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?

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Reflecting on My Exercise…Again

Deep breath. This post is important.

I’ll start by saying this: I genuinely enjoy exercise. I have learned this past semester especially (through my anatomy course and just through lack of time to work out) that I truly love exercising because it is a blessing to be able to move, sweat, produce endorphins, and do something good for my body. I no longer see it (primarily) as a way to burn calories or “look good.”

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While my relationship with exercise has improved during my freshman year of college though, one thing has not. My period. (Sorry, TMI for the fellas.) This is straight-face talk, and it’s very similar to my talk on this blog about a year and a half ago. I haven’t had my cycle in nine months, and I’m sure that my amenorrhea (absence of menstruation for an unusually long period of time) is due to a combination of school stress and— unfortunately—exercise stress. My history with an eating disorder very likely contributes as well.

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Another big reason why I think exercise is causing my amenorrhea is because I got my cycle last summer after only walking and doing yoga and eating more for a couple months. However, I have a hunch that I jumped back into intense exercise way too quickly, and although I had this hunch all year during school, I was in denial.

Finally, after reading Emily’s post about amenorrhea and Julia’s post about how she gave up exercise, I realized that I’m definitely putting too much stress on my body. Those two ladies are incredible— humble, honest, and inspiring. Ashley, Sam, and Courtney also have experience with hypothalamic amenorrhea, and they have been amazing resources.

(If you’re wondering why I don’t just check with my doctors, it’s because I did that last year for this same reason. All of them say my bone density is fine, my thyroid is fine, my weight is fine. They say exercise is fine, but I know in the depths of my being that my current exercise regime is not fine. See this article for more information.)

Even though I view exercise in a healthy way currently, I’m eating plenty, and I feel 100% healthy, I’m not actually quite where I need to be. Honesty is the best policy here on Moves and Grooves, and honestly, there has been pride involved in all of this too. All my friends see me as a healthy and active person, so if I stop exercising intensely, I feel as though I will lose this “image” that they all have of me.

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But I must remember that ultimately, fitness is not about lifting myself up— it’s about taking care of my body in order to lift up glory to God. Fitness is not what makes a person beautiful, and I firmly believe that. I have to believe that about myself too.

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So what am I going to do?

  1. Eat more. Like, EEEEEAAAAAATTTTT.
  2. Decrease exercise and intensity. Only walking, yoga, low impact bodyweight strengthening (barre/pilates). No burpees.
  3. Gain weight (fat, not just muscle).
  4. Pray.

Yes, I’m bummed. Yes, I question whether this is even worth it. What woman wants a period anyway? But alas, it’s important, and I don’t want my lack of menstruation to have future repercussions on my health/fertility. I am beyond thankful that I still have the sheer ability to move.

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For a while, I was disappointed that I would lose my fitness progress that I had worked so hard for in the past couple years. I’ll be losing some stamina, endurance, and strength. However, I realized that I have come to love the journey of reaching fitness goals, not just the result. I have learned to appreciate and celebrate progress. So wherever my body is when I start increasing my exercise again, I will hopefully be less frustrated with my slow start.

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Thank YOU for your support, encouragement, inspiration, and prayers. If you ever need a friend to talk to about this issue, email me at dailymovesandgrooves@gmail.com.

Hope you all have an awesome day!

So tell me: Whatever you’d like. 🙂

That Time I Fell Into a Canyon

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with Amanda today!

1) Guess what! I wasn’t sore yesterday! After the hardest hike of my life, I was fully expecting to wake up not being able to move my body, but I felt fresh and fine. I was confused. The hike felt so hard and painful, but I guess it was mostly the altitude? Or maybe I recovered so quickly because I ate very well after the hike? Whatever it was, I’m just happy I was not completely debilitated.

2) We saw more beautiful rocks yesterday! Our family friends drove us to Colorado Springs, where we first visited the “Garden of the Gods”.

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please smile, dude

3) After walking around the pedestrian-friendly path for a while, we ate an incredible lunch at The Sahara Cafe— a Middle Eastern restaurant with the most amazing falafel ever.

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owned this chicken gyro

4) I was stuffed for the next 6 hours after that meal, because what you don’t see are the sweet potato fries, babaganoush, and baklava that I also ate with the falafel and gyro.

5) All that pita bread must have energized some of us, because our next stop was Cave of the Winds, where four of us decided to do the “Terror-Dactyl” ride. Basically, you fall into a canyon, just strapped in by a few seatbelts and hung by a cord. Juuuuust rocks under us.

Supervisor: The ground comes at ya pretty fast, so it’s over quickly whatever happens!

Oh….

I apologize for my blood-curdling scream

I prayed beforehand. The worst part was actually the beginning when they tilted us forward so that we were parallel with the ground and all our weight was resting on their somewhat questionable seatbelts. There’s a GoPro video of Ben’s and my face during the whole thing, which I’ll be sure to share when I get it!

