A rosary and a dumbbell anyone? Combining spirituality and physical fitness may not be something you often hear of. But while not yet a trend, a new unique fitness program that is a fusion of faith and fitness which started somewhere in California is fast becoming. You might call it “Catholic fitness” although “faith and fitness” is equally good. Watch this intro video, then continue below.
While the concept of health of body and spirit is itself not new – the triangle in Y logo represents mind, body, and spirit – this new fitness “trend” is more pragmatic in its approach, while also being theological.
Many modern fitness programs and trends emphasize the strengthening of the mind before, or along with, the body. This is because mind-body connection is vital to one’s health and fitness, and because the mind disciplining the mind comes before disciplining the body.
Now, the spirit has been part and parcel of various disciplines throughout history. Eastern disciplines that incorporated mind, spirit and body training include yoga and the martial arts. In fact, these were often taught in temples and monasteries. However, the spiritual part of these has all but been phased out with Westernization.
Part of the reason, perhaps, other than political correctness, is that beliefs differ even among members of the same religion, especially in Christianity.
Perhaps what makes the Catholic fitness program unique is that is that it de-emphasizes the strenuous part of exercise. Those who’ve been around the fitness circles would be familiar with the phrase “no pain no gain”. It is one of the things that keeps many people away from the gym and programs popular with fitness nerds.
The Catholic fitness program advocates for a sensible and realistic lifestyle. The goal is not to look like a bodybuilder or fitness model, but rather to be in as good shape as you possibly can. Prayer is accompanied by physical exercise, as well as a healthy diet.
Can non-Catholics benefit from this “Catholic fitness” trend? I’m no expert here, but my guess is that they wouldn’t be excluded, just as you wouldn’t be disallowed from sending your child to a catholic school if you’re not a catholic or attending a catholic college yourself for that matter.
In the words of Saint Augustine:
Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.