So I am 12 days out from the NPC USA championships in Las Vegas. I got my cardio upped to an hour and thirty minutes a day, cut out my cheat meals, all my water retaining supplements and I get carbs every 5th day now. So I should be suffering, upset, and dreading what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a long 12 days with a lot of suffering. I am constantly tired and drained and it doesn’t help that I am always super busy throughout the week, Sunday is really my only day to relax after church and cardio.
I should be complaining, but instead I’m pretty excited. All this hard work is going to pay off and if it were easy it wouldn’t make me better or build up my character. I’d prefer not to do it, but I need to do it. I haven’t come this far to slack off or give up because it got hard.
Sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do in order to achieve something greater. A lot of times that’s how God sets up divine appointments. This past Tuesday I had to go to a photo shoot my sponsor set up for me in Selma (which is a small town a half hour south of Fresno). I really did not want to go because it was in the evening after a long day, and I have been really tired from the diet lately because I’m just under 3 weeks out from my show. Not only did I show up and have a great time, it turned out the owner was a Christian who does a community outreach program there and holds bible studies. I told him my story and what I am all about and we hit it off pretty well. Not only did I meet a brother in Christ but he invited me back in the future to speak at a bible study at his gym where he has many troubled youth, ironically that’s the audience I love to speak to and feel I have a great connection with.
If I never put myself out there I would have never went to this gym and gotten a whole new opportunity to minister to people. I think often we as Christians get tired or run down and just close ourselves off to things because they inconvenience us. I think we should go into every situation with a mindset of opportunity that maybe God wants us there for a reason. Nothing happens by accident and nothing happens that God does not have planned, so have an open mind and change your perspective on opportunities disguised as inconveniences. Have fun, open your eyes, and be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit has for you, because you never know when there will be a “God appointment”.
-Conquer The Flesh
I’ve heard a statistic that 80% of Americans suffer from Adrenal fatigue in some way or another but don’t know it. I totally believe this. I could go into a very long explanation of what the adrenals are and what they do, but I will not. Let’s just say they are very important and in a nutshell they are very important for energy and create some very important hormones. The way we fatigue our adrenals is by lack of sleep, a lot of caffeine, stress, and physical activity like working out. Sound familiar? Last time I checked all Americans are; stressed, tired, lack sleep, and rely on a ton of caffeine to get through the day and if you are like me you work out on top of that. When they are fatigued it releases more cortisol than usual (which increases more body fat) and less adrenaline which makes it hard to keep going and performing at a high level.
Like most people I had no Idea I had adrenal fatigue. I never sleep more than 4-5 hours a night, and I have never had bad workouts (or at least I thought I didn’t). Then one day a supplement rep gave me some adrenals support supplements and told me to try them out. So I thought “Why not? I’m fine but it can’t hurt”. Once I tried it my workouts went through the roof that week and I had no idea why. I could not figure out what happened. My diet didn’t change, my workouts didn’t change and I wasn’t getting more sleep. What could it have been? Why did I feel so good, and why were my workouts so good? Apparently I had adrenal fatigue.
Most people don’t realize the huge advantage I have by using adrenal support while dieting, because your body and especially your adrenals are really taking a beating from every angle and sometimes you just can’t get it going. I am very thankful the supplement rep introduced me to adrenal health over a year ago, because I would be seriously dying otherwise if I never had it. So many people don’t realize that they need it. But how will people know if they are never told? I was lucky enough to hear about it, and I always try to tell others about it. If you work out there is a really high chance you have adrenal fatigue, so make sure you get some adrenal support.
In relation to that, how are we supposed to share Christ with others to get saved if they have never heard? What if you don’t tell them? Too many ministries and Christian’s are like this today. It’s not a given, you need to tell people about Jesus. They won’t just discover him if they do not know him. Modeling a good and moral life is cool but that alone won’t bring people to Christ. Just like the Jews back in Christ’s day and before had a story telling, verbal oriented culture, you need to tell people.
Don’t believe me? Read Romans 10:14 “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” I have said it before, part of being a Christian is the great commission we are not called to sit back, focus on ourselves and wait for Jesus to return. “The Gospel” is translated in to “The good news” for a reason. You are supposed to spread good news if you have it right? This is not rocket science people.
