Faith and Fitness with Marsha Apsley

Honoring Your Body and the One Who Created It

Tag: accountability

3 Reasons to do Fitness Together

A key to sticking to a fitness plan and getting fit is to do fitness together.  Having an accountability partner has been shown to be a key to overall sustained health and fitness.

Do Fitness Together

We were never meant to do life on our own.  Back at Creation in Genesis,  God said it wasn’t good that man should be alone.  When God ordered Noah to build the ark, He told him to take TWO of every kind of animal along for the ride 🙂  I believe our fitness journey is no different.  We need a friend, a community to do this fit life with.  We are better if we do fitness together.  

We are better if we do fitness together. #fitfam Click To Tweet

I have been blessed to be a part of some great groups of people who have supported and encouraged me along the way.  

3 main reasons to do fitness together

  1. Accountability – Especially if you’re just beginning on your fitness journey, it’s good to have someone to check in with.  Our running group has 3 meeting times each week, and we even take attendance.  That keeps us accountable.  Or you may have a training partner that’s expecting you at the gym at 5:30AM.  You’re not going to want to leave them standing!  Accountability helps you stick with it and make it a habit.  It keeps you honest!
  2. Support and Encouragement – When things get tough, it’s easier to keep going when someone is cheering us along.  It’s nice to have friends along the course when we’re running a big race or texts from someone saying “Good luck” or “Great job”.   
  3. Stretch and Grow – When you’re with other people, you just work harder.  You go farther or faster than you would on your own.  When you’re checking in with an online group about your daily food intake, you’re more apt to follow your plan knowing others are doing the same.  You’re just able to do more than you ever thought you could, because you have the courage to do it.  

3 reasons to do fitness together #fitfam #fitlife Click To Tweet

I always thought I was just fine on my own when it came to my running and to my weight management.  I liked my solo runs, and I’ve counted calories and thought I knew everything I needed to know about nutrition.  But I was so wrong.  When I finally stepped out of my comfort zone and joined Shelby Roadrunners over 10 years ago, I realized how neat it was to have a “fitness family”.  They held me accountable.  They wanted to know where I was when I didn’t show up.  When I first started running, I felt like I was just chasing them.  But as time went on, I got stronger and faster.  I’ve run times and distances I never would have had I not joined the group.  

When I decided to sign up with a coach and an online community of women who wanted to focus on faith and fitness, I realized I still had a lot to learn about my motivations and priorities.  I grew stronger in my faith and learned about proper nutrition.  I became vulnerable about my struggles and found acceptance and encouragement.  

I Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “comfort each other and edify one another”.  And Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to “stir up love and good works….assemble together….and exhort one another.”  

We were created for community.  We need each other.  My running community and my online girls and my “Fit & Free” friends are really family to me.  I can’t imagine doing life without them.  


I’d love to hear from you…

Come over to my Facebook page and tag a friend who holds you accountable.

If you don’t have a fitness family, I’d love for you to join this tribe.  Sign up for my weekly email where you will get tips and insights as well as motivation on your faith and fitness journey.  Email me if you have questions!  I’d love to hear from you.

Progress, Not Perfection. Celebrating Small Wins.

We’re on a journey.  This healthy living thing is a journey.  When you’re going on a trip you want to do 2 things:  You want to move forward, make progress towards your destination.  But you also want to enjoy the scenery.  And I don’t know about you, but when I see something interesting on a trip, I want to stop and check it out.  Maybe enjoy a unique restaurant for lunch or explore a park.  

Progress not perfection

This is our healthy living journey.  It’s all about making progress towards our goals but also celebrating the small wins along the way.  Our journey isn’t meant to be perfect.  We’re just meant to make progress.   

Perfection doesn’t exist.  And when you attempt to achieve it, there is no freedom.

When you embark on a health journey that has a list of do’s and don’ts, restrictions and rules, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Therefore you never see the progress to be celebrated, because you’re putting so much pressure on yourself to never eat this and to always do that.

Perfection doesn't exist. But we can celebrate the small wins as we make progress.… Click To Tweet

What does progress look like?

To make progress you have to know where you’re going.  Just like on a trip, you have to have a destination before you can determine if you’re on the right track and heading in the right direction.  (Can you hear the kids saying “Are we there yet???”)


So it is with your health and fitness journey.  What are your goals?  

You may have a goal to lose 20 pounds.  That won’t happen the first week.   But maybe you work out 3 times that first week.  That’s progress towards your goal.

Has your friend talked you into running a race?  If you’re a beginner, it’s not advisable to just lace up and go run for an hour your first time out.  Maybe you start by running for 10 minutes, 3 times that first week.  That’s progress.  

Your doctor just told you that your cholesterol is up.  It won’t go down overnight even if you do skip the drive thru on the way home.  But skipping the drive thru is progress towards lowering your cholesterol.  

