Category Archives: fitness

Stupid Chest Pain! (Remembered)

The following post was written on 9/29/2013 – NOT today! But I’m thankful to the Lord for what He has brought me through over the last 4 years.


Not Again!

Earlier in the year (maybe late last year) I had been having chest pain. At one point I was literally afraid I was having a heart attack. Yet, after extensive humiliation, all tests came back negative (which is actually a positive).

Well, here we go again. More chest pain – in the same place – and more tests. Friday night I went to the ER just to be safe (and to make certain people be quiet). That’s when I got the same questions, the same initial tests, and the same evil looks from self-righteous, healthy, gym-membership-owning nurses who know I need to lose weight.

However, this time was a little different from times in the past.

What Am I?

When my wife and I first got to the hospital, I walked up to the desk and was greeted by a not-so-sweet lady with a clip board. “What’s the reason for your visit?” she asked. “Um, well, it’s a chest pain thing,” I answered. Then, without looking up she hands me a clip board and says, “Fill this out and sign at the bottom, then take a seat.”

In a moment or two I am triaged and taken to have chest x-rays. When I got to the room for the x-ray the technician asked to see my arm band (for identification). They had not given me one.

Later, while lying in bed and hooked up to monitoring devices, a hospital rep came in to ask me a lot of personal questions. They needed to know about any medications, whether or not I had insurance, and about previous illnesses or surgeries. Among the questions were the following:

  • “Mr. Baker, are you now, or have you ever been pregnant?” she asked. “I know I may look it, but no,” was my reply.
  • “Are you on any type of birth control medication?” That’s when I looked at her with the same look that Gary Coleman used to have when he said, What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

Now folks, I have had little kids come up to me, touch my belly, and ask, “Are you having a baby?” But honestly, either my wife has been secretly poisoning me with estrogen, or this woman must have thought I was one ugly woman in a lesbian relationship. Why would she ask such questions? You’d think my facial hair, low voice, and Adam’s apple would be a dead giveaway!

Signing Out

Fortunately, the ER doctor decided not to admit me. He said they wouldn’t be able to do an arteriogram over the weekend, so I might as well go home and take nitrates until next week when I talk to a cardiologist. Who knows? I might be in bad shape, but we will have to wait.

So, after talking with the doctor, he said: “I’ll have them bring in your paperwork, then you’ll be free to go home.”

Guess what was written on the prescription?

Name: Anthony Baker   Sex: Female

Should I change my name to Antonia? !!


UPDATE: It is now 9/29/2017 and my name’s still Anthony :-)… and my chest is fine.

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Focusing On Jesus, and the Art of Throwing Kicks and Punches

Physical Therapy

About a week and a half ago I hurt my foot – my Achilles tendon, to be precise. I was mowing grass with a push mower on this deity-forsaken hill (the front part of the same yard where I fell three years ago and tore my right rotator cuff) when I strained the tendon where it inserts into the right part of my right heel. The pain woke me up from my sleep.

And this is what the front yard looked like until someone else came and mowed it for me. Did you know the grass in Tennessee could grow to 30 feet?

Because I could barely walk, even with crutches, I had to go to the orthopedic doc to find out how bad I was hurt. Long story short, I ended up going to physical therapy to strengthen my ankle and receive treatment for the tendon. As of today, praise God, everything is going well and I’m back on my feet with little or no pain.

But I’m NEVER mowing that yard again! I’ll make my daughters do it!

Physical Observation

Well, as I was sitting with an ice pack on my foot, there was a woman across the room throwing a weighted ball onto a slanted trampoline. The object of this exercise was to strengthen her ankle and increase her balance.

Earlier, not long after I got to physical therapy, I, too, was doing something to strengthen my ankle and help with my balance. So, as I was waiting for the timer to go off so they could remove the ice pack, I had time to ponder something.

Martial Arts

I began a conversation with one of the physical therapists standing close by and asked a few questions similar to the following:

“Are you familiar with martial arts? Have you ever noticed how martial artists have great balance? Have you ever considered teaching people how to balance the way I learned?”

The physical therapist was not too familiar with what I was talking about, so I explained.

Amateur artist’s rendering of actual martial artist named Anthony.

“When I learned how to fight, I learned to keep my eyes focused on my opponent. I never looked down, or around, only at the person I was fighting, usually in his eyes. As long as I kept my eyes on the one I was fighting, straight ahead, I could kick, punch, do whatever, all the while keeping my balance.”

“That’s interesting,” the therapist replied.

And here’s the thing. In my therapy I had to stand on a soft cushion, putting all my weight on the heel of my right foot. As long as I focused on an object in front of me, I could stand there with no support on that one foot and never fall. As soon as I looked around or looked down at my foot, I would lose my balance.

And when I eat at Chinese restaurants I catch all the stray flies with my chopsticks.

