Jason Rhymer's picture


I love it when you have a premise for an article and you think, "This will never work...what could I possibly say about that?"

Then after a little research, prayer, and brainstorming, you think, "This will never work...how can I possibly say everything in just one article!"

I suspect that your life as an athlete with faith has been the same way.  Think back to your first workout.  You probably thought, "This will never work...I have no idea what I'm doing." Or maybe the first time you attended church or read the Bible, you might have thought, "This will never work...is Jesus really talking about me here, today, right now?" 

Then you peel back another layer of the "life onion" and start to discover.  You start to feel.  You start to believe that what you thought might be crazy and never work might actually...well, work. It makes you feel whole, with purpose and meaning.

That's the goal of this article.  Let's peel back another layer of something that you might have completely overlooked in your life...the colors that surround you everyday, and see what we discover about fitness and faith.

I want to fully disclose that all of the information about color came from one site - Color Wheel Pro.  This was incredibly comprehensive to cover feelings, meanings, history, and what we associate with each color.

Let's start with the ultimate analogy of what color means to our faith with a very powerful video.  This is dedicated to all teachers, coaches, or anyone who has a passion about anything and helps someone see clearly.


The 8 Colors of Fitness

Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. It is a color found in many national flags.

Red brings text and images to the foreground. Use it as an accent color to stimulate people to make quick decisions; it is a perfect color for 'Buy Now' or 'Click Here' buttons on Internet banners and websites. In advertising, red is often used to evoke erotic feelings (red lips, red nails, red-light districts, 'Lady in Red', etc). Red is widely used to indicate danger (high voltage signs, traffic lights). This color is also commonly associated with energy, so you can use it when promoting energy drinks, games, cars, items related to sports and high physical activity.

Light red represents joy, sexuality, passion, sensitivity, and love.
Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine qualities and passiveness.
Dark red is associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath.
Brown suggests stability and denotes masculine qualities.
Reddish-brown is associated with harvest and fall.

Our Big Red Fitness Idea: HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training

The Tabata Protocol is still the industry standard for HIIT.  A "Tabata" is exactly 20 seconds of work, followed by exactly 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 4 minutes (8 rounds total).  Choose two exercises that are opposite of each other (upper/lower, left side/right side, push/pull, core/cardio).  Here are some popular pairings:

Exercise 1 - Push-up
Exercise 2 - Squat

Exercise 1 - Left Kettlebell Clean, Squat & Press
Exercise 2 - Right Kettlebell Clean, Squat & Press

Exercise 1 - Core plank with limbs moving
Exercise 2 - Jumping jacks

Typically 4-6 Tabata rounds is plenty for one training session, but it depends on how hard you are pushing during your 20 second work sets.  This is a very efficient fat-burning program and it can allow many people of different fitness levels to train together.  Simply do all you can in 20 seconds, rest for 10, and move to the next challenge.  It is important to note, you will not be able to do this correctly by looking at a watch.  Download one of the many Tabata apps for your phone.  My current favorite is called Tabata Pro.

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.

To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite. Orange is the color of fall and harvest. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance.

Orange has very high visibility, so you can use it to catch attention and highlight the most important elements of your design. Orange is very effective for promoting food products and toys.

Dark orange can mean deceit and distrust.
Red-orange corresponds to desire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination, aggression, and thirst for action.

Our Big Orange Fitness Idea: Cumulative Sets

Cumulative sets have become one of my favorite partner workouts.  The premise is simple...pick one exercise and a big number.  Something too big for you to do by yourself, but that is attainable if you share the set with a friend (or victim).  Partner 1 starts the exercise while Partner 2 runs to a set location and back to Partner 1.  For example, let's say you will do 100 push-ups as a team.  Let's say Partner 1 gets through 18 reps in the amount of time it takes Partner 2 to run 50 yards and back (100 yards total).  Switch roles...Partner 2 starts with rep #19 on push-ups and Partner 1 runs the same course.  They keep trading off until they get to 100 push-ups total as a team.  You can also do this for time or with exercises like burpees and bearcrawls if space is limited for running.  Cumulative sets are orange because they are similar to high intensity red, but not quite as intense.  Longer timed intervals are also an option like we mentioned above with red.


This Training Department article by Jason Rhymer builds on the theme The Colors Of Fitness along with several other articles in the April/May 2015 issue of Faith & Fitness Magazine.

Read more articles from our Training Department and also the articles in the Intense, Intents sub-category of our Training Department.

Read Jason Rhymer's BLOG.


Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.

Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy. Yellow is often associated with food. Bright, pure yellow is an attention getter, which is the reason taxicabs are painted this color. When overused, yellow may have a disturbing effect; it is known that babies cry more in yellow rooms. Yellow is seen before other colors when placed against black; this combination is often used to issue a warning. In heraldry, yellow indicates honor and loyalty. Later the meaning of yellow was connected with cowardice.

