Jason Rhymer's picture

By Jason Rhymer, Training Department Editor and our readers

We asked our readers to contribute to this issue with answers to 4 key questions:

1. What fitness practice/concept/guidelines have you learned and totally embrace?

2. How do you tell others about it and get them to get excited about it too?

3. What component(s) of your faith are you most confident about?

4. In what ways do you communicate this with others and how do you feel you could share it more?    

Here are a few of their responses along with some additional training points added at the end of each page by Jason Rhymer, the Faith & Fitness Magazine Training Department Editor.  This is a 7-page article so tap the page numbers below to proceed to each page. Take a look at what our readers believe and preach on their faith and fitness journeys!


Glen Reeder
Bremerton, WA
Fitness Specialist for the US. Navy


Do you practice what you preach? I try to be a living example of what I preach, in the gym, at home, and when I am asked to preach at church. But what makes practicing what you preach so important? Well it’s as simple as this…if we are giving advice to people to better them and we ourselves are not doing what we say they should do, then why should they listen to us?

I was not always a fit person. Not too many years ago I weighed 285lbs. I began to go to the gym and set small goals for myself, 5lbs, 10lbs, etc. As I reached each goal I gained more confidence in myself. I continued to set more challenging goals, such as being able to bench press 315 lbs., squat 315 lbs., and deadlift 315 lbs. As I started chipping away at those goals, people started asking me questions about fitness.

I began to preach what I practice! It was an amazing feeling to know people wanted my advice. I have now become a fitness example and the stress of that responsibility was scary at first. The responsibility of being an example for others is not something to take lightly. The rewards are amazing. I get excited when I share with people how important eating a healthy diet is key to the success you are striving for in the gym. When people ask me how I have accomplished all I have, my answer is always diet, hard work, and dedication. Then I like to show them a picture I keep in my gym bag when I weighed 285lbs. The look on their faces is priceless, but it shows them that they can reach their goals just like I have reached mine.

After my first competition, I was driving to church and I was praying thanking God for giving me the opportunity to compete. Very clearly I heard God tell me, “When are you going to compete for me? When are you going to use fitness for me?” To be honest, I really didn’t have an answer for him. I said, “God, why do you need me in the fitness world? It’s all about vanity and I don’t want to be labeled by people as a vain person.” But then 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 came to my mind. It says “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”

Wow! I thought to myself, yes Paul was talking about spiritual training in this passage, but what I realized is that the type of discipline it takes to train physically is the same type of discipline it takes to grow spiritually stronger. I knew then that God wanted me to share that message with people, asking them if their physical physique mirrors their spiritual physique. I started making videos talking about faith and fitness and posting them on YouTube. I started talking to people in the gym about faith more and when I would train someone I would recite scriptures to them about strength and endurance.

God has used my journey in fitness to minister to people in an environment that is not the norm. So I encourage you to share your fitness and faith stories with people. You never know how it may impact them. We are all called to share the Good News and we can do it in everything we do.


JASON'S TRAINING TIP    Glen is right…spiritual training and physical training share the same type of discipline and we have suggested strategies of how to combine them into one mega-healthy event.  Here are a couple of videos about how to pray during your workouts:






Jacob McMillan
Reading, CA
Editor of Uncompromised Men, Marketing Director of CoachTube.com


1. What fitness practice/concept/guidelines have you learned and totally embrace? People typically have one of two goals when working out. Either they are looking to gain muscle mass or cut fat.

I've learned that the following two rules are true for both goals:

90% of fitness success comes from your diet. Are you eating the right amount of calories to cut? Are you eating enough calories to bulk? Is the core of your diet healthy, nutritious foods whether you’re cutting or bulking?

Weight lifting should be the core of EVERY workout schedule. The types of lifts you do and the range of sets/reps will change depending on whether you're trying to cut or bulk, but if your workout schedule isn't built around weight lifting, it's probably worthless.

A lot of people make the mistake of trying to compartmentalize fitness in their life. If your goal is simply to maintain your current body or fitness level, that's fine.

