7 Reasons I Work Out at a Public Fitness Center Almost Every Day

This post might seem odd, but I’m writing it to myself for the sake of accountability. I’ve been a seminary professor for 25 years, and I’ve served in two institutions with good gym facilities – but I’ve always paid for a membership in a local public gym. Though I’ve sometimes gotten out of the routine over the years, I try to be faithful to the gym. Here’s why:

  1. Even as a professor of evangelism, I have to find ways to hang out with non-believers. Being at the gym several days a week is one attempt to do that—though, even there I must be intentional about outreach. 
  2. As an introvert, I have to make myself reach out to others I don’t know in the gym. I don’t need to do that if I’m working out at the seminary facility where I generally know the students. If I join the public gym to be a witness but hide in my own workouts, I’ve missed the point. 
  3. The trip to the gym each morning becomes a focused time of prayer. I pray for opportunities to be a friend and to speak some word about what I do and the One I serve. Then, I commit to praying for several folks working out. Even if I don’t know them, praying for them turns my heart outward. 
  4. At least part of my time—usually, when I’m running on the treadmill—the time becomes a time of worship. Again, I don’t want to isolate myself at the gym, but worship makes me even more committed to sharing Christ as much as possible. 
  5. I’m convinced that how we take care of our physical body is one aspect of our Christian witness. Good exercise habits are an act of gratitude for God’s blessings and an opportunity to reach others with the same exercise goals (and, if you want to know more of my thoughts about getting physical exercise, check out this post). 
  6. Honestly, my commitment to physical exercise is a continual tool to evaluate my spiritual disciplines. That is, I don’t want to be more committed to the gym than I am to my quiet time with the Lord. My regular exercise routine thus helps me prioritize my spiritual well-being, too.
  7. I don’t want poor health to hinder my opportunity to serve God fully. I realize, of course, we can’t always stop the unexpected deterioration of our body due to illness. On the other hand, we can take steps to stay as healthy as possible for the sake of the gospel. That’s what I want to do. 

What would you add to this list? 

1 Comment

  • Victor Close says:

    I go to the gym to improve my health. They have the equipment I need to give my body the workout it needs to stay healthy. We are all called to tell people the Gospel, but if I was called to evangelize on a greater scale than I do right now, I would still exercise my body, but there are so many other venues where the opportunities are greater than a gym. That said, I think just being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit is the key to sharing the Gospel regardless of where you are.

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