Pass down the aisle of any store that sells magazines and books, scan the shelves and you’re sure to find on the cover of any publication a picture of a woman wearing a two-piece bikini or some other scanty outfit.The woman on the cover projects a picture-perfect image, the virtually flawless shape, the look that would make other women envious.
If the one beholding the picture isn’t careful, she can make the false assumption that a picture-perfect body, or stunningly beautiful appearance, is synonymous with an inner beauty and a healthy self-esteem.
“Being healthy is more than what you physically look like,” warns 42-year-old Shannon Hills, a Richardson, Texas-based certified personal trainer and exercise instructor. “Let us not assume that because someone is skinny, it means they’re healthy – (either) physically or holistically.
“And that’s what Christ wants, for us to be healthy holistically,” says Hills, owner of Spirit & Body in Motion, a Word-based physical fitness business that she launched in March and aims to minister to women through exercising.
Hills, a member of North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship church in suburban Richardson, says the Lord Jesus has given her the charge to offer a service to women that builds them up from the inside out.
“The company made a conscientious decision to have a spirit, mind, body approach, which means that the most important element of one’s fitness awareness is the spiritual health,” says Hills, who operates her business in her home gym. “Mental and emotional is second in terms of being healthy. And then your physical health – your body – is third.”
Hills uses scriptures as the foundation for what she does and she says that healing and restoration in every area of a woman’s life are obtained when a workout regimen goes hand-in-hand with studying and meditating on the Bible.
“In God’s Word, He tells us that our bodies are the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells and that we should treat our bodies in a way that is pleasing to Him,” explains Hills, a four-time abdominal surgery patient. “So that’s the foundation for it, in terms of why eating right and being physically active is scriptural.”
One of Hills favorite scriptures is 1st Corinthians 3:6, which says, “I planted, Appollos watered, but God gave the increase.”
“The reason that scripture means so much to me is because when someone loses weight or gets in shape, they always give the credit to someone else,” Hills says. “So, whether it is someone losing weight, and it’s (related to) Oprah’s diet book or whether it’s Taebo, the whole point I’m trying to make is that when people are successful, they always want to give credit some place else other than God.
“Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord,” Hills says, paraphrasing James 1:17. “Ultimately, God deserves the credit.”
Hills also has a Web site, http://www.spiritbodymotion.com, where women of all ethnicities can go to learn more about the service she provides. On that Web link, women can actually click on a section and watch Hills as she introduces herself. There’s also video footage of Hills exercising, and women are encouraged to workout while watching the video.
She also teaches a class called Gospel Aerobics!, which uses contemporary gospel music and inspirational tunes. Bible verses are infused throughout to encourage and motivate women to “press on toward the goal”. The class is 60 minutes and includes cardio, resistance training and stretching.
In addition, Hills does personal training workshops, which aim to minister to women who have long shied away from lifting weights because they’re not familiar with them.
Her four-week personal training class shows women step by step how to safely use weight-bearing equipment to strengthen their muscles and tone their bodies. Classes meet one day per week for one and a half hours and are available for groups of three to five persons.
Hills also does an assessment of interested women’s current fitness levels (cardiovascular, strength and flexibility) and provides customized exercise plans. The assessment can be videotaped for easy recall and fitness instruction. Assessment includes a one-and-a-half-hour session and two customized exercise plans.
Hills has an exercise motto that she holds dear to her heart.
“Get fit for God’s glorification, not the world’s adoration, and He’ll give you beauty beyond your expectations,” she says.
Women have the option of working out at Hills’ home gym in Richardson, a Dallas suburb, or at their home church.
It’s been said that whatever God delivers a person from becomes that person’s testimony, that person’s ministry. Hills definitely has a personal story that ministers to women.
The four abdominal surgeries Hills had were related to gynecological issues for fibroid tumors. At age 29, she had a hysterectomy that followed two prior surgeries to remove fibroids.
“It was extremely, emotionally painful because I always wanted kids,” Hills says.
She had her fourth surgery at age 39 to remove her ovaries as a result of the cysts.
“Painful, emotionally, again, because at 39 my body was forced into premature menopause,” she says.
“But God is able!” she declares.
Hills has never had weight loss surgery or plastic surgery.
“My weight has been relatively consistent my whole life,” Hills says. “I was heavier in high school and throughout my 20s. But in my 30s, I slimmed down due to eating a better diet.”
For more information about Spirit, Mind & Body, and its services, or to book Hills for speaking engagements or workshops at your church, conference or business, visit the website or call Hills at (214) 552-5513.