Our Freedom is in Jesus

July 4th is not just a day we take off from work to barbecue and watch fireworks;  it’s a day to celebrate our country’s independence and our freedom.

And while we take one day out of the year to celebrate our country’s independence, I celebrate every single day for the freedom I have in Jesus! And there is nothing quite like it.

I grew up in the church but once I got to college I started to drift away from God. I did whatever I wanted to when I wanted to. If I wanted to get drunk, I got black out drunk. If I wanted to party, I partied hard. Things got worse when I graduated from college. I became a slave to the world and didn’t even know it. My soul was weary and longing for something more meaningful. That’s when I experienced the amazing love and overwhelming grace of my Heavenly Father through the blood of my Savior, Jesus.

Since then, my life has not been the same. My life is not my own and my time on earth is not about how much money I can make or how big my house is going to be. It’s about how many people I can help to find that freedom in Jesus.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” -Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

So on this Independence Day, enjoy the barbecue and the fireworks, but give praise and worship to our Savior who came for our freedom.

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Post #0023 – Health And Fitness In The Wild ***[Special Post]***

I go to a small church in NYC called HillsongNYC and our pastor, Carl Lentz  just finished up his sermon series entitled “The Church In The Wild”. I was reading through my notes from Part II of his sermon series,  and he spoke about what a Christian in the wild understands. And it was his second point that hit me. He said “if God created you wild, He doesn’t want to tame you. He wants to lead you, and guide you“.

Oh Nation is not just a catchy name to sell some cool gear. Oh Nation is not just a company trying to make a quick buck. Oh Nation is a God inspired movement. He has opened my eyes to all the people who are suffering from health problems in this world and He has called me to do something about it! My pastor said it best when talking about the DNA of HillsongNYC almost a year ago at one of the first team nights. “We can’t do everything. But we must do something!”

Jesus is leading us (Oh Nation) into the wild and will guide us through the wild to reach the unhealthy, the obese, the diabetics, the smokers, the alcoholics, the addicts… and we are ready!

There are 3 different groups that need to be reached when talking about health & fitness in the wild.

  1. There are the health conscious who already know what’s going on. This group has a clear understanding that their body is His temple. They eat healthy and they work out. They are disciplined.
  2. There’s the people who are somewhere in the middle. This group eats healthy when they can or want to, and work out when they’re not too tired. They will do things out of convenience for them.
  3. The third group of people just don’t know. They don’t know what they should be eating or what kind of exercise they should be doing. A concern for this group would be the income disparity which makes it very difficult to buy healthier food and have access to fitness facilities even if they wanted to make changes.
Oh Nation will serve all three groups!
  • We will continue to elevate the health conscious. “…we pray for you all the time- pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something” (2 Thessalonians 1:11 MSG).
  • We will support the middle pack to stay disciplined with their health. “…all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11 ESV).
  • And we will educate those who don’t know much about health and fitness. We will teach them so they learn what they must do to prevent obesity related diseases. We will instruct so they know how to lose weight, get in shape, and be healthy. “I do it for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:23 ESV)

I’m not a pastor. I’m not a theologian. I’m just a fitness professional who loves Jesus. I don’t know how we’re going to do this or how long it will take, but I choose to be in the wild because He has called me here.

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Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. -Helen Keller

Together we can serve more people. Together we can build a culture of integrity and humility. Together we can cultivate a community of love and accountability. 

Together We Can

Post #0022 – Happy Birthdaversary!

September 26, 1983.

My mom and dad celebrated their two-year wedding anniversary in Flushing hospital. There was no dinner and dancing. Just an exhausted woman holding her fat baby. And 28 years later, my parents’ marriage is going strong, and I’m a lean, mean, sprinting, roundhouse kicking, Linkin Park singing, kettlebell lifting machine!

And seriously, ALL GLORY TO GOD! I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for His love, grace, and mercy over my life! He thought of me before my parents got together. This is how much He loves us. People don’t know this, but my mom wasn’t a Christian when her and my dad moved to the States in 1981. She gave her life to Jesus when one of her coworkers invited her to their church’s Christmas service. God was working way before I was born. If it wasn’t for her coworker, I don’t know where I would be? I don’t know if I would be the same person I am right now. I don’t know if I would even know Jesus.

