Why I Integrate Faith and Fitness
I absolutely love to workout. I first started lifting weights when I was fourteen years old so I could get bigger, faster and stronger for football as that was my ultimate passion. After a career ending knee injury I turned my passion for football into my passion for fitness. I discovered a love for cycling and an immense passion for strength training.
Here I am almost forty years later and my love for health and fitness is as strong as it has ever been. God wired me with this intense passion for movement and exercise.
No Faith and No Fulfillment
But what was missing for most of my life was my faith. For most of my life I pursued fitness for selfish reasons. For external validation from others. For vanity reasons and to look a certain way. There was only the fitness component. There was no faith component and ultimately, there was no fulfillment.
The only time I was happy was when I was in the gym or on my bike. I had maybe two hours of happiness a day and that was it. In fact, a lot of my time in the gym was filled with anger. I lifted mad. It made for a great workout, but it left me feeling void and empty inside. Yes I looked great. Yes I was ripped with single digit body fat. But my soul was empty. It was depleted of the love I was so desperately looking for.
That all started to change about ten years ago when I dropped down on my knees and asked God into my life. As is so often the case, a very painful experience in the form of a divorce brought me to the end of myself. I realized without God in my life there is absolutely no hope. And without hope there is only despair. I had lived my life long enough in despair.
God Awakens our Passions
What I have learned, once we allow God to enter our lives, He awakens our passions and asks us to use them for God’s glory and for the good of others. God has put this inner longing on my heart to transform men’s lives with fitness as the platform. God is using my gift and passion for fitness to reach men who are far from God.
I want to share with you how my ministry works. I am a personal trainer or more of what I would call a fitness minister. I train out of a small local gym in Fort Collins, Colorado called The Body, which just happens to stand for The Body of Christ.
I started to build a relationship with this young man in the gym, just through simple introduction and inviting him to my Spiritual Warriors Unite men’s group that I lead. I was sitting around waiting for a client and this young man asked me if I had time to take him through a triceps workout. I didn’t have much time, but I agreed. We spent about ten minutes together and we set up a time where we could train together another time.
He had mentioned earlier how he respected the way I trained myself personally. I didn’t know it, but he has been watching me in the gym. My passion and intensity for strength training resonated with this young man.
During our strength training session together, it opened up the door to ask about his spiritual journey. He shared with me some struggles he was currently going through. This workout together was way more about ministry than it was about fitness. The fitness just opened up the door for ministry. He asked me if I was willing to mentor him as he starts his journey of reconnecting with God. This young man is a husband and a father to a baby girl. He has been trying to navigate this all on his own and is living scared.
That is why I integrate faith and fitness. We can be the strongest man in the world physically, but if we aren’t getting stronger spiritually we are actually getting weaker.
Transforming Lives through Fitness
I know through my fitness ministry God is going to use my passion for fitness to transform people’s lives. My ministry is geared towards men, but as this ministry impacts men’s lives, it will also shape their families, their communities, their church, the nation and the world.
My passion for fitness will never wain. But the most amazing part of this journey is my growing passion for Christ and to make a difference for His Kingdom. I will do this work of integrating faith and fitness until the day I die God willing.
Let me ask you this. What is your passion? What is your calling? How are you using your gifting and skills to make a difference in the world? We are all called to greatness. We are all asked to use our gifts to honor and glorify God and to serve others. What if we all stepped into our God-given greatness? How would that not only change your world, but the world around you?
My passion is the integration of faith and fitness. I believe with every fiber of my being that the world around me will be transformed as I continue to step into my greatness as I submit and align myself to the greatest personal trainer and coach of all time, Jesus Christ.
Troy Ismir, MS
Author, Podcaster, Speaker and Spiritual Warrior Coach