Change the way you view yourself, by changing the focus of your fitness.

Beating personal records in the gym is great. It is a testament to and product of the work, sweat, and time we put into our bodies. Improving our physical appearance is even better. Photo shoot for Muscle & Fitness Magazine here we come! This type of improvement gives us tangible evidence, which stays with us as a badge; a medal of honor. Worn with pride as proof we have what it takes to create change within ourselves.

Both of these things are special, noteworthy, and should be celebrated. But they are also superficial. They can be void of true meaning. For the most part, bringing benefit only to ourselves.

Our fitness can be more. It can SERVE greater intentions. Fitness has the ability to fulfill goals that are larger than self. Beyond YOU and ME. We have SEEN it. We have FELT it. We have been MOVED by it.
As we watch fitness forge a relationship between strangers that will eventually grow into a lifelong bond, we SEE a glimpse of its potential.

While we witness hundreds of people come together during a 10k or charity event, sacrificing their bodies to benefit a child with cancer or a mother with Alzheimer’s, we FEEL its influence. As we surrender ourselves for the edifying of others THEY are MOVED by its power. And in return, we receive more than we could ever imagine.

Physical accomplishment shouldn’t be our driver; it is only a vehicle. It is the spirit’s way to use our body for greater good. This means our SPIRIT is the driving force, the FIRE within, the inspiration to accomplish goals larger than self while sacrificing your physical body.

When our spirit drives fitness, we are transformed. Our minds are renewed. We stop thinking of how this exercise will benefit US, and focus on how it can be used to benefit THEM: our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and those in need.

Once the spirit takes over we are ignited. The fire on the inside burns BRIGHTLY. Enabling us to keep pushing at mile 5; for the child who only wishes he could take the steps we are taking. Or the mother who would give all she has to enjoy the feeling of crossing another finish line. Our spirit keeps us moving and serving when the body says it has no more.

The impact this type of fitness has is unimaginable. While serving others, the END is only the BEGINNING. The final step of a 10k is the birth of lifelong memories that will coincide. For the ones you serve, and for yourself.

When fitness is used this way, a paradigm shift comes about. We view ourselves differently as we look in the mirror. We no longer gaze through the lens society has placed over our eyes. All we see is a friend, a sibling, and a servant to those in need. Now we are no longer dissatisfied with the person staring back at us. We love our true selves for what we are; the greatest miracle in the world.

Using fitness to make a difference in the lives of others is a goal that stretches beyond the boundaries of physical accomplishment. Remember to use your fitness to SERVE today. Dedicate your next workout to SOMEONE or SOMETHING that inspires you. Be ready for its impact. #‎activprayer

Brad Jarrett is a young up and coming fitness coach in Buffalo, New York. Brad focuses on the development and growth of kids and adults through fitness classes and obstacle courses. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Pursuing a Bachelors in Exercise Science from SUNY Fredonia, he is a Columnist for The Observer: The FIT Project, as well as the Co- Creator of PAYP Wilderness Workouts.