But my God planned everything out so perfectly! And here I am, 28 years later celebrating the day God brought me into this earth. But this is just the beginning. This is just the preview.

Post #0021 – 5 Tips To Avoid Failure Before Losing Any Weight – (4WL) Part II

In part I of my ‘Welcome to the Wonderful World of Weight Loss’ (4WL, here’s Part I if you missed it) I said that people need to stop managing their weight and start managing themselves. It doesn’t sound that hard, but this is a very difficult process. I only say this because I’ve seen my family, friends and clients go through it.

But congratulations! You’ve made the decision to be healthier, lose that extra fat and get in shape! That is awesome and we’re so excited for you! I’m sure you are as well! But here is what tends to happen to most people. We say we’re going to do it, and we actually do it for two weeks. And then it’s no more.

So we’ll get that gym membership, buy some new workout clothes and the latest Nike running shoes with the iPod sensor that tracks your pace, distance, time and calories! Of course we gotta look good! (and if there is anyone that loves buying workout apparel or sports gear, it’s me!) We put it to good use for about two weeks and then we get busy with work, family, and whatever else that might distract us. Then there’s the food. We commit to eating healthier so we buy more veggies and we’ll cut out the soda, fast food, and junk food. How many of you have tried this? It’s tough isn’t it?

Here are 5 tips to avoid failure before losing any weight.

  1. Stay in the shallow end! You might be gung-ho about losing weight and getting fit, and while that positive attitude will take you far, it won’t take you the distance. Make small changes in your diet first. If you cut out fast food cold turkey, the body will know and the cravings will be much worse. This is the same for anything with high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar. Cut it out slowly. And when you don’t miss it anymore, then you can start swimming freely in the deep end.
  2. Portion control! Most of us can eat for two. It’s true. We’ll go to a restaurant and we order a steak, with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. When the food comes out we are absolutely livid because the steak is half the size of your palm, you only get an ice-cream scoopful of mashed potatoes, and the steamed veggies consist of four string beans, three baby carrot sticks, and two and a half pieces broccoli! Maybe this will make you feel better.. That’s how much you should actually be eating. You getting upset about how much food is on your plate will just stress your vital organs and yourself. Just eat what’s in front of you and leave room for some fruit at the end of your meal.
  3. Know your weaknesses! We all have foods that we crave and we don’t have to avoid it completely (refer to Tip #1), but we must acknowledge that this is a weakness of ours. People believe they can stop eating their comfort food whenever they want. This is not the case for most people. If we know our weaknesses, then we’ll know how to play to our strengths!
  4. It’s Not Just Weight, It’s Your Health! If we constantly remind ourselves that it’s not just about losing 10 pounds but a health issue, then we just turned a goal that could be reached in 30 days to a goal that we can chase after our whole lives! If you make it about your weight, you won’t lose much weight. If you make it about your health, you’ll end up losing more weight than you you thought you could!
  5. Don’t Ever Give Up! I can’t tell you how many challenges you’re going to face as you start this journey to a healthier life. You will be faced with people asking you to have dinner with them, grab drinks after work, all the birthday cakes, cupcakes, and cheesecakes… You will be tempted beyond your limits! But DON’T EVER GIVE UP! You will overcome! You will lose that weight! You will be healthier! And there is nothing greater than knowing that you fought everyday to have your health!
I would love to hear about how your journey to better health is going! Leave  your comments on my Facebook page at OhNationFB and/or tweet me some love on Twitter @OhNation. Much Love..
To Be Continued…

Post #0020 – Welcome to the Wonderful World of Weight Loss! – Part I

Now we’ve all heard it before. You don’t need to have a degree in nutrition to know this. You can open up the latest issue of any fitness magazine and it’ll all tell you the same thing about weight loss..

Caloric expenditure > caloric intake. In other words, if you’re consuming 2,000 calories, you better be burning 2,001 calories! It doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you’re burning off what you just ate!

