Be Totally Fit for Life!

 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

My Spiritual Journey

I've been a Christian since I was 26 years old. Realizing my need for a Savior and Lord, I accepted Christ. I had started attending church as a teenager and have continued ever since. My growth in my relationship with Christ continues today. God's call on my life to ministry began in the late 1990's. Over the years, I've taught Sunday School classes and Bible studies and was the volunteer Christian Education Director in a church where my late husband was a pastor. God uses me to reach others for Christ and help them grow in their faith.

My Health Journey

I was once overweight, out of shape, and very unhealthy. At that time, my children were young. I spent my time taking care of my family, cleaning, cooking, and eating very poorly. My weight rose from 110 to 140 pounds, taking me to size large (14-16, at that time) from the smalls (5-7 juniors, at that time) I had been wearing. My younger brother saw me one day and asked me if I was pregnant again! OH, NO!  At one point, my weight was 150 pounds.

One day, I saw an article in the newspaper about a Christian karate class at a local church.  My son had ADD/HD, so it was recommended to us that he get involved in martial arts to help him focus his attention. When I signed him up for the class, the instructor invited my whole family to participate by donation. I couldn't do a push-up or a sit-up and got winded very easily. It was the beginning of becoming healthy for me, as well as a start to my health and fitness ministry. My late husband and I founded Faith Fighters for Christ once we became instructors, and built our own martial arts system which was approved by two different martial arts associations.

Now I eat healthy foods and exercise. There are challenges I face, though, with fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease, celiac and food allergies. My current weight fluctuates between 115-120# and I wear sizes 4 and 6 clothing. Most of what I eat I make myself. My health benefits tremendously since very little of my food is processed and mostly organic. I exercise regularly through cardio and weights, functional training, PraiseMoves, swimming, and bicycling. My health has been redeemed by lowering my cholesterol keeping my arteries clear. I feel great today!

I am a nationally-accredited, certified health and fitness professional with over 20 years experience in gyms and churches through a variety of exercise forms: martial arts, water aerobics, Arthritis Foundation water exercise, swimming, personal training, and land group exercise classes. My education consists of a Bachelors Degree in Management with an emphasis in Exercise Science and Christian Ministry from Malone University (formerly Malone College). I am certified through NETA as a personal and group exercise instructor.  I am also certified to teach PraiseMoves, the Christian Alternative to Yoga. My background is in many areas of health and fitness through continuing education. Christian ministry is everything I do. My work is my ministry and my ministry is my work!

Pictured above: 115# size 4.


My Journey Continues

I don't believe our journey stops when we reach our goal. Mine certainly hasn't. Although I've been able to do more physically with fibromyalgia than many people with that condition, I've run into limitations recently. My health took a downturn over the past year-and-a-half plagued with extreme fatigue, low blood pressure and heart rate, and hypoglycemia. These symptoms have escalated. I had a scary heart event in March of 2017 causing me to be hospitalized. I'm prone to coronary artery spasms, one which was considered a "heart attack", even though there was no damage to my heart. There are no blockages to my arteries-- essentially I'm very healthy according to the doctors. However, I've been going through the process of diagnosis for an autoimmune disorder they believe may be Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD). It has been very difficult to maintain regular exercise. I've had to sleep a lot more because of the episodes of extreme fatigue. I've gained only 10 pounds over this past year and wear a size 6 women's clothing. Eating healthy low-calorie foods helps keep my weight from continuing to go up. The few extra pounds aren't the concern as much as my own immune system attacking my body. 

Update 2/19/2018: I've been able to get more frequent exercise and I still eat a healthy diet full of anti-inflammatory foods. Most of my cardio is low impact like walking, elliptical, and bike on my bike trainer. My strength training is very simple body weight, light suspension straps, and light weights with higher reps. I don't know if there is a systemic sclerosis aspect of MCTD or not, so I need to be careful about muscle tissue breakdown. I've begun doing PraiseMoves again, but nothing intense because my arms shake in the Altar posture and I feel like I will fall over in the Tree posture! One step forward, two steps back. My doctors are still working on the best treatment plan for me.

My Build Up-Set Back Progress

I promised to post how I am doing with my workouts in April 2018. So far, it is on and off:

Posted 4/18/18

Last week, I aqua jogged for 45 minutes, and walked for three days about 45 minutes each time. My flare up started on Wednesday and lasted through Monday.

This week, I aqua jogged, took a day off because my muscles hurt, walked today. I keep running into flare-ups. If they aren't bad, I at least try to walk, but if they are really bad, I rest.

Update September 12, 2018

Getting my fitness back is like a see-saw, it goes up and down, but making progress. My current workout includes fitness walking, elliptical, aquatic exercise, PraiseMoves, and body weight strength. Some weeks I can stay steady while others I can't. All in all, doing better than this time last year!

I will post periodic updates for you so you can see that even health and fitness pros are real people with real issues, too. I am on this journey with you!

Radio Interview: Charlaine Martin