Sports and Faith

I thought I could consider myself an athlete.

Until I watched the Olympics.

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But then I saw the Ford (?) commercial about how “we are all athletes” and was like, well, fine, if you insist.

In all seriousness, check out Krista’s post about how you know you’re an athlete. Anyone can be an athlete. You don’t have to have 21 gold medals like someone.

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I watched the #PhelpsFace shenanigans live on TV, and it was the most appalling and hilarious thing I’ve seen all year.

Anyway, we all know that Olympic athletes are downright inspirational. I was a little girl who always strived to be athletic in her younger years but never had natural athletic ability. However, I have really taken off in a burst of confidence these past couple of years as I’ve grown to love fitness.

Although I don’t participate in organized sports right now, and I definitely don’t even train like a middle school athlete, I am proud of how far I’ve come just dabbling with new feats at home. In some of my harder workouts and accomplishments, I feel like I’ve finally gotten a minuscule taste of the drive of a great athlete.

I’m sure you agree that it would be SO COOL to be an Olympics athlete (p.s. my blog/fellow BU Terrier pal, Gemma, is running track for Ghana in Rio this year!!! check out her guest post WIAW from last year here). I have glimmers of hope inside me that I could at least be a competitive athlete again if I really wanted to.

But I don’t want to. There are many ways to achieve your purpose in life, and sports are probably not my way. If you asked me, “What is your purpose in life?” I’d say something about doing God’s will and bringing others to Him.

That being said, there are so many parallels in the journey of an elite athlete and the journey of finding your purpose in life, whatever that may be. In my case, I’ve found that I can draw major inspiration from athletes for my own faith journey.

1) It’s difficult to start.

It takes a very special breed to say as a beginner, “I can’t wait to do that workout that will set my lungs and muscles on fire.” Likewise, I never said, “I can’t wait to go to church!” until maybe a year ago (read: 15+ years into being taught about and teaching the Catholic faith).

It’s a choice to start doing what will make you better every day, whether you’re in training or you’re trying to grow closer to God.

2) You have good days and bad days.

Pretty self-explanatory. Athletes get tired, sore, probably hungover every now and then. They don’t break records every day and they don’t get better every single day. But they use those off days to get better overall, and that’s how it is with the faith.

There are days when I am welling up with enthusiasm for prayer and good works. And there are just as many days when I don’t want to think of God or I don’t feel like He’s there.

The only way to get through those bad days is…to get through those bad days, with a constant reminder of the end goal and a reflection of how you can learn from the trial.

3) It’s easier with a community.

CrossFit raves about the community of support all the time, which I think is why it is such a success as a sport and an industry.

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I’ve talked about how my faith has grown leaps and bounds thanks to the incredible community of men and women at BU’s Catholic Center.

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You push others, they push you, everyone falls over, and that’s the end.

This is where I say, “just kidding, you help each other back up and move forward.” 😉

4) It hurts.

There is so much we don’t see elite athletes experience “behind the scenes.” The sacrifice, the pain, the internal turbulence and pressure… But they know that those are necessary experiences in order to become a resilient and freaking amazing athlete.

There is so much we don’t see in people who are faithful, joyful, and unbelievably at peace. Maybe they did have a great life, but maybe they didn’t. There is sacrifice, pain, and internal turbulence behind the most peaceful and joyful people I know. Getting through those trials is what makes them resilient and freaking amazing human beings.

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^^^One of my favorite quotes ever.

5) It’s worth the blood, sweat, and tears.

Watch Aly Raisman’s documentary and see how difficult her training was before London 2012. Now look at this chick—3 Olympic gold medals (and counting?). Seems worth it.final-five-medal-ceremony_ap

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The end goal at the end of this journey called “life” is eternity with our Creator, which I think seems preeeeeeetty worth it. And He told us it would be hard. And it is hard, but…

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In all honesty, publishing this post is hard. I know my audience, and I know this doesn’t cater to everyone, but my slogan up top there is “pray. eat. move. groove.” Pray comes first. Faith comes first. God comes first. And I wouldn’t be sharing this if I didn’t believe in the depths of my heart that you could possibly feel the same about Him, some way, somehow.