If you want to significantly change something, however, whether that change looks like the cardiovascular capacity to run a marathon or the body-fat percentage to show your abs, it's going to require a major life shift. You can't compartmentalize it. It has to touch every part of your day, from the foods you eat to the time you make available for working out and sleeping.

If you want change, you HAVE to be all-in.

2. How do you tell others about it and get them to get excited about it too?

Getting people excited about reaching their fitness goals is fairly easy when you have legitimate answers to their problems. If all I have is nice things to say and vague descriptions of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, no one really cares.

But if I'm talking to someone who is uncomfortable with their weight and wants to get in shape, and I'm talking about EXACTLY what they can do to achieve their dreams, they're excited.

If I'm talking to a naturally skinny guy who has always wanted to increase his weight but nothing seems to be working, and I tell him the exact workout and eating plan I used to gain 30 pounds of muscle in 3 months, he's pretty excited automatically.

The question is really just, "Do you have a solution to their problem?" You can't convince people they have a problem, but if they think they have a problem, and you have the answer, they're excited.

3. What component(s) of your faith are you most confident about?

The thing I am most confident about is that Jesus came to bring us abundant life (John 10:10). He came to bring the Kingdom of Heaven and introduce us to the Father, and everything about the Father and the Kingdom is life, wholeness, and goodness.

The Gospel is Life. Abundant Life. If I know nothing else, I know that.

4. In what ways do you communicate this with others and how do you feel you could share it more?    

For me, it's the exact same as sharing about fitness, in the sense that if you have a solution to people's problems, they are excited. People really, really want an abundant life. They want life and wholeness in their relationships. They want life and wholeness in their careers. They want life and wholeness in their physical bodies.

The Holy Spirit can bring abundant life into every area of our lives, and by far the best testimony, in my experience, is a Christian living an abundant life.

Like I mentioned earlier, we can't convince people they have a problem if they don't see it that way. But so many people already realize they have marriage problems. They already realize they are unfulfilled in their career paths or day-to-day lives.

If my life is broken and shattered and I'm telling them about Jesus, I'm just another person with problems theorizing about possible solutions, like the overweight guy in the gym trying to give advice on getting six-pack abs.

The Gospel is life, and the Holy Spirit is the tangible power to transform broken lives into wholeness. Once we believe that and allow Him to make us whole in every area of our lives, we become really, really attractive to other people wanting to live whole lives.

So I don't go around looking to preach Jesus to random people (although sure, that happens sometimes). I go around looking to partner with the Holy Spirit in bringing wholeness into people’s lives. Oh your marriage is struggling? Let me speak affirmation of you and your wife and talk about how my wife and I worked through something like that. Oh you're struggling with self-loathing. Here's who I see you to be (aka here's what the Father is speaking over you).

Sometimes we think Jesus is unattractive to the world, because the world doesn't always like Christians. I would argue that everyone wants Jesus, but few have seen Him in the lives of the Christians they know. We can change that, and it starts by being "selfish" enough to let God bring wholeness into our lives.


JASON'S TRAINING TIP   Jacob brings up a great point about the “Abundant Life.”  The abundant life can look very different for each of us.  I will never forget a client running into the gym after our 6th workout together.  She was giddy with excitement.  She exclaimed, “Guess what happened this weekend?!  I dropped a spoon on the kitchen floor, and easily bent down and picked it up!” What we take for granted, might create an abundant life for others.  Her joy about a simple life movement confirmed that our training was working.  It’s the same way with our belief in Jesus.  Think about the lady that said, “If I can just touch his garments, I will be healed…” (Luke 8:43-48) It was a small simple action, but it was backed-up with tremendous faith and produced an abundant life.  What small action could you completely commit to with tremendous faith to produce an abundant life?


Jody Van Kempen
Henderson, NV


1.  The fitness practices that I totally embrace are:

A 40-40-20 Diet Program = All daily calories come from 40% Protein, 40% Carbohydrates, and 20% Good Fats.

Timing- I believe in keeping the metabolism revved up by eating every 3-4 Hours.

Exercise- I fully embrace the HIIT style workout for me and my clients.   HIIT is a High Intensity Interval Training workout which is usually 20 minutes in length and the results are quick.

