5 Reasons Christian Men Should Get Jacked

Battle of the Godz Competition Photo

Bodybuilding Competition

Last spring, I challenged my nephews to a beach-body competition. They play football pretty competitively in Middle School and High School and were already deep in training in the off-season.

It started as just a joke that unmarried uncles who have nothing better to do make to their nephews, but my threatening them that I’d hire a coach to crush them in the competition turned into something more than expected.

We never decided who won the beach-body competition that July summer, but it turns out I did end up hiring a trainer and began training for an all-natural bodybuilding competition a few months later.

My joke turned into a very serious pastime that required me to spend 2+ hours in the gym daily as well as follow a rigorous protein-heavy meal schedule for over 3 months.

Having previously failed at attempts to cut on my own, I wanted to prove to myself that. I had the discipline that it took to get the results I wanted in the gym.

I blindly followed the directions of my trainer/coach who had put quite a few competitive bodybuilders on stage over the years.

I ended up losing over 30 lbs and 12% bodyfat, dropping down to 6% just in time for the show.

What had started as just a joke turned into a 5th-place trophy at the Battle of the Godz natural bodybuilding competition.

Besides coming away from the show with a really sick-looking 5th place trophy and a new appreciation for how much discipline is required to get on stage, more importantly I had grown in knowledge of the intricate relationship between strength training and our growth in general as men.

The ASICS Spirituality

The ASICS running shoe was founded was built on the ancient roman principle of “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” (A Sound Mind in a Sound Body).

The phrase originated from a second century poet, Juvenal, who said “orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano”, or in English:

You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death,
and deems length of days the least of Nature’s gifts
that can endure any kind of toil,
that knows neither wrath nor desire and thinks
the woes and hard labors of Hercules better than
the loves and banquets and downy cushions of Sardanapalus.
What I commend to you, you can give to yourself;
For assuredly, the only road to a life of peace is virtue.

-Roman Poet Juvenal from his Satire X

I have come to believe over the past few years that physical health is an integral aspect of spiritual and mental health, and one that is too often overlooked.

As a Christian I often hear people arguing over whether the Bible/Church bans getting tattoos.

Interestingly, when I searched this question online one of the first articles that popped up was from a priest I used to know, Fr. Edward McIlmail. In his article, his reflection on 1 Cor. 6:19 states: “Among God’s gifts to us are our bodies, and we are meant to glorify the Lord through our bodies. We can do this in the words we speak, in the way we dress, and the manner in which we groom ourselves.”

I personally don’t have any tattoos and am not here to argue one way or another, but I find it interesting that the idea of tattoos receives so much condemnation from some religious individuals but they overlook what I consider the obvious logical connection.

If we are to give glory to God through our bodies, then we should treat our bodies with respect and care such that they last as long as reasonably possible.

Someone who invests in a beautiful Porsche, for instance, takes extra care of it to make sure that it reflects its creator’s original design.

Socrates has something to say about the telos (design) of our bodies:

No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.

-Socrates, Xenophon’s Memorabilia [3.12.7]

As a monk, we were expected to stay fit but were not allowed to workout in the gym because it was believed that the only outcome would be an increase in vanity.

This was a position I passively accepted as well, until the last few years.

However, as I’ve grown more over the recent years, I’ve found it impossible to separate my physical fitness from my spiritual fitness.

An old spiritual adage states “first the man, then the saint”.

It turns out that our spiritual lives are much more bound and tied to our physical realm than I originally expected.

5 Reasons We Have a Duty to Get Jacked

So here are a 5 reasons why I believe that physical fitness, and in particular weight training, are essential components to growing as a Christian man:

  1. The Discipline Accelerator: There’s a reason why every men’s coach I’ve known has recommended weightlifting as an essential beginning point to personal growth. Weightlifting is more than just a physical activity; it’s a transformative experience that teaches discipline, consistency, and self-improvement. A fit, muscular body is something that you can’t buy or cheat on to get. Even if you are taking TREN or other anabolic steroids, you still have to show up to the gym day after day, week after week to get results.
  2. Failure Destroyer: Weightlifting mirrors real-life challenges, providing individuals with the opportunity to face adversity, embrace failure, and grow stronger from setbacks. I injured myself part way through my bodybuilding competition prep and had to continue showing up and working to heal through the process. It taught me consistency and resilience in the face of challenges.
  3. Increased Mental and Physical Performance: Weightlifting offers a multitude of health benefits, including increased strength, improved bone density, enhanced mood, reduced anxiety and depression, boosted confidence, and better cognitive performance. It comes as no surprise that when you are lean and fit, you feel better. This results in a greater mental clarity, energy, drive, etc. This also affects your spiritual life. We are synergistic beings, and our physical well being affects our mind, heart and souls.
  4. Embodies the Masculine Protector Role It would also be impossible to separate physical fitness from the inherent spiritual and physical role we provide as protectors. How can a father adequately protect his family if he is 100 pounds overweight? What if his 2 year old runs into the street and he is too fat to run out and pull him to safety in time?
  5. Drastically Increases Longevity: More and more studies are showing that one’s muscle mass index is a large predictor of longevity. Longevity experts like Dr. Peter Attia and Dr. William Evans explain that age-related muscle loss, or sarcopenia, is one of the most important predictors of a shorter lifespan. Not only does it drastically reduce the risk of fall-related injuries common in elderly, but heavily reduces the likelihood of dying from other chronic diseases such as diabetes, etc.

About The Author

(ex)Catholic monk. Founder of Man Fully Alive. Combining ancient spiritual wisdom with modern breakthroughs for Christian men seeking more.

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