Personal trainers say New Year's fitness resolution can help spiritually

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Jan. 6—A majority of New Year's resolutions revolve around getting more exercise. Local personal trainers say there are multiple benefits to improving your physical fitness. Not only could it help you physically, but it could help you spiritually as well.

"I feel like they go hand in hand," Karen King, a personal trainer and nutrition coach at the Joplin Family YMCA, said. "We think and feel better when we're moving. When I first moved to Joplin in 2007, I was not regularly exercising and I was not regularly studying God's word. I started both of them at the same time, and I noticed that I could pay better attention to his word when I was exercising."

Daniel Wade, owner and personal trainer at Body and Soul Transformation gym, said starting a physical and spiritual improvement in the new year takes commitment.

"In my personal experience, we get out what we put into it," Wade said. "So we've got to be intentional about our physical training, like we have to be intentional about our faith. If we don't put in the effort up front, we're not going to get results."

It can be intimidating to begin your fitness resolution if you haven't exercised in a while, or at all. To start out, Wade advises setting a series of short- and long-term goals and reevaluating them as you continue your fitness journey.

"There's times, just like in life, when we're not meeting those goals and sometimes have to reevaluate and adjust those goals based on what's achievable," Wade said.

It also helps to make your fitness goals reachable, King said. When you're thinking about a realistic goal, it helps to break it down into what you can do depending on your current physical level. For example, instead of walking 30 minutes a day, maybe walk three 10-minute sessions a day. This breaks down the exercise into smaller, bite-sized pieces, she said.

"I like to think of it as a continuum," King said about setting achievable goals. "We could be doing a lot worse, we could be doing a lot better. Know where you are and then do just a little bit better. Stretch your goal and then once you reach it, do a bit more."

Finding the motivation to stick with a fitness New Year's resolution can be challenging. If you're new to exercise, it helps to have an accountability partner, Wade said. If you've got someone to exercise with, you're more apt to sustain it for a long period of time, he said.

"It's just like in our faith life," Wade said. "We need to have accountability in our faith walk and have people that are guiding us or calling us out if we slip. It's the same way with our fitness goals. It's good to have someone with us to give us motivation. Even on the days when we don't feel like getting up and going to work out, they can encourage you not to fall out of your routine and keep working towards your goal."

In order to stick with a fitness plan, it's important to form good habits of exercise. King said if you want to form a habit, you make it easy and attractive to do.

"Habits are more likely to stick if you have a regular time and place you do them," King said. "You can even connect or stack habits. Your prayer time can be the time you take to walk. Stacking habits helps you to accomplish them both."

Finally, Wade advises approaching your New Year's fitness resolution with balance and moderation. Creating a well-balanced life became a personal goal for him, and eventually became the basis of his career.

"In my mid-20s, I always had a passion for fitness," Wade said. "But then it became more of an obsession. As I studied God's word, he showed me I needed to spend as much time physically as I did spiritually. Fitness as itself is a good thing, but we need to keep everything in balance in our lives."

After finding this balance, Wade decided he wanted to share these lessons with others. At the first of the year, he opened Body and Soul Transformation at 1703 Falcon, Suite C, in Webb City. The 24-hour facility offers weights, cardio equipment, training in strength and agility, and free tanning for members, and a group exercise room is coming soon.

The gym also is focused on Christian discipleship, playing Christian music, maintaining a prayer wall and offering two weekly Bible studies. Wade has partnered with the Watered Gardens Worth Shop to sell their goods in the gym's store. Wade takes his inspiration from 1 Timothy 4:8: "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."

"The gym became a ministry for me, and a way I could share that revelation to others that there's more than a physical workout," Wade said. "I wanted to create a gym and share that with everybody. So I resigned from my job and created a career that I felt could integrate my life and my faith in one location. Now, I want to share that same transformation that God gave to me with others."

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