What are you working towards?  Is it something that you can begin to see progress made rather than expect perfection?  Perfection doesn’t happen.  And if it does, it’s not sustainable.  So stop putting so much pressure on yourself.

Now once you’ve identified where you’re going and you start recognizing the progress you’re making, it’s time to celebrate that progress.

Celebrate the small wins.  

If on a trip, you get in the car and never stop for a snack or a restroom break or to see something interesting, the trip will not be much fun.  The kids will get bored and will continue asking “are we there yet?”  But the young travelers are much happier when they get a break every now and then 🙂

And so back to our health and fitness journey.  We need to pause along the way and celebrate.

You didn’t hit the snooze and you got up in time to workout.  Yay!  

You skipped the drive thru every night last week and fixed a healthy dinner at home instead.  Go you!!

You started drinking more water.  Right on!  

Let's celebrate small wins along the way! #progressnotperfection #focus #motivation Click To Tweet

How can you celebrate the small wins?

Tell a friend.  Get someone who will support you on your journey and give you a high five!

Get a mani/pedi.

Buy a new workout outfit.

Have a coffee.  

Soak in a bath.  

What do you do now?

  1. Set the goals

  2. Monitor the progress

  3. Celebrate the small wins.  

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed!


Philippians 3:13-15 sums it up this way:  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”


We’re pressing on.  God wants us to honor the bodies that He has entrusted to us.  But these bodies will never be perfect until we get to Heaven.  Until then, we must be good stewards of what He has given us.  And celebrate the progress that we’re making.  
Do you have a small win to share?  I’m sure you do.  Let me know so I can give you a virtual high five!

What’s the Condition of Your Heart?

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Proverbs 23:7

heart condition

There are so many concepts before and after this verse in chapter 23, and it all seems to sum up my life’s story.  

Examining our heart condition with Proverbs 23:7 #faith Click To Tweet

There is caution against gluttony and this concept of an unhealthy focus on food.  And then there is a call out to parents to instruct and to children to listen to their parents.  My testimony starts as a Jesus-loving young girl consumed with how she looked.  I watched my mom struggle with her weight, and she desperately did not want me to deal with the same issues.  Unfortunately that made me (and her) hyper-focused on it, and I began to believe I was fat, ugly, not good enough, and would never find anyone to love me.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

I struggled with what the doctors would call a “nervous stomach”.  I was just painfully shy and introverted and worried about everything. I worried about what people thought of me, of how I looked to others, if anyone would ever love me enough to marry me.  

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

By the time I was in 6th grade, I was following Weight Watchers and eating pretzels and drinking milk for my lunch.  All because I thought I was fat and would never catch the eye of someone who would want to love me.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

Fast-forward to college, more feelings of not good enough, not thin enough, not fit enough.  (Yes, the focus was solely on my looks!)  I dabbled with forms of purging (laxatives and over-exercising) to try to lose weight.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

Finally found a man to show some interest, and I married him.  For nearly 5 years we struggled to make it work, but I still had all the baggage of my worth and my own identity.  We weren’t able to make the marriage last.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

As stated in the beginning, I’ve followed Jesus from my early years.  I cried and struggled through all of this.  I laid it at His feet and picked it back up more times than I can count. I prayed and prayed that He’d make me beautiful and that I’d see that reflection in the mirror, but I just would never let His message of true love penetrate my heart.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

As my adult life went on, I managed the insecurities, sure I’d cry over numbers on the scales and the reflection in the mirror, but I got better at living with it.  I sorta resigned myself to the fact that this would be my life….unrest, unsettled, dissatisfied with my physical body.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

But then I hit a fork in the road just as I was about to turn 40.  I read the book “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst.  In one section she quoted a verse when God told Moses “You have circled this mountain long enough”.  Hmmm…..40 years in the desert.  I was about to turn 40.   God was telling me it was TIME.  Let’s turn north.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

Oh, it wasn’t like flipping a switch and now I knew and believed everything written in His word about how I’m “fearfully and wonderfully made” and “loved with an everlasting love”.  But it was the catalyst.  Slowly, I began to let go of my insecurities.  Slowly I began to take the chance at believing that maybe I was okay.  Slowly the thoughts in my heart began to change.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

What’s in your heart?  Are you believing God?  Are you taking Him at His word?

From a young age, I knew I was a child of God.  I knew it in my head, but it took me many years to get it in my heart and to know that I was perfect just the way I was.

Let His word penetrate your heart today.  Take Him at His word.

For as (s)he thinks in his(her) heart, so is (s)he.

I am a fearfully and wonderfully created daughter of the King……and so are you!

What is the condition of your heart? #faith Click To Tweet

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