If you are among the ranks of those who have vowed in 2012 to lose weight or get in shape today’s interview is a must read. Even if you are not marching down the path to fitness I am going to beg you to go ahead and read this post.
Why? Because the woman you are about to learn about is a christian woman who is incredibly inspiring. Her name is Valerie Solomon. She is the daughter-in-law of one of our church members and I had the honor a year ago of baptizing her son just before her husband, Matthew left for a year long military deployment to Afghanistan. (BTW–Matt is wrapping up his deployment and due home any day now, so keep him in your prayers for a safe return home.)
Valerie is a certified personal trainer, an army wife, a mother of four, author of the blog BusyMomGetsFit.com, 1st place Class D and 2nd overall winner of the Tricky Jackson Classic (her first fitness figure competition), and just today was named BodyRocker of the Month for January 2012 by Bodyrocksport.com.
Most important of all Valerie is a dedicated christian who really strives to submit to whatever God is calling her to do moment by moment and I find her to have an amazingly down-to-earth humble spirit. From Valerie’s very first facebook post on July 31st, 2011 she has been a personal inspiration to me and continues to be.
I hope you enjoy this interview as she shares very openly the spiritual journey that she took as she strove to reach her physical goals. Here it is:
John: Valerie tells us about your initial goals and what inspired you to make them.
Valerie: I have found that anytime my husband is gone for any significant length of time due to his job in the army, I am much happier if I stay busy and productive.
He left about a year ago for a year long deployment to Afghanistan. I decided that in 2011 I would focus on getting fit, learn to eat and cook healthier, and complete my personal training certification. It only took me a couple of months to feel like I had completed these goals. I needed a bigger challenge. I decided (after months of encouragement from some gym friends) to compete in a Figure competition. This required months of intense strength training, which I LOVE. And months of tedious diet.
John: What is a Figure Competition?
Valerie: Figure is a form of female body building. You are judged on muscle tone and definition, but still keeping a feminine appearance.
I didn’t openly commit to competing for awhile because I was worried what others would think. I was worried it was sinful to care about getting in extremely good shape and standing on stage. I wasn’t sure what the Bible said about fitness.
I sought out the answers to my questions and prayed about it. —-
After asking several pastors their thoughts on the matter and for scripture references, I have come to these conclusions:
- God wants us to take care of our bodies.
- With balance and perspective- it’s ok for me to strive to be the best version of me as possible
- “Somewhere between vanity and gluttony lies abundant living.” Jimmy Pena (I messaged PrayFit author Jimmy Pena on facebook and he has been kind enough to share his thoughts with me….this is one quote I loved from a note he sent.)
- Our bodies are a gift from God. How do you show appreciation for a gift that someone gives you? You take care of it; treasure it. I feel the same about our bodies.
Some favorite Scriptures of mine that have inspired me are:
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 John 1:2
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come. Prov 31:25
John: Tell us about Busy Mom Gets Fit and why you started it?
Valerie: In August 2011, I was just a few months away from my first Figure Competition. I felt like my thoughts were really consumed by my new fitness way of life and some of my friends and family were interested in it. I didn’t want to annoy my regular Facebook friends with my fitness posts, so I started “Busy Mom Gets Fit” as an outlet for fitness thoughts and to allow me to connect to people who were interested and needed some help or guidance. I have been amazed at the number of people who have joined me on my page.
When I competed, I felt this overwhelming sense of confidence. It wasn’t about competing with the other women in the competition. It was empowering to stand up there and know that I had worked hard and accomplished something. The competition, was more about the journey of getting there. I feel like it has given me a platform to connect to more people and inspire others to go after big goals that may be outside of their comfort zone. (Val with her first trophy and trainers/coaches, pictured right)
John: How did prayer play a part in your journey?
Valerie: John. I have 3 specific prayers I would like to share:
I prayed this several months ago after a day of really feeling inadequate:
“I’m sorry that I’m not as faithful as I should be to you. I feel blessed and taken care of but so often I skip reading the Bible and praying like I should.”
I immediately felt like God wrapped me up in a hug. I physically felt it. I think he was saying what hugs often say—
“It’s ok. You are doing what I want you to do.” I quit beating myself up about it and realize that my job right now is to take care of my boys and continue to do my best.
I prayed this when in thought about competition in a Figure competiton:
“I’d like to do this. To help others through my journey and not come across as vain. Help others to see my heart.” I think he has answered and done this.
I prayed this recently:
“If you want to use me through this, I’ll do it.” Almost immediately I started seeing him at work. It’s been fun to watch unfold.
John: So now that you have completed your initial goals what are your new goals?
Valerie: My initial goal was to keep busy while my husband was away and make a positive change for myself. My new goals are to continue on this fitness journey and see where it leads me.
John: What Have you learned spirtitually?”
Valerie: Spiritually, I have learned that God can make anything “a God thing”. He has put people in my path almost daily to help me and for me to help. Keep your eyes open, especially when you say you’ll do whatever he wants you to do!!!
John: What surprises have you had along the way?
Valerie: Use your talents and skills that God gave you. Even if you don’t see the big picture, he’s got a plan.
John: I think some readers may be a bit intimidated about starting out. What would you tell someone who is just starting out who wants to take better care of the body God has gifted them with?
Valerie: Start with what you put into your mouth. You can’t make any excuses about time or money on this one. We all eat…most of us eat too much. Read Val’s getting started tips.
Strength train- It’s benefits are numerous for all. It is the only way to stay fit and lean for the long term.
Find a form of cardio that you enjoy and get your heart rate up 60-120 minutes a week.
I have an article for those who are getting started called on BusyMomGetsFit.com called, I want to be fit!, Where do I start? In it I lay out several different sample workouts based off of how many days you could go to the gym as well as some other tips.
I hope you enjoyed today’s interview and many thanks to Val for taking time to do it.
I highly encourage you to go to her Busy Mom Gets Fit Facebook page and ‘like’ it. Valerie is constantly posting inspiration quotes, training tips, links to videos, answers to reader’s questions, and recommendations about equipment. I love it and I think you will too.
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