Celebrate National Heart Month | Body & Soul Fitness

February is American Heart Health month and as any fitness organization, Body & Soul is all about celebrating healthy hearts and helping people strive toward the best heart health possible. According to the Cleveland Clinic, our hearts beat 100,000 times a day, pumping 1.5 gallons of blood each minute, and are about the size of our hands clasped together. In addition to these important and informative facts, here are a few things about our hearts that you may not know:

  • A woman’s average heartbeat is faster than a man’s by almost 8 beats per minute.
  • The more education you have, the lower your risk of heart disease.
  • The first heart pacemakers plugged into a wall socket.
  • Modesty prompted the invention of the stethoscope. Doctors pressed their ears directly against a patient’s chest to hear the heartbeat prior to its invention.

Regular exercise is the single most important key to heart health, and the American Heart Association makes the following recommendations for exercise based on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, second edition, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:

  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.
  • Spend less time sitting. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
  • Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week.
    Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.

At Body & Soul Fitness, we aren’t only celebrating healthy physical hearts – we also love helping people strive toward the best spiritual heart health as well. As we meet in groups to challenge our physical cardiovascular systems, we also exercise spiritually. We hear Scripture song in the lyrics of upbeat, motivating music. We pray together and share stories that make up these beautiful lives we live. And we support one another as we pursue balanced, active lifestyles. Join us this month in a class in your area. We would love to celebrate with you!


Amy Stafford is the President of Body & Soul Fitness, certified personal trainer, ACE faculty and ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She is a leader in the fitness industry and a popular speaker for women’s events, retreats, fitness conferences. For information on booking Amy for your event or for an interview please email amy@bodyandsoul.org. Amy currently teaches in the Williamsburg, VA area.

“I’ve been changed. I’ve been saved; I can feel it now. Brand new day; I believe it. I’ve been changed; oh, I believe. Tell me why would I turn back now? There’s no end to the love I’ve found. Future’s bright, and there ain’t no doubt. I’ve been changed.”

What a changed-life story we hear in this song! Listen to the joy in Jordan Feliz’ voice and feel it in the music—he is full of hope because he has found the love of Christ and it has changed his life. He experienced the transformation from being lost to being found. He knows his future is bright, no matter what it holds, because he has the Lord by his side. What about you? Has your life been changed like this—or do you need to recommit or commit for the first time to inviting Jesus into your life? Take action and he will begin the changes that will give you hope. It is just a prayer today. Your brand new day can start right now. Your future is bright, too!

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

Questions: How have you been changed since that moment when you chose to believe? What do you want your “brand new day” to look like? What is the most important thing that could change to make your future bright?

Prayer Power: Lord, I need to be changed by you. Help me to trust you and believe that you will guide me to a future that is bright as I trust in you. Amen.

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Jeannie Blocher is the President Emeritus and Director of Spiritual Impact of Body & Soul Fitness. She and her husband Roy founded Body & Soul in 1981, and now Jeannie serves in a volunteer capacity. She is an author and speaker, who treasures first her role as wife, mother of three and grandmother of eight. She wrote the First Place 4 Health Bible Study “Make Every Day Your Best Day” and the book “Encouragement for the Body & the Soul.” She enjoys speaking on behalf of Body & Soul, sharing the message of faith & fitness.

Contact Jeannie at jeannie@bodyandsoul.org

“Can you hear the sound of a life changing, the sound of a dream that’s waking up inside? Can you hear the song of a new beginning? Amazing grace, how sweet the sound of a life changing…could this be your defining moment, the moment you decide to cross that line and leave the past behind?”

Is there something changing in your life, and you are doing your best to keep up with it, wrap your head around it, and deal with it? Let me encourage you to surrender to it, let it go and allow God to be in control of it. When you do, the sound of your life changing will be the sweet sound of God’s grace at work, molding and shaping you into his image. Do you have a dream that is waking up inside, a change has not yet happened, but you want it to? What about letting God transform your striving for it into his grace-filled guidance? Take one step at a time toward your dream, with your hand in God’s. Maybe you are in need of a spiritual transformation.

