Name: Kendra Morlan
University / College: Abilene Christian University
Height / Weight: 5’6,” 127lb
Degree Sought: Kinesiology, Health Promotion
To start things off, let’s begin with some general “get to know you” kinds of questions.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Are you from a small town or big city?
Kendra Morlan: A big city; San Antonio, Texas
Faith&Fitness Magazine: How did you keep active where you grew up?
Kendra Morlan: My dad was always running around with me, whether it be wrestling, throwing me in the air, or playing with his flag football team.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: That sounds like a good time! Before college did you play sports, do any outdoor adventure activities, do any physical work or volunteering, any kind of group exercise or weight lifting, etc?
Kendra Morlan: I have been cheering for 12 years and did track off and on for 6 years. My family and I love to go hiking and camping at Texas State parks or walking our dogs around the neighborhood.
I volunteer with an organization called World’s Backyard where once a week we go and share God’s love with refugee children in Abilene. I have also been apart of the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders ministry the past 5 years where I have gotten the opportunity to do mission work with cheerleaders in the Czech Republic.
I am a building supervisor for my university’s rec center, an intern for D1 Sports where I get to help with a women’s strength training class, and athlete specific training with kids ages 5-18, and am currently serving as “interim head coach” for my university cheer team.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Wow that is some serious activity - praise God for His leading!
So with all of that, what else do you do for fun (leisure)? Tell us what makes it fun for you.
Kendra Morlan: Honestly, I do not have much time for things that some people would consider “fun,” but lucky for me I find everything that I am currently doing is fun! Whether it is: helping kids become better and stronger athletes, adults looking to get back into shape, or simply showing my friends how to use certain equipment - as long as I am using my hands and abilities to help better other people’s lives - that’s fun for me.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Wow, amen!
So with all these activities and volunteer opportunities in mind, what are your “life” goals? And in addition to what you already do, are there are things you are working on to work toward those life goals?
Kendra Morlan: First, I have a goal to be able to do a back flip after I’m thirty. Sounds crazy, but I incorporate them in my workouts at least once a week and plan on doing so till my body says “no.”
Second, I want to get into Corporate Fitness in order to help people not only become and stay healthy, but to help with the health care costs within that company.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Those are some good goals. As a former gymnast I am with you on the back-flip goal!
So with that future in mind, why did you decide to go to Abilene?
Kendra Morlan: The people were the reason I chose ACU. I never even had ACU as one of my top picks, but it was on the way to another university I was visiting. After my visit was over I looked at my parents and said, “This is where I’m supposed to be.” I ended up not visiting any other universities and immediately applied when I got home.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Wow that’s awesome! Praise God. It is amazing how he leads us and we get those “nudges” where we just know “this is it.”
What were your expectations when you first started, and how has the school and campus life measured up to them?
Kendra Morlan: You know, I did not expect to be so busy…but the professors, mentors, and friends I have made here have helped encourage me to press on; that is more than I could have ever hoped for journeying through higher education.
Now, ACU is not cheap! My family has always had a lot of financial troubles. Friends ask me why I work so hard to pay for such an expensive school and I like to say, as long as God provides I will do anything I can to stay.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: I understand the cost of school, working hard now will pay off in other ways later. Way to set that stewardship example!
So we’ve already seen how active you are, but let me inquire into some more fitness related questions …
How did you first get interested in exercise and living a fit lifestyle?
Kendra Morlan: My dad is a retired marine and got into CrossFit when I was in middle school. I remember going to the laundry mat with him and I was having trouble carrying the baskets of clothes. My dad made a sarcastic remark about my “chicken legs” and that got me thinking, “Ya I do have chicken legs, but I want to change that!”
So from that point on, I started going to the gym with my dad and working out in the weight room at my school. When I started cheering in middle school it was also motivation for me to get stronger and more powerful for stunting and tumbling. I never wanted to be weak from that time in my life and on.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: So aside from your now powerful legs (:p), what other physical qualities do you think your friends feel best qualify you as a top bod?
Kendra Morlan: I like to think that I set an example of being a “strong, fit woman,” not needing a man to open up the jelly jar, and not being defined as the classic “skinny” most women want to be classified as these days.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Could you describe the fitness culture on your campus?
Kendra Morlan: For the most part, I actually attend a very healthy university. Most people know the benefits of exercise and embrace them in our rec center, our running trail around campus, or healthy food options in the food court. Our male to female ratio is quite drastic, with females being at the top end, so we offer a variety of group fitness classes.
Half of the downstairs part of the gym is free weights and squat racks while the other half is machine weights, and the second floor offers the studio classes and functional movement training station, along with 1/4m track overlooking the basketball courts, so there are many options for members and students to choose from.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Sounds like plenty of opportunities for students to get or remain fit. What are your favorite exercises and why?
Kendra Morlan: Olympic and powerlifting exercises are my favorite to do because it makes me feel confident and requires me to use every aspect of my body to properly perform the movement. I also really enjoy any and all ab exercises because having a strong core is the building block for being able to perform optimally.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Do you workout with friends? If so, tell us about that and how it is different from when you workout alone.
Kendra Morlan: If I work out with anyone, it is my boyfriend because he can keep up and challenge me as well.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Tell us about your workout routine.