Use yellow to evoke pleasant, cheerful feelings. You can choose yellow to promote children's products and items related to leisure. Yellow is very effective for attracting attention, so use it to highlight the most important elements of your design. Men usually perceive yellow as a very lighthearted, 'childish' color, so it is not recommended to use yellow when selling prestigious, expensive products to men – nobody will buy a yellow business suit or a yellow Mercedes. Yellow is an unstable and spontaneous color, so avoid using yellow if you want to suggest stability and safety. Light yellow tends to disappear into white, so it usually needs a dark color to highlight it. Shades of yellow are visually unappealing because they loose cheerfulness and become dingy.

Dull (dingy) yellow represents caution, decay, sickness, and jealousy.
Light yellow is associated with intellect, freshness, and joy.

Our Big Yellow Fitness Idea: Fun Fitness Games

I am pulling this one from my 25 Fun Ways to Workout article. If yellow is cheerful and brings you joy, then I want to play a trivia game with consequences.  Sporcle.com is my favorite time killer or “brain break” when I am sitting at the computer for an extended period (like now!).  Here's the perfect game for this article!   This game lists 4 colors and asks you to either pick the color or the name of the color.  You only have 2 seconds to decide and click.  A wrong answer ends the quiz.  There are 30 possible questions.  If you lose, you have to do the number you got wrong (maximum of 30) for the following exercises.  After each exercise, rest as needed, and play the color game again to determine the number of reps for the next exercise.  This is a great way to work your brain and body!

Jumping jacks
Planks with arm taps  - hold a plank and extend your hand and tap the ground in front
Mountain climbers – military count
Planks with leg raises – hold a plank and alternate between leg raises

If you are able to make it to the end and get all 30 correct, hit a quick giant set of 5 reps of each exercise listed and then play again for the next exercise on your list.


Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money.

Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance. Sometimes green denotes lack of experience; for example, a 'greenhorn' is a novice. In heraldry, green indicates growth and hope. Green, as opposed to red, means safety; it is the color of free passage in road traffic.

Use green to indicate safety when advertising drugs and medical products. Green is directly related to nature, so you can use it to promote 'green' products. Dull, darker green is commonly associated with money, the financial world, banking, and Wall Street.

Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy.
Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.
Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.
Olive green is the traditional color of peace.

Our Big Green Fitness Idea: Hikes and Adventure Runs

Get outside and explore.  If you need more ideas go to our great outdoor magazine for Lifestyle Media called SHOUT!


Let's take a quick break to figure out your fitness personality!  Suzanne Brue has developed a tremendous resource called "The 8 Colors of Fitness" and given us permission to share it with you. Take her quiz below to:

Discover your unique color-coded fitness personality

Understand why you’re drawn to certain activities/environments and avoid others

Learn how to use your fitness color to make better choices for your personality

Incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle and create an exercise program you’ll never quit!

Click "Take the Quiz" below:


Copyright by The 8 colors, LLC and used as a courtesy
Suzanne Brue
The 8 Colors of Fitness: Oakledge Press, (2008)

Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.

You can use blue to promote products and services related to cleanliness (water purification filters, cleaning liquids, vodka), air and sky (airlines, airports, air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water). As opposed to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue is linked to consciousness and intellect. Use blue to suggest precision when promoting high-tech products.

Blue is a masculine color; according to studies, it is highly accepted among males. Dark blue is associated with depth, expertise, and stability; it is a preferred color for corporate America.

Avoid using blue when promoting food and cooking, because blue suppresses appetite. When used together with warm colors like yellow or red, blue can create high-impact, vibrant designs; for example, blue-yellow-red is a perfect color scheme for a superhero.

Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness.
Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.

Our Big Blue Fitness Idea: Water Fitness Programs

Obviously, swimming comes to mind when you think of water fitness, and maybe water aerobics if you go to a big commercial gym with a pool.  I have used water dumbbells, belts, bands, and other water toys with clients. But I encourage you to also just keep it simple and take everything you have done in a weight room and apply it to the pool.  Try this:

1) Stand on the step of the pool and face the outside of the pool.  Squat so that you're femur is submerged and explode up through the water.  You may need to hold on for safety.  Clients have been amazed at how deep and perfect their squat can become when supported by the water, and how much easier it is on their joints.  Hit reps for time or do the number that is right for you.

2) Move to waist deep on the side of the pool.  Abduct the leg (raise to the side) as high as possible and think about leading by your heel rather than big toe.   This has been another cool moment with clients.  People who are normally tight when performing this on ground, find it much easier with bigger range of motion in the water.  Try the right number of reps or time on both sides.

3) Now lets focus on upper body.  Get a float or noodle and put it under your legs.  Swim across to the other side with only your arms.  Let your legs rest on the float and not assist the arms.

