Total Pageviews

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Faith - One Grace of God's Love

The old Baptist Church in my hometown was more than three-quarters full one Sunday evening in 1975 when I was immersed fully clothed in a pool of tepid water right at the front of the auditorium. I was one of three who were baptised that evening by the Pastor himself. And that was a clear two years after I first believed, or trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

This baptism was a public declaration of my faith in Jesus. That occasion was actually the second of two, the first was at Westminster Cathedral in London back in 1952, when water was sprinkled on my forehead by the Catholic priest while I screamed my head off, according to my mother's testimony, trying to pass on the message that I wasn't too happy with the sacrament.

The 1952 baptism meant that Adam's sin within me was atoned for and I have become a Christian and a child of God, according to the Catholic Church. I had no choice in the matter, let alone any faith to precede the sacrament.
I write this article after spending an evening on this website after reading several articles from one particular group who call themselves "The Church of Christ." The author of this webpage, at the time of writing, has nearly 59,000 pageviews, proving to be well read and very popular. Hence my need to respond here.

There is a distinct similarity between the Church of Christ and Catholicism, namely that in both the rite of baptism plays a role in the candidate's salvation. The differences between the two groups are that the Church of Christ believes in adult baptism by submersion, with the candidate's full consent while the other is infant sprinkling, also known as Aspersion, or Affusion if the water is poured over the baby's head.
The Church of Christ claims to be non-denominational in a sense that it does not want to call itself under a specific name or function, such as Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Congregationalist or Presbyterian. They insist that their only source of authority is the Bible, and nothing else, and emphasise their sotorology (study of salvation) by strict obedience to a specific command Peter made to several thousand international Jews at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost:

Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit... Acts 2:38.

This implies, as they insist, that baptism is a work added for one to be saved, as with the Catholic Church. This doctrine is often referred as Baptismal Regeneration although I believe they are not too keen to use this terminology, as it indicates heresy.

The Church of Christ had its origins in the USA, during the early days of the 19th Century Restoration Movement, an idea that churches in America should shed it denominational leanings and return to straightforward Bible teaching and sole source of authority. Hence the Church of Christ came about in 1832 by the merger of two groups, The Churches of Christ, led by Barton W. Stone, and the Disciples of Christ, inspired by Thomas Campbell, who in 1809 published his thesis, The Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington. His son, Alexander Campbell, then took over the leadership of the Church of Christ and later opened Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia.

So to say that the Church of Christ is solely Bible based is not strictly true. Rather, its beliefs has its source from the writings and teachings of Alexander Campbell.

Alexander Campbell

Because of its popularity on this website, we would look into its teachings, and see whether the teachings of Campbell and the Church of Christ actually reflect the Bible's teaching on salvation (known as Sotorology).

In Romans chapter 4, Paul made it an important issue that Abraham was saved by faith only. For Abraham believed God and was credited to him as righteousness. King David also said that a man is blessed if the Lord does not count his sins against him. And neither these two were ever baptised.
And one has only to read the whole of Hebrews chapter 11. It is the Hall of Fame of Old Testament saints who had a faith in God so powerful that they influenced the world around them in their day. Examples such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David and Solomon all demonstrated their faith because they were already saved, and none of them were trying to earn salvation by any work or ritual.

But what about circumcision? Wasn't this commanded by God for all Hebrew males? Yes it was. And does baptism replace circumcision? In a way, it does.
But again we go to Paul's issue with Abraham found in Romans 4. Here the apostle asks, was Abraham saved before or after he was circumcised? Not after, but before he was circumcised. So faith and salvation came to completion before circumcision came about.

But because the ritual of circumcision was applied afterward to eight-day old infants as part of the Covenant between God and Israel, I'm not surprised that the Catholic Church began to institute infant baptism after the manner of infant circumcision in order to enter the covenant.
So we conclude that during Old Testament times, a person was saved by God by faith alone, as Paul wrote about Abraham, and all in the Hall of Fame of Hebrews 11. After all, Rahab the Prostitute was female and a Gentile (non-Israelite), yet she was as much saved as her male colleagues. Circumcision does not save, but does baptism save?

In The New testament we have several incidences where Jesus saves through faith alone, without baptism.

Luke 7:37-50 is a story of a sinful woman whose faith led to her forgiveness of her sins. Jesus here says to her that although her sins were many, they are all forgiven. Jesus then dismisses her by saying "Woman, Your sins are forgiven, your faith have saved you, go in peace."

