Gym members get religious: Glorify God in your body

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by Alice Barr / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 2, 2014 at 11:41 PM

Updated Friday, May 2 at 11:41 PM

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas -- Crossfit is a grueling and quickly-growing exercise trend. The gyms, known as boxes, are cropping up all over, and in a few of them you'll get more than a workout. You could call it Crossfit for Christ.

Inside Crossfit Friendswood, it sounds like a normal gym, and everyone's sure sweating like it is.

"Just challenge yourself all the way through," said Crossfit member Matt Horton.

But there’s another clear message at Crossfit Friendswood. The writing’s on the wall: “Glorify God in your body." It’s scripture you’d normally expect to see in a church, but in some cases, the two are starting to look more and more like each other.

With church membership dropping, many pastors are trying to make their church more approachable.

You won't see a cross on display at Clear Creek Community Church in League City, though you do back inside Crossfit Friendswood. Clear Creek's head pastor sees the connection.

"We gotta work out our faith. So when we work out our bodies, there’s a correlation there," said Mark Carden, Executive Pastor of Clear Creek Community Church.

In fact they've partnered with Crossfit Friendswood, and other area boxes, to host workout challenges at the church and draw in new members to a network of spiritual support.

"Without that encouragement, we fail," said Pastor Carden.

And that's what it comes down to in the box.

"In Crossfit you’re all doing the same thing, it’s constantly changing, you have a sense of community and a sense of I’m doing the same thing that somebody next to me is doing," said Crossfit Friendswood trainer Cornell King.

Crossfit Friendswood’s owner Heather Prenatt added, "All everybody wants is just to feel accepted, in some realm of their life, and so they come here looking to get healthy and I think they find so much more.”

Sometimes it's more overt, like a recent Easter Workout of the Day, or WOD, as in rhymes with, "It’s about God," said King.

"We have a resurrection WOD, where they’re literally carrying the barbell, symbolizing the cross and suffering," said Prenatt.

There can be plenty of pain in Crossfit.

"When I work out and wiping sweat it’s like you know what, God’s got me, God’s got me," said King.

And the members have each other.

"The last person gets the most cheers," said Horton.

Because at Crossfit Friendswood, just like at church, the last is always first.

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