Monday, May 23, 2011

My Trip to the Asylum

I’ve been out of the Asylum for one week now. I spent 30 days there. And those were some of the best and toughest 30 days I’ve ever spent. No, I wasn’t in a mental institution. I was in an exercise program called Insanity: The Asylum. Shaun Thompson is the trainer. The Asylum is Beachbody’s follow-up to the 60-day Insanity fitness program. I completed that in the winter of 2010. And I figured that sense I was insane I should spend some time in The Asylum. I’m glad I did. You may wonder why anyone would call a fitness program Insanity or The Asylum. Well, try a couple of days of either program and you’ll understand.

The Asylum did for me what Insanity did for me a year ago: it helped me get in the best shape of my life. And since The Asylum is Insanity on steroids, it has taken me to a whole new level of fitness. My fit test numbers dramatically improved from Day 1 to Day 30, and cardio endurance and muscle definition improved as well. The Asylum rocks!

As you’ve probably figured out, I love to exercise. I like to get my body moving. I like to challenge myself. And I like to reduce my stress. Exercise does that for me. As the old poster at the top suggests, exercise is a poor man’s plastic surgery. That’s only partly true—exercise is also a smart man’s plastic surgery. Study after study indicates that exercise improves mood, strengthens the immune system, builds overall health, increases energy, and slows down the aging process. I can do things at 54 that a whole of lot of people in their 30s could not.

So, get off your duff and get some exercise. You don’t have to do Insanity or The Asylum or any other program to get exercise. You can do little everyday things like these: take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away instead of as close as you can get, take long brisk walks or go for a little jog, ride a bike, hike a mountain, do a few pushups and squats and crunches every week. That’s a way to start. If you want more, join a gym ( and/or order one of Beachbody’s great fitness products ( But do something!

And keep it in perspective when you do. I’m a little crazy about this stuff, but you don’t have to be. Just yesterday I was reminded of more important strength than I can build with exercise. I baptized a young woman who is having brain surgery this week. She has been a real star in our church’s fitness ministry. She’s lost a lot of weight and she has gotten herself in good shape. And while that will help speed her recovery, when she goes under the knife, she needs a different kind of strength. She needs the strength of the Lord. As the apostle Paul pointed out to the Corinthians, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). And regardless of how much weight you can lift, how long you can run, how high you can jump, when you’re under anesthetic, your scalp is laid open, and some surgeon is poking around in your brain, you’re in a pretty weak position. As she told me yesterday, “As I face this surgery, I’m not depending on my strength; I’m depending on His.” And that’s a strength you can’t find in Insanity or The Asylum or anywhere else. You find that strength in a personal relationship with Jesus.

So by all means, exercise your body—you’ll get all kinds of benefits now. But even better, exercise your faith and trust in Jesus—you’ll get all kinds of benefits now and forever. And there's nothing insane about that.

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