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Mechanics. Consistency. Intensity. The most effective functional fitness training models, including CrossFit, are all built on these three principles. The athletes who get the most out of their pursuit of physical fitness do so because they are mechanically sound. More than that, mechanics become a pursuit all on their own. In our gym, we call it “training position.” Great positions don’t happen on their own – they must be sought after. The further you get into your fitness journey, the more you realize the value of good position. This is why the best coaches in the world don’t progress an athlete to load until they can not only demonstrate good position, they can also do it consistently without correction. Mechanics matter more than you think, because they form the neurological highways to habits. Contrary to what you might think, heavy loads don’t develop habits, rather they reveal them.

The easiest way to see a habit is to give an athlete some weight. It’s one thing to overhead squat a PVC pipe and another to try even a third or half of your body weight. If you want better results, build better habits. Nowhere is this more important than in your warmups. Warmups prepare the muscles to train position. You’re building some of your best, or worst, habits when you warmup. Sure, it’s nice to catch up with friends or finish your cup of coffee but take warmups seriously. This is your time to develop and refine your positions. This is your time to do some extra mobility work with a lacrosse ball or a band. I guarantee you the fittest athletes in your communities are giving great attention to accessory work and warmups. By the time you pick up the barbell or start the workout, it’s too late. Your habits have already been formed and the reason your coach has stopped cueing your hips or your knees or your finish position is because she knows it’s too late. Really let this sink in – heavy loads don’t develop habits, they reveal them.

The same is true in Spiritual Fitness. The weight of the world isn’t going to build a habit, it’s going to reveal it. When you lose your job or your marriage or a loved one, you’re not in a frame of mind to build some healthy spiritual habits. Instead, you’ll default to whatever you do when life gets hard. Maybe that’s escaping to your social media feed or a third glass of wine or maybe you just start beating yourself up, recalling all your past failures and adding this new thing to it. If I could give you one habit to develop in training the mechanics of Spiritual Fitness, it’s prayer. Prayer is simply a conversation with God and in my opinion it’s foundational to all other spiritual training. Just like warmups and accessory work train position, prayer trains our spiritual position, or posture. Talking to God will bring you new perspective on life. It will give you a place to go and cry out on a hard day. It will let you work out your anger and hostility before you walk in the door or pick up the phone. Build a habit of daily prayer. Start with simple things like praying before a meal or asking God to help you with a challenging situation. Grow in your prayer life by first praying for the needs of others or the leaders of our Country or the injustices in this world that break your heart. Your resiliency in life is not built by how many difficult situations you encounter. Those moments simply reveal the habits of your Spiritual Fitness. If you want more out of life, build better habits.

Questions for Reflection: Post your answers to the comments below

What habit gets in your way of a more spiritually fit life?

Is it ever hard to talk to God? Why or why not?

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