Then there is the story of the thief on the cross, crucified with Jesus himself. The thief asks Jesus to remember him when he goes to his kingdom. So the thief had enough faith to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. In turn, Jesus promised Paradise with him on that same day. These two, the woman and the thief were saved without baptism. They were many more, but I think these two will suffice.

The explanation, I think, the Church of Christ minister would explain why the woman and the thief (among others, e.g. the woman at the well) were saved without baptism was because these incidents took place before the New Covenant came into effect at the moment Jesus died. According to this view, God can save a person by faith alone as long as the New Covenant had not yet been ratified. After the death of Jesus, the Covenant is in force which states that one must be baptised to be saved.

If all this is true, then what about these following verses?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.

He that believes on me is not condemned: but he who does not believe on me is condemned already, because he has not believed in the only begotten Son of God.

He that believeth in me hath everlasting life.

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and thy house.

(For reference: John 3:16, John 3:18, John 6:47, Acts 16:31)

These are just a few of many verses which teach plainly that salvation is through faith alone, without baptism.

Then there is the case with Cornelius and his household, found in Acts 10.
In verse 43 we read that Peter was telling them all that by believing in Jesus they will receive forgiveness of sins. Then to his astonishment, he watches as the Holy Spirit descends and settles upon all in that house. Only then does Peter decides that they should all be baptised in water.
So here is the order:
1. Peter preaches Jesus to all in Cornelius's' house.
2. They all believe.
3. The Holy Spirit fills them all, proving they are all saved, fully and completely.
4.Peter baptises them in water FOR the remission of their sins.
So let us return to Acts 2:38.
Repent, and be baptised, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ FOR the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
So does this mean that God has changed his plan of salvation from faith only to faith and baptism?
For I can say for example, "I'm paying him his wages FOR the work he has done."
The money is paid because he has done his work, he has already earned his pay. I don't pay him to do the work, but because the work is already done.
When a person is baptised, it is because he has already believed and is saved. The baptism is not for the sinner to get saved but because he is already saved. As with Holy Communion or Breaking of Bread. The feast is only for believers who are already saved, not for those trying to earn salvation by treating it as a sacrament, as the Catholic Church teaches.
So what is the point of baptism in water if it does not save?
It is a public declaration of one's faith in Jesus Christ. When a person enters the water, he is fully immersed, picturing the death and burial of the old, sin-centred life. He is then lifted out of the water, picturing a new life in the Resurrected Christ.

Salvation through faith in Christ a a wonderful gift of God, a magnificent demonstration of God's love for mankind. Salvation is a gift, it cannot be earned, it's not for sale, rather it is given freely to all who believe, or trusts in Jesus.

Finally in this article I need to ask, are any in the Church of Christ actually saved?

I'm convinced that there are many who are saved. But that has nothing to do with the baptism, nor the teachings of Alexander Campbell. They are saved because they have trusted in Jesus Christ to save them. It is the same with Roman Catholics. Among the teachings of the Catechism, there are some who genuinely called on God's mercy and have received it. There are saved people in churches of every denomination. Even among Jehovah's Witnesses and among Mormons there are some who are saved, as there are among Baptists and other mainstream churches who are still lost.

The Bibles says quite clearly the everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32).
And this applies whether one gets baptised or not.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Do we believe God really love us?

Just a couple of days ago in Norway, a far right-winger who calls himself a fundamental Christian went on a mission to shoot down and killing 76 innocent people, and according to a newspaper, injuring a further 97, mainly at a little island of Utoya, 50 miles from the capital, Oslo, where the same terrorist set off a car bomb which killed seven people outside Government offices.

Anders Breivik was a nationalist who had a passionate hatred of multiculturalism, Marxism and Islam. Previous to his massacre, he had associations with far right organisations, including the English Defence League. He believed in conservatism, State Christianity, and he was also involved in Freemasonry. This was not the work of a madman who had on the spur of the moment lost his marbles. Rather his mission was planned over several years, including purchasing of a farm to buy and accumulate enough fertiliser to build his car bomb. He was intelligent, apparently well educated, an excellent planner and was pictured twice in the Daily Mail newspaper both as smartly dressed, wearing a suit and tie in one photo, and a dinner jacket and bow tie in the other.