Will you pray and take the step to say “I believe,” accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord? Your life can be transformed from fear to faith and worry to trust as your life changes from being lost to being “found” by Jesus. This spiritual transformation will give you hope and a peace that passes understanding. I hear the sound of a life changing, the sweet sound of God’s amazing grace at work in your life!

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

Questions: Are you in the middle of a life-change right now? Do you have a dream that is waking up inside of you today? Are you in need of a spiritual transformation? Will you allow God’s amazing grace to guide you through the changes that are coming in your life?

Prayer Power: Dear Lord, help me to seek you, listen to you and trust you as my life is changing. Thank you for your sweet, amazing grace that is ever-present, giving me peace and hope. Amen.

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Jeannie Blocher is the President Emeritus and Director of Spiritual Impact of Body & Soul Fitness. She and her husband Roy founded Body & Soul in 1981, and now Jeannie serves in a volunteer capacity. She is an author and speaker, who treasures first her role as wife, mother of three and grandmother of eight. She wrote the First Place 4 Health Bible Study “Make Every Day Your Best Day” and the book “Encouragement for the Body & the Soul.” She enjoys speaking on behalf of Body & Soul, sharing the message of faith & fitness.

Contact Jeannie at jeannie@bodyandsoul.org

“Even when it feels like my world is shaken. Even when I’ve had all that I can take, I know, you never let me go. And even when the waters won’t stop rising, even when I’m caught in the dead of night, I know, no matter how it ends, you’re with me even then…And even in the midst of the struggle, and even when it’s hard to remember, you alone are my defense. When I’m standing on your promises I know that even in the thick of the battle, and even through the valley of the shadows, you alone are my defense.”

Our world can get shaken by many things — health challenges, loved ones who struggle, financial problems, relational pain—and more. But, as this song says, God does not let us go: he is with us, in the middle of all of our life struggles. He can transform us from worry to trust and fear to faith if we cling to his precious promises, given to us in his love letter the Bible. In the thick of life’s battles we can count on him. We can reach out to him in prayer—even prayers of lament, as David did in the psalms. And like David, after sharing your pain and concerns with God, don’t forget to praise him. Express your trust and your belief. God is the mender of broken people. He is our fortress in the storms of life. He alone is our defense.

Psalm 5:1-3, 11-12 “Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my king and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly…let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”

Questions: Is something shaking up your world right now? What promises will you stand on, as God transforms you from worry to trust and fear to faith?

Prayer Power: Dear Lord, thank you for being with me, fighting for me in the middle of the battles and the struggles in my life. Help me to always remember that when my world is shaking you are with me—even then. Amen.

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Jeannie Blocher is the President Emeritus and Director of Spiritual Impact of Body & Soul Fitness. She and her husband Roy founded Body & Soul in 1981, and now Jeannie serves in a volunteer capacity. She is an author and speaker, who treasures first her role as wife, mother of three and grandmother of eight. She wrote the First Place 4 Health Bible Study “Make Every Day Your Best Day” and the book “Encouragement for the Body & the Soul.” She enjoys speaking on behalf of Body & Soul, sharing the message of faith & fitness.

Contact Jeannie at jeannie@bodyandsoul.org

“When life comes at you hard, you make it look so easy. No matter what you’re facing, you are my inspiration, yeah. That’s what you are. You’re a fighter that doesn’t know how to back down. You never ever give up. You hold on, no matter what. You show the world the face of brave.”

When you are tempted to give up, remember this— transformation can happen, even in the most difficult of situations. We can change from giving up to being given hope. Jesus gives us an example of hope fulfilled in a parable he tells to his disciples. In Luke 18, Jesus shares an unusual story. First we hear about a judge who is described as “not fearing God and nor caring what people say.” Then we are introduced to a certain widow—a persistent, praying woman, who kept coming to the judge demanding justice against an adversary, to the point that this judge gave in and helped her get justice. Luke introduces this parable by saying that Jesus told the story to show the disciples that they should always pray and not give up. A good lesson for all of us!