I’ve had clients who eat all the worst foods during the day. And then right before their workout that night, they tell me they need an intense workout because they had about a week’s worth of food in one sitting. They make me laugh.

I’m not a trainer who gets upset about my clients’ poor diet and nutrition. All I can do is help them realize that whatever we do in the gym is useless if they’re not eating right. My clients agree with me, but I don’t know what they’re going to do once they walk out of that gym. So how do I monitor someone’s weight when the individual doesn’t seem to care at all? I don’t.

I don’t believe in weight management. I believe in self-management. If my clients can’t manage themselves by watching what they eat, then whatever I say to them is completely futile. An individual who is truly seeking weight loss will make that decision and work hard to achieve their goal!

So if you’re looking to lose weight, it starts with YOU making that decision. If you’re going to do something, commit to it, and see it through. Don’t give up until it gets done. Yes, it will be extremely hard and everything around you is going to look like food, but this is more than just losing a few pounds. This is your health. This is your future.

To Be Continued…

Post #0019 – September 11, 2001

Never Forget. 09.11.2001

I remember that day so vividly. I was a freshman at Ithaca College. I was in biology lab and forgot one of my workbooks. I went back to my dorm room to get it. As I walked up to my building, some girl was screaming “the towers were hit!”. When she said this I thought my building, which was called the “East Tower”, was hit.

I got to my building and everything was fine. But as I walked pass the lounge, people in my dorm had their eyes glued to the TV. I thought they were all watching a movie. But the ticker scrolled across the bottom of the screen reading something along the lines of “planes crash into Twin Towers”. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I kept thinking to myself, “this can’t be happening”. I rubbed my face and looked on the top left portion of the TV screen and it read “Live”. There was a girl in my dorm whose father worked in the World Trade Center. She was hysterical as she tried calling her mom at home to find out if her father was ok.

I tried calling my mom on my way back down to lab. The lines were all busy. I called my mom’s cell phone, mikey’s cell phone, my grandma’s cell phone, the house, the store. I kept dialing and dialing, but it wouldn’t go through. I was 250 miles away from home and I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know if my family was ok. I was terrified. And I will never forget that day.

10 years has gone by and I still remember that day like it was yesterday. My prayers go out to all the families who lost any loves ones that day. So many lives lost from an act of hate. But I truly believe that God’s healing hand has been over our nation. We wouldn’t have been able to get through 10 years without His comfort and peace.

We will always remember this day because the scars remain. Just as Jesus’ scars will always remind us of our Father’s sacrifice for us because he loved the world He gave His only son for us. Love conquers all..

Post #0018 – Happy Birthday, Mikey!

Today, my younger brother turns 26. Which is kind of crazy cause I still think that I’m 23 year old!

It’s awesome to have a younger brother like Mikey. Having a younger brother who is super athletic and has no fear (the reason why he always gets hurt) is something that I cherish. Someone to play basketball with everyday after school. Someone to pepper the volleyball with so we can get better and place at Princeton Volleyball Tourney’s. Someone who can help me set up the slack line and learn new tricks. The list goes on…

Aside from all the sports and fun stuff we do, Mikey has a big heart for the people around him. He loves his family and friends. He has a passion for working with young children and kids. He also loves getting late night phone calls to pick his brother and his friends up from the city at 2am (Yeaa Bitterman!!)

When I worked in D.C. and Florida, we would talk almost every day or at least email, or chat online. He kept me in the loop with things at home. When he went to Korea to work for 2 1/2 years, it was the same thing, except that the time difference made it a little tough.

I remember one of our congregation members from my old church asking, “do you miss Mikey?”. I answered, “Of course I do. I don’t have anyone to bother!” 🙂 It was at that moment that I really missed having him at home. But I thank God for keeping him safe in Korea and being planted in a church where He was spiritually fed. It’s so amazing to see him come back and be on fire for God!

So proud of all the things he’s done, and being open to the things that God is leading him to do.

Happy Birthday, Mikey!