6) It was totally amazing and worth it (the fear and the $50…).

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the daredevils’ “before” shot

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head first into this beauty

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walking the plank

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after the drop, taking in the scenery and thanking God we’re alive

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Even my mom and aunt did a ride! They took the less extreme, but still thrilling zipline.

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my mom and aunt on the zipline!

7) After that excitement, we slowed it down with a fun cave tour! All those stalactites, stalagmites, and slightly claustrophobia-inducing rock tunnels.

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It was so neat! Our tour guide was awesome, and the history was fascinating. If you’re ever in Colorado Springs, I 100% recommend Cave of the Winds. Let me know if you try the Terror-Dactyl 😉

8) “Eat, hike, repeat” is our theme of the week, so after our afternoon activities, we ate a late dinner at Thai Diamond Cafe. I was still kinda full from lunch, so I shared bites of everyone’s food and ate a salad that I had originally packed for lunch. I left the restaurant very full again 🙂

9) I’m going to meet Emily from Beauty in Christ today!!! I am so super excited. I can relate to every single one of her blog posts. It’s so wonderful to have a blogger friend who is about my age, who has gone through similar experiences with an eating disorder, and who loves Christ with a passion.

10) Speaking of blogger friends, Blend is tomorrow!!! So many exclamation points and so many things to be grateful for. I am blessed to just be alive, but God’s generosity is overflowing every darn day.

So tell me:

Would you do Terror-Dactyl? Have you done anything like it?

Have you ever gone on a cave tour?

What did you eat yesterday?

Beautiful Weather, Beautiful People

Well HOWDY.

I’ve missed you all as much as I’ve missed overnight oats!! That’s a whole heck of a lot of missing, guys. You’re special.

I know I posted weekly workouts on Sunday, but I actually want to talk to you about life and what’s been happening these past five days! I mentioned last week that I would be going on a weekend retreat with the Catholic center, and retreat we did.

The site was a summer camp in New Hampshire, and I’ve never felt so rugged and one with nature in my life. Can you tell I’m a city girl? (<— never thought I’d say that, but it’s true I guess.) My Girl Scout roommate was laughing at me when I told her about my experiences. She said I missed out on childhood.

Daddy long legs everywhere, sleeping in the freezing cold cabins, only using hand sanitizer to wash our hands, and SPIDERS IN THE SHOWER.

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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

On the positive side, the stars in the night sky made me giddy with joy because we don’t see those where I live in New York. I was seriously giggling like a child and I could have looked at the sky all night. This view wasn’t too shabby either.

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The weather was utterly perfect during the day throughout the weekend.

We were also fed mighty well thanks to Catholic center staff member, Fran, and her husband Doug! Can we take a moment to appreciate the provision of banana pancakes and peanut butter? Amen.

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Aside from living camp life and eating delicious food, the actual core of the retreat was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. We prayed by ourselves, with each other, for each other, and for our loved ones. We adored, praised, and worshipped Christ our Lord. We reflected in the beauty of nature, and we reconciled ourselves to God.

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Hi, PJ!

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve cried as much in one day as I did on Saturday. Listening to my friends speak about their journeys of faith and just being in the presence of amazing people who love God so passionately melted my heart and made me pour out waterfalls of tears.

I think I saved at least two bathroom trips thanks to all the tears that came out of me.

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As wonderful as it was to get away from “reality”, it was still a tiring experience. I was (literally) sick and exhausted coming back from the retreat. So worth it though.

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Creds to the cool kid, Liz

Thank you a million times over to all the people who worked behind the scenes to make the retreat such an incredible experience! I can’t wait for the spring retreat 🙂

Back on campus…

Monday night involved a swanky-ish Rose Banquet for all the freshmen in the College of Health and Rehab Sciences (Sargent College) of Boston University. The food was fantastic and the company was even better. <— I am grateful to say that that seems to be the theme lately!

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And yes, I did eat that whole chocolate cake, and it was pretty divine. I guess I can no longer say that I don’t like chocolate.

Lastly, some miscellaneous notes on life:

  • I wore rain boots for the first time in my life yesterday.
  • I like having dance parties with my roomie.
  • I really need to do my nails.
  • I am an apple and banana hoarder in my dorm. Welcome, fruit flies! Sorry, roomie.
  • I despise statistics.
  • Do any of you have questions to ask me about ANYTHING? College, food, fitness, faith, fashion, anything else that starts with and “f”?
    • I’m thinking about doing a Q&A if anyone is interested, so comment or shoot me an email if you have any inquiries!

I hope you are all having a great week so far. We’re halfway to the weekend, y’all!

So tell me:

Do you have any questions for me? 

Do you like camp life?

Three fun things you’ve done recently!