Someone was kind enough to send me this link (http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/article1078164.ece) to an article appearing in the St. Petersburg Times a few months back that details new religion-based fitness trends.
When I first started reading the article, which begins with a martial arts instructor in a Baptist church, I thought, “here we go again . . . another group trying to ‘Christianize’ eastern fitness routines.”
But as I read further, the article began to describe a variety of hot new exercise trends that are yoga-free and Christian-friendly and may be coming to a fitness center near you!
Take Zumba, for instance. This is an aerobic workout that features Latin music and dance moves. According to www.zumba.com/us, as of July 2009, the Zumba® program is being taught at over 50,000 locations in 75 countries and has sold millions of DVDs. Go to the site to watch instructors perform and to find classes near you. (When I typed in my address, it gave me the location of 625 classes within 25 miles of my home.) This workout is rigorous, upbeat and fun!
Then there’s CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program used by police academies, SWAT teams and elite athletes. The program is designed for “universal scalability” which means everyone can work out at their own level – from the elderly to sports fanatics and everyone inbetween. I used to teach cross-training, which is particularly helpful for people who are trying to lose weight because of the way this workout affects the body’s metabolic rate. You can read more about it at http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/what-crossfit.html
Faith and Fat Loss is another interesting fitness program being promoted by the Christian Broadcasting Network. Founded by Ron Williams, professor of Exercise Physiology and Nutrition and the holder of seven Natural Mr. Universe titles, it is a complete Scripture-based program that includes diet and exercise and is designed to help you rely on the Lord to lose weight and keep it off. This program also includes an inner healing dimension that involves turning to God for the healing of emotional wounds (he calls them “soul wounds”) such as those he suffered when his parents abandoned him as a child. These hidden wounds of life can compromise a person’s self-image and undermine their efforts to maintain a healthy body weight. You can read more at http://www.faithandfatloss.com/home.html
Another great site is Ross Fitness, the official website of Christian health & fitness expert Elizabeth Ross St. Pierre. This on-line program offers strength, weight management, nutrition and flexibility training. She offers home fitness programs and even stroller workouts for moms who want to get in shape and bring the children along for the ride.
“We can offer a different kind of encouragement,” Ross St. Pierre told the Times. “When you realize that you’re a child of God and that you’ve got that power within you, you remember that with Christ all things are possible.”
In an e-mail to me, she personally clarified that her organization does not offer yoga, pilates or other eastern exercise modalities.
“I do not offer Pilates or yoga as part of my fitness training, nor do I make it a point to recommend classes such as those to clients,” she wrote. “The physical benefits to be gained in such classes, such as strength and flexibility, I believe can be achieved through traditional strength training and stretching.”
This organization is 100% Christian! Read more at http://www.ross-fitness.com/index.html
For those of you who would just like some decent music to work out to, visit Ace Beat Music. Based in Fayetteville, Georgia, they offer Gospel music for aerobic workouts. You can listen to aerobic Christian mixed music online on their miss page or online radio station. Visit http://bit.ly/9aP5bt for more info.
If I come across any other good programs, I’ll post them on the blog.
Send your New Age question to firstname.lastname@example.org