Faithful Fitness: When You Feel Like Quitting-RESIST!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Often when I teach a Pilates class, I hear people saying things like, “Well, I can’t do this or that because I am so weak.” You know what I say to that? “All the more reason to do it!” You see, in order to build strength in our bodies, we have to actually USE our bodies. If you want stronger arm muscles, you will have to use your arm muscles! It is easy to give in to our weaknesses. It is much more difficult to RESIST! It is here, in the act of resistance, that we find and build our strength.

In physical fitness, resistance training is, “…any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance.” (Source:

One of the simplest ways to practice resistance training is to use our bodies as the “external resistance”. When we use our own bodies–even in their current “weak” states–we can make them stronger through resistance training. In our weakness, we become stronger.

In order for this to work, however, we must follow a few guidelines. In Pilates, for example, we first must be properly aligned and then engage our core strength (whatever that may be) through breathing. When our bodies are aligned and the proper core muscles recruited, we are best equipped to start building more strength.

The same is true for our spiritual strength. We want to be stronger in our faith, but we often feel weakened by “external resistance”. When life places the “heavy things” on our shoulders (stress, depression, relationship or health issues), we collapse, we cannot stand. We cry out in our weakness for God to save us from these external forces. Instead, perhaps we should choose to RESIST! I do not mean avoid these heavy things, as so often that is not possible, but knowing that WITH GOD all things are possible, we can resist, push back, engage our spiritual “muscles” in order to build strength and endurance!

How does this work? Much like our Pilates steps… In order to utilize God’s strength in our lives, we must:

1) Align ourselves to His Will

2) Engage the CORE of our faith which is CHRIST

3) BREATHE in the Holy Spirit through prayer and study of God’s Word.

Yes, in our own spiritual selves we are too weak to resist the external resistances of this world, but with CHRIST as our center, we can move with His Power in us. The heavy things do not rest upon us then, but on Him as we do the same. The Power of Christ is revealed in us as we allow Him to move us to push back or resist in our weakness.

We will continue to look at physical and spiritual principles of strength in posts to come…until then, RESIST!


FAITHful Fitness Friday: Feel like giving up?

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
For some people, including me at times, exercise is pure torture! We feel weak, “out of shape”, like it will never get better. Perhaps we used to be stronger but we have had children or an injury that has prevented us from staying in our fitness routine. We get frustrated, wanting our bodies to do what we want them to…or at least do what they used to do!
But just as God has given us grace, we need to give ourselves some grace! Sometimes God calls us to suffer through something which humbles us so that we can be made stronger in Him. Just like we use our bodies’ resistance to build physical strength, we must resist the negative voice in our head that says we are not ever going to get stronger or better. It will be the resistance itself that will eventually build the strength and endurance we are seeking. Both in health and in heart.
Reading the 1 Peter 5 passage, we see how this all plays out:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (v. 6-11)
Whenever our pride gets in the way of our physical or spiritual health, we must humble ourselves before the Lord. Remember that it is God that is in control of all parts of us body and spirit. The center of the universe, of creation, of our lives, He holds us up as our physical core holds us upright. As the center all things—He carries our “weight”- those anxieties that want to throw us off-balance. If we continue to stay aware and focused on Him, we can resist..the same way focusing on the center of the body helps us persevere through physical training. When we do this, resisting and standing firm, suffering a little while, we will be made strong, firm and steadfast. Our power will start with Him and be made more in Him! Both physically and spiritually…we start with the core strength we have (our faith-just as it is)…we train through resistance, we persevere, we stay strong…we get stronger!

CORErecovery: Out of the Valley- “The Things We Keep Hidden”

“…would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.”  Psalm 44:21

We all keep things hidden.  Painful things in our past, circumstances that hurt us, things we have done for which we feel shame.  Perhaps even today, the things we keep hidden are not buried in our memories, but they are walking around with us daily.  Maybe they are even written on our hearts or we wear them on our faces.  We speak not a word, but carry these secrets, heavy.

When we read a verse like Psalm 44:21, we can be tempted to feel discouraged.  Knowing that although we keep things hidden from those around us, there is no such thing as a secret to God.  He knows us….really knows us.  All of the hurt, the hate, the mistakes, the dirty, yucky, hard secrets…He sees them all.  But….there is hope in these verses….

