By Greg Hansen

I once heard the saying, “If one does as God does often enough, eventually one will be as God is”. Some would call that blasphemy. To me, it feels like something worth striving for – a goal worthy of my aspirations. If one constantly holds himself to the highest of standards, if you conduct yourself in accordance with the behavior of your best possible self, the only possible result is a life uncommon, a life inspired, a life divine.
Bodybuilding is the art of sculpting a balanced muscular and lean physique. By incurring temporary damage, new growth is achieved through the ripping and shaping of muscle fibers. The same is true with your faith; you must tear apart and stretch your faith in order for your faith to grow.
BODYBUILDING DEFINED

A plan must be devised in order to achieve a bodybuilder's physique. Focusing on the following eight principles will help you reach the sculpted body of a bodybuilder.
1. Diet and Nutrition- Before even reaching the gym or lifting a weight , make sure to have a balanced diet with good nutrition. Start off by taking a multi-vitamin to ensure that you get a base-line amount of nutrients. Multi-vitamins may be purchased at health food stores; the brand is not so important, a multi-vitamin is a multi-vitamin. Secondly, cut out fast-food, fried foods, soda, and candy. These junk foods will add empty fat and calories to your diet. Instead, try to eat whole grain breads and pasta, lean meats such as chicken or salmon or pork, and plenty fruits and vegetables.
2. Hydration- A simple principle that holds powerful results. As stated above, cut out the soda from your diet. In exchange, carry a small water bottle with you throughout the day and especially throughout your workout. Hydrated cells are more effective within your body. Also, by staying hydrated your blood vessels dilate and allow more oxygen and nutrients to reach your muscles for stronger workouts and faster recovery. A rule of thumb for how much water to drink is to keep your urine consistently clear.
3. Stretching- Do not lift a weight without stretching prior. Stretch your entire body for 10-15 minutes in order to warm up and loosen your muscles. Stretching will help lengthen your muscles and will help provide for a greater range of motion within your weightlifting.
4. Supplements- Supplements are sometimes useful since bodybuilding requires so much energy. Using a protein supplement is a great way to get enough protein in your diet. A great rule to follow is 1 gram of protein per pound you weigh, and a great protein to buy is whey, which is milk derived. Shoot for a protein that serves 20-25 grams of protein per scoop. An amino acid complex is also a great buy. Since amino acids are the building blocks of protein, getting enough amino acids will help replenish muscles after a workout, speeding up recovery time.
5. Cardiovascular- The heart powers the rest of your body, therefore keeping your heart healthy and in good shape is a must. Do at least 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 days a week. Swimming is great due to the cardiovascular exercise and the engagement of your shoulders and back. Biking is also a great way to combine your cardiovascular exercise and leg fitness.
6. Plyometrics- Keep your body's strength in proportion by using your body weight in exercises. Pull-ups are a great way to keep your back balanced, 3 days a week, 3 sets of 10.
7. Workout Plan- Now you may finally hit the weights. The preceding principles will give you a foundation to start lifting weights in the most effective manner towards building a bodybuilding physique. Workout 3-5 days a week, every week. Incorporate a workout plan that includes the three major muscle groups: legs, back, and chest. Do not neglect your legs! By exercising your legs, you will utilize the largest muscle in your body, therefore releasing large amounts of natural testosterone that will spur your body into growth.

8. Rest- Adequate sleep is a must. 6-8 hours a day will suffice. Sleeping helps give your mind and body time to recuperate. Muscle recovery also occurs during sleep.

FIVE COMMON MISTAKES

1. Lifting Too Often- Lift 3-5 days a week, which gives you flexibility with your schedule. Too little will not push your body, but remember, too much will wear your body out.
2. Rushing The Process- Get a sculpted physique will take time, at least 3-5 months. Be patient, continue the eight principles, and you will sculpt that masterpiece.
3. Getting “Swoll”- Swoll refers to swelling up. When you lift weights your muscles become pumped with nutrient-rich blood, and become large and pumped. As stated above, take the process slow. Your body needs to catch up with your growth, and growing too quickly may result in under defined ligaments and tendons and possibly stretch marks.
4. Underdeveloped Muscle Groups- Use a balanced workout that includes equal emphasis on each body part. Exercise your legs as much as your back, your calves as much as your biceps. A top-heavy and imbalanced physique is really not a balanced and sculpted physique.
5. Overworking Your Abs- The secret to visible abs is not doing sit-ups. The amount of body fat you have determines how visible your abs are. Instead of spending time on the abdominal machines, do extra cardiovascular or major muscle group exercises in order to burn more calories and fat, therefore having visible abs.

A SCULPTED FAITH
The results of a bodybuilder's body are impressive. The sculpted physique reveals careful planning of workouts. The lean muscles show a precise diet built on good nutrition. The look of the bodybuilder reveals dedication to not only strength, size, and proportion, but to the overall health of his body. Through hard work and dedication, a bodybuilder takes an ordinary and common body and transforms this body into a sculpted work of art, an almost perfect physique.
By measuring yourself against perfection, you create a goal to strive towards. In bodybuilding, you have a perfectly proportionate, balanced, and lean body to work towards. In your faith, you have Jesus Christ. A sculpted faith directed towards a perfect faith like Jesus Christ is similar to a bodybuilder striving toward a perfectly sculpted body.
THE CHALLENGE
Sculpt your faith like Jesus, and sculpt your body like a bodybuilder. If you want a mediocre faith and a mediocre body, continue doing mediocre principles. But if you want to have a life of faith sculpted after the example of Jesus and the sculpted body of a bodybuilder, you must make sacrifices. Sacrifices in your time will require you to exercise and read the Bible daily. Sacrifices in your desires will require you to exercise when you do not want to and to pray and serve others when you are tired. Sacrifices will require you to plan, manage, and maintain a workout plan as well as a faith plan. Follow these principles for a more sculpted faith and a more sculpted body.
Greg Hansen graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Psychology. He and his wife married in 2010 and attended seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. When Greg's nose isn't in a book he is exercising outdoors or cooking something up with his wife in the kitchen..

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