Whatever your creed is, I like to believe that people have goodness in their hearts to want to help others and spread joy in their lives, which is never easy. So here’s to using athletes as inspiration!!

(pretty terrible flow of paragraphs at the end there, but guatever, I need to go to sleep.)

So tell me:

How do great athletes to inspire you (if they do)?

What would you say is your purpose in life? Have I asked this before?

Athlete’s vs. Non-Athlete’s Day of Eats

I have a friend taking over the blog today!

Fellow blogger and Boston University Terrier {alum}, Gemma, reached out to me about a WIAW blog switch-up a couple weeks ago. At first, I wasn’t sure how that would fit in with either of our blogs, given the fact that she’s a rockin’ track star and I’m just…not. But she made the point that it could be interesting for our readers to compare the eats of an athlete and a non-athlete (who is trying to get her hormones in check).

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WHAT A BEAUTY.

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I hope that you can see between our posts that food intake truly depends on an individual’s body and goals, and you should not criticize the amount of food you need, just because someone else is eating a lesser or greater amount.

Head on over to Gemma’s beautiful blog, Actively Gemma to discover the life of a “semi-pro” athlete, life motivation, balanced living, hilarious vlogs, and Gemma’s amazing hair.

Also, you can check out my half of this WIAW collab while you’re there! I show how I eat just as much (if not, more) than Gemma, even if my only “workout” of the day was chores and 8 minutes of abs.

Spotlight on Gemma now! (Green = me talking because I can’t keep my mouth shut.)

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Hi, everyone!  I’m Gemma from activelygemma.com! I’m a semi-professional athlete for Ghana and a recent grad of Boston University. (YAAAASSS.) I wanted to show what an athlete eats on a pretty daily basis and how it can differ (or be pretty much the same) as you!

For those of you that don’t follow my blog (which I’m assuming is a lot of you), I started a new training cycle last week to help me get ready for the All-Africa Games in September. Last week was pretty tentative as I got back into the training mindset, but this week felt like I pretty much jumped head first into things. I wanted to share what I ate to keep myself fueled all day!

I start every day with breakfast, of course!  Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.08.31 PMmulti-grain whole wheat toast, 3 sausages, a handful of grape tomatoes, an omelet with spinach and cheese, and green tea

Usually I don’t eat anything elaborate for breakfast. Most of the time it’s just two fried eggs, toast, and green tea, or oatmeal and green tea. Each day has been difficult in it’s own way, so I’ve been trying to eat a bit more to make sure I have the energy to tackle everything. (Hang in there, girl!)

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2 chicken egg rolls with a side of duck sauce and spinach salad with grape tomatoes and Caesar dressing

I had a late practice Wednesday, so when I got home I wanted something quick and filling, so that I could spend a little more time on actual cooking. I bought the egg rolls because they were on sale in the freezer aisle, and figured they’d be the protein portion of my meal. (<— I love the way she thinks.) I paired them with a simple spinach salad and my favorite dressing, Caesar.

And for those that may want to know what my workout was:

  • 3x Standing Long Jump, Standing Triple Jump
  • 3x15m Alternating Bounds, Right Right Right…, Left Left Left… Each w/7m run in
  • 4x30m Alternating Bounds w/ 15m run in
  • 4x60m Straight Leg Bounds w/30m run in

(Editor’s note: In my head I just see Gemma flying across the track like a gazelle.)

It’s definitely more of a track and field centered workout – I don’t think I’d expect just anyone to do a purely bounding workout, unless they wanted to, of course, haha.

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tortilla with seasoned ground beef, spinach, sour cream, and cheese

Second dinner was just a re-styling of some leftover meat from Taco Tuesday. (Awesome that she had this second dinner, not worrying about “right times” to eat.) I just warmed up the tortillas and beef, and through on the toppings I was in the mood for. I had about 3-4 of these before I got full.