I urge you to type this thought out and put it as a reminder on your phone so that you will look at it often. Print it on a sticky note and post it somewhere you will see it every morning. Find a way to keep this very important message from Jesus in front of your eyes constantly. It may not be justice that you are praying for; maybe you just need to personally “hang in there” and wait. While you wait, pray—and don’t give up!

Luke 18:1 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Then Jesus proceeded to tell the story of the persistent widow who got justice by “bothering” the judge so much.

Questions: Do you know someone who never gives up and always fights back when in the middle of difficult circumstances? What are the character qualities that come to mind when you think of this person? What are your favorite Bible verses that help you to fight and persevere when the going gets tough?

Prayer Power: Dear Lord, help me to be a persistent, praying person. Thank you for giving me hope. Help me to always pray and never give up. Amen.

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Jeannie Blocher is the President Emeritus and Director of Spiritual Impact of Body & Soul Fitness. She and her husband Roy founded Body & Soul in 1981, and now Jeannie serves in a volunteer capacity. She is an author and speaker, who treasures first her role as wife, mother of three and grandmother of eight. She wrote the First Place 4 Health Bible Study “Make Every Day Your Best Day” and the book “Encouragement for the Body & the Soul.” She enjoys speaking on behalf of Body & Soul, sharing the message of faith & fitness.

Contact Jeannie at jeannie@bodyandsoul.org

Be Transformed by music!

What a concept—God can use music to transform our hearts and our minds. Have you ever been in a negative frame of mind, disappointed, frustrated, worried, and seeking a mind-transformation? Here’s an antidote —turn up the music in your life –right now! We’ve all felt it; it’s a real thing. Music can be a catalyst to transform our mind from worry to trust and fear to faith. God can use music to take us from a place of stress to a place of peace. Whether it is reading the Psalms, listening to popular Christian music or humming traditional hymns—the tunes and words can capture our mind and our heart and change us from the inside out.

King David knew this. In Psalm after Psalm, he poured out his heart and his troubles to God. And then as the “music” of the song (psalm) he was writing filled his mind, he would burst out in praise and express his trust in his Almighty God. In Psalm 7, David starts with “Lord, my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me… and then he moves from there to “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” In Psalm 10, David begins: “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide in times of trouble?” and then he continues with: “The Lord is King for ever and ever… you, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry…” I encourage you to be like David—don’t be afraid to pour out your questions and laments to God—sing them to him in your own way, turn up some music that inspires you and then watch God transform you from the inside out!

It is our prayer in Body & Soul that the music we exercise to will help to transform you—both in your soul and in your physical body. Enjoy reading the devotional thoughts included here and have fun checking out our music playlist so you can add the songs to your personal library. Trust God to work a transformation in your life as you fill your heart and mind with music that lifts him up!

For more insights into this session’s songs, look up the lyrics (below) or click here to read our Be Transformed Devotional.

Be Transformed Music & Lyric Links

Songs Artists
Never Give Up Matthew West
Even Then Micah Tyler
Sound of a Life Changing Matthew West
Grace Got You MercyMe
Inside Out Bonray
Changed Jordan Feliz
Gravity Landry Cantrell
Heaven on Earth Stars Go Dim
Comeback Kid Mandisa
He Still Does (Miracles) Hawk Nelson
Right on Time Aaron Cole
One More Day Aaron Cole
Cheer You On Jordan Feliz
Freedom Hymn Austin French
Miracle Unspoken
Get Up Building 429
Love’s Not Done with You Jason Gray
All In Matthew West
The One He Speaks Through Mandisa
Different Micah Tyler
If It’s Amazing Grace Stars Go Dim
Good Love Steven Macolm
Hold On Beckah Shae
What A Friend Matt Maher
Talk About It Branan Murphy
Life Is Beautiful Rend Collective
Amen Matthew West

Be Transformed Session Devotional

Click on image to view PDF of the Winter 2019 Be Transformed Devotional.


