Where were you this morning at 5:30 am? Were you sleeping? Were you at work? Were you on your way home from a late night? I was outside running up and down a set of staircases along the Pacific Ocean in Mazatlán, Sinaloa Mexico. Crazy, huh? Yes, I must admit that my dedication to working out really is nuts! However, I see the early morning workout routines as a necessary sacrifice to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Every day that I have provides evidence of a purpose for my life that is incomplete. My awareness of this fact pushes me out of bed in the morning while my family is asleep, to exercise and get a proper start to my day.
My reasons for staying in shape run deep beneath the façade of a hard exterior. I exercise because I know the body is a temple. When I train capoeira, lift weights, or go for a run, I feel as if I am in commune with my spirit through the body's physical needs. According to Derek Griffith, Ph.D., as cited by Lasheika Hunter, "men aren't judged by whether they are healthy; they are judged by whether they contribute financially to their households, pay child support and are active participants in their families and communities (2016).” I am trying to shift this paradigm in my family and community. It is my goal to empower men and boys to find validation in the acquisition of healthy lifestyles.
Through my workshops in the martial art of capoeira, I encourage participants to take time for daily exercise and to make healthy food selections as a way of life. I discourage dieting because restrictive eating practices for a brief amount of time can lead to weight gain. Dieters are notorious for making healthy food choices for a designated amount of time, but once the objective is achieved revert to old habits or worse. Whereas a lifestyle decision such as to prepare lunch at home for work or school, instead of daily visits to fast food restaurants can have significant long-term benefits.
If I am such a health nut, why do I have so many tattoos? Isn’t that permanent damage to your skin? The tattoos are more than permanent ink drawn on my skin. They serve as the stained glass to my temple. As mentioned above, I believe my body is a temple, and the tattoos function as an artistic map of the places I have been, the people I love, dreams yet to be realized, the history and culture I embrace. They further serve as reminders to work toward making contributions that can lead to the improved lives of other people.
I understand that a part of my life's calling is to empower men and boys of color to develop positive self-awareness. It will be achieved through my writing, workshops, family vlog and whatever additional skills I can acquire during my lifetime. I know that if I do not continue to make healthy choices that include exercise and making wise food selections, I will likely be unsuccessful in the impact I am called to complete.
Is your health preventing you from performing your best work as a father, husband, son, employee, or entrepreneur? If so, let's take one small step today and commit to exercising. It doesn't matter if it happens at 5:30 am or 5:30 pm. Just use today to commit to a few brief minutes of daily exercise.