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homemade granola bars and vanilla yogurt

30 minutes later I was hungry again, so I grabbed a quick snack of vanilla yogurt and homemade chewy granola bars. It’s just regular yogurt. I keep telling myself to try to switch to Greek, but I just can’t get past the flavor of it. I think I just need to find a brand with the right vanilla taste.

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To finish up the night, I had about a bowl and a half of my favorite cereal — bran flakes! (Where are the raisins!?)

By this time (around midnight), I was pretty tired and forgot I was documenting my food, and I gobbled up the cereal before I remembered to take a photo of it. (Me. All the time.) So here’s what the box looks like instead 😛

Welp, that’s pretty much it.  I wanted to show that athletes eat about the same things as most people do on a day to day basis.  I have no special restrictions or anything, so my general rule is to avoid obvious sugars (candy) and just try to stick to the healthier options. I hope you enjoyed! You can check out my blog activelygemma.com to catch more of what I eat, as well as find my weekly workouts, recipes, vlogs, and more!

And of course a special thanks to Alison for the collab! (Thank YOU, Gemma!)

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I hope you all enjoyed and found value in this neat WIAW switch-up. I am truly inspired by Gemma’s balance, poise, and athleticism. Thanks for being here on DMAG today!

Follow Gemma on Instagram and Twitter!

So tell me:

Have you ever done track and field? Have you ever done track workouts?

If you’re an athlete, do you have a special eating protocol?

What is your favorite cereal? Lucky Charms or Raisin Bran for me.

I ♥ The Olympics {MIMM #23}

Who else has been obsessed with the Olympics?? I don’t know what it is about the Games, but I just get excited for everyone and every sport and every cheesy-as-heck commercial. I’ve been loving watching figure skating especially since I used to be a competitive skater myself, back when I was a nugget (<— click to see proof!).

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Joining Katie‘s Marvelous Monday linkup!

Favorite athlete right now? Yulia Lipnitskaya. She’s a 15-year-old Russian figure skater, and she is ridiculous. Not only her flexibility…

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OW…But her jumps are powerful, and her artistry is mature. If you haven’t watched her yet, I highly recommend you do! [Watch here and make sure to watch the 4 minute mark.]

Saturday night included an incredible sushi dinner at my favorite Japanese restaurant ever. My parents and I calculated that this was my seventh time going to this restaurant, and it has only been open for less than a year. The waiters and waitresses recognize us pretty darn well now!

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My mom ordered the wagyu beef special as an appetizer, which was melt-in-your mouth amazing. Of course, my personal favorite was the sushi. Mom and I shared a roll combo (eel avocado, tuna, and yellowtail rolls) and the Amazing Tuna Roll special (seared pepper tuna and avocado inside and fatty tuna belly on the outside). Dad also ordered a spider roll (fried soft shell crab) and a Dragon Roll (eel and cucumber inside with avocado outside). GAH. No words.

I was famished when I walked in, and floating on sushi cloud nine when I walked out.

In other news, my dance pal Allison (fraternal name twin 😉 ) tried overnight oats for the first time upon my (and Lilly’s!) suggestion. The verdict:

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Woohoo!

Besides that, it has been a normal-schnormal weekend for us here. Dance, Mass, Sunday school teaching, homework. Before signing off though, I want to share the delicious dinner I ate last night after a long day of dance:

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Quinoa, marinara sauce, sautéd spinach, and roasted red pepper-spinach chicken sausage. 

Simple, yummy, and super satisfying. 

Well this definitely was not my most thrilling post ever, but consider this our Monday morning catch-up 🙂 I hope you all have a great week!

Get me up to speed with YOUR weekend:

Favorite Olympic highlights so far? Favorite athlete?

What did you have for dinner last night?

Highlights of the weekend?