By Laura Monica, founder of WholyFit and Fitness Pros for Christ

Churches that want to start a fitness program need access to support. WholyFit is a Christian fitness certification organization dedicated to the promotion of health and wellness fitness ministries in the local church. Churches turn to WholyFit's “Fitness Pros for Christ” certification organization to start fitness programs that serve their surrounding communities.
These programs bring the many benefits of exercise to communities. One question that churches are asking is, “What good is it to say to a person, ‘Be well and happy’ when we don't give that person what their body needs for wellness?” Those churches are realizing that they job is not to only offer healing prayer for those with illness, but also offer God's healing provision of exercise for disease prevention as well.
WHOLLY, HOLY AND WHOLE – A CLOSER LOOK AT WHOLYFIT Exercise has been proven to prevent illness, heal depression and to be therapeutic for many conditions such as arthritis and asthma. I used to suffer from several health conditions but through prayer and exercise in local church fitness programs, I am healthy now. The leaders of my church in Marietta, Georgia prayed for me and allowed me to start teaching all kinds of exercise classes in a beautiful fitness center right at the church! This was the start of WholyFit and Fitness Pros for Christ.
Since around 2004 WholyFit has been at WoodsEdge Community Church in Texas. It has now spread to about 120 certified instructors in cities all over the U.S. and globally to Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Australia, and England. Your local church is the perfect place for healing, health and wellness to take place.
WholyFit started with a stretching program that quickly became recognized as an “alternative to yoga”. Now the Fitness Pros for Christ programming offers everything a church needs to start a cutting edge fitness outreach. WholyFit trains and certifies instructors, offers free fitness program consultation and class rollout procedures, free access to professionally designed marketing materials, free promotion of classes on the WholyFit website, ongoing training, help and group support for certified instructors.
WholyFit instructors learn the fundamentals of anatomy, kinesiology and proper biomechanics. Theory is taught all online during Silver Certification. Practical training is taught at Gold Certification Retreats offered quarterly. WholyFit instructors often include personal trainers, exercise instructors or fitness coaches, but no experience is necessary to get certified in WholyFit. Certification is thorough, including everything a fitness professional needs to know from the ground up: fitness theory, teaching practice and practical application. Those who are already fitness professionals really appreciate the thoroughness of the training because it gives church leaders the keys to the professional fitness industry from a Biblical worldview and it saves them and their church leaders work.
MAKE FITNESS MINISTRY A PRIORITY
Never before has the general public been so interested in adding a spiritual element to exercise, as evidenced by the trend toward mind-body exercise in the fitness industry. There is a big opportunity for churches that offer relevant fitness programs to the public that are an alternative to the mainstream offerings like yoga and other mind/body programming. In my professional opinion, yoga's historically non-biblical religious roots make it inappropriate and counterproductive for the church fitness environment. WholyFit offers sound exercise principles for strength and flexibility instead. However, whether or not you promote yoga is not the point. The focus should be on the real needs of people. It is estimated that twenty-eight million people do yoga for fitness in the U.S. alone. WholyFit offers an effective way to meet their needs using the positive concept of replacement/filling instead of the negative concept of avoidance/emptying. Meaningful, professional Christian exercise classes draw people. There are a variety of WholyFit programs that offer culturally relevant exercise experiences:
WHOLYFIT (Christian Alternative to Yoga) This gentle body power stretch/strength system is an effective and universally appealing fitness program for individual fitness, in the church and in the health club. Technically, WholyFit is multi-joint functional core training that is great for any age and fitness level. It increases flexibility while special eccentric, isometric training techniques build functional strength much faster than conventional exercise. The WholyFit format is multi-level, highly versatile for any fitness goal and can be offered as a high-intensity athletic type program or as a gentle entry-level fitness program for deconditioned beginners. The flowing nature of the system is ideal for scripture memorization, prayer and worship. Each routine of this “Bible Study in Motion” is based on a “Scripture Script”.
WHOLYFIT SIT
WholyFit Sit chair classes are fun for older adults or anyone with frailty, special needs or illness issues. Stretching classes in a chair are presented by OliveFit, WholyFit's sister company run by Claire Lyndsay, a WholyFit Gold certified instructor who ministers specifically to MS sufferers.
SLOWFLO CHRISTIAN ALTERNATIVE TO TAI CHI Kick Stress with SlowFlo. It provides all the benefits of Tai Chi from a conservative Biblical worldview. The beautiful movements look very similar to the Yang Long Series of Tai Chi, but are actually sentences of praise and worship in American Sign Language with names like, “Savior, Jesus, Move Mountains.” Beautiful original music made especially for SlowFlo accompanies affirmations of praise and worship. SlowFlo is appropriate for anyone because it burns calories, improves balance and helps with agility and stability. SlowFlo is especially beneficial for those with asthma and arthritis, because it works the body through full a range of motion and oxygenates the muscles. SlowFlo was originally developed for church worship for the hearing impaired.
