Chest Press for the Soul

It’s hard to believe it has been over a decade since Tae Bo came into popular culture.  If you have ever owned a Tae Bo tape (or for those of you who are younger, DVD) you might remember Billy Blanks in all his lycra-clad glory asking you to “call upon a higher power” to keep yourself going during the last few grueling exercises of the hour-long workout.  I remember that striking me as a young fitness enthusiast.  It had never occurred to me that spirituality and fitness had anything to do with each other.  Quite the contrary, I assumed they were polar opposites.  Growing up Catholic I did do a great deal of standing, kneeling, and sitting during mass but can’t say I ever considered it a “workout”.  With vanity being one of the seven deadly sins I somehow automatically assumed it wrong to dream about flatter abs and leaner thighs.  However, I’ve recently come across a growing body of evidence that faith and fitness are becoming more intertwined.  Beachbody (the same company that owns the extremely popular P90X)  has recently backed a series of Body Gospel workouts, well-known self-help author Geneen Roth’s book “Women, Food, and God” has remained popular since it’s release in the spring of last year, and some churches have even opened fitness centers or started hosting workout classes for their congregation.

We often hear about mind-body connection but it might be even more helpful to think in terms of spirit-body connection.  We tend to look to a higher power for strength in life circumstance, but what if we looked to that higher power for help in lifting that 15lb dumb bell?  No matter what your faith, anyone who has been through a heart pounding, muscle burning workout can tell you it takes more than willpower to reach the finish line.  Praying  for weight loss (or for the workout to be over) is missing the point.  The saying “God helps those who help themselves” applies directly to this situation.  So, if you are listlessly logging mind numbing hours on the treadmill and think this fitness revolution might be for you read more about it here.  “My body is my temple” just got a whole new meaning.