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‘Fit to Serve’ the Lord

Most people struggle with their weight at some point in life. We all want to be healthy. But many of us have a million reasons why we feel powerless to change. We’ve tried and failed because “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak….”

That’s why “Fat Tuesday” is forever etched in my memory—it was the day that 38 Salvationists met at the Ladore Lodge and Conference Center in Pennsylvania to become “Fit to Serve.”fit_serve_TS

“Fit to Serve” is a program of healthy eating and exercise developed by Buddy Shuh and Mark Cornelison as a result of their amazing journey on Season 13 of the “Biggest Loser” TV series. Both men came to the NBC reality show with low expectations, but they soon realized God had much more in store for them than just losing weight. They developed a close friendship with other contestants where, every Sunday evening, they shared their witness.

Through their newly–formed organization, SweatCor, they travel across the country telling stories and inspiring people to embrace a healthy lifestyle and to see themselves the way God sees them.

Fit to Serve Boot Camp grew out of my heart’s desire and divine inspiration. As we began our four days together, within a short time, we developed camaraderie with one another.

We began each morning with smoothies and a wake–up workout. We learned healthy low–cost eating from Cathy, Mark’s wife, whose exuberant spirit and enthusiasm gave us a fresh perspective and valuable insights. Our sessions were interactive as we experimented with her recipes and sampled each other’s creations. We all downloaded the “myfitnesspal” app to track our daily intake and exercise as well as share and encourage each other. The fitness staff put us through rigorous workouts, including water aerobics, weight training, cardio, and stretching.

The Ladore staff prepared delicious healthful meals that fueled our bodies and avoided nutritionally empty calories. Each evening ended with a relaxing massage for our tired muscles and a time of vespers. Buddy and Mark inspired us with stories of their personal journeys in faith and fitness and how God has transformed them even in the midst of trauma. These three servants shared with humility and gratitude, knowing that God’s work in them is not complete.

At the end of the four days, we were equipped with tools for the battle: recipes, menu suggestions, exercise lessons, and a host of prayer partners to hold each other up. We sweated together, laughed together, prayed together, shared from our hearts, and broke bread together. We left with the assurance that it is possible to overcome unhealthy habits and to break free from mistreating our bodies—the temples of the Holy Spirit.

by Lt. Colonel Renee Lance

What delegates said about ‘Fit to Serve Boot Camp’

‘This was one of the best conferences I have been a part of. We learned so much about healthy eating, exercise, shopping, and overall living. We were creating a bond among each other, the kind of building up and encouraging with accountability.’ 

‘I have been a part of Weight Watchers and other programs, but there is something vitally different about this. I feel there has been a personal breakthrough. Perhaps it is the camaraderie and the fact that we all get each other, and also hope the best for our fellow sojourners…’

‘…I would like to say how grateful I am for the privilege of attending Boot Camp. It was a wonderful experience. I cannot tell you how everything exceeded my expectations.  I went with the goal of trying everything, and I did. I have lost inches and pounds. I learnt how to read labels but first and foremost I now have a lot of new friends. The staff and everyone involved in the venture were very kind and helpful. Mark, Cathy, and Buddy were inspirational.’

‘So “Fat Tuesday” will never mean overindulging in fat-laden food prior to fasting for Lent. It will mark the day we ventured into the unknown and emerged richer than we ever thought possible. It’s the day we began our journey to be “Fit to Serve.” And it will remind me of God’s amazing sense of humor!’

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