I discovered fitness in the throes of a broken heart.
The man I had been dating for a season hired a personal trainer for me to learn how to strength train. It was the best gift I ever received. I still remember my trainer — a big, black man named Ray Foreman. I uncovered an inner strength and a sculpted physique I didn’t know I had, and my self-confidence boosted.
The 12 year age difference between my boyfriend and me was not conducive to a long-lasting relationship. He broke up with me and I was mad. Many issues of abandonment surfaced from my childhood. Anger was the only way I learned to cope.
I chose to channel that anger into training with big Ray to compete in my first body-building show for the Miss Metropolitan title. For three months, I trained hard, ran along the ocean and the stairs of Pike Place Market, ate baked chicken and yams, raw broccoli and oatmeal and drank black coffee.
I sang in local clubs with a funk-hip-hop band called Sub-Conscious Playground, felt like the next Madonna (young and dumb at 24!) and took the Miss Metropolitan title. That night, I celebrated my victory with an Italian dinner with wine and threw up for hours. My body had been eating so clean it just didn’t know what to do with all those carbs and alcohol! Red everywhere. Ugh.
I woke up the next morning, hungover and wondering why I didn’t have total peace. I conquered my body, mind and emotions and took first prize, yet something was missing. At this point I believe I discovered my spiritual hunger: I was missing a spiritual life.
It would be five more years until I reached the end of my rope and turned my life over to Christ. But fitness became my choice in coping with a broken heart. To this day, I turn to physical exercise to release jammed up emotions and mental stress and find much release in a great sweat.
Fast forward to age 35, ten years later, when I launched Buff Mama Personalized Fitness Training. I developed my skills as a trainer and group fitness instructor and combined it with my passion for ministry to encourage women to be all that God has created them to be.
It was my volunteer experience in the Women’s Correctional Facility in Hawaii where I realized that fitness is an amazing channel for broken people to experience God’s healing Presence. Combining prayer, encouragement and movement in unity helped to focus people’s minds, bodies and emotions into the present moment and to be in the Presence of God.
Women in the prison were being healed from the inside out. Their confidence and physique were improving simultaneously. They were losing weight, building strength and feeling encouraged. As their coach, I pushed them past their mental limit to their physical limit. I prayed for them as they completely relaxed at the end of the stretching routine. I played inspirational music that enlivened their spirits. I spoke scripture to them during breathing meditations.
I began to boldly pray at the end of my Buff Mama classes outside the prison. I began to foster a spiritual community by creating a circle at the end of every workout, and as each woman put a hand on another’s shoulder, we took three breaths together and gave thanks for the Breath of Life.
All this is very simple, but it’s the Spirit that brought life to it all. Women were encouraged, lives were changed. I am changed.
I continue to seek God’s Kingdom and He faithfully leads me to the next dimension of fitness as His ministry.
As it is in heaven, so it is on earth. Your Kingdom come Lord, Your will be done.
Now I’m so excited to see how God will unfold Buff Mama here in Redding, California at Bethel Church. The first client is me. My heart is unwrapping the mind-blowing truth that His love for me is way more than I’ve ever imagined. At Bethel, they call this mind-blowing experience getting “wrecked” by God.
Here is to getting “wrecked” so that which gets created from the ashes is altogether lovely and new for His glory. Amen.
Buff Mama is passionate about bringing Heaven on Earth through fitness.