Jeannie Blocher is the President Emeritus and Director of Spiritual Impact of Body & Soul Fitness. She and her husband Roy founded Body & Soul in 1981, and now Jeannie serves in a volunteer capacity. She is an author and speaker, who treasures first her role as wife, mother of three and grandmother of eight. She wrote the First Place 4 Health Bible Study “Make Every Day Your Best Day” and the book “Encouragement for the Body & the Soul.” She enjoys speaking on behalf of Body & Soul, sharing the message of faith & fitness.

Contact Jeannie at jeannie@bodyandsoul.org

Don’t you just love a good story? One that hooks you from the very first scene and keeps you on the edge of your seat through the building of the plot, the introduction of each character, the climactic struggle between good and evil, and ends with a happily ever after? I love the ups and downs of a story, but I mostly love the dramatic rescue that gives us the happily ever after. The hero swoops in and saves the day! Or even better yet – saves the girl! (yes, I’m a romantic.)

I believe the greatest tale of rescue is told in the first Christmas, documented in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. We hear of an epic adventure that takes place across many treacherous miles for an engaged couple expecting a baby. We read about interrupted plans, angels appearing and speaking to shepherds at night, and wise men following a shining star to visit a child born a king in a stable. Wow! Great story, right?!

The main character in this account is Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 1:15, that Jesus came into the world to rescue sinners, and the Christmas story is the account of the hero’s arrival. It’s not only a good story – it’s the greatest story in history. And He does more than just save the girl – He saves ALL of us. From His birth told at Christmas to His death on Good Friday and His resurrection at Easter, Jesus’s story is the ultimate love story of redemption and transformation. The Christmas story is OUR story! It’s the story of OUR rescue from sin and death. It’s the story that tells of grace over guilt. The Christmas story changes everything! We have the opportunity to be rescued from darkness to live happily ever after on earth now and in heaven for eternity because God has written us into His story. Talk about an adventure!

Take time during your Christmas holiday to read this story told in the Bible with its dramatic ups and downs and unexpected twists. Put yourself in the story, get caught up in the action, and let it transform your holiday and your ever after.

As we turn the calendar from 2018 to 2019, Body & Soul Fitness will begin focusing on our theme of “Be Transformed”. Join us as we use Romans 12:2 as our theme Scripture verse and “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Make the new year a time of reflection and refocus as you take inventory of 2018 and set personal goals for 2019. Then move into the new year with hope and confidence, knowing that life is made up of unexpected yet exciting adventures that write our stories.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Body & Soul Fitness!


Amy Stafford is the President of Body & Soul Fitness, certified personal trainer, ACE faculty and ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She is a leader in the fitness industry and a popular speaker for women’s events, retreats, fitness conferences. For information on booking Amy for your event or for an interview please email amy@bodyandsoul.org. Amy currently teaches in the Williamsburg, VA area.

“The shepherds came to see the baby, stood by his mother’s side. Here lay the Savior, inside a manger, O what a glorious night…I heard the angels singing Hallelujah. Let the earth receive her king. I know that love has come, singing it out – Jesus Christ is born. The shepherds wondered; they couldn’t hide it. Told everyone in sight. All were amazed, when they heard how God came down on this glorious night.”

This is the Christmas story—Christ was born in a manger in Bethlehem. A star marked his birth. Shepherds stood in wonder and amazement, then told everyone in sight about this glorious event. Angels filled the sky with singing. It was the first ever hallelujah chorus, and it was a glorious night! Each year we get to celebrate and sing that love came down that night. A king was born that glorious night. Let’s join with the angels and remember to continue the chorus of hallelujahs that marked that special moment.

