First Love FITNESS—Strength Training for the Heart, Mind, Body, & Soul

Posted on Jul 25, 2011 in Food and Fitness | 69 comments

After my baby died, you could say I was an extremely broken vessel. The ache in my heart, the sickness in my stomach, and the depression which seemed to cover my world were like nothing I’d known before. It was simply horrible not being able to touch my child. The closest substitute for Ben I had was the blanket in which my little Braveheart had slept; I would hold it next to my face, and it absorbed my tears. Some days I wanted to kill myself so I could go to heaven to be with Ben. But I knew I couldn’t leave my four other children here on earth, so I would always stay.

Physically, I felt awful for several reasons: I had about thirty extra pounds of fat all over me, my doctor didn’t allow me to exercise until I was six weeks postpartum, and because of my depression I was barely eating which I knew was terribly unhealthy. I knew I needed help.

I can’t remember if I prayed for help or not, but help did come in the mail one day in the form of a flyer advertising a personal training studio near my house. It wasn’t like me to read “junk mail” but the letter contained a personal touch which grabbed my attention and beckoned me to call. Little did I know I was embarking on a new life.

In eight weeks I lost seventeen pounds, seventeen inches, and 6 percent body fat. I was “strength training,” i.e., lifting weights three times a week and walking or running three other days of the week. My trainers helped me learn how to eat again and had me keep a daily log of my food intake, no matter how meager it was. They introduced me to a chocolate protein shake which is still a staple in my diet today.

As fat continued melting away, muscles started appearing. My exterior transformation was uplifting but what was even more meaningful was that I began to feel better on the inside. I started smiling, and I started seeing light at the end of my very dark tunnel. It became obvious to me that the heart, mind, and body were intimately connected. All three of mine had been in a terrible state, and now all three were healing.

I have always said my intense grief translated to intense workouts and that God used strength training to resurrect my life. But as all good things can become idols, fitness eventually became mine and caused me to forsake my First Love, Jesus Christ. That’s why I want to teach and encourage people to pursue First Love FITNESS which is about transformation from the inside out and leads us to the ultimate strength and perfect love of God. Jesus said the most important commandment was to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and First Love FITNESS helps us do this by embracing fourteen disciplines of physical and spiritual health and wellness.

A book is in the making…in the meantime, I’d love to know if and how strength training has impacted you—not just your body but your heart, mind, and soul too.

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