2.  When people approach me about a fitness regimen, I can't help but sing the praises of a HIIT workout because of the appeal of only 20 minutes. I usually wait to discuss nutrition. I feel if I can just get people moving, that's the start (baby steps).



3.  The components of my faith I am most excited about is knowing how good God is.  I believe God wants us strong in spirit, soul, and body and He provided the path towards that through Jesus Christ.  When Christ died on the cross not only was our salvation bought and paid for, but healing in our bodies, deliverance for our minds,  financial abundance, anything we would ever need here on this earth He provided.

4.  I thoroughly enjoy being a Christian! I love God with all my heart, so communicating this is just what I do, it's who I am.  Most importantly, I pray my life communicates my faith in Him.  Every day I try to walk as close to Him as I possibly can so He rubs off on me and then I rub off on others.

I am a fitness enthusiast, former competitive bodybuilder, and a mother of 5.  I have been involved in the fitness industry for nearly 30 years.

My mission can be found in I Thessalonians 5:23 (MSG), "May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together- spirit, soul, and body- and keep you FIT for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. This scripture beautifully illustrates God's desire to see his children strong!


JASON'S TRAINING TIP   Jody is spot on target… HIIT is a great way to train to shed body fat and gain strength endurance.  My favorite HIIT protocol is still Tabata intervals.  My Roll The Bones Tabata article that will give you more insight and ideas about how to add interval training into your training schedule.


Steve Payne
San Antonio, TX
Owner -  Firestorm Fit Camps


1. What fitness practice/concept/guidelines have you learned and totally embrace?

Simplicity. At my gym we keep things very simple. There are 5 basic movement patterns in the body (push, pull, quad dominant, hip dominant, core/rotational) and loaded carry patterns. We incorporate each of these training patterns into every training session, every day.

2. How do you tell others about it and get them to get excited about it too?

I invite them to come train with us and experience it for themselves. We have a very low barrier to entry coupled with a very welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Like attracts like, if you will.




3. What component(s) of your faith are you most confident about?

That even though I am a lowly sinner, Christ died for me. He sees to it that I am His, not from anything I can do.

4. In what ways do you communicate this with others and how do you feel you could share it more?

I talk with people, and intertwine my faith into my speech. I do not preach to them, but just let them know that God and I have a relationship. I try to make talking about God comfortable, and just an “every day” part of my conversation.






JASON'S TRAINING TIP    Steve has a great system of 5 basic movements.  I was going to elaborate on quad dominant vs. hip dominant movements in case those are new terms for you, then I found this article from my colleague and friend Mike Robertson.  He says it much better than I ever could.  Take a look at this chart and read his article at https://www.t-nation.com/training/maximal-leg-development


Quad Dominant Grey Area Hip Dominant
Front Squats
Olympic Style Back Squats
Bulgarian Split-Squats
Powerlifting Back Squats
Sumo Deadlifts
Conventional Deadlifts
Romanian Deadlifts
Powerlifting Box Squats
Hip Thrusts
Rack Pulls
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts


Eric Whitman
Minneapolis, MN
Lead Pastor, The Exchange Church


1. What fitness practice/concept/guidelines have you learned and totally embrace?

Be Willing To Fail - By fail I mean not be perfect in all we do. We all have checklists and how we want our day to go. Fitness forces you to rearrange your life to make it a priority. Now if I can say, I spent time with God in the Word, ate healthy, worked out, and got enough rest - that’s a win for the day. The other stuff - work, projects, all seems to naturally just fall into place and if I don’t get everything done, I don’t stress out about it because I took time with God and care of myself. As a result I’m a better husband, father, and pastor.

Treat Your Body Like A Car - Fuel Matters - When I first started out, this idea from James Grage that your body is like a car and what you put into it matters, all of a sudden changed how I looked at food. I changed from thinking I should just eat healthy to whatever you put in your body should give you energy and be useful. So most of the time I know what I eat is going straight to power my body to perform at its best. As a result I don't need soda, energy drinks, or even coffee. It was weird, when I first started at one point I realized I had went months without having a soda which I used to have 4-6 a day.  Rest is also vital. A car can’t go forever, shut the engine off, give it time to recuperate and let your body work it’s fitness magic while you sleep and recover.

