The “fitness”, good discipline or an obsession with my body?
Author: Sebastian Campos | Source: Catholic.link
The word “Fitness” comes from English and is a very popular concept used today which refers to two things related. On one hand, it refers to a physical activity that is planned and that aims to improve fitness in order to maintain health. Also it´s used as something that people can own or a state that can be achieved. When someone is physically fit with a good functional and metabolic health, then we say that we have good fitness. Both definitions are accepted and ideal for many people to achieve. They spend hours, money and effort to achieve the objectives it proposes: to look good and feel good. This can result in men as having the most marked muscles; and girls as being thinner and stylized.
In essence, fitness isn´t bad, on the contrary, is very good sport as an ascetic practice in which we discipline to train the body will. We are therefore doing well to be concerned about our body. The problem is that not always the motivation is to glorify God as St. Paul says. The motivations may be distorted to the extent that the world's priorities will cast. For both men and women, muscles, counting calories, size, scale, tight clothing and vitamins, they are becoming almost a cult. If you’re going through this, or are close to someone who lives for the sport it´s good to attend it cause it can lose the north and have consequences that affect not only the physical but also the spiritual.
Pope Francis was speaking to Italian athletes at the Vatican and he recalled that: "The Bible teaches us that the human person is a whole one, spirit and body. (...) I encourage you to always grow, with sporting activity, also competitive, religious and spiritual dimension”. But what happens when those values don´t appear? How can we accompany someone who has lost the north and only care about their physical appearance?
We present a list of real situations that those who are regulars to fitness and looking to modify their body and appearance composition may experience through exercise forgetting the rest, to go with them and above all help them to, maintaining your healthy lifestyle, can redirect it to where God really WANTS it to go.
1. Masculinity simply expressed in physical development
God has assigned a role to men and masculinity is lived fully, not muscle development and physical ability to do things, but how that role is lived. We have been entrusted with the care of the weakest, the role of head of household, loving and concerned parent. It has put us great saints as an example and Jesus himself as a model of masculinity and strength, but we are asked delicacy with weakened at the same time. That appears nowhere to live that masculinity must possess a large muscle mass.
2. Much time spent on the pretext of health care
There is time for everything, a time for every purpose under the sun. The problem is when priorities are disordered. The physical health care is important and we must devote time to that. Studies say that at least three times a week should do physical exercise. However there are other things which is also good to spend time, and every day, not just three times a week: God, family, intellectual and spiritual growth, rest, friends, work and so on. What sport help us develop the habit and discipline to take the necessary time to each thing, but that does not become an activity to which time is given disproportionately.
3. Obsessed with visible results
St. Paul says with great confidence that Christians "haven´t set eyes on visible things, but invisible: what is seen is transitory, the unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4, 18). And it's not a poor foundation for those in poor physical condition, but it means looking at the physical exercise so it produces outwardly, but because it helps the whole person care, because it develops aspects that God wants them to be developed, but for to achieve these invisible things, not to have more powerful arms and a wider back! If someone does exercise and the only result you get are loss of weight and more muscles, then it has not helped.
4. Find an excessive force development
Why be strong? (With the exception of professional athletes or people who need strength as a security requirement for their work) if you ask those who train to be very strong the reason why they do it, you'll discover how their arguments are empty and low by reflection. Being strong and not carrying out one's life doesn´t make sense. Being strong and not giving it use for helping others makes this force lose value. But even more, physical strength may be important to overcome some domestic challenges like running a sofa, but spiritual strength is important for all life's challenges. How to train the spiritual strength?
5. See my body as a tool of seduction
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be nice to others. This applies especially for those single who are in love and want to draw attention of those who they seek. But doing so based solely on appearance is a big risk: what else can I offer than look good? All the effort put in appearance leaves God on the bench and not allowed to play. He has amazing things in each and those things are big part of our appeal. Moreover seduction itself is not very holy, because it leads to associate the person with their body, it has to promote inordinate desires and stimulates sexuality beyond their natural order.
6. Mannish women and effeminate men
We have different roles, not because of social distinction between male and female gender, but because we are intrinsically different and God has willed it so. "God created man in his image being; He created the image of God. Male and female he created them" (Genesis 1: 27). Behaving as male, seen as male and relate to others as male must be the way in which the living identity that God has given man. Being a woman in fullness and to live femininity with delicacy without attempting to take the place of man, have the strength of a male or physical performance of a male, will make that woman discover the value in herself and not wanting to be like others.
7. Falling into vanity and excessive care of appearance
No less thing to be vain, indeed it´s the same sin of the devil and for which he was expelled from heaven. I'm not saying that those who fall into vanity are evil, but the tendency to end up feeling the same as he felt in the beginning of time: "Your heart was filled with arrogance because of your beauty; corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor" (Ezekiel 28, 17).
Seek to look good has nothing wrong, speaks of self-love, that we must have to love our neighbor as ourselves, but the whole life revolves around the physical aspect, which certainly is a kind of idolatry and It puts the body and its appearance in the place that corresponds to God .
8. Counting calories and excessive weight concern
“Being in the image of God, the human being has the dignity of person; It´s not just something, but someone" (CCC 357). This tells us that we should not look at us as an object to improve but a person to care for. It´s healthy to worry about what you eat, especially for health and maintain healthy metabolic rates parameters. Care is also a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight, not only for appearance and self-esteem (which are certainly important) but because of the health risks and quality of life. Feel guilt and remorse for eating a dessert, a treat or a snack can become a moral distortion that affects not only the lives of those who don´t eat. Take care of yourself, be aware of what you eat, but do not be a slave to that.
9. Do not compare
"Each test his own actions, and can sometimes find itself and not in others, a source of satisfaction" (Galatians 6: 4).
Don´t compare, if you have to compete against someone to overcome it against yourself and if you are looking for a model to resemble let Jesus be. Find motivation in wanting to be or look like someone else is not healthy, you need not be a copycat when you can be the original version.
10. Overcoming laziness and bring it to the spiritual life
Physical training and the effort that this implies have an important role in training our will impact and therefore on our way to holiness. Who used to try and not let things halfway, may also invest in other aspects of your life. Training your body helps to know how to discipline your soul, and your body is not the one that fives the orders.
"Whoever ascends never stops going up, and goes step by step; you never reach the end which is always susceptible to perfection. Who ascends the desire never stops at what is already known" (Saint Gregory of Nyssa).