4) How about core? Hold onto the side or sit on the steps to the pool and perform knee tucks, pull your knees into your chest while the rest of you floats.

5) But the best shallow end pool activity that hits all of these areas is to simple sprint.  Try a high knee sprint for time or number of reps from side to side.  Start with water about waist height and try to get the knees out of the water with each stride.

Here are some other great water applications to faith and fitness in SHOUT! Magazine.


Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.

According to surveys, almost 75 percent of pre-adolescent children prefer purple to all other colors. Purple is a very rare color in nature; some people consider it to be artificial.

Light purple is a good choice for a feminine design. You can use bright purple when promoting children's products.

Light purple evokes romantic and nostalgic feelings.
Dark purple evokes gloom and sad feelings. It can cause frustration.

Our Big Purple Fitness Idea: Stuff! (Odd Implement and Traditional Weight Training)

Most of our articles focus on simple body weight programs that you can do anywhere because we don't want anyone to feel limited by equipment or gym memberships.  However, we need to take a little time to talk about stuff.   Most of life will involve hoisting stuff, carrying stuff, reaching high to grab stuff, and crouching low to drag stuff.  Also, a lot of our most common injuries come from not handling heavy stuff the right way.  My favorite stuff to train with are kettlebells and odd implements - tires, sandbags, medicine balls, barrels of water, rocks, or just anything heavy and awkward to move.  This is purple for me because we often associate wealth, nobility, and extravagance with having the most toys or stuff. I can't believe this video is almost 10 years old, but here is one of my favorite backyard workouts with a variety of odd implements:


White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection.

White means safety, purity, and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation. White can represent a successful beginning. In heraldry, white depicts faith and purity.

In advertising, white is associated with coolness and cleanliness because it's the color of snow. You can use white to suggest simplicity in high-tech products. White is an appropriate color for charitable organizations; angels are usually imagined wearing white clothes. White is associated with hospitals, doctors, and sterility, so you can use white to suggest safety when promoting medical products. White is often associated with low weight, low-fat food, and dairy products.

Our Big White Fitness Idea - Mobility and Range-of-Motion Work

White is pure, perfect, and clean.  These should also be adjectives that you use to describe every rep you perform.   It is still amazing to me that this is viewed as wasted time over more intense forms of workouts.  This approach can only enhance the more intense workouts, and aid in recovery, which is a huge component to your overall success.  Here are two videos that show a crash course on band flexibility.  This is best performed with a continuous-loop band, but you can also use a Theraband, tube band with handles, large towel, or fleece blanket.


Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery.

Black is a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown (black holes). It usually has a negative connotation (blacklist, black humor, 'black death'). Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color (black tie, black Mercedes). In heraldry, black is the symbol of grief.

Black gives the feeling of perspective and depth, but a black background diminishes readability. A black suit or dress can make you look thinner. When designing for a gallery of art or photography, you can use a black or gray background to make the other colors stand out. Black contrasts well with bright colors. Combined with red or orange – other very powerful colors – black gives a very aggressive color scheme.

Our Big Black Fitness Idea: 5 x 5

My best friend has his Doctorate in Exercise Science, meanwhile I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.  My expertise is rooted in certifications and grinding it out with clients over a decade and a half.  His expertise is in academia, case studies, and laboratories.  He is also a great coach, and it is great to get in a deep conversation with him about training due to our diverse backgrounds.  We were recently talking about the age-old question of what is the best set/rep scheme.  It took two professionals with different paths only a few seconds to agree.  Five sets of five reps with an appropriately heavy load (70-80% of 1 rep max) is hard to beat for overall power and strength.  I know there will be some coaches who specialize with power lifters who disagree, and let me beat you to the punch...I disagree too.  I am saying for a generalized overall, "can't fail with most healthy people", 5 x 5 is a great cycle to explore for 6-8 weeks at least once annually, and maybe more often.  It gives you enough reps for hypertrophy work, but still creates a dense, strong physique.  There are also great sports applications in this rep range with younger athletes.  I start working with a 15 year old basketball player this weekend and we will explore for 5 sets with deadlifts and see if we can keep building to his best set of 5 reps.  If you want exercise ideas or have other questions about this idea, please ask in our comments section below.

It would be too easy to end this article by swiping the Skittles tag-line and tell you to "Taste the Rainbow" on your faith and fitness journey, so I'll just stick to my regular...Live with Strength!


About the Author

  • Jason Rhymer's picture
    Jason Rhymer is the Training Department Editor of Faith & Fitness Magazine. He is the High School Youth "Guy" at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC and the Clergy Health Fitness Coordinator for the Clergy Health Institute through Pfeiffer University. Jason leads bootcamps and personal training sessions in Charlotte, NC, and has trained ages 5 to 90 over his 15 year career.

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