Focusing On Jesus

If you are already a believer, and if you’re familiar with Peter and his stroll across the water, then you’ve probably already figured out most of what I’m about to say: When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we are less likely to fall.

However, I never thought about Peter when my foot was being iced; I just thought about Jesus. You see, I don’t get to ride in too many boats, and I’m not likely to get out of one once I’m in it. On the other hand, this old flesh gets distracted and falls every chance it gets, even when the ground is solid and flat.

Instead of glancing around at what’s going on in the world; instead of looking down and wincing at what causes me pain; instead of looking at the clock and wondering when it’s all going to end; maybe I should keep my eyes focused on my Heavenly Sensei (Jesus), bring this body under control, keep it in balance, and train it for the fight.

After all, I’d like to land a few more good ones on the Devil, wouldn’t you?

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Helping Me Lose Weight 5/11/17

Let’s get serious…

It’s 5/11 and yesterday I picked up my new 5-11 tactical uniform pants (for the Sheriff’s Office – I’m a chaplain). They are a size 36 waist, and they barely fit. 

On top of that, my new uniform shirt, which is an XL, fits ok, but I still need to wear a vest underneath. But I have a beer gut, just without the beer.


This morning I weighed myself after my shower… 222.4 pounds. 222.4! 

Now it’s 7:04 a.m., I’m in between bus routes, and I can’t tell you how much I want to go inside and get a cup of coffee and a honey bun!! 

You guys have GOT to give me some encouragement! 

I’m too much of a man to look pregnant! 

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Help Me Lose Weight!

I am now going to make use of the world wide web and call out for advice, because I know a lot of you have plenty to offer (I mean that in a good way).

I will be 50 years old in September. For years and years I have stayed around 200 lbs (average of 210 for the last decade). But now I am gaining…and I want it to stop. I mean, just look at the scale from today! I am going to have to let out my suit coat before I can afford to buy a new one!


Anyway, some of  you are very knowledgeable in this subject, so I am going to ask for your best weight-loss tips and stategies. Keep in mind the following before you respond:

  • I am 50 years old.
  • I have a damaged rotator cuff in my right shoulder.
  • I have a bad right knee (can’t run).
  • I hate cottage cheese with a passion.
  • I don’t do kale.
  • I will NOT give up coffee.
  • I have a Total Gym, but no money for a gym membership.
  • My weight goal is 180 pounds (I’m 5’9″), even though some may advise it to be more like 160; I don’t want to look like a stick; some fluffiness makes me more adorable.

So, can you help?

Even more importantly, do you care enough to hold me accountable?

Remember, if we are the body of Christ, and I am a member of the same body you are, me being overweight might just be slowing you down, too!

Let’s do this thing, OK?

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Filed under Christian Unity, community, fitness, Food, Uncategorized

A Poem for Friday Repeated

Back in 2012 I was going full-steam in seminary, pastoring a church, and had a wife that was desperately ill with fibromyalgia. It was a pretty tense time around the Baker house, to say the least. Some things change; some things remain the same.

So, you see, I was going to write a post about not being ashamed of Jesus, but I will save that for tomorrow or Sunday. In the meantime, I will just share this poem I wrote back in 2012 while I help my wife finish some tax returns, eat some oatmeal, scrounge up some gas money for later, and do a little praying before I get back on the school bus this afternoon.

The following is a complete rip-off of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” song that everyone – including myself – hated. Funny thing, I still sing it to myself EVERY Friday morning!

“It’s Friday”

Eight a.m. waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go down stairs
Hot cup of tea, butter on raisin toast
Plagiarize a song by a girl with Black hair.
 
Got a mid-term that’s due tonight
Seminary’s really try’n to kick my buns.
Still gotta finish a honey-do list
Being out of work is fun, fun, fun!
 
Friday! It’s Friday! Out of work this Friday!
Studying and reading. Gettin’ ready for this Sunday.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Need to exercise and take my morning multi-vitamin for men.
 
Wife stayed up for two days straight
Now’s she’s in bed and can’t stay awake
Gotta figure out what’s wrong with her
Don’t know if much more she can take.
 
Daughter wants to ride her bicycle
Wants me to ride mine with her, too
Maybe I should finish this poem right now.
Daddy, pastor, student’s got a lot to do!
 
Friday! It’s Friday! Mail will come this Friday!
Maybe a check’s in the mail that’ll let me tithe a lot this Sunday.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Need to pray a lot and take my morning multi-vitamin for men.


P.S., That “Donate” button might make this Friday a wee more tolerable 🙂

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I Need a “Spirical”

A What?

I need a spirical. You mean you don’t know what that is? A spirical is the spiritual version of a physical – hence, spiri – cal. The problem is that the last time I checked, my insurance policy doesn’t cover such a thing (unless it’s covered under psychiatric care).

Yes, I need a spirical, just like (well, almost like) the actual physical I received yesterday.