Go Intense -  In the gym it doesn’t matter if you are doing low reps or high reps, LISS or HIIT or Tabata. The intensity you bring determines the pace of your evolution. You can’t afford to go soft and get hardcore results.

Drop Your Ego - I remember the very first day I got back into weight lifting. I started a program and one of the exercises was skullcrushers. Simple basic exercise, but I had never done them when I lifted in high school. Instead of trying those out, I just skipped the exercise because I didn’t see anyone else doing them and didn’t want to look weird. Since then I’ve learned those who make the progress are willing to leave their ego at the door. It doesn’t matter if it’s cardio-acceleration between sets, dying from Tabata sprints on the treadmill, DTP style training of 300 reps of curls or leg press, or even doing partial reps because you’re doing them for a purpose. Be willing to do stuff no one else is doing if you want to see progress no one else is making. 

Trust The Program -  If you are doing a program you have researched, understand, you have faith in the trainer, and it’s gotten proven results, trust it, even when you don’t see the results at first. That was one of the things I learned from a friend on Bodyspace. She was working towards a show and wasn’t seeing the results as quick as she had hoped - she simply posted “Just trust the program, trust the program.” Loved that. 

2. How do you tell others about it and get them excited about it too?

Talk about health and fitness with people who don't practice them and you see their eyes glaze over. When people physically see a change, such as in a transformation picture, or personally over time, it speaks louder than words and then they ask questions. I send them to sites like bodybuilding.com since there is so much info there and they can easily find the plans, information, really everything they need to get started based on their body type, current knowledge, goals and fitness equipment accessibility - or lack of. The hardest part for people I think is there is a mystery to health and fitness. They don’t know how to be healthy and there is so much conflicting advice because while they see one healthy friend pile a plate full of carbs, protein, and healthy fats, then they read another article saying Keto (low carb) is the way to go. 

If I can help people understand there really isn’t that much of a mystery to it, it’s basically nutrition, exercise, and rest, they start to understand how their body works and the mystery starts to disappear. Suddenly food, especially unhealthy food, isn’t scary. In fact, it's comfortable. You know how to put fat on, you know how to take it off - that changes the game. You understand how to enjoy both unhealthy and healthy food. You can enjoy a slice of birthday cake without feeling guilty. You don’t have to do endless amounts of cardio and eat 500 calories a day to drop weight. It really makes you so much freer to enjoy life because the mystery is gone. When people have a plan (especially nutrition more than exercise) that they understand and feel comfortable with, they can persevere. 

3. What component(s) of your faith are you most confident about?

The component I’m most confident about is that because of our identity in Christ, that He is indeed for us. In what has become the verse of our church, John 10:10 says “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, I came that you might have life and have it to the full.” So many people feel like their life has been stolen, killed, and destroyed by past mistakes, present circumstances, and in many ways health and fitness even plays a role in that. They wish they looked different, felt different, etc. It just adds onto the other struggles and difficulties in their life. But Christ came to give us a free and full life. We can have hopes and dreams because with God all things are possible. You may feel like a dream is dead, but we worship a God who raises dead things to life. He empowers, guides, loves, and leads. Whether it's fitness or finances, debt or dreams, our failures don't define our futures, our identity in Christ does. 

 4. In what ways do you communicate this with others and how do you feel you could share it more?   

Many people may not feel like God is, or even want Him to be, a part of their life - because of what they know or think about Him. Kind of like how many people don’t want to eat healthy, or work out, because of the mystery or perceptions that to get fit it's endlessly running on a treadmill while starving themselves. You can tell people they need Jesus, like you can tell them they need to eat better, but that often falls on deaf ears and gets blank stares with the occasionally nod. But, show them a transformation picture and people love those, they’re drawn to them. Because it connects with a wish/desire they have to be healthier and fitter. A lot of people can identify with a “before” picture, but it’s the “after” pictures that give them hope and where they say to themselves - I want to do that. I could do that. Give them the “how”, the information to fill in the mystery and they start to believe it can be done.

