Age: 19
University: Ohio State University
Year: Freshman
Degree she is pursuing: Business Marketing and Spanish, Height: 5’7” Weight: 145 lbs.
Faith & Fitness: What physical qualities do you think your friends feel best qualify you as a top bod?
Shelby Gordon: I think my friends would definitely say I’m in shape and very competitive when it comes to physical activities. My friends feel that I’m strong and physically fit.
F&F: How did you first get interested in exercise and living a fit lifestyle?
SG: My mom is the executive director at the local YMCA, so I’ve grown up through YMCA programs my whole life whether it be gymnastics, tap dance, or swim lessons. I fell in love with the water and haven’t stopped swimming since that first swim lesson sixteen years ago.
F&F: Tell us about your workout routine. What are your goals and how are you working toward them? What are your favorite exercises and why?
SG: I am currently on the varsity swim team at The Ohio State University, so I swim twice a day six days a week, and in the afternoons after swim practice I weight lift or do core conditioning with physio-balls and medicine balls. One of my long-term goals is to qualify for the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Each day I work on stroke technique and pacing, so that in the next couple of years I will be able to achieve my goal. My favorite thing to do is swim. It’s something I have been doing for a majority of my life, and when I do it, I can let go and get rid of all the stress or tension I have and just race and have fun.
F&F: Describe the fitness culture on your campus.
SG: Being on such a large campus, there is such a variety of fitness activities or clubs to participate in, and I think that a large portion of the campus population gets involved in at least one type off fitness activity or class. Our campus has a very competitive intramural sports program and varsity sports program.
F&F: How do you feel living a healthy life and being active impacts both your academic success and your relationship with God?
SG: Being active and living a healthy lifestyle has helped me to learn organizational and time management skills and become more well-rounded. Knowing I have practice at a certain time each day helps me organize when I will do my homework, study, go to Bible study. Being active and healthy has helped my relationship with God grow stronger. It gives me confidence and shows me that I can rely on God and pray to Him when I need help.
F&F: What is on the horizon for your career? Is everything coming together well for it? How do you feel you will balance your career and your commitment to fitness in the future? Will it be more difficult to maintain your fitness regimen?
SG: I would love to do mission’s work in South America and possibly work for the YMCA. Currently, I am studying international business and Spanish at Ohio State. I think I will always find time for fitness regardless of my career. Being active and in shape allows me to remain less stressed and have a positive attitude, so it will help me to have success in my career. After college I won’t do the intense work outs that I do now, but I plan to continue to swim, run, or lift each day.
F&F: Do you workout with friends? If so, tell us about that and how it is different from when you workout alone.
SG: I am a competitive person. I love to go fast, and I love to race. When I work out alone, it’s much more difficult for me to be motivated and give my best effort compared to when I work out with my teammates. Each day I practice with my teammates, I am constantly pushed to be better, whether it is swimming faster or lifting more. They helped me get into the best physical shape of my life and become a better swimmer.
F&F: How do you keep active? Do you play sports, do outdoor adventure activities, do physical work or volunteering, group exercise or weight lifting or something else? Why do you like doing these things to keep active?
SG: Being on the swim team keeps me pretty active. Not only do we swim, but we also lift, take spinning classes, and do a variety of cardio circuits. When I’m not swimming, I love being outside and doing any type of activity from ultimate Frisbee to going on a bike ride through the park. I do these things because I really enjoy them, and they make me happy. I believe that to be healthy and fit you need to do things you really enjoy and want to do. Being forced to do something usually doesn’t turn out as a positive experience.
F&F: How do you feel your college has helped you mature physically, academically and spiritually?
SG: Being in college has taught me independence. All of the sudden, with college, a thousand choices were thrown at me, and I had to make the right ones. No one is around to tell me what to do anymore, so I have to make the choices myself. I have to make the initiative to make sure all my schoolwork is done correctly and turned in. I have become more responsible and accountable for my actions since I have gone to college. Since being in college, I have also found a core group of Christian friends who have introduced me to Bible study groups and helped me grow in my relationship with God. Since being in college, I am also working out more than I ever have in my life. Overall, I am now allowed to make my own choices. I choose to get up and work out twice each day. I choose to go to Bible study each week and grow in my relationship with God. I choose to study and work hard in school.
F&F: Why did you decide to go to this university? What were your expectations when you first started and how has the school and campus life measured up to them?
SG: When I first saw the campus, I fell in love with the school. I love how big it is, the variety of people on campus, and the fact that there is never a dull moment. The tradition Ohio State has and its huge school spirit makes me proud to go to school here and call myself a buckeye. I don’t know if I really had too many expectations when I first started because I really didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous about the dorm food, whether or not I would like my roommate, and getting lost on my way to class, but they were all things I could deal with. The school and campus life have definitely measured up. I love going to all my different classes. I can meet new people everyday, and it is never boring on campus. There is always something to do.
F&F: What are some of the spiritual discoveries you have made while at college? How is that shaping the way you live and interact with others?
SG: I’ve learned how powerful prayer can be since I’ve been at college. I’ve learned when I’m in a tough situation to pray to God for strength and wisdom, and I will be able to get through it. I’ve become more confident when talking to others and also more open with sharing the gospel to my friends and classmates.
F&F: What are the most visible characteristics of your personal faith in God? How do you live out your Christian faith? In what ways do you feel you still need to grow spiritually?
SG: Before every swim meet, I pray. I pray for the safety of the teams, for everyone competing and the spectators. I try everyday to live out my Christian faith through my actions. I try to act in a way that would please God and show people that I am living through Him, and that it’s something truly special. I think the biggest spiritual challenges I face are the everyday negative influences one could find on a college campus. The people who want you to go to a party instead of study for a midterm. The people who want to trash talk their competition instead of being humble. I still have a lot of growing to do spiritually, but I will continue to try to lead a life pleasing to God and set an example for others to see.
F&F: Any plans to compete in athletics? If so, tell us about it.
SG: I plan to compete the remaining three years for the Ohio State swim team and then see what happens from there. After I am done competing on the collegiate level, I may consider swimming at the Masters level.
F&F: What do you do for fun? Tell us what makes it fun for you.
SG: I love to be outside and just enjoy the nature and good weather (when we have it). I have fun playing Frisbee or just reading a good book. Going to the park is also something I really enjoy. Outdoors activities are fun for me because they make me happy. I feel free when I’m outside. If I want to run around and yell, I can do that. I just feel like I have so much more space to do whatever I want.
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