If no one ever told me about adrenal support I would be suffering, tired, lethargic and struggling through my contest prep. Just like if my parents never introduced me to Jesus as a child, I would never be walking the path I am walking right now and have an eternal spot in heaven secured for me. I am grateful that my parents loved me enough to share Jesus Christ with me and I pray you love others enough to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them and how they have already been saved and forgiven by his death on the cross, all they have to do is accept and follow Jesus.
-Conquer the Flesh
The reason I love the saying “Conquer the Flesh” because it means so much more than just spiritual and religious application. Everybody uses it in some way or another. I love it when I see someone who chooses to make a life changing decision and stops yielding to their fleshly desires and completely transforms their life and body.
I see this all the time in the gym and in the fitness world. There is nothing more inspiring then hard work and dedication. No one pays you to do it, no one tells you to do it. You just on day decide you want a change in your life. I believe this is why the show “The Biggest Loser” is so popular. It’s real life people pushing through adversity who were sick of giving into all their fleshly urges of being unhealthy, over weight and inactive. So they decided to give up everything that their flesh wanted in order to achieve something greater and to inspire others.
This is my client Johnny. Once in a while a few clients come along and inspire you with their hard work and dedication. This is a before and after photo of my client. Clients like these are the definition of “Conquer the Flesh” and make my job easy. They are so mentally focused and locked in it’s awesome. Whatever you tell them they do because they want results and are tired of how they used to look. He set aside his desire for food, he pushed his body to the limit, and developed a work ethic that is second to none. I do not allow most clients to workout with me because they are just not strong enough nor do they train hard enough to push me. This guy is a work horse, and is very strong, he really puts the pedal to the medal. His results speak for themselves and contestants on the biggest loser wish they could get results as good as Johnny.
Romans 8:6 says “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Isn’t it ironic that when you set our mind on what the flesh wants it leads to death? In a physical standpoint it really can. Relenting to whatever your flesh wants to eat and wants to do can lead to so many health complications; heart complications, diabetes, strokes, respiratory issues, and a compromised immune system. Following the desires of the flesh will never lead to anything good. But where the spirit leads you will not be disappointed. It may not always be what you want or what you think you need, but like it says, it will bring life and peace.
I’ll leave you with this, living by the flesh will always lead to sin because our desires usually only look out for what makes us feel good, and nothing else. Romans 6:32 says this “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Choose the gift of life in Christ over death. Death has a very high price to pay, life in Jesus Christ is free because your debt was already taken on the cross.
-Conquer the Flesh
The bodybuilding show is over and you would think my life would slow down right? Or at least for 2 weeks until I start back up my USA competition prep. Well, that’s not the case, especially with my life. The cool thing I can say is this, when you allow God to rule your life it is always an adventure and he will always stretch you and use you in ways that are unexpected which result in growth.
So while most people relax and binge on whatever they want the week after a bodybuilding show, that was not at the forefront of my mind. I was chosen to speak a few months in advance at the Youth department in my church the week after my show. While I have spoken a few times before at a few events and churches it never gets easy and it is never something to take lightly. A verse that always weighs heavy on me when preparing a message is James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” How terrifying is that? So of course teaching the Word is not to be taken lightly. Knowing also that we are human and naturally sinful it’s easy to pick and choose verses and take them out of context to fit your agenda rather than fitting your message around what the word of God has to say.
Needless to say I lost sleep that week. As a perfectionist I did not want it to be just another message or string together some halfhearted message. I wanted to effectively communicate what God had put on my heart and bring glory and honor to his name.
The best advice I got that week was from my good friend Seth who told me not to stress and gave me 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” Now that’s encouraging. The apostle Paul who was used by God in ways that no other man in the history of Christianity has been used. He wrote over half the New Testament, planted numerous churches, and mentored and equipped countless men to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This man was scared and came in “fear and trembling” That’s humbling. He also mentioned he did not use wise and persuasive words.
