Five Reps With... Dr. Tim Stratton
Dr. Tim Stratton is the Founder of FreeThinking Ministries. He has a Ph.D. in systematic theology and is an adjunct professor at Nebraska Christian College. Dr. Stratton can be heard on The FreeThinking Podcast. Tim retired from fighting in martial arts and was also an accomplished bass player in several Christian rock bands. Tim recently released a new book, Human Freedom, Divine Knowledge, and Mere Molinism: A Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Philosophical Analysis.
How did you get started with health and fitness?
I really started to take fitness seriously at the end of my Senior year of high school. Although I was active in sports, I was always very skinny and typically physically weaker than most of my fellow teammates. However, I got a job as a lifeguard when I was almost 18 and figured I better start lifting weights. After all, what if I had to actually save somebody from drowning?!?
I started seeing some gains right away and I became addicted! I put on about twenty pounds of muscle in several months. I felt great and started pursuing martial arts simultaneously. Lifting, cardio, and martial arts became a way of life for me and it has lasted for almost 30 years now.
What does your exercise routine look like? How has it changed over the years?
I am not able to train like I did in my 20s. Now that I am closing in on 50, my body does not recuperate nearly as quickly as it did back in the day. So, the biggest change has been learning to listen to my body. When it says "no" I say, "you got it, body!"
In my 20s and 30's I would simply tell my body to shut up. I would train anyway. I would push through (and often get hurt in the process). Now I listen.
My current exercise routine is focused on at least three cardio sessions a week, at least three lifting sessions per week, and additional walks and intense bike rides with my wife.
I also like to do some kick-boxing pad work or some "light" grappling from time to time. However, I have taken a bit of an "extended vacation" from sparring. I think I finally got too old to enjoy being punched in the face.
I do, however, enjoy training at the gun range. My friends and I actually make this into a work out. We make obstacle courses and sprint from point A, to point B, to point C, all while changing mags in between. We strive for safety, accuracy, and speed! It's a lot of fun and I work up a great sweat.
What is your favourite way to exercise outside of the gym?
In my younger days I would have said MMA workouts. But now I really enjoy going on intense bike rides with my wife.
How do you balance stewarding your health with your real life commitments?
That's the big problem! I remember when I first started pursuing a master's degree at Biola University. I soon realized that if I was going to do well in school, I needed to drop a few things in my schedule. At that point I stopped coaching (and training) MMA and lifting at the weight room. However, I started doing CrossFit three to four times per week.
I made the decision to not work out the final two weeks of my first semester at Biola so I could focus on finals. That was a horrible mistake as it seemed that my brain stopped working out too! It was then that I made the decision to always exercise no matter what responsibilities I have. This is the case because the stronger my body, the better I think -- and the better husband I am to my wife, and father I am to my son.
If you could make one unhealthy food healthy, what would it be?
Pizza! Definitely pizza!
What is your favorite exercise? Least favorite?
I hate leg days. I love to work my biceps!
What is one simple tip you would give to someone looking to get started with stewarding their body better?
Pay for a gym membership, get a workout program, have a written goal, and take baby-steps.
My bottom line is this: Do the best with what you've got!
How has eating well and exercising helped you better perform the tasks you are called to?
The fitter I am, the better I think. The stronger I am, the better father I am to my son. The healthier I am, the better husband I am to my wife. I believe that the mind and body are connected. We should not neglect either, and if we do, the other will suffer as well.