How to Get in Shape, Beat the Netflix Addiction, and Become a Baller Evangelist all at the Same Time

Ah, summertime. The season of endless fun.

Well… sorta.

If you’re anything like me, this is just about the point in the summer when summer starts to feel a bit stale. The burgers have been devoured, the sunburn has set in, and the dreaded “Back to School” sales have already begun.

In times like these, it’s tempting to consider any summer activity “too boring.” Perhaps it’s that long road-trip with your parents for your family reunion. Or maybe it’s those last few weeks of being stuck at home, when you just can’t wait to be back with your college buddies. Whatever the case, we all have a certain summertime activity (or even year-round activity) that we just can’t stand, because it’s – well – boring.

For me, that activity is running. (Ugh).

Now, bear with me. I realize that the habit of going on regular runs has its perks. In the event of a wolverine attack, or, more likely, a zombie apocalypse, I imagine those who have kept up with their morning jogs will have a much smaller chance of becoming lunch. And having a few friends who are avid runners, I’ve heard plenty of tales about the elusive “runner’s high” – a feeling of peace, calmness, and euphoria that can accompany long-distance running.

I’ll even admit that I enjoy running sometimes, just so long as I’m sprinting with purpose, like to catch a football or frisbee. That’s all well and good. But running for running’s sake? I’m with ya: Homie.

Fact: running = lame, tedious, and boring. As far as I’m concerned, this is an absolute, unchangeable law of nature – like that e=mc2, or that G.K. Chesterton is a boss. This has pretty much been my mindset for my entire life… until recently.

You see, one summer break, I was sitting around at home, wishing I could somehow miraculously get in shape without the monotony that comes with running on the treadmill. I tried listening to music and watching Netflix re-runs of The Office while running, but these forms of media could only distract me for a few minutes at a time. I needed something more to make it through that mindless activity of exercise – something purposeful, something edifying, something inspiring.

That summer, I learned a powerful lesson. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I can never settle for mere distraction. I must always keep striving for sanctity, regardless of the lies this culture of instant gratification tries to tell me. If my mission is to be a saint, then I need media that will help me to evangelize – not name every one of Jim Halpert’s pranks.

It finally hit me: Catholic Media. With Peter Kreeft’s podcast playing in my earbuds or Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism series in front of the treadmill, I could exercise my body, mind, and soul all at once. I downloaded tons of solid (and free!) Catholic videos, articles, audio talks, and podcasts. I experienced a renewed zeal for my faith, and before long, I was impressing all my friends with both my awesome Catholic knowledge and stunning physique. (…Okay, maybe not the stunning physique part).

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to replace that 90’s pop mix, copy of Twilight, and streaming Hulu videos with some good Catholic media to accompany your workout routine. There’s TONS of great content out there. Here are a few links to get you started!

1. FOCUS Equip

FOCUS has compiled some of the best Catholic videos, audio talks, and articles on the web.

And don’t forget to download the FOCUS Equip App to take it with you on-the-go.

2. Catholic Podcasts

Have an iTunes account? These fantastic, free podcasts will help you sharpen the saw of your Catholic faith as you’re killing those calories. Here are my top three Catholic podcasts!

  • Catholic Answers Live: Got questions about particular Catholic teachings? Want to become your campus’ next great apologist? Check out this call-in radio show for in-depth answers by trained apologists to common (and not-so-common) questions.
  • Catholic Stuff You Should Know: This podcast is run by a couple of young priests and seminarians in Colorado. They keep the discussions lighthearted and fun, so it’s a great resource for those new to – or rediscovering – their Catholic faith.
  • Fr. Mike Schmitz Homilies: This priest gives the best homilies I have ever heard. They will inspire you, convict you, and draw you closer to the Lord. Warning: Use with caution when exercising. These homilies may cause you to fall to your knees in prayer, which may not be the best idea on the treadmill.

3. Other Online Stuff

Here are some additional links for top-notch Catholic talks, videos, etc.

With Catholic Media, that “boring” activity feels way more like this.

So in summary, here’s your three-step-plan for getting your body, mind, and soul in shape this summer:

  1. Dust off the old running shoes and fill up that water bottle.
  2. Download awesome Catholic media: FOCUS Equip, sweet podcasts, etc.
  3. Become a saint. (…Or at least take the next itty bitty step).

Now, it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite places on the web for Catholic audio, video, articles, and podcasts to grow in your faith this summer? What would you like to see more of on FOCUS Equip? Share your ideas in the comments.

Daniel Paris
Daniel Paris
Daniel is a ninth-year missionary with FOCUS, having served two years on campuses on the east coast and seven years in the national Formation department. Daniel and his wife Allison have been incredibly blessed and are thrilled to be newly married and on mission together.

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