As the director for Body & Soul’s Boot Camp program, I am constantly working to fill our classes with new, fun, and love-to-hate-them exercises and formats. I try new combinations of familiar exercises that challenge and stretch us (literally and metaphorically). “What if we did triceps kickbacks while holding a plank!?” I let out a gleeful laugh while I imagine the “fun” we will have when we think our muscles just might give out and go to failure, in true strength-training fashion!
Boot Camp is a Body & Soul program with lots of variety. Each instructor has guidelines, of course, but each class design is unique. A class can have a focus on abdominal work (I recently taught one called “ABSolutely awesome”) or cardio endurance (e.g., “Burpee accumulator”). Just thinking about these classes excites and exhausts me at the same time!
Even as I strive for creativity and excellence in the Boot Camp program, I also continually seek to improve my own physical fitness, But, thankfully, I know that physical perfection is not my end goal. Christ must be the center for all things that we do. To keep perspective, I find myself praying Ephesians 2:10 which says: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
That is why I work out. THAT is why we seek to be healthy and physically fit. This is the purpose behind Body & Soul, as well. We want to care for our physical bodies and our spirits so that we are better able to serve those around us. The idea is to be strong, so that when those things are placed in our path, we will be able to, in fact, do the good works that God created (before now!!) specifically for us to do and accomplish through His power. This way, we won’t miss out on His blessings because our temples are not capable.
That, and that alone is the “why” behind the challenging exercises, upbeat music, and goal-setting that we take on as a community. We are not out to conform to the world’s standards or achieve a certain physique as a prize; we want only to be able to use our temples to glorify God.
Now for your homework. This functional fitness workout below will keep you ready to do God’s good works. Get a deck of cards (Jokers included) and shuffle it well. Place the deck face down in front of you. Flip over the top card. The suit tells you what exercise to do, the number tells you how many reps to do (Ace = 1; Jack = 11; Queen = 12 and King = 13). If you get a joker, take a 1-2 minute break and get a drink of water.
Clubs: Squats with an overhead press.
Functionality: Even though you lift your kids and groceries with your arms, your legs, gluteal muscles and back are also key players. This exercise strengthens your legs, glutes, lower back, arms and shoulders.
Spades: Stair Climb with a biceps curl (R&L curls = 1 rep)
Functionality: Stairs are everywhere so using stairs as part of your fitness program will keep your legs conditioned and toned. Partnering stair climbs with bicep curls will strengthen your arms and improve your ability to carry things up the stairs. You’ll get your heart rate up with this one, as well. Go slowly and you’ll feel your core helping to stabilize you.
Hearts: Supine Bridge with Arm Extensions
Functionality: This exercise tones and strengthens your arms, shoulders, back, glutes and legs, as well as targets your core muscles. It also opens up your chest and the front of your hips (muscles that get tight with long hours of sitting and using the computer).
Diamonds: Single Leg Deadlift with Row (Do prescribed reps on EACH leg)
Functionality: This exercise improves your balance and coordination as well as strengthens your upper, mid and lower back, shoulders, glutes and legs. Having a strong back helps reduce aches and pains from living a sedentary life. Strong gluteal muscles help keep your lower back, hips, and knees healthy.
After you do all of the above, let me know. Were the exercises fun? Unique? Challenging? Exhausting? Good! Now come on out to a Boot Camp class where we can laugh, sweat, and pray together, as we pursue strength, not perfection