University: Abilene Christian University
Degree you are pursuing: Exercise Science/Health Promotion
Height: 6’ Weight: 170 lbs.
Faith & Fitness Magazine: Are you ever tempted to give in to your craving for junk food?
Earl: Honestly, I hardly ever eat junk food. I eat very healthy and try to stay away from junk foods that are high in fat. Every since I’ve been eating healthy I’m never really tempted to eat junk food and my body doesn’t crave it any more. I quit drinking soft drinks in high school. I read labels and stay away from high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and processed stuff. Every now and then I will eat at Chicken Express. When you’re eating on campus there’s always plenty of choices both healthy and bad. It’s not like you can’t eat good because you can. You just can’t eat at Pizza Hut and have desserts after every meal like I see plenty of students do. I’ve lived off campus for two years now, so I’m able to plan my own meals.
F&F: So planning your meals is key to your nutritional success?
Earl: I eat very healthy meals. Once a week I go to the grocery store and get my groceries for that week. Most of the foods I buy are fresh things that I have to prepare. I don’t buy frozen processed stuff. I eat eggs, toast and orange juice just about every morning. I live a block from campus and so I come home for lunch and fix a sandwich with Boar’s Head (no fillers or preservatives) deli meat. I alternate turkey and lean roast beef on wheat bread with lettuce and tomato. I usually have a yogurt and a granola bar. No chips… I drink water.
Three times a week I eat salmon for dinner. I get it at Sam’s … it comes in six individually wrapped pieces of the wild salmon (better for you than farm-raised). It’s $12 per box. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have the salmon with brown rice, which I cook in a rice cooker. The rice cooker is super easy and the rice comes out perfect every time. Any vegetable can be chopped and tossed in with the rice. The other nights I eat about 8 ounces of chicken breast with salad and a baked potato. I actually have salads 5 times a week. I buy it by the bag and make a quick salad that I usually eat with ranch dressing while I cook the rest of my meal. My dinners are pretty repetitive but it’s easy because I buy the same stuff and none of it is hard to cook. I cook the chicken and the salmon on the grill.
On weekends I might grill a burger or fajitas with friends. Every night before I go to bed I make a protein shake. Here’s what is in my shake: 8 oz milk, 2 bananas, 2 Tbs. peanut butter (reduced fat), 2 scoops chocolate ice cream, 1 scoop of whey protein powder (20 grams protein) 1 packet of instant oatmeal and blend. I make one every single night.
F&F: Sounds like you have it down to a routine. How long has weight lifting and exercise been a part of your routine? How does it shape your attitude for life?
Earl: I started working out my junior year in high school. My hometown gym in San Marcos, Texas is a little sweatshop kind of place on the town square. I knew nothing about lifting weights, but with the help of a few people and reading Muscle and Fitness magazine I began to learn proper technique and important lifts. It was my senior year in high school when I realized I wanted to do something in college related to fitness. I kept working out for the remainder of high school and began to really see results and realize that it made all the difference in things like wakeboarding that I love to do.
When I was a freshman in college I decided to major in Exercise Science and really got serious about my workout routine and have kept up a good workout schedule since. Today I am in the best shape of my life and have never felt better. Fitness and health is a huge part of my life. I like to be fit and in great shape so that I can do everything to the best of my ability. I come from an active family…my dad wakeboards and jogs and can still hold his own against my brother and I on the basketball court. What motivates me is that I want to be that 60 year-old guy that’s out hiking up the mountains and still enjoying life to the fullest. Not the 60 year-old guy that sits indoors all day and reads and watches TV because he’s physically unable to do anything else. I want to live my life to the fullest.
F&F: So the good feeling of being fit and healthy is the only motivation to exercise? Come on, how about the opposite sex?
Earl: Of course everyone likes to feel good about the way they look, but I can’t say that’s my motivation. I’m content where I am in life and not in a hurry to get into relationships. Honestly, I work out for myself. I am really doing it for my own benefit. I want to take care of my body and have great health and be able to enjoy life to the fullest. As far as the opposite sex goes, girls that are fit and active and enjoy exercising are a lot more appealing to me. For me it shows they care about themselves and want to stay healthy.
I like that I feel healthy and that I’m strong. Since my motivation is to be healthy, I’m not constantly going around thinking about the way I look. My goal is not to impress other people or get girls. I’m in the health and fitness thing for the long haul. I know that God has a plan for me - my life and future. I trust Him to make all that happen for me. In the meantime, I’m going to take care of myself and be active.
F&F: What would you tell other college-aged students that are wondering if all that exercise and eating healthy is worth it?
Earl: Keeping your body in good physical condition helps you to enjoy activities and not dread them. I love to play sports. I have played on intramural sports teams since my freshman year. I love to wakeboard and play basketball with friends. I see so many people wondering how come they are gaining weight at college. All the while they won’t give up doughnuts and chocolate milk or begin exercising. Then they don’t feel like getting out and doing anything and it becomes a vicious cycle.
F&F: So give us a few details on your workout. Do you think people can approach it casually? And- what is your approach?
Earl: I have a very strict regimen. I work each body part once a week. I hit that muscle from every angle. For example, on Monday I do chest. I do bench press, incline dumbbells, decline bench, flys, and cable cross overs keeping reps anywhere from 6 to 12. Then Tuesday I might do legs, Wednesday shoulders and traps, Thursday back, and Friday arms. When you don’t combine body parts you work out that body part really good and get results. For the body to change it has to adapt so you have to work it harder than it’s used to or it’s not going to go anywhere. The only thing I do every day is abs. When I’m done with my workout I will throw in a couple of sets of abs to maintain my core strength and balance. I take 2 days of rest on the weekends. I study, visit friends, sleep and hang out. Then I’m ready to go back on Monday. The gym is like a little escape during the weekday for me.
F&F: Yeah, it is an escape for many people. Unfortunately, even though they are gaining physical strength their spirit stays pretty weak.
Earl: Spiritual development is important to me. As a Christian I realize that everything is not how it may seem to the world. I want to honor the One who created me. God has given me a purpose…to glorify Him with my life I know that in order to be the man I want to be I have to be in the Bible. I’m thankful to be at a Christian college where we can pray and attend Bible studies and chapel. It’s the norm to talk openly about Jesus and what He is doing in our lives. I know that’s not the norm everywhere. I am never ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.
F&F: Share a bit about how you live out your faith among your friends, those with whom you work and others with whom you come in contact.
Earl: I know that Christ accepts me where I am, but that He wants me constantly changing and always becoming more like Him. I am not easily led astray and I stand up for what I believe in. Though I go out and have fun I am always conscious of the fact that I am to be a witness for Christ. I realize that everything including each breath I take and meal I eat comes from God. I am not ashamed to pray and thank God for everything including my meals whether in public or private. I enjoy worshipping each Sunday with my family and friends. I also enjoy topical Bible studies that relate to issues pertaining to my life. The Bible has something to say about every issue in life. The Bible is the “how to” directions for living life.
F&F: So what are the plans? Are you going to get a good-paying fitness job?
Earl: I graduate this summer with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science/Health Promotion and will be applying to various companies. I want to do something that encompasses the health and wellness aspect as well as physical training. I’ve really been praying about where God wants me to be and I am open to any opportunities that come my way. Currently I am looking for a summer internship to finish up my degree requirements. I am really excited to begin using all that I’ve learned to help people achieve their health and fitness goals. The Bible says He has a plan for my life and I know this to be true. Since I’m praying about it and thinking it through I know He is with me in my decision-making.
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