So what's all this has to do with the love of God?


And that is the point of this article. Breivik wanted to restore his country to the white, Christian nation, free of Muslim immigration and Marxist supporters. And he did it with hate, not love.

And I'm pretty well convinced that this fellow had never known the love of God, nor his saving grace. He is, of course, an extreme case, as with the Muslim terrorists, but it does reflect my doubts whether those who support such right wing organisations, such as the British National Party or the more radical English Defence League had ever known the love of God, or understand the power of the Atonement made for them by Jesus Christ. Yet members of these groups maintain that their host country, whether it would be England, Norway or elsewhere should remain Christian, with Christian laws, culture and principles.

And to Breivik, to achieve this virtual Kingdom of God on Earth, blood had to be spilt, plenty of it. And the spilt blood of children who were innocent and had little or no idea of Islam or Marxism were included in the massacre.

And it's little wonder that more and more people, particularly in Western countries, see religion as something to be outlawed. If this recent killings in Norway, which can be compared with the 9/11 bombings in the USA in 2001 and the London Transport terrorism in 2005, both the work of Muslim extremists - then little wonder Richard Dawkins wrote in his book, The God Delusion:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character of all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control- freak; a vindicative, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a mysogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Dawkins then goes on about one Old Testament story about the man who was stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath - with his screams distressing his wife and children as the fuselage struck, leaving his family without bread-winning support.

Richard Dawkins

Although Dawkins uses such language, including the story of the Sabbath-breaker, in truth the vast majority of the UK population knows practically nothing of the Bible, let alone the Old Testament. This was easily demonstrated on TV quiz shows such as The Weakest Link, Mastermind and even University Challenge, where most of the Bible questions remain unanswered by the contestants. With my own leaving full time education in 1968 with absolutely no knowledge of the Bible, despite daily morning worship assembly and a weekly R.E. lesson, it is little wonder that the door of ignorance was left wide open for the likes of Richard Dawkins and his ilk to invade our minds. After all, all of Dawkins' description of God of the Old testament is also a fairly accurate description of Anders Breivik, who claimed that he was "doing God's work" in ethnic cleansing of Oslo and Utoya.

In my own personal experience, it was easier to imagine God as one punishing sin where ever it was found rather than as a God of love. This had a lot to do with both parental as well as school and church upbringing. Since my father had a tendency to look on the negative side of my childhood and not spared discipline, and in turn found it difficult to show affection (although showing affection would have been easier for him had I been female), it would have been natural to perceive God as a God of vengeance and not of love. Coupled with our Deputy Headmaster constantly wielding the cane for even talking in the corridor leading to our classrooms, and as the icing on the cake, the need to confess and do Penance every time a mortal sin was committed or spend eternity in Hell - little wonder that any spark of perception that God is love was totally quenched.

And I think this is the central thought of British life.

My wife Alex had spoken many times of her maternal grandfather's attitude of children being seen but not heard. This sort of attitude was passed from generation to generation in the UK. This attitude might have been the main ingredient for military conquest and rise of Empire, but it was the main barrier, I believe, from knowing God as a Heavenly Father. Instead, his wrath against sin had to be placated by unreserved obedience to King and Country and to conquer the heathen by subjection to God's earthly Empire.
Am I kidding? I wish I was!

I personally knew several English church-goers, younger as well as older than myself, who spoke of Empire being ordained of God. They thought well of William Blake's poem Jerusalem now sung as a popular hymn. But none of these things reflected the love of God as personal Saviour.
So the main point of this article is, how can I perceive God as a loving heavenly Father?

One, is to pick up a Bible and hold it in your hand. This is the main channel with which God uses to communicate with us. The Bible is a love letter from God to us. It tells us why we are born without knowing who he is, the fact of sin creating a barrier between him and us, and what God himself did to remove this barrier and reconcile us to himself.

So the fact that the Bible exists is in itself proof of God's love to mankind.

Then the contents of the Bible. In it we read that through sin we are separated from God, and left that way, the whole of mankind would spend eternity in Hell, separated from God forever. God's justice demanded this.
But because of God's love, he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Now through believing, all can have their sins washed away and be reconciled to God and enjoy his love forever.

And that leads us to why we are here. Not a product of Evolution, but created by God for the pleasure of sharing his love with us.