As you let this rousing song motivate you to exercise, let it also motivate your heart to awe and wonder like the shepherds felt that night. Open your heart and mind to the truth that Jesus, this humble baby born in a manger, is the Savior of the world—and that means he is your Savior! He forgives your mistakes and failures and he loves you just the way you are. If you take the step to believe, as those shepherds did long ago, you, too can have the gift of eternal life by grace, through faith.

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

Questions: Describe in your own words what happened in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Have you ever shared this story with anyone outside of your family? Are you ready to step out in faith and say yes to Jesus as your Savior?

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for coming on that glorious night so long ago. I believe you are the Savior of the world and the Savior of my heart. Forgive me for all the things I have done wrong. Come and be my king. Take control of my life. Amen.

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Jeannie Blocher is the President Emeritus and Director of Spiritual Impact of Body & Soul Fitness. She and her husband Roy founded Body & Soul in 1981, and now Jeannie serves in a volunteer capacity. She is an author and speaker, who treasures first her role as wife, mother of three and grandmother of eight. She wrote the First Place 4 Health Bible Study “Make Every Day Your Best Day” and the book “Encouragement for the Body & the Soul.” She enjoys speaking on behalf of Body & Soul, sharing the message of faith & fitness.

Contact Jeannie at jeannie@bodyandsoul.org.

We’re hosting a free demonstration fitness class at McLean Bible Church in Tysons, VA

Get a taste of our programs – power strength, dance blast, FIT 360, CS FIT, and more

Saturday, January 5th – 9-10:30am

It’s completely FREE!
It’s co-ed – all are welcome!
No judgement zone!
Free snacks, prizes

Contact Hilda@bodyandsoul.org for more info

I love Christmas music. I could listen to it year round, but I exercise restraint (and avoid conflict with the grinches in my life) by limiting my merry playlists to the months of October-December. Okay, okay, sometimes is goes into January. There’s just something special about having set aside time for things. Christmas music has a season every year, and every year I am reminded of just how much truth there is in the songs of Christmas.

When it comes to Body & Soul Christmas music, I have some favorites. I love the peppy ones (I am forever an optimist), and the contemplative ones as well, but give me a good story song, and I am delightedly lost in the music. I love that these artists paint in word pictures that fill my imagination with scenes of that first Christmas. For the last few years we have had the song Gloria by Jason Gray as part of our line up. Partly that is because it’s a great high cardio song, but also it’s because I love it. The lyrics of the song are written through the eyes of the shepherds. I can so identify with those guys. Just normal people, going about their job, not expecting God to burst in and change everything but that’s exactly what happened to them and to me.

The birth of Christ changed everything for the shepherds and for the kings of this world. No one was excepted from the impact of His coming. We all have to decide what we will do with the Good News of the Gospel. Christ has come…do you believe He is who He says He is? He claims to be Emmanuel, God with Us, the Word made flesh, the long promised Messiah, our Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace. What will we do with those claims? We can dismiss them as ridiculous or we can believe.

The shepherds chose to believe. They saw the angels and ran “running like children run, reckless and wild with a song that made them young again.” They had news for anyone who would hear it! King or peasant, the news was for everyone! “They were crying out “have you heard, have you heard O Bethlehem!” Some kings chose to believe. They bowed down and worshiped this little boy who they knew had come to change the world. Others sought to kill the baby that threatened their power and their own kingdoms.

So what is the response of your heart? When you hear those Christmas songs telling about the birth of Christ. Does your pulse quicken with the anticipation of the coming of the King? Do you get a little weepy when you consider the baby born to die? Does your heart cry out in wonder for the gift given?

Music can make us feel so many things. I hope this season you will take a little time to listen to some Christmas music and consider the child in the manger and who He is to you. Lose yourself in the sounds of the season that remind us that we sing GLORIA! There, in the manger, is the newborn KING!

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Tracie Durham is a Cardio Strength Trainer for South Central. She is a former attorney, full-time home schooling mother of three kids (Abbie, Aubrie and Charlie), wife of a Fire Chief (Phillip) and unabashed fan-girl of “all the words” and mostly importantly…of Jesus.