So taking rest in that verse took a load off my shoulders and if you ever speak you should commit this verse to memory. Once I got up there to speak everything went great, all my fear and nervousness was relieved and I felt like God really communicated through me what he was trying to say. So like I said, when you allow God to rule your life it is always an adventure and he will always stretch you and use you in ways that are unexpected which result in growth. I now feel comfortable in speaking and when I do it again later in the summer I will be ready and prepared and actually get some sleep. But for now, the show goes on and I have to get back on my diet starting Monday for my USA prep where I will be gunning for my pro card!
-Conquer the Flesh
Well great news. I finally had my bodybuilding show last Saturday and guess what? I won! Everybody has been congratulating me and telling me what a great job. I always politely say thank you, but I leave it at that. If they ask to see pictures I show them. Some have said, “You act like it’s no big deal, this was a big win!” In a way they are right, all my hard work paid off and winning a bodybuilding show is no easy accomplishment. Some people train for years and never win one.
Leading up to the show I was really excited and I knew I put in all the hard work and left nothing on the table, so by the time I stepped on the stage I knew nobody worked harder than me, dieted harder, or trained harder. So no matter the outcome I would not complain. So when they called my name it was just reaffirmation of all the hard work, it was almost expected. I was all business and tried not to be too excited.
So why then was I not overly excited about the win, and telling anybody who would listen that I won? Because deep down inside I knew it would not make me happy. Everyone was not only excited that I won but all of them may have been even more excited for me that I got to engorge myself after the show. All of that was cool and all but it didn’t satisfy.
Here’s the deal I am always a pretty happy, joyful person. Why? Because I have Jesus, my external circumstances do not dictate my happiness and I already know I am chasing something that won’t fill the void in my heart that only Jesus can. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes came to the conclusion at the end of the book, everything apart from God is meaningless.
-Conquer the Flesh
When I first came up with the name “Conquer the Flesh” I came up with it last year in a similar situation I am going through now… Bodybuilding contest prep. I constantly forget about it throughout the day and my struggles. I have great people around me though, especially my girlfriend who always says “Conquer the flesh” as a reminder. It’s a great reminder of what I really am doing.
I am trying to get as lean as possible, while maintaining as much muscle as possible, and it would not be possible without discipline. It’s so much more than a bodybuilding show when you prepare for a contest. So many life lessons to learn during the stretch of a diet. You really do have to deny your flesh, and many things that are normal, and aren’t necessarily harmful to eat to most healthy people are absolutely off limits while dieting. Most people don’t understand or realize what you are trying to accomplish.
We as bodybuilders have to go through extremes to get to how we want to look. Today was a day where I really had to remind myself of “Conquer the Flesh”. Today is what was called a protein and veggie day. Most people would think “What’s wrong with that? Sounds easy”. On a normal diet with normal body fat, it would be no problem and anyone could do it for one day. At this phase of my diet, my body fat is below 5% and when I take out fats and carbohydrates, my body has no energy source to run off of. So what little body fat you have left on your body, your body is forced to try and use as a fuel source to keep you going throughout the day. Like I said, someone who is normal with plenty of body fat, this wouldn’t be hard to do for one day. For me, this is torture on my body, and have absolutely no energy. Not to mention I also had to do 2 hours of cardio on top of the depleted state my body was in. So what kept me going? I realize God is good and he sustains. Live with an attitude of praise, and when you live by the spirit and not the flesh, you don’t let the flesh control you. Today was almost like fasting, relying on God and praying my way through, I made it, and it wasn’t as bad as I remember it being in the past. Yes I suffered and it was difficult but I did it with a new perspective.
I have a couple bible verses I have been reminding myself of lately when struggling with my flesh and how weak it is, so here they are. I hope these help you as much as they have helped me, and also help to realize, God is the only thing that can satisfy. Even if you were to get all your fleshly desires, it still wouldn’t matter.
Psalm 56:4-“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
Psalm 63:1- “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Psalm 73:26- “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Romans 7:18- “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
Romans 8:5- “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit”
Romans 8:6- “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
-Conquer The Flesh
It’s April 24th and I am currently 18 days out from my bodybuilding show. I am going on lock down mode, no more room for error or slacking off. These last 3 weeks are key. Major changes can happen and the show can be won or lost in these final days. It doesn’t help that I have come down with a pretty bad cold. My first priority is to rest and kick this thing so I can move forward.
