So you may eat more than 5 meals a day.  You may feel super full at first but after about a week you will really be looking forward to each meal. For your first meal of the day you will need to eat one serving of protein and one serving of carbohydrates (serving sizes listed below). For your last meal of the day you will eat one serving of protein and one serving of vegetables.  For each meal between you will have one serving of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. 

Serving size for Proteins:  Seafood: use 8oz.  Meat: 7 oz. Protein powder: 3 scoops w/ water.  Eggs: 9 whites only. After about 1-2 weeks you can take the protein up an ounce if you want more muscle or down one if you want to be smaller. Your options for protein are as follows: Egg Whites, Boneless skinless Turkey Breast, Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Lean (White) Fish Tuna Scallops, Mussels, Shrimp, Buffalo, Venison Ostrich Protein, Powder (designer whey)

Carbohydrates:  Oatmeal ¾ cup Dry, Grits 1/3 cup dry, Cream of Wheat ¼ cup dry, Barley ¾ cup, Bulgur Wheat ¾ cup, Long Grain Brown Rice ¾ cup, Peas 1 cup, Yellow Corn 1 cup, Potato w/ skin 6 oz. Sweet Potato w/ skin 6 oz., Yams 6 oz., Legumes (all types of beans) ¾ cup, Quinoa ¾ cup, Rice Cakes (butter of plain) 4

Vegetables: (One cup per serving size) Asparagus, Artichokes, okra, Broccoli, squash, Brussels sprouts, turnips, Bok Choy, onions, Cucumber, mushrooms, Celery, peppers, Cauliflower, watercress, , cabbage, Green beans. (Three cups per serving for leafy greens) Mustard greens, spinach Collard greens, salad greens, Kale.

Other Rules: Drink at least 64 oz. of water a day. Take one multi-vitamin per day. You may use coconut oil to cook with but use sparingly.  You may use condiments and sauces as long as they are less or equal to 4 grams of carbohydrates and less than or equal to 1 gram of fat per meal. You may bake, grill and boil but no frying!  Coffee is ok but no sugar or cream.  Stevia® is OK to use but sparingly.

Believe it or not, it's the diet that will do the majority of the work. This meal plan will ignite your metabolism and help your body function more efficiently. You will notice very quickly that you are less tired because your sugar levels will not be spiking. 

As for physical activity that really depends on your personal goals. As a martial artist the standard for peak physical fitness and physique is Bruce Lee. I would recommend "The Art of Expressing the Human Body" for a more in depth look in how he trained. But in short, I suggest at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week. That can be jogging or martial arts training as well as three days of weight training. As they say, there are many ways to skin a cat. But in my opinion it really comes down to your nutrition if you want to see results. 

In closing, physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. Make sure you priorities are straight and don't get consumed with "trying to look good". Life is too short so instead of just focusing on yourself it's better to live as Jesus did. 

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—  just as the Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Matthew 20:24-28

If you have any questions feel free to contact me and I would be happy to share any training tips I have at my disposal.