God is love. That is quite different to saying that God has love.
God had always enjoyed eternity past as three persons in one Godhead - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father. The Father loves the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit loves the Father. The Son loves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves the Son. This interpersonal love is flawless and absolutely perfect. This makes God complete in himself, he does not need any created thing for him to love. But he created us for the purpose of sharing, or partaking in his love.
We live, we breathe, we have our being. The food we eat, the air we breathe, the heart beating are all maintained by God's love. But his greatest demonstration of his love his sending his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to wash away our sins, and to rise again three days later.

Trusting Jesus Christ to save us cleanses us from our sins and reconciles us to God. This is the gift of salvation, a free gift of grace, which is to say, undeserved mercy. It means that instead of spending eternity separated from God in Hell, as justice demanded, the believer will enjoy God's love in his presence forever, infinite justice satisfied by the payment Christ made on the cross.

All this looks so nice on paper, or should I say, on a blog.

But in reality, much of the time I still finding it difficult realising God's love in my heart. Life is very unfair, and I must admit of my agitation over the bonuses many bankers and pen-pushing executives receive, while a drought at the Horn of Africa has put many families to starvation and suffering. In Africa, a young child cries for food, while up in Scotland a couple wins a rollover lottery jackpot of £161,000,000.
People ask, if there is a God, why so much suffering? Why so much unfairness?

But one thing I can ask: Has God himself ever suffered? The answer to that is Yes! He knows exactly what suffering was all about. And it was a twofold suffering. One was of physical pain. The pain felt while he hung on that cross. The second form of suffering was combined mental and emotional. He experience a sudden separation from his Father and the Holy Spirit for the first time in eternity. At the same time he was jeered by his enemies who surrounded him. All this because of God's love for mankind.

So despite how I feel at times, it does not change the facts.

Another demonstration of God's love is husband and wife. Paul the apostle uses this as an illustration of Christ's love for the Church. The Church is people, everyone who has trusted Jesus Christ to save them is a member of the Church, and it's open to all who have faith in Jesus.

The Bible says that the Church is the Bride of Christ, who he will present to his Father at the end of the age.

I love my wife Alex dearly. I take care of her, always making sure she is well fed and all her needs met. In no way would I wish any harm on her. That how Christ feels for his Church, only more perfect and intense. Just as Alex loves me, so the Church will grow to love Christ.

The Church is people, not the building with a steeple. That's only where Christians meet to worship. The Church is open for all believers of every nationality. God commands everyone to repent and receive the life God freely offers. God is in the business of saving, not destroying. He is building a Bride for his Son.

That where such a one as Anders Breivik got it so seriously wrong. He does not reflect the will nor the love of God. Christ will have as his Bride people of all ethnicity, black, white, Indian, Arab, Jewish, Chinese, all included, non excluded.

Something Andres Breivic would be wise to learn.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Science of Weight Loss

I felt like popping a champagne bottle while visiting the nurse who had been monitoring me for the past two years. This monthly weigh-in revealed my lowest weight ever, just over 14 stone or 200lbs. This was quite a contrast to the 19+ stone (270lbs) I was at when I first walked into her office in May, 2009. That is a loss of a little more than 70lb.
If you compare the differences between these two photos, you'll see what I mean.

In the first photo, taken with my wife and daughter, was how I looked in Spring, 2009. Because of my obesity, I was close to becoming diabetic, not to mention the high risk of heart attack. Climbing a flight of stairs always left me puffing, gasping for air.
The second shows how I look at present:

For a clearer comparison, I have included this snapshot too, taken at the same time as the one above:

I shall leave it for the reader to decide whether two years of a changed lifestyle had made an impact on my physical appearance, and maybe how vain I had became!

