Welcome 2016! Did you set a health and wellness goal for the New Year? Already feeling like you need some motivation to stick with it? Join us as we kick off the New Year with a 10-day #BodySoulFit2016 Fitness Challenge. Let us help you set the pace. Our challenge will have you reaching your fitness goals in no time. (Or at least getting you closer to achieving them!)  Are you in?Friendship and fitness in the park

For the next 10 days (Jan 6th – 16th) we’ll be posting daily workouts from our Body & Soul Power Strength and Boot Camp programs on our Facebook page. Amy Stafford, our Fitness Director and Power Strength Program Director, and Rachel Soper, our Boot Camp Program Director, along with their program trainers, will encourage you and answer any questions you have as you progress through the challenge. AND you’ll discover a community of support as you join others involved in our challenge too.

Already attending a Body & Soul class? That’s great! You’ll get the added benefit of an additional workout (20 mins) on those days. This challenge is designed to go hand in hand with our classes. You’ll truly be maximizing your workout on those days.

Need modifications? No problem. As we said, our wonderful experts will be right there with you answering all your questions, providing modifications, and cheering you on along the way. We design our programs so that whatever shape you’re in, or whatever fitness goals you have, you will find success and achieve results.

sea-fashion-woman-waterWe believe that fitness is more than just your body. We believe it also includes your soul. So each day we will be posting a “spiritual nugget” that will lift your spirit and remind you that there is more to this life than meets the eye. We are here to help you pursue health, pursue fitness, and pursue faith.

As you work through our fitness challenge, we want to hear how your faith is being strengthened. Please share this with us and don’t forget to use #BodySoulFit2016.

We also want to see you in action. Post a video or picture of yourself using the hashtag #BodySoulFit2016 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and we will enter you to win a prize package* at the end of the challenge. Complete all 10 days of the challenge and you’ll get 10 extra entries. If you win the drawing at the end of the challenge, you’ll be invited to share your success story with us.

images-1Are you ready? Grab a friend and get started today!

*Prize package is only available for the US only. Not living in the US? Join the challenge anyway. You’ll be sticking with your goal and gaining new friends and valuable fitness tips along the way.




Mary Ward is the Director of Marketing at Body & Soul Fitness.

Yes, that’s what we are this winter! We don’t pilot helicopters and pick up soldiers in battle who need rescuing. We don’t run across the beach clutching a red floating device to help a child who is in danger from a rip tide. Instead, we join together in Body & Soul Fitness classes, personally searching for hope and reaching out to rescue fellow students with words of encouragement! Never lose sight of the power of caring! You can help rescue others with a caring touch.

IMG_2367In class, our “uniform” is fitness wear. We power up the endorphins with our physical fitness workout and lift our spirits with the spiritual message in the music we exercise to. We are “armor-plated,” carrying our shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit!

Even so, we all have those days when we feel like we are drowning –in a pile of to-dos, a pile of laundry or a pile of discouragement. If you are personally in need of rescue-encouragement, you can be assured that you will find it in your Body & Soul fitness class.

The themes in the music of our winter session are:
  • The Search –What are you searching for and why?
  • Faith or Fear? – How will you overcome fear with faith?
  • Step out of the Boat – Are you being called to do something new?
  • Trust Deeper – Are you in a hard place right now?
  • God Rescues – He has answers!

IMG_6444Our winter session verse is Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” How does this verse apply to you? Do you need to ask for help in some area of your life? Are you seeking and searching for answers? If so, knock—the door will be opened.

My son commands an Air Force squadron, and the men and women under his care leave their families and the comforts of home to go on search & rescue missions on a regular basis. My grandson who is 12 has already attended Junior Lifeguard Camp and has dreams of being a lifeguard on alert to rescue swimmers in need. Your mission is just as important. Wherever you live around the world, whether you are able to attend a Body & Soul class or not– right where you are, you can search for those in need and be a part of the rescue team that brings them back to hope! Ask, seek, knock. Then watch to see God at work!

What does Christmas mean to you? There are so many aspects of this special season that bring us joy. I urge you to take a moment and think about what matters most. Take a deep breath, smile and think about the true meaning of Christmas.

Part of Christmas is about “shopping”-whether online or in the hustle and bustle of the stores. Personally, I love to give gifts, so shopping is fun for me. I keep each special person that I love in my mind and my heart, as I search for something that person would enjoy, and I imaginechristmas-present-pile the look of joy on each face when they open it. We have 7 grandchildren, and only one is a girl, so it was fun to think about what to get her, in particular. This year we got her Ana’s dress from Frozen. Since she loves “dress-ups,” it is sure to be a special hit. But maybe the whole gift-giving thing is stressful for you– that is true for many people. Don’t feel bad if that’s where you are—after all, Christmas is not primarily about shopping.

Does Christmas mean “eating?” There are smells and tastes of Christmas—my mother used to make 6 kinds of cookies, laboring in the kitchen for hours and turning out perfectly shaped and decorated treasures that were absolutely yummy. I remember what that platter of cookies looked like—a work of art, with every shape a wonderful treat. I love this memory. I hope you have some good memories of the smells aimages-3nd tastes of Christmas that make you smile, too. Today, I bake only one kind of cookie—the cut-out, bake and frost kind, and I have had to find a gluten-free version of the recipe. So, I must say, that for me, Christmas is not about eating. My how times have changed!

For many, Christmas means “family.” I just heard a great new version of the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” by MercyMe and it always feels poignant to me when the lyrics say “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” Our culture today is so spread out, and family often lives so far apart that it is a challenge to get together. For some people it is only a dream that they can actually be together with family; maybe you fall in this category. Our family is spread out across four states from east to west, but thankfully everyone cares about being together, so we start planning months in advance to make it happen. When we gather together—all 15 of us, including the 7 grandkids— it is a time of wonderful craziness. We laugh about being grateful that adults outnumber kids! Being with those we love is a key part of Christmas, but it is not the true meaning of Christmas.

Amidst all the activities, what I love most about Christmas is stopping to contemplate its true meaning. To me, Christmas is about Hope! Linus had it right in the first Charlie Brown movie. image1
The story is found in Luke, Chapter 2. Picture Linus dressed as a shepherd, with his blanket wrapped around his head, on stage in the Christmas play that Charlie Brown had been agonizing over. The story told there is one of hope. The first miraculous Christmas is described. Jesus was born in Bethlehem “and there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-14 Unknown-1

Do you believe this story? Do you realize the hope that is proclaimed here? The day of Christ’s birth, now celebrated every year as Christmas, is God’s message of hope to all of us. An angel proclaimed that this baby is our Savior. He came to earth and died in our place so that all of us who believe could have the HOPE of eternal life. Do not be afraid—believe! We will shop, eat and enjoy time with family at this time of year, certainly. But peace on earth is found in the hope that this tiny baby brought to us. This is the true meaning of Christmas!