In perhaps one of the most unlikely places in the country, a group is coming together for Christian-inspired workouts that are changing both their bodies and their lives. The workout is a 58-minute prayer-infused exercise class called ActivPrayer. It is a new kind of Christian Fitness programming.
“The goal of the program is to help people activate their faith and achieve their fitness goals at the same time,” says Luke Burgis, an ActivPrayer instructor in Las Vegas. “We do that by combining faith and fitness into a fun and energetic workout.”
EXERCISE + ACTIVE REST = CATCHING YOUR BREATH AND A LOT MORE
An ActivPrayer class is 58 minutes long and consists of exercise and rest intervals that are carefully designed to promote physical adaptations and prayer. Participants perform 60 seconds of exercise followed by 75 seconds of “active” rest. In an ActivPrayer class, rest does not mean a time for catching your breath but a time for prayer and recollection or mental preparation for the next exercise.
All classes start and end with prayer. Unlike most group fitness classes, ActivPrayer also stresses community and fellowship, beginning every workout with a meet-and-greet and giving members the option to organize themselves into groups of 5 members to form a “Soul Team”, a small team of people who support one another and provide accountability for one another’s fitness goals. That helps new participants. Everyone in the class knows everyone else but first timers feel right at home after introductions.
IT IS ABOUT LOSING, GAINING AND GIVING
The results thus far have been impressive. Jennifer DiNenna, a local high school teacher, has lost 10 pounds and volunteers at least 2 hours a week as part of an ActivPrayer charity program that organizes it members into a volunteer base.
Father John Assalone, a Catholic priest from St. Francis of Assisi parish, tells about his own transformation in the program: “God has called me to ministry and given me the tools through ActivPrayer to help me maintain my physical, emotional and spiritual health.”
YOU CAN DO IT TOO
ActivPrayer’s entrepreneur program gives people anywhere in the country an easy way to start an ActivPrayer community. “ActivPrayer can be launched without any start-up money - out of a garage, spare room or a city park. All it takes is a firm commitment to helping people develop healthier lives through faith and fitness,” explains Burgis. Currently, one ActivPrayer club operates out of a church, another out of a club owner’s home, and another out of a full-scale fitness facility in Los Angeles. Another club is scheduled to open in Huntington Beach in March 2011.
The entrepreneur program involves either a 3-day Instructor Training program in Las Vegas or a 20-hour distance-learning program. Until June 2011, ActivPrayer is waiving the course fee and certifying all instructors at no cost.
ActivPrayer is a Christian company with a Christian exercise class. But soon after word started to spread, people from other faiths began to attend ActivPrayer classes and some asked if they could start their own. ActivPrayer is now working with a Jewish rabbi in New York City about developing a form of ActivPrayer for the Jewish faith. Could there be an ActivPrayer class for Muslims and other faiths some day? “If God wills it,” says Burgis. “ActivPrayer will always remain open for anyone to participate in, regardless of their spiritual beliefs. Some people in our class simply come because the physical results are amazing. Other people come because they are looking for a way to integrate prayer into their day. We try to meet people where they are.”
As for the vision of ActivPrayer, founder Luke Burgis believes God has big plans. “I don’t know what ActivPrayer will look like 10, 20, or 30 years from now, but I do know that God has a plan to use ActivPrayer to accomplish His purpose, and it will be exciting to see where the Holy Spirit takes us. We’ll continue to pray for direction. We pray before and after every decision that we make as a company. We don’t have Board meetings at ActivePrayer…we have prayer meetings.”