According to the latest statistics, obesity is one of our major health problems. Of the latest world data available, the country with the highest rate of obesity among its population is the United States, with 30.6% being overweight. That is nearly one third of the entire U.S. population. Next is Mexico, with 24.2%. Third - yes, it has to be the United Kingdom, with 23% of its population, or nearly a quarter, being overweight. So the UK lies in the top three for highest obesity rates.
On the other hand, the much-maligned Italians (of whom I am one) are often stereotyped as being the chubby, opera singing and spaghetti-scoffing Venetian gondola paddler who pinch Cornetto ice cream cones from his customers. Yet the Italians scored a modest 8.5% of its population for obesity, which places Italy in 25th position. In fact, according to these available statistics, Italy came third from bottom, which is shared by both Japan and South Korea in joint 28th position, each having just 3.2% obese. The average obesity rate is 14.1%, the closest coming to this being Canada, in 11th place with 14.3% obese.
The above statistics apply for both genders. The UK comes 1st among the men being obese with 22.1% of the British male population being overweight. Japanese males are the least obese, with just 3.4%.
Among women, the UK comes second after Slovakia, with 22.8% British women being overweight, down on Slovakia's 25.4%. Again, Japan scores only 3.8% of its female population as being overweight.
So according to the given statistics, the ratio between male and female obesity in all cases are roughly equal.
In my personal weight loss experience, constant monitoring has indicated a more rapid weight loss during the summer months, while during winter I tend to put on weight. January of 2011 was particular bad, gaining six pounds between Christmas and the start of February. Those pounds were shed by March which made me relieved to be back on track.
Personal weight loss and gain seem to correlate with outside temperatures, but the above statistics seem to indicate that temperature has little to do with it. For example, Canada has colder winters than both the UK and the USA. But it's obesity rate is less than half of that of the USA and 8.7% less than the UK.
So my conclusion, endorsed by the nurse, is that lifestyle is what determines a persons's weight.
While visiting the Kerith Centre (a local church) a couple of weeks ago, a longstanding friend gasped at my weight loss appearance, having not seen me for a period of time. Chubby in physique, he complained that he goes out for a five-mile run twice a week, but his appearance remains stubbornly chubby. He is not the only one.
After all, I believe it's the British way of life, particularly at the dining table, that has much to do with either weight loss or retention. If our restaurant trade reflect our culinary habits, it would not be that surprising. Looking at the desserts menu, one can pick out lashings of ice cream, chocolate gateau and cream, apple pie and custard, or cheesecake. These desserts have a sky-high calorie count, and they are consumed each day in a typical home, along with packets of sugary biscuits (cookies). Little wonder Britain comes third in the obesity chart.
In Italy, which came a modest 25th, ice cream (gelato) is an occasional treat, not a dessert following a meal. Yet the Italians are famed for pasta consumption.
In fact pasta, whether it be Spaghetti Bolognese, Ravioli, diverse shapes or Macaroni, it's a starter at the Italian table. Pasta is then followed by the main course, often steak or fish with salad. Then the meal is finished with fresh fruit. Desserts are virtually unknown.
Pasta (without the Bolognese) actually has very little fat content. A typical meal has about 1.5 grammes of fat, while it has a much higher carbohydrate quota of nearly 66 grammes. Even protein in it is higher than fat, with just over 11 grammes.
Part of my new lifestyle is the consumption of cottage cheese. This is most likely the "Curds and Whey" of nursery rhyme fame. I normally have it in brown bread, often toasted. Two of its nutritional values are the protein casein which is recommended by both dietitians and body builders alike. The other is a high level of Calcium, which is not only responsible for strong teeth and bones, but combined with a healthy level of Vitamin D, it slows down fat storage in the body.

Cottage Cheese

Earlier this year, an experiment was carried out by Professor Ame Astrup of the Nutrition Department of the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University at Coperhagan. A group of men were put on a carefully prepared diet which included consumption of cottage cheese, with calcium levels peaking at 2,000 mg for a week. Results showed a higher level of fat in the stools. When the candidates had the cheese withdrawn and the calcium level reduced to 500 mg, there was significantly less fat in the stools.
A healthy level of cholecalciferol, or Vitamin D, is essential for the Calcium to block the absorption of fatty matter into the bloodstream. Because the main source of Vitamin D is from sunlight, we Brits suffer a disadvantage with our climate, particularly in the winter.
Therefore, food with a level of this vitamin include egg yolk, oily fish (sardines, herring, tuna, salmon), liver, margarine and fortified breakfast cereals, the latter normally have five micro-grammes of the vitamin.
So by personal experience and its end result would be:
Breakfast - Cereal fortified with vitamins, especially cholecalciferol, toast with cottage cheese, tea or coffee without sugar or just one teaspoon.
Lunch: double toasted cottage cheese sandwich with fresh fruit, tea or coffee.
Evening: Pasta with bolognese made with half-fat sausages or similar. Fresh fruit. A mug of tea without sugar.
Snack at other times. Cottage cheese or marmite toasted sandwich I find delicious. Low-fat fruit yogurt is good, so is an apple. I tend not to buy oranges or other citrus fruits because, to tell the truth, I find peeling off the rind irritating to the finger nails, and the size of the fruit is much smaller than it was when first spotted at the supermarket shelf!
Therefore, in addition to cottage cheese, I drink every morning a glass of pure grapefruit juice. Not from concentrates, but straight from the crushed fruit. The advantage with this is that it comes with the original fruit bits in the juice.
But whichever diet style one may find most suitable, one should never go for hours without eating. Hunger will turn someone to raid the larder and find the foods with the highest calorie content most appealing. Also hunger causes the body to go into emergency mode, and would more likely store up fat to preserve its resources.

