By Brad Bloom

PUBLISHER’S LETTER

I recently explored the most amazing place. Full of rugged adventure and fresh energy (with even fresher air), it was luring and drawing me to be active with my surroundings.

I returned to our family homestead and ministry in Indiana. This place is where I grew during my youth, raised my own family and have spent a large part of my adult life. It is truly the most amazing place for me because I know it so well. I could hardly wait to get back on the trails I made years ago.

Crisscrossing through the ravines I used core-balance to walk across a fallen tree high above a narrow gorge. Then using a wide range of leg muscles I climbed higher up a steep bank to check-in on a rare patch of Walking Fern clinging from a rocky ledge. Further along a creek I examined the progress of erosion at a small cave entrance that I discovered with my son when he was just a small boy (He is now taller than me). I decided to carefully lower myself into the cave employing triceps, shoulder muscles and lats. However, the large exposed tree root I held brought a sudden change to my plans. I quickly found myself tumbling headfirst into the cave. Fortunately, I landed on a mix of mud and gravel. The bruise from my fall made the climb along a high ridge all that much better. I got some dirt under my fingernails and gave my biceps a workout carrying some large rocks to a point along the path to re-establish where a simple trail marker once stood. As it was getting dark I finished by running down and then up a long steep hill on which I used to regularly train for high school cross-country.

This place is my personal playground. I know where to forage for berries. I can take you to that tree growing at an angle where children can easily build confidence and reach new heights. There is a secluded clearing where a husband and wife can rest in the sun, dream beneath the stars and get alone together to pray.

For me it is a place where you can find everything there is to know about God and exercise. Both are naturally found there.

HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR PLACE?

Recently, I saw a woman at the gym. She was new to the facility and to exercise. She knew that she truly wanted to be there but she didn’t really know what to do. She had found a place but she hadn’t found her place in it. Like me she too had felt the lure and draw to be active with every element of her surroundings. She knew if she could just touch the equipment and ask for help she could get some satisfaction.

I’m not a personal trainer, but for the next half hour I got to share some fitness tips and exercise ideas. Together we shared a lot of enthusiasm and vision. You could see her come alive. She had truly found some things she had sought – potential, solutions and hope. It was good for her to get. It was good for me to give. This kind of human interaction needs to happen more regularly in spaces where we live life physically.

Compassion, instruction and support are qualities that any human can extend to another human. Yet those who have had their life transformed through a personal experience with Jesus Christ should be especially well suited and committed to being an extension of the nature of God. That social and spiritual exchange must happen in our everyday environments where bruises from falling can be a celebrated part of the rugged exploration of life.

Here is my challenge to you --- Whether you identify yourself as a Christian or not you need to find a place to exercise. Make it your own personal playground. Get familiar with it. Create your own vibrant experiences there with your family, friends and others. Let it become the place where you are drawn regularly. It will become the most amazing place you have for adventure and fresh energy.

Train strong,
-Brad Bloom

Brad Bloom is the publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine the premier source of information, ideas and networking for those pursuing an active physical and spiritual life. He provides leadership to organizations that recognize that growth comes by fueling the passion of members and delivering genuine “intimate care”. He helps businesses to move beyond the cliché concepts of “body, mind, spirit” and become innovative communities. His concepts are defining new directions for the lifestyle industry. A communicator and media producer, Brad is president of Lifestyle Media Group. He lives with his wife and children in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia.

 

WHAT OUR CONTRIBUTORS ARE SAYING
Brad's insights remind me that every one of us is uniquely gifted (and placed) to be a person of influence in our world. No matter where we live, no matter what we possess, be it material goods or personal giftedness, we are blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others. There's only "enough" for everyone when we're willing to give away all we've got. -Michele Howe, author of Exhaustion: Decoding Your Body’s Messages and Finding a Healthy Balance
 
The atmosphere is so important to beginner's when starting an exercise program. For me, finding a gym (my place) and making friends with the staff and other members help hold you accountable each and every time you walk through the doors. If you can create that type of atmosphere at your gym, rather than walking in and out with your head down listening to your ipod, you will have found your place too. -Eric Wrona, author of Get Passionate Personal Training With A CIT
 
The Ultimate Power class at the Y was my place for many years. It was a cross between Cheers,“where everyone knows your name” and boot camp ---dumbbell jumping jacks and 1-legged squat jumps. - Hope Eagan, author of God’s Gift To Taste Buds
 
My favorite playground is the mountain area where I live in western Montana. My husband and I have so many good memories of hiking, skiing, and backpacking with our kids and friends there. Those experiences really do energize us—the laughter, the fresh air, the physical challenge, and the majesty of God's creation always keep us coming back for more. -Barb Raveling, author of Seven Beliefs that Lead to Seasonal Weight Gain
 
Many people complain that the hardest part of getting themselves to exercise regularly is drumming up the motivation. That’s why it’s so important to “Find your place.” Once you’ve discovered an environment that suits you, and a few people you can relate to and share the experience with, it makes maintaining a regular exercise regime a pleasure rather than a burdensome obligation. One of my favorite places to go is a fitness center that has a pool. As soon as I catch the scent of chlorine, I feel invigorated. You can barely keep me diving in! -Dave and Sonya Cameron, author of The Rest Of Health
 
Anything worth doing, is worth doing well, and that takes hard work. Finding your place in the gym, in your relationships, paying attention to God's wishes, continuously serving Him, etc all require constant discipline and hard work. As Tom Hanks says in the movie 'A League of their Own,' "It's supposed to be hard. If it were easy everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it good." Exercise should be hard and painful at times (the means), but also fun and rewarding ultimately (the ends and the means). If it wasn't hard, painful, or require work, everyone would be in shape and happy in their relationships. - Garrett A. Gilchrist, Ph.D., author of From Adonis Complex To Adonai: Why Men Reveal Their Godlike Muscles

 

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