First Love FITNESS ~ Week One

Posted on Sep 12, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 69 comments

IMG_1733Yesterday was an exciting day–the first for “First Love FITNESS,” a 10-week class I’m leading at my church to help women become physically and spiritually fit. It was last winter that God asked me “to share with others” this particular passion of mine (Hebrews 13:16). For months I’ve been praying God would bring whomever He wanted to the class. It was a joy to tell the ladies sitting around me that they are the answers to my prayers.

Every week I’ll recap here some highlights of what we discussed and did in class so that those who aren’t able to physically attend may still partake and benefit. Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL day in Colorado Springs (today it’s snowing!), so I let our entire workout be outside.

After opening with prayer, I shared a key verse for First Love FITNESS: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).

Getting to the heart of First Love FITNESS, I shared a quote by Richard Chenevix Trench: “No man can be without his god. If he have not the true God to bless and sustain him, he will have some false god to delude and betray him….For every man has something in which he hopes, on which he leans, to which he retreats and retires, with which he fills up his thoughts in empty spaces of time, when he is alone, when he lies sleepless on his bed, when he is not pressed with other thoughts; to which he betakes himself in sorrow or trouble, as that from which he shall draw comfort and strength — his fortress, his citadel, his defense; and has not this a good right to be called his god?”

I encourage us to ponder what our “little g” gods might be. We all have them. They’re not necessarily bad things…unless we place them on the throne of our life. One of mine was my diet and physical fitness. Really, my “little g” god was me. My “self” was on the throne where only God has the right to be. Jesus’ words pierced me: “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:4).

I don’t want to forsake my “first love.” God has been so good to me, carrying me through the death of my fifth child…giving me four other precious children and a devoted husband…countless other blessings…. I have ongoing daily struggles but God knows my heart. He knows I want only Him on the throne of my life. The goal of First Love FITNESS is to honor God as our “first love,” to experience personal transformation from the inside out, and to lead us to the ultimate strength and comfort, the perfect love and fulfillment of “the true God,” Jesus Christ.

Every week we’ll have a topic of focus and scripture memory. In Week One, our focus is WATER, and our scripture memory is Psalm 46:4-5… “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”  The ladies in class have been given a binder; I encourage you to get some sort of journal, also, to write out the scripture every day. If there are only four words you remember from this entire post, let them be “There is a river….” And hold on to that promise.

We discussed “the river of the water of life,” “streams of living water,” and other glorious descriptions of water in the Bible. I think you’d be blessed to look up the following verses yourself: Revelation 7:17, 22:1; Ezekiel 36:25-27, 47:1-12; Isaiah 12:2-3, 49:8-10, 55:1, 58:11; Jeremiah 2:13, 17:7-8, 31:9; Psalm 42:1-2,7; John 4:4-13, 7:37-39; Ephesians 5:26; and Hebrews 10:22. A culminating verse for First Love FITNESS could be Psalm 87:7… “All my fountains are in you.”  Before class, my daughter Chelsey told me she once learned that verse means “all of our sources of satisfaction are in God.” How wonderful and beautiful!

Next, we discussed the benefits to the body of drinking water. There are so many…. In The Abs Diet for Women, David Zinczenko writes: “It keeps you satiated. A lot of times what we interpret as hunger is really thirst. Water flushes the waste products your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy or when it processes protein. You also need water to transport nutrients to your muscles, help digest food, and keep your metabolism clicking.”

I encourage (as many fitness and nutrition experts do) a person to drink half of his or her body weight in ounces of water every day. Example: If you weigh 128 pounds, try to drink half of 128–or 64–ounces of water every day. There are 8 ounces in a cup, so 64 ounces equals 8 cups of water. Another way to know if you’re drinking enough water is to look at the color of your urine. If it’s pale yellow or clear, you’re good. If it’s yellow, you need more water.

Also important is to know HOW you like to drink water… with ice or without, in a cup or with a straw, with lemon or a slice of cucumber and sprig of rosemary. Drink water the way you enjoy it; that’s why you’ll do it.

Lastly, the workout! We walked briskly (squeezing our glutes and abs), climbed stairs (three times), and did walking lunges uphill. We then parked ourselves at picnic tables where we did push-ups on the ground and step-ups, tricep dips, and calf raises on the benches. I introduced the ladies to one of my favorite exercises for the triceps: “skull crushers.” Lying down (on the picnic table–or for you, a bench at a gym) on your back, hold a dumbbell over and behind your head. With the dumbbell and your elbows pointing at the sky, lift the dumbbell up and down with your elbows staying in the same place as much as possible. Hopefully don’t hit your head! If you’re doing this right, you will feel the burn in your triceps–especially the next day.

Please note the ladies in my class signed a release form before doing any exercise with me and First Love FITNESS, and I strongly encouraged them (and now you) to get a physical examination from a medical doctor before starting any kind of physical fitness training.

Our daily “homework” for the next 10 weeks will be reading the Gospel–or “Good News”–of Jesus in the Bible’s books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  This week’s reading schedule is as follows:  Friday – Matthew 1; Saturday – Matthew 2 & 3; Sunday – Matthew 4 & 5; Monday – Matthew 6; Tuesday – Matthew 7 & 8; Wednesday – Matthew 9; and Thursday – Matthew 10.  I encourage all of us to write in our journal at least one verse from each day’s reading that stands out in a special way.  At the end of the 10 weeks, I think it will be a blessing for every one of us to see and read the unique “good news” we’ve compiled for ourselves.

Have a great week! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask or share below. Happy training!


  1. Laurie,
    I’m so glad you are teaching this class! I really wish I could be there in person with you all. Everything you wrote about is personal for me as well. In the last few years I have had to be disciplined about keeping ‘idols’ (usually people) out of the place that is God’s alone. It is so hard not to live for man’s favor. Your picnic table workout reminds me of a conversation we had in your backyard while trying to use parts of the swing-set for exercises while watching kids at the same time. There are so many ways to use what is in our everyday lives to keep health sustainable. I needed the water reminder since I try to convince myself that adding ice to my latte will help me hydrate 🙂 – ha! The scripture references really make a difference in how I view the importance of something …water, health, etc. Even though I can’t join you in person, know that I’ll be praying and participating in spirit! love and blessings, Karen

  2. Thank you, Karen–for writing, for praying, for sharing so many wonderful thoughts! The sweetest part for me was your memory of our being together in my backyard when the kids were little:) I would love to know what “swing-set exercises” we did!! You know I wish you could be in class, too, but I’m so glad you found the recap personal, and that you’ll be “participating in spirit!” I greatly appreciate the encouragement… you have blessed my day:) Love you, Laurie

  3. Laurie,
    Yea! ‘PRACTICE RESURRECTION!’ One of my favorite lines of a poem. Thank you for all the reminders to face fear with God’s faithfulness and resurrecting love.

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