The Physical

Do I really need to go into a lot of detail about my physical? Some of it could be rather embarrassing, you know. Because even though I try to be as transparent as possible, there is such a thing as TMI (too much information). Nevertheless, let’s see what I can do.

My examiner for this round of embarrassment was a nice young woman (they keep getting younger) named Dr. Natalie McQueen. She was very professional, too, and never once laughed at how out of shape I am (which I appreciated).  No, all she did was off-handedly mention that exercise and diet modification might help lower my triglycerides.

depressorsThe typical physical includes much of the following…

  • Blood work
  • Checking one’s weight
  • Checking blood pressure
  • Listening to the heart, lungs, and bowels.
  • Checking reflexes and looking for nerve issues
  • Checking the eyes, ears, nose, and throat
  • Getting undressed and putting on a scratchy gown that opens to the back (the rest I will leave to your imagination).

It was when I was on my way home, feeling violated, yet relieved my report was good, that I started thinking about how we Christians should have annual spiritual check-ups.

The Spirical

Who better to give a spirical than God? What, you want pastor or counselor doing that kind of thing? Are you crazy? They’re not the Doctors; they’re just the receptionists, the P.A.’s, and the nurses. If you want a REAL examination of your spiritual self, you need to go straight to the Specialist of Specialists and let Him get to work.

If you think I’m a little crazy with all this spirical talk, then you must also think poor Job and King David were off their rockers…

  • Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity. – Job 31:6
  • Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24
  • Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. – Psalm 26:2

One reason people shy away from getting an annual physical is because they don’t want to hear any bad news. They live their lives with abandon, then expect the doctor to examine them and declare them healthy.

Could it be that we rarely hear of spiritual check-ups because so few of us want to be weighed, searched, tried, examined, and proven by the only One who can see through our excuses and bad habits?

Maybe we like being unhealthy.

 

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Lying Athletes?

My Analogy

Last night I shared with my congregation the following analogy:

Let’s just suppose I told people I was a member of Riverside Sports Gym. And let’s just suppose I said to them, “Look, I’m an athlete!” What do you think people would think? All they would have to do is look at me (all 215 pounds) and conclude that something about my statement wasn’t very honest. People could rightfully judge my statement by what they see.

An athlete is one whom, by definition, is athletic. With a gut like mine, how could that be possible? If asked to prove my athlete claim, shouldn’t I at least be able to jog a mile or two, do 20 or 30 sit ups, or something like that? Or, is it possible my profession of athleticism was only wishful thinking, if not a bold-face lie?

On the other hand, is is possible that calling myself an athlete would be accepted as a valid profession…if it was sincere…and if I had a totally different understanding of what a true athlete is. 

My point was that a lot of people may have joined a church and have a membership card to prove it, but that doesn’t make them any more a Christian than joining a gym makes them an athlete.

Disciplines

Beside joining the gym and signing up for the team, what determines the difference between a true athlete and one who just claims to be? Discipline.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13

A genuine follower of Jesus Christ should be one who lives in such a way that others SEE their salvation. To “work out” one’s salvation is to not keep it hidden on the inside, but bring it to the surface, evident to all. It’s like the sweat of an athlete; it comes to the surface when we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

An athlete will take advantage of his gym membership, use the weights, run on the tread mill, and all that stuff. He will discipline himself to go at least 3 times a week (if not more) and spend a certain amount of time on some things, more time on areas in which he’s deficient. On top of that, a real athlete will exercize outside the gym, too.

A Christian should be like an athlete (as the Apostle Paul has hinted – see 1 Cor. 9:24-27), acting with discipline, staying in shape, growing stronger, shedding excesses, turning into what would appear to be the outward evidence of an inward determination.

Prayer, church attendance, worship, meditating on God’s Word, thanksgiving, forgiveness, compassion, contentment, kindness, encouragement, love: these are the spiritual equivalents of push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, jogging, cardio, and weight lifting. It’s what “athletes” do.

Will Power

But you don’t have the will power? Strange that you should say that. Was is not Philippians 2:13 that said it is God who works in us both to WILL and to DO His good pleasure?

Honestly, many of us need to make sure of our “gym” membership. More than that, we need to make sure our claim to being on the athletic team is legitimate. Because, if we are nothing but overweight, out-of-shape wannabe’s with no desire to do better, just wasting away in our own undisciplined, broken-down bodies, what does that say about the Life that is in us?

Work Out

I have one of these. I just need to use it!

I have one of these. I just need to use it!

In 2016 I want to work out more (I NEED to). This temple of the Holy Spirit needs a total renovation! But even more, I also want to “work out” my spiritual life. I want there to be more evidence that I take the race before me seriously, like I’m actually out to win it, not just run it.

My thanks to all of you who’ve read my blog this year (2015). Now, as we head into a new one, let’s challenge each other to not only run the race of faith, but run as those who want to win (1 Cor. 9:24). Let’s not lie about our spiritual fitness; let’s be athletes worthy of victory!

Happy New Year!

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