Instead of feeling shame, I feel safe and comforted.  God knows everything and He loves me anyway.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.  Psalm 139 1-6

God knows me.  He knows all the memories I keep hidden and all of the things of today that I hold secret.  And yet, He loves me anyway!  His love never fails, never gives up, it never runs out on me.  NEVER.  I may keep things hidden from others, but I do not need to keep things hidden from Him.  There is nothing that has been done to me, nothing that I have done, nothing that I do that can separate me from His love. (Romans 8:39)

We are free to come to the Throne of Grace and open our hearts and minds to God!  We do not have to carry those burdens of secret hurts or hangups.  Instead of separating us from Him and His love…our hidden things can bring us closer to Him.

There are times when it is ok to keep things hidden.  Maybe past sins or habits that have been addressed, an old family feud that has been dealt with and forgiven…But there are other times when God calls us to speak these secrets out to a pastor, a counselor, or friend.  Still, there are other times when we want to share, but circumstances prevent us from revealing those hidden things lest we hurt another.

I don’t know what things you have hidden and I don’t know if God has called you to share them with anyone.  Your hidden things are between you and God.  I encourage you to pray and ask for guidance as to what to just share with Him and what to reach out and share with others.

But if you have things that are hidden that you need to share and want to do this in a safe, anonymous way, let me share something with you!

 “The Things We Keep Hidden” Photo Project  is an interesting photo journal that helps others share their hidden things anonymously.  Take a look at Laura’s beautiful photo blog and read more about her project.  Perhaps you will feel like you want to submit a secret, or maybe you will find encouragement in the expression of others’ secrets.  Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying, “We are only as sick as our secrets.”  Perhaps that is true, but sometimes great healing can be found in the sharing of our secrets…with ourselves, with others, but most importantly, with our Heavenly Father.

Faithful Fitness Fridays- Take 3

Several years ago, I introduced a weekly post: FAITHful Fitness FRIDAYS and then again about 2 years ago, I brought it back.  A lot has changed since then.  I no longer teach Pilates in local fitness facilities and my responsibilities have increased in other areas of life.  I work for my church, volunteer for my children’s schools, plus have many other responsibilities as a wife, mother, and caregiver for my mom.  We all have busy schedules and many things compete for our time and attention.  However, God’s word reminds us that we are to seek HIM first, get wisdom, and then act-in big things and small things- according to his plans and purposes for us.  This includes our busy schedules and our fitness pursuits.

So here it is, Take 3 of Faithful Fitness Fridays.   In these brief weekly* posts, we will explore what the BIBLE has to say about physical fitness (taking care of our physical bodies) and how we can exercise with using Christ-centered motivation to reach HIS fitness goals for us!

Today’s Verse:
“do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6;19-20)

First things first, whose body is it anyway?  Yours?  Not according to this verse!  As Christians, we are not our own.  Our bodies do not belong to us.  Rather, they are meant to serve God’s purpose: to glorify God.  “What does this have to do with my gym time?” you might ask.  Consider your current motivations for working out.  If you are currently UNMOTIVATED to exercise, here is a list from of 7 “real” reasons people exercise:

1. To look physically attractive (“hot” is the term used on the funandfit list)

2.  To meet other people

3.  Flat abs (NOT the same as number 1!!)

4. To be stronger and physiologically younger

5. To be able to do stuff

6.  To feel better about themselves

7.  Bragging rights

Can any of you identify with one of these motivations?  Some of them don’t sound too bad…meeting people, getting stronger, “doing stuff” are all things that are perfectly acceptable–but only if we are centered on Christ FIRST.  What kind of people are you trying to meet?  Strength is great, but for what do you need it?  And what about this “stuff”…what stuff are you trying to do?  If we answer these questions with a “me”-centered response, we are in danger of NOT following the mandate in 1 Corinthians to “glorify GOD” with our bodies.  Furthermore, we must be careful also to not allow our fitness goals to be based on physical attractiveness, comparison or bragging, and most importantly, our bodies should NOT be where we find our worth-that can only be found in Christ.

So how do we do this?  How do we know how to take care of ourselves remembering that the temple of our body is NOT us but of the Holy Spirit?  What changes do we need to make in our thinking? In our understanding?  In our physical fitness goals in order to focus on the ultimate goal…the one we were made for…glorifying God in all we do.

These are the types of questions we will seek to answer in the Faithful Fitness Friday posts.  If you would like to find out more about COREpilates Facebook Live Sessions (also on Fridays), contact us here:



*Please note, although every attempt will be made to post on Fridays and weekly, the schedule may vary.

