Every Saturday at 9 a.m., faithful fitness enthusiasts at Woodside Bible Church in White Lake meet in the church gymnasium for fellowship and wellness.
Jenny Irvine, fitness instructor and member of Woodside, has been teaching the class for four years.
“We do a little bit of everything,” Irvine said. “We use stability balls, dumbbells and resistance bands. In the summer we do boot camp outside at the church. We do a little bit of aerobics and a little bit of weight training.”
The class is composed of women ranging in age from teenagers to seniors and can have as few as a couple women or as many as 23 participants each week.
“We average about 10 girls every week,” Irvine said.
The program is vigorous enough for women looking for a challenging workout, but is designed to accommodate all ages and fitness levels.
“What I really try to do is make it so everyone who comes can do it,” Irvine said. “We start at a very basic level and I add on to the exercise. If people can do more, they’re able to. I really try to stress that no one is watching them and they need to go at their own pace.”
Throughout the years, the group has expanded and participants have recruited friends and coworkers interested in getting into shape.
“My friend talked about (the program) so highly, so I decided to check it out,” Diane Belesky said. “It has been phenomenal. I’ve lost weight and toned. It’s a nice way to end the week and to start the next week.”
Debbie Frensley, a member of Woodside, has been coming to the class for two years.
“I have a desk job and can only get out for a walk at lunch,” Frensley said. “It’s a great workout.”
The class is an hour long and Irvine spares no effort during her challenging workouts, but she said the ladies make time for fun and never take themselves too seriously.
“I really stress that it’s not about vanity or looking better,” Irvine said. “We laugh when someone falls off the (stability) ball. We have a really good time.”
Following their workout, the ladies gather to hold hands and pray.
“We are filled in on each other’s lives and we do prayer requests," Irvine said.
The ministry is free of charge to participants and women are welcome to come every week or when it’s convenient for them. The ladies have built friendships through the program and look forward to seeing their workout companions each week.
“If someone doesn’t show up or if they’re missing for a couple weeks, we call them to check on them,” Irvine said. The class is on hiatus during the holidays.
“We’ve tried to do this during the holidays, but it’s such a busy time and it’s important for us to be with our families, but we will start back up in January,” Irvine said.
The program is inclusive to all faiths and only asks that participants bring their own bottled water and exercise mat. While Irvine is helping women achieve physical results, she believes the spiritual rewards can be much more significant.
“It’s about being prepared for what God wants us to do,” Irvine said. “If we are in good shape, we will be able to do what He is asking us to do.”