The ‘F’ Words

Written by Margaret Chew (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Magaret Chew was Brand Planner for 20 years. Having left the creative scene in 2018, she is now a Certified Group Exercise Instructor and Trainer with LES MILLS RPM, TRX Training and American Council on Exercise. Margaret is also a triathlete, duathlete and avid hiker.

September 14, 2021

The F words – Faith and fitness. What has faith got to do with fitness? I know what some of you are thinking: 

“I don’t like to exercise”

“I am too busy to even think about exercising”

“ I am going to get too sweaty!”

“I hate going outdoors!”

“No way! I can’t even run 2km!”

“I could just go on diet if I wanted to lose weight”

“UUrghhhh….gyms are too crowded”

These are common protests.
Whilst we hear a lot about faith-based life, the emphasis on being
faith-led seems to be lost on how we manage fitness.

When God created us, He gave each of us a body, soul and spirit.
As Christians, we are so focused on developing and renewing our souls and spirits, that we seem to have forgotten that God wants us to look after our bodies too.
Our bodies are  temples of God.
Just as God considers our whole beings sacred by virtue of Him living in us, we cannot choose to forget to take care of our bodies.
The body, soul and spirit do not exist independent of one another.
Are we being good stewards of the body God has given us?

Everything we do in life must begin with a foundation.
As we strengthen our relationship with God, His words renew our souls, spirits….and our bodies too.
Yes, God remains our cornerstone when it comes to taking care of our bodies!
Do you have a blueprint for your health and fitness?
Perhaps it is time to start thinking about it.

Decide & Commit

Deciding to be healthy is only the beginning.
Following that, commitment is required to stick to a regular fitness regime.
Ask God to help you.
Commitment takes discipline, focus, and sacrifices.
It is built, as our faith is built, over time.
Keep an open mind and let God help you.
Remain strong in God by starting your exercise with you asking Him to give you the strength to complete what you are about to start – be it a swim, run, jog, walk…anything!
When you do not commit this to God, you become distracted by everything.

Set Small Goals

Don’t get me wrong – I am not recommending that you proceed to run a full marathon, cycle around the world, do a triathlon or climb a mountain immediately!
Building a foundation involves setting small goals that are specific, doable and realistic.
You could start with something as simple as walking around your neighbourhood, taking the stairs or attempting simple routines that are available on YouTube.
Every baby step you take builds on your health foundation.
Challenge your growth in fitness like how you grow your faith in God – bit by bit.

No Excuses

Excuses are little traps that the enemy plants into our heads over time.
The devil bids for your time as soon as you start spending more time with God.
It is always easier to snooze that alarm button instead of getting up to exercise.
Busy? We all have the same 24 hours.
Do you tell God you are too busy to talk to Him?
Of course not! So why would you take care of your body differently? 

Ignore the Naysayer

We all have people around us who may rain on our parade.  
Some people will try to set you off-course in your bid to stay committed to your fitness goals.
Keep your eyes on God, stay on course with Him.
Ignore the naysayers, turn off their voices in your head and tune into what God says you CAN do.

Tips to combine Faith and Fitness

Building this fitness blueprint is going to take a lot of trust in God and yourself.
If you are thinking that you cannot even start, you are so wrong.
I have been an endurance athlete all my life – from completing triathlons to scaling mountains – and I believe that God made us to move and not to be sedentary.
May I suggest the following steps to encourage you to solidify your health and fitness blueprint:

  1. Confide in God and ask Him to reveal your health goals to you.
  2. Think of exercising as a worship time with God – honouring and praising Him for all that He has done.
    Enjoy His majestic creations when you are outdoors!

  3. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant at one go!
    Carve it into bite sized pieces.
    Start a simple 20 minutes exercise, two to three times a week.
    Like I always say, “20 minutes is better than zero minutes”.
  4. If time is a constraint, consider “Exercise Snacks” throughout your day instead.
    I don’t mean this literally.
    What I do mean is that you could take 10 minutes to do simple workouts and stretches while waiting for your transport and in between meetings.
    Alternatively, you could make time for a short walk during lunchtime or play with your kids (or dogs).
    Anything that keeps us moving!
  5. Don’t do this alone.
    Grab a friend or family member to come alongside.
    Be accountable to one another when you journey on this together. 

Be encouraged!

God made us a complete being – to have a soul, spirit and body!
Exercising is definitely a worship time – praise and thank God for His creations that was meant to be enjoyed when we are outdoors – the trees, the beautiful weather, the sound of birds, the majestic mountains and even the soft breeze of winds that comforts us when we are hot and tired!

Points to ponder:

What is holding you back from building your fitness blueprint?

Do you have an attitude of gratitude for the body that God has given you?

Let the word of God speak to you:

3 John 1:2 NIV

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.

Psalm 37:5 NIV

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.

James 2:17 NIV

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Hebrews 12:12 NIV

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.

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