Kendra Morlan: Right now, I am “maintaining” as I have no reason to become stronger at this point in time. I warm up by foam rolling and do some dynamic stretches, then do a split scheme training style five days a week, with two of those days ending in cardio. I end every workout by static stretching to maintain my flexibility and foam roll again to aid in soreness. On the weekends I allow my body to recover so I only do moderate intensity cardio. I rest on Sundays.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Do you have a nutrition plan that you follow?
Kendra Morlan: I live by three concepts when it comes to nutrition: moderation, non-processed, and gluten-free (not by choice.) I try to eat things that are organic and all natural, but sometimes I just have to indulge in some regular bacon instead of turkey bacon! I never beat myself up over it because, once again, it’s all about moderation.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Any plans to compete in athletics or in fitness or bodybuilding competitions? If so, tell us about it.
Kendra Morlan: Right now I am not planning on competing in anything
Faith&Fitness Magazine: I’m loving your commitment and resolve for everything that you are doing and desiring to do for the Kingdom. I am interested in some particular ways you may witness and so let’s dig into some witness specific questions.
First of all, can you briefly share with the readers how you came to know Christ as your personal Savior?
Kendra Morlan: I grew up in a faith based home, so I became a “Christian” when I was 5 and baptized when I was 10, but found that I truly did not know Christ until my Junior Year of High School.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Do you feel your college has helped you mature physically, academically and spiritually?
Kendra Morlan: As regards to helping me mature physically, Abilene has opened my eyes to a different kind of exercise, outside of athletic based programs.
Abilene has helped me academically through my mentors and professors on campus. I have been able to apply my knowledge and skills in more than just a classroom setting, which is more than most undergrads can say …
Spiritually speaking, one of my favorite things about ACU is that when a fellow student is struggling with illness, loss, or whatever it may be, “The Body” is always there. No matter what I may go through I know there are always people praying for me - even if I haven’t met them personally.
Are there any specific kinds of “spiritual discoveries” you have made while at college that you weren’t expecting? How is that shaping the way you live and interact with others?
Kendra Morlan: The biggest thing I have discovered while in college is that I am not alone. I go to a university where most students come from well-off families. I have always been the girl that wasn’t able to do everything that my friends got to do, but here I have made friends with all types of people, so that no matter what I’m doing I don’t feel alone in my situation.
As a senior, if I meet any other student that is in the same boat as me, I like to mentor them and encourage them as I was with the knowledge that their situation does not define them, and that things will always turn out okay even if it’s not the way we imagined how it would turn out.
God’s plan is always greater than our own. Have faith and trust that He will provide in His own time!
Faith&Fitness Magazine: It sounds like you have already grown through your school. Putting all of this together, How do you feel living a healthy life and being active impacts both your academic success and your relationship with God?
Kendra Morlan: I believe my healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with my spiritual and academic success. I do what I do because I want to better myself in order to better serve God. If I am not challenging myself physically, spiritually, or intellectually, then I am not fulfilling the gifts and talents God has given me.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Given how active you are in living out your faith (which is awesome by the way!) what do think are the most visible characteristics of your personal faith in God?
Kendra Morlan: Joy is my most visible characteristic.
I am an open book. If people ask me how I’m doing I am honest. I used to not be that way, but I have found that being honest and confident in what God has placed in my life is more enjoyable than wallowing in fear or anger. Sometimes I just have to yell or cry, but I don’t let it consume my life. I embrace all challenges I am put through as an opportunity to be even more joyful, good or bad.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: What is the biggest spiritual challenge you face, or, in what ways do you feel you still need to grow spiritually?
Kendra Morlan: I am still working on patience. When I put my mind to something I want it to happen NOW! That’s the passion in me, but sometimes it’s not the right time or place. It takes a lot for me to stop and listen to the Spirit in those times when I am being impatient. It’s all “a work in progress.”
Faith&Fitness Magazine: What are some of your favorite methods that help you to experience God?
Kendra Morlan: If I am struggling with something or praising God I like to express it in the form of poetry. I’ll take a verse of Scripture that I have read, or phrases I have been given during quiet times, and place them with metaphors that paint a picture of my thoughts.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: How is your prayer life?
Kendra Morlan: My prayer life has expanded more as I have aged. When I was younger I would only pray at church, before bed, at meals, etc. Now I find myself praying randomly through out the day, even if it is for little things like praying for my work-out.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: How is your “church” life (tell us about any campus faith-based organization[s] you attend or church you attend)
Kendra Morlan: I attend Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, although I do not associate myself as Church of Christ. Due to the fact that I go to a Christian University, I find that most everything I do is church associated.
Reflecting on your current activities and the fact that you are a senior, what is on the horizon for your career? Is everything coming together well for it?
Kendra Morlan: I just become a NASM certified personal trainer and am interning with D1 Sports in the hope that it will turn into a job after I graduate. You could say everything I have experienced in the last four years has definitely come together here at the end of my college career.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Will it be more difficult to maintain your fitness regimen, do you think, after you graduate and begin working?
Kendra Morlan: I already try to keep my work outs between 30 and 45 minutes, so I believe it will not be difficult to maintain my fitness regimen.
Faith&Fitness Magazine: Kendra, it seems like you are on the right track to be a leader in the fitness industry but more than that, an effective leader within the Body of Christ! I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. No doubt your words will move someone, encourage someone, and even give someone the hootspa to jump out of physical or spiritual lethargy and get after what God has in store for them.
Again, thank you SO MUCH for your witness and your life of service to God.