On A Balanced Life, Part 1

I’m starting a new series on the importance of living a balanced, well-rounded life. It’s at the core of our “movement” and brand, so I thought it would be a good topic for discussion.

Human beings are pretty complex creatures made up of a body and soul. Even if you don’t believe in the spiritual aspect of our nature, you can agree that there’s a lot going on inside each one of us. I’m a firm believer that our lifestyles should encourage physical, mental, and spiritual development. In our culture of extremes, oftentimes one or more of our humans facets are emphasized while the others are neglected. Not only should there be a balanced development of body, mind, and soul, but there must be order within each area as well. In this series, I’d like to explore the importance of this subject and discuss how we are trying to incorporate it into our brand, how we can incorporate this mindset into our lives, and the possible challenges to this ideal that we all face.

As a fitness brand, we obviously understand the importance of a healthy body. In fact, we emphasize it, but try to do so in a “balanced” way (that word will be coming up quite often). Staying healthy and active allows us to live a more full life. It gives us the ability to enjoy and care for family and friends and to see and experience more of creation. By taking care of ourselves, we are able to give more freely of ourselves, and for longer. With persistent hard work, one can greatly increase their strength, speed, stamina, and overall physical ability. In addition, just as treasuring a gift from your mother is a great way to show her your love and appreciation, taking care of our bodies also provides a great opportunity to give glory to God. I’d even argue that there’s an obligation to take care of one’s health to a certain degree. This doesn’t mean you need to be spend 10+ hours in the gym every week, or spend your whole paycheck buying organic, nonGMO, grass-fed, all natural, no MSG, 25 grain, gluten-free, antibiotic-free quinoa; it does, however, mean you have to hold a level of respect for your body.

As with all extremes, there is an equal and opposite side of the spectrum. While there there are those who neglect their physical development, there are others who emphasize it too much. There’s nothing wrong with training hard and working towards physical goals, as long as we aren’t neglectful of our duties or other areas of development. Too much time at the gym could be detrimental to relationships; too much focus on physical appearance could lead to vanity and pride. Every individual’s situation in life is different, so it’s up to that individual to draw those lines and determine those boundaries. It’s important to keep things in perspective; while a strong and healthy body is something to strive for, it should not be our only or ultimate goal.

We noticed these two extremes and realized that there was a need for balance. While we’re in no way elite athletic specimens nor models of virtue, we wanted to start this brand as a way to encourage physical fitness but also well-round development of the whole person. I believe one of the keys to promoting this balance is through preaching virtue. Virtues like respect, discipline, persistence, and humility are at the core of physical training, and they obviously carryover quite well outside the gym (check out my very first blog post about how the gym builds virtue here).

For what it’s worth, I’m not sitting here and writing with the holier-than-thou attitude or tone. I hate that. The fitness industry is filled with tons of amazing and genuine people; like in any circle there are plenty of dirt-bags as well. The idea is that if we can encourage good and thoughtful discussion and bring out more of the virtue that people, in some cases, have already developed so well, we can start a movement that positively influences lives.

Now let’s dive a little deeper. Plato, the great philosopher, presented an allegory in his dialogue Phaedrus:

“First the charioteer of the human soul drives a pair [of horses], and secondly one of the horses is noble and of noble breed, but the other quite the opposite in breed and character. Therefore in our case the driving is necessarily difficult and troublesome.”

The two horses represent our moral and immoral passions, respectively. It is only through careful guidance, training, steering, etc. of the horses that the charioteer can reach his destination. This was the inspiration for the bull in our logo; it’s a symbol of strength but it also represents our passions. It’s up to each individual to master their own passions and “tame the bull” through virtue; if not, the bull will run wild and without direction. With discipline and perseverance, however, the bull can realize his great potential. Along the same lines, when we practice discipline and don’t just blindly follow our feelings and impulses, we are in control and not slaves of our passions; and that’s the “unleashed” mindset.

Consider this an intro to the series. I wanted to share some background of our brand and explain our mission and goal a little more.

There’s a ton more to talk about concerning a balanced lifestyle. My next post will be in regards to our culture’s obsession with obsession. I think obsession is somewhat innate to our fallen human nature, and our culture does a great job in further promoting it. Obvious, balance can’t exist in an environment of obsession; something’s gotta give! Stay tuned!

I think this series has some potential; I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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