But regulating what I eat is only one half of the story. The other is intense exercise. Visits to the gym at Coral Reef Waterworld in my home town of Bracknell has become a regular habit, along with going out for a run, normally with a partner. Here we both agree that talking while running help take our minds off the exercise.
But for me it's the gym that I find more beneficial. There I use the arc cross trainer, a rather new-fangled gadget related to the elliptical cross trainer, but gives a more challenging workout.

The Arc Cross Trainer

I must admit, working out on this machine is very tedious, especially if it's for a full 60 minutes. But with the wall television playing the music of Magic Radio, this greatly helps the time go by.
So what is the benefit I achieve in such an exercise? Generally it is mainly an aerobic, fat and carbohydrate consuming exercise which resembles a skiing motion with which I can burn up to 1,030 Kilo-calories on a good day.
To get an idea of this exercise, I would like to look at the science this workout involves, and how it relates to weight loss. It involves three energy creating systems which kick in as soon as I start riding the machine.
When I mount the machine and begin riding, I set the resistance to cardio level, which means much energy is spent keeping the machine in motion. For the first few seconds, my body remains in the "at rest" condition. This is the anaerobic stage, the first of the three systems, which means that the energy source on which the muscles need to contract in exercise must be immediately available. The energy is gotten by the breakdown of Adonesine Triphosphate (ATP) to Adonesine Diphosphate (ADP). The availability of ATP is absolutely necessary for the release of energy to enable the muscle to move in the first place. When at rest, the ATP resource remains constant, allowing us to move about and carry on with our businesses as usual.
But after about 15-20 seconds of intense exercise on the cross-trainer, I begin to gasp for air, the heartbeat accelerates, and this stage is the same as when I sprinted as a child, I'll get puffed out, often with a burning sensation at the throat. It is at this stage that the ATP resource runs out, and the remaining ADP is reconverted to ATP to conserve supply, else the muscles would freeze up.
At this stage the second of the three systems in the body kicks in. This is known as the anaerobic glycolysis system with its by-product, lactic acid. What happens here is that ATP is produced with a fast-action call on the sugar reserve, or glucose. Up to the present the exercise was anaerobic, which means that above-level requirements of oxygen was not needed.
But the reserve of ATP in the muscles is very small, and after a few seconds of exercise, I start gasping, as this source of energy for muscle contraction is exhausted. This is when the main fat and carbohydrate burning system starts to kick in, the aerobic system which demands extra oxygen. After a further few seconds my breathing settles, the heart beats fast to get this extra oxygen to the muscles to created the energy needed to continue with the exercise.
Why have I gone into this detail, even if much simplified, science of physiology?
I believe, according to my own experience, that after sprinting as a child in the school playground, the "puffed out" stage meant the end of the exercise, when actually I could have carried on. I guess the throat burning sensation was what I found demoralising. If only I knew something about aerobics back then!
I have seen other people use the machine, or the elliptical that was at the gym before the arc was installed, and I wonder whether the gentler, less resistant use of the machine was the "cautious" attempt to keep the aerobic energy creating system as minimal as possible in fear of "hitting the wall" long before the duration of the exercise had been met.
But as I found by experience, one can keep on exercising under heavy resistance for what believe to be a heck of a long time, but not feel to worse for wear as the extra oxygen supply, along with fat and carbohydrate resources keep the energy supply burning up those calories.
But this does not come overnight. One must train by starting short and light and gradually work up in both duration and resistance. It takes time and patience. No one can just get on this trainer and knock up a full hour on a high resistance. It took me over a year to get to the stage I'm now at.
But once this stage in training has been achieved, it is a joy to see these excess pounds come off.