The difficulty I currently face trying to get ready for a show while being sick is huge. If I continue to train, my sickness will linger around and continue to get worse, especially while I am this depleted and my immune system is compromised. However, if I take days off, those are crucial days of extra fat loss that I am missing out on and cannot make up this close to show time. So what have I chosen to do? I have chosen to rest. If this lingers and I end up stepping on stage sick then it will show in my physique with massive water retention and I won’t be able to display my best package. Water retention makes a huge difference, that little film of water can make you look soft and smooth and cover up all the hard work you have done.
Sometimes we get overly focused on certain areas of life and other areas suffer. I was telling a good friend of mine the other day who was considering getting into a relationship that when you add something new into your life, another area will suffer. Now it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you can’t give 100% focus on every area of your life when you do multiple things. I told him, either his ministries, studies, friendships, sleep, or relationship would suffer by adding this new one, and asked if he was prepared for one to suffer, and if he was willing to let one suffer.
I have currently have taken on two new large things in life with a new relationship I am currently in, and getting ready for this bodybuilding show. Both require massive time and investment (Which they should and because they are very important and worth it). What has suffered for me has been my sleep. I sometimes wish there were more hours in a day to get stuff done. I sleep on average four to five hours a night. 6 is a luxury, and I don’t know what I would do with myself if I were able to get eight hours of sleep. All these other areas are more important to me, and I can’t just let them suffer. So I chose to sacrifice the area of sleep. Sometimes it comes back to bite me, but that’s why God invented caffeine (Praise the Lord for Caffeine).
You have to look at your life and see what is really worth the time you are putting into it, and how much you are getting done in a day. TV? Only time I catch TV is on the treadmill at the gym, to me that’s a waste of time, unless there is a really big game I want to see and it’s the weekend, then I watch TV. Most days I Wake up at 4am, do my cardio, leave my house by 6:30 and don’t come back until 10:00 at night, then I try to be in bed by 11. Being busy has helped me prioritize what matters. If you are busy or not, look at your life, and your daily schedule and see if you are prioritizing what matters in life. Remember, keep your relationship with Jesus as your number one priority always. Because when he is number one, all else will fall into place.
Conquer the Flesh
Today makes it exactly 5 days until Easter. Big things have happened to me this Easter season and the lives of people around me. I have seen some lives drastically changed and some major life changing events happen in others’ lives. I thought this was going to be just another Easter where I coast in, go to Easter service on Sunday, and enjoy a big meal.
As Christians I think we under appreciate Easter. We all love Christmas though, we love the family, the season, the lights, the gifts, the whole “Holiday Spirit” behind Christmas. Why not Easter? I believe Easter is the celebration of the most important event in human history. Why don’t we act like it? Why don’t we celebrate like it was? Jesus died for the sins of the world and took all our sins on the cross so that we may be forgiven and have access to Heaven and eternal life with Jesus. How huge is that! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, and Jesus’ birth is very important, another big event that changed human history, but what happened 33 years later after his birth is what changed every single life on this earth as we know it.
This season has been something to remember, so many ups and downs, peaks and valleys, victories and defeats. One of my closest friends lost his mom a week before his bodybuilding contest, and stepped on stage a 7 days later with an amazing showing. He did all this after previously being over 300lbs when he was younger. He was an inspiration and true symbol of strength to so many people in Fresno. It brought a tear to my eye when he stepped on stage after all he had been through. I also had the opportunity of building new friendships with new clients, traveling for new job opportunity’s, and seeing some amazing sights that God created like the Giant Sequoia trees. But the biggest thing was the rekindling of an old relationship that was very important to me, but not just that, but seeing God work in this young ladies life and drastically doing a 180 degree turn in her life. All within the last 30 days and I see even bigger things to come. I have seen her go through so much but now God is really doing a good work in her life and it’s awesome to see.
It’s been a powerful Easter and we need to realize how big this holiday is as followers of Christ. Without the resurrection it would be like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:14 “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain”. Everything we believe hinges on the resurrection of Christ don’t forget that. So take time and reflect on the magnitude of Easter Sunday this year and make sure to thank God for what happened.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” -John 3:16
-Conquer The Flesh