5 Reasons To Try Pilates-Yes, Even You

There are some people, like me, that don’t need a reason to try out a form of fitness.  However, the majority of people are wary to try something new and different.  It can be daunting to get to the gym period, much less walk in to a class with other people who already ‘get it’ and try to learn new lingo, movements, and all the while, look like you DO, in fact, get it. *Oh, come on, you know that’s part of one wants to look silly.

In all honesty, the first time you take a Pilates class, perhaps the first 10 times you take a Pilates class, you will not ‘get it’.  There are many things to think for each movement: alignment, breath pattern, core engagement, and the parts of the movement.  But, I believe you should still give Pilates a try.  Here are 5 reasons:

1. Pilates Is For Everyone

Pilates is a form of exercise that can be done, in some form, by anyone.  If you are breathing, you can do Pilates.  True, not all people can just walk into a class and do all of the movements, but the Pilates principles can be practiced regardless of age, physical condition, or stage in life.

2.  Pilates Can Be Practiced Anywhere

Unlike some fitness forms which require machines, props, or certain environments, Pilates can be practiced anywhere with minimal preparation.  Yes, a mat is helpful, but a beach towel or carpet can work and only enough space to lengthen out your body is necessary.  If you are a busy executive, multi-tasking parent, or on vacation, you can practice Pilates.

3.  Pilates Is Efficient

Many people do not have the time to invest in an hour long routine.  Because the Pilates Method incorporates stretching, strengthening, and in some cases cardiovascular training, it is an efficient way to get a well-rounded workout.  Pilates also moves seamlessly from one exercise to the next, so you can flow through the practice without stopping to adjust body position. (*Well, truthfully, you are constantly making adjustments, but it is part of the workout!)

4.  Pilates Works When You Aren’t

When Pilates is practiced regularly, a certain amount of muscle memory occurs.  So, during class, your body twists as you purposefully engage the core to initiate and sustain the movement.  As you move through your daily life, as you twist, your body’s muscles activate as if you were doing this same movement in class.  The core engages and your body is protected and strengthened simultaneously.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to try Pilates, you are doing this for one or two reasons.  Either something about your current routine is not working or you have no current routine.  So, why not give Pilates a try?  Maybe you are lacking core strengthening or stretching in your current routine-Pilates can fix that.  Perhaps you are injured and cannot do your regular routine- Pilates can help you maintain your current fitness level while recovering.  On the other hand, maybe you are only thinking about Pilates because you know you need to do something, but you don’t know where to begin. You might be worried you don’t have enough strength to even get started.  But this is FALSE!  As I said at the beginning of the post, if you can breathe, you can practice Pilates.  Set up a session with a Pilates Personal Trainer or look for a beginning class.  Remember the BEST exercise is the one you will actually do, so give Pilates a try, it’s worth it!



Why Core Strength Matters-In Faith & Pilates

Most of my days could be described as, well, scattered, mixed up.  In any given hour, I am performing work, homemaking, parenting, daughtering, and personal duties.  As my grandmother would say, I’m ‘from piller to post’ and back again.  Even when I know what kind of mixed up files  I will be dealing with every day, there are often things blown my way that blindside me.  I, then, have to add whatever that is to the mix.  So, what do I do when things get mixed up? Mixed in?  I think this goes back to foundation.  If the foundation is strong, then no matter what gets mixed into our lives, we will not fall.  Sure, we may get battered and experience pain, but in the end we stand firm.  But if we do not have a solid foundation, we get injured, we crumble, we fall.

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27English Standard Version (ESV)


 rock strength

In this parable, we see that a solid foundation is built on God’s word AND the practice of it.  We also see that both houses experience unexpected things, thrown their way.  But it is the one with the solid foundation that remains.

So, what does this have to do with Pilates?  Well, the Pilates method has several principles, but the main one is this:  the center or core of the body is where all movement should initiate.  If the core is strong then all movements are anchored keeping the body aligned and protected.  Even when the unexpected things happen, the core will hold fast, activating to keep you stable and anchored.  The core is the foundation of the body.  When it is strong the body can withstand outside pressure or storms that would otherwise destroy us.  But it takes an understanding and practice of the core for it to be strengthened.  Just like our walk of faith, we must stay connected and centered in the core of God’s word, learning and practicing it, so that we can stay aligned, upright and protected.  Whether we have this foundation or not, the storms will come, we will be tossed around.  It will be the strength of the core foundation, built with understanding and practice, that will sustain us.