A.R.T. A.R.T. is an acronym for Aerobic Resistance Training, commonly known as "body sculpting" with weights. The theme is “You are a work of art” because A.R.T. celebrates diverse body types based on the Bible truth that we are all "wonderfully made." Our culture overly glorifies the thin body type leading to unhealthy surgery, diets and pills due to obsessive focus on physical appearance. Instead, A.R.T. promotes exercise for every body based on motivations of joy and acceptance of the way God has created each person. A.R.T. promotes positive body image for all. Body sculpting is appropriate for adults of any age, burning calories and toning the body. A.R.T. is "cardio" because the exerciser moves continually, remaining in the aerobic target zone. It is a strength/endurance training class as well, using high repetition and very low weights. A.R.T. tones and striates by training slow twitch muscle fibers.
H.I.I.T. Get fit to fight and fight to get fit with this low impact kickboxing cardio fitness program. H.I.I.T. is an acronym for “High Intensity Interval Training” which features real fighting drills and some self defense in a non-contact randomized interval format. It will help you reduce stress and anxiety as you learn to move with power and precision. It burns between 250 to 700 calories per hour. H.I.I.T. leads the industry by being technically correct and easy to follow. It can be taught with music or without. The motto of this class is, 'Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.' H.I.I.T. Is appropriate for adults and teens of any age. It trains the heart and lungs, giving more energy, raising the metabolism and improving agility and endurance.
A.B.C. Army Boot Camp is hot across America because it uses exercises that are familiar to everyone, is self-paced and easy to follow. Though Boot Camps are characterized by high intensity exercise and marketed toward younger adults, what most people don't realize is that this format is also highly effective for older adults too because it maximizes "afterburn." It burns calories during the actual session and then increases the amount of calories burned during the recovery period after exercise. This is especially important for pre/post menopausal women whose hormonal changes cause weight gain. Pre-planned, timed intervals of higher intensity are alternated with periods of rest for a total body workout that is fun and challenging. It can be done outdoors or inside with no equipment.
ADORE Adore is a worship dance class for women in which WholyFit movements are set to music as an intimate devotional time of worship to the Lord. Adore was developed by Connie Haedener, WholyFit Mentor Instructor, Dancer, Worship Dance instructor and Bible teacher. Connie and her husband Oliver (also a classically trained dancer) have used WholyFit to train dancers and for their discipleship training classes of teens with YWAM. Adore was a favorite at the last WholyFit retreat.
BAILA!
In Spanish, “Baila” means “You must dance!” Do you feel that way? If so, this Latin inspired group exercise class is for you. This one is characterized by an easy to follow, low impact format with good breakdown, multi-level teaching, and gradual progression. Original music developed especially for the class is the perfect tempo and beat for the freestyle choreography. It is important to offer dance exercise in church. It is quite a popular format in most gyms across the globe. Dance causes people to move and that is the goal.
SOLE TO SOUL
Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk with this partner walk/run program! It is designed to help you stay accountable to a partner in your exercise goals and in your walk with Christ. You can pray or memorize scripture as you walk or run through neighborhoods. A schedule of gradual progression will train you and a buddy from the ground up to walk or run for a 4-6 K. Research proves that working out with a partner improves your success in any fitness program.
FUSION
Once instructors have a repertoire of classes and exercises to choose from then they can mix and match to create a unique fitness class specifically designed for their participants. For example, one of our most popular instructors teaches a boot camp format using WholyFit postures. Personally, I like to warm up with H.I.I.T., do cardio strength training with A.R.T., do some A.B.C. intervals and then cool down with WholyFit.
SOMETHING MORE THAN EXERCISE! People are seeking something more than just sweating and building muscle. However, it’s not just any "spiritual" element they want in their lives. People are searching for the person of Jesus Christ. Exercise classes in church provide that opportunity. Through fitness ministry the church can reach out to their community through devotional exercise – fitness that is much more than simply the physical aspect of exercise.
Churches often have programs for everything imaginable: food pantries, singles groups, men's breakfasts and more. Church leaders are discovering the value of offering really excellent fitness programs for the community. The social aspect of exercise is powerful. Care groups and small groups have proven to be ideal settings for exercise ministry. Fitness ministry has been highly successful rolled out as an extension of a group Bible study. It is an ideal setting for participants to tackle really serious problems they have in their life. ? That leads to intimate prayer time with God. There is no greater rush! Can you feel the pump? Time to start a fitness program in your church.
Laura Monica is a certified fitness professional (IDEA, AFAA, ACE, ACSM, CFES) with 30 years of “on the floor” group exercise and personal training experience teaching thousands of people of all ages and fitness levels. Laura is a Health Fitness Specialist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, an advanced personal trainer specializing in developing programs for every fitness level, particularly those with medically controlled disease. Laura is the founder of WholyFit fitness programs.

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