Likewise, I find a lot of people feel like much if not all of their entire life is a before picture. Things aren’t the way they want because of a troubled childhood, failed relationships, layoffs, financial burdens, addictions/habits, their hope is gone. They are stuck on the "before" picture of their life, but Jesus came to give us the "after" picture. He continually brings hope into peoples lives. He tells his disciples, “You’ll see greater things than these.” “You’ll do greater works than what I do.” Jesus wants us to focus on the after picture, and live it. We can have life and have it to the fullest. The tough part is helping people see that because of grace and the beautiful work of a horrible cross, in Christ - they already are the “after” picture. They just need to learn how to walk in it with confidence and swagger … the “new you” one could say. 

In that way physical health and spiritual health are the same as we share it with those who don't know Christ. In both cases it's not those who are a “before” picture and focus on that “before” picture everyday who achieve the results, - it's those who though they might be the "before" picture, they live the lifestyle and identity of the "after" picture. They achieve the results, physique, faith, etc. The only difference is speaking physically in health and fitness we earn it, speaking spiritually Christ earned it for us, we just get to live it.


JASON'S TRAINING TIP    Eric shares a key insight about trusting the program.  Often we struggle with wanting immediate results and we forget that we didn’t get _____ (fat, slow, immobile, etc.) overnight, so it will take time, patience, and perseverance.  Most diets and training programs work, it just depends on how much you are willing to commit to them, and see them through to the end.   If you know me, you know where I am going next…the same thing is true with your faith, church, and relationship with God.  Do you trust God with your dreams, fears, and full life?  Are you willing to put in the work (church attendance, bible study, prayer life, mission trips, etc.) that it takes to fully engage in a deep relationship with Jesus Christ?  Trust the program…trust your minister.  Trust the program…trust God’s word.  Trust the program…trust God to hear and act on your deepest, most vulnerable prayers.


Abe Cruz
Los Angeles, CA
Founder of Forever Faith

Abe Cruz is a fitness professional, and also an actor, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur who lives his life spreading a universal message founded on faith.


1. What fitness practice/concept/guidelines have you learned and totally embrace?

I believe that everyone can be fit and healthy with faith and commitment.   It takes dedication and hard work, and some days are harder than others, but it works!   My Forever Faith business uses the slogan "Mindset of Champions," and this is a key to success.  Believe in yourself, and know that God is with you and wants the best for you.


2. How do you tell others about it and get them to get excited about it too?

I use any opportunity that I have with people to inspire & motivate others to work on a healthy lifestyle, and have faith in themselves, and in God.  This includes 1-on-1 conversations, public speaking opportunities, and social media.   My Forever Faith business is founded on this philosophy, and embraces it in all ways.



3. What component(s) of your faith are you most confident about?

The foundation is my total faith in God.  And along with that I have faith that God loves us ALL, and wants the best for us.   As a Christian, I also believe in Jesus as our Savior.  I believe in God's universal love, and live my life guided by these principles.


4. In what ways do you communicate this with others and how do you feel you could share it more?

I am blessed and honored to be a fitness professional, a working actor, and the founder & CEO of my business Forever Faith.  All of these platforms provide me the opportunity to inspire and motivate others.  My business has trademarked a number of slogans that communicate my faith, starting with my business name Forever Faith itself.   Our slogans are "Just Believe," "Mindset of Champions," and "If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will."


JASON'S TRAINING TIP    Look again at Abe’s impressive bio.  I have two very contrasting thoughts.  Abe is a talented guy as a fitness professional, actor, speaker, and entrepreneur.  I like to operate the same way as a youth leader, trainer, actor, and writer.  God is working through our many passions and skill sets, and there is a freedom and power that is wonderful when you feel like God is involved in every aspect of your life.

On the other hand, God doesn’t care about your resume or if you are really busy.  He cares about your sincerity and willingness to be all that you can be for Him.  If that means you live a simple life and are making a difference in your family and community, then keep it up.  My life is crazy and scattered, but wonderful in its own way, however it is not for everyone.  Live the life that God has put in your heart and live it with all you got!


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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