PUT YOUR HEALTH TO THE TEST
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” – Romans 12:1 (NIV)
“It makes me feel good that FCA cares about it’s people!”
1. Clinical Health Assessment
A clinical assessment is the backbone of any medically effective preventive medicine program. This comprehensive, one-hour assessment provides the individual with a wealth of objective biometric data. The simple testing reveals specific, behavioral and genetic risk factors that could eventually lead to chronic diseases. Many times, the screening process uncovers underlying health issues that require immediate medical follow up. The process includes the following elements:
• Heart Risk Index
• Submaximal Exercise ECG
• Cholesterol [LDL, HDL, Triglycerides and Glucose]
• Body Composition Analysis
• Micro Smokerlyzer
• Low Back Screening
• Flexibility Testing
• Abdominal Fitness Testing
• Upper Body Fitness Testing
• Exercise Prescription
• Personal Profile of Test Results
2. Online Personal Wellness Profile (PWP)
This online health risk appraisal (HRA) uncovers health risks associated with specific lifestyle behaviors and biometric data. Used in conjunction with the Clinical Health Assessments, we can design effective, personal exercise and nutrition programs for each individual.
3. Personalized Exercise and Nutrition Plans
Following the assessments, personalized programs are developed to give people the information and plan they need to improve their health and reach their goals. We utilize the most powerful online nutrition and exercise program tools available.
4. Wellness Lectures
Lectures on a wide range of health topics including nutrition, exercise, sports performance, injury prevention, weight loss and more.
5. Online Health Activity Tracker (HAT)
All FCA staff can track their progress online and earn incentive points as they make healthier choices and reach their fitness goals.
6. Online Wellness Center (OWC)
All FCA staff and their families have access to hundreds of exercise videos and more than 3,000 articles with answers to the most common health issues.
That was a common statement after a week of clinical exercise testing at the FCA World Headquarters in November. This effort, led by the FCA Health & Fitness Ministry, was designed to help our FCA team improve its health so that everyone involved could have the strength and energy necessary to perform at the highest level. FCA President Les Steckel put it best: “We believe that our initiative to serve our people on the front-edge of ministry will define us as an organization that genuinely invests in the personal and professional development of its people.”
By launching the program last May, FCA became the first ministry to develop and implement a comprehensive wellness program, and in doing so, caught the front end of a major trend. In the middle of a health care crisis, companies all across the country are realizing the need to help their people live healthy lives. Business executives realize that having healthy employees is actually good for the bottom line.
For a ministry like FCA, however, it is far more about duty than dollars. We believe that God has called us to honor Him with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And as a sports ministry, we believe that we have an opportunity and obligation to give our best to God—mind, body and spirit— and to display the spiritual disciplines of sacrifice, self-discipline, teamwork and perseverance. And, as athletes and coaches, we recognize that peak performance on the field requires proper conditioning. Peak performance in life requires the same.
FCA Chief Operating Officer Ken Williams agrees. “We believe that this is the right thing to do,” he says. “Our team serves God faithfully in the field every day. Now we have a tangible way to let them know that we care about them and their quality of life. If we save money on our health care costs, we believe that is good stewardship; it will enable us to multiply the ministry in the field.”
So far, more than 150 FCA employees have been tested with universally positive feedback. The first groups to be evaluated were the senior leadership and regional directors. Since then, three field regions
(Lake Michigan, Great Lakes and Northland) also have gone through the fitness testing; and the Health and Fitness Ministry is working to serve all of the regions during the course of the year. These assessments are critical to uncovering potential health risks and establishing a baseline from which to improve. In some cases, the results can be life-saving.
Ron Frank, Lake Michigan Regional Director, put it this way: “As a leader, I feel challenged to pour into my staff—to help them be as healthy as possible spiritually, physically, emotionally, relationally—in all
aspects of life.” Frank’s was the first region to participate after the leadership team.
The goal of the Health and Fitness Ministry, ultimately, is to create a culture of wellness in which our FCA team enjoys the full life that Jesus came to offer (John 10:10). We have incorporated exercise and nutrition principles into our new staff training and work one-on-one with staff to achieve their health goals.
Mark Gassman, Senior Vice President of Field Ministry, already sees a big difference at the Home Office and in the regions that have completed the testing. “Before the testing, candy bars, pizza and cookies were common,” says Gassman. “Now, they are replaced by fresh fruit and vegetables. Our team is already making great progress. Many have lost weight and just feel so much better. The changes are obvious.”
Exercise and proper nutrition affect mood, mental focus, weight, immune system function and even decision-making! God created food for our bodies to give us energy, sustain life, prevent disease and facilitate healing. As we incorporate key health practices into everyday life, we are more prepared for challenges; and when we build on a foundation of living for Christ, we maintain the right motives.
There is a significant interest and need for health, fitness and wellness solutions within FCA. Ron Backes, who serves with the coaches ministry in Minnesota, offered his viewpoint: “It’s important for staff in sports ministry to be aware of their health and fitness level and to have a plan to maintain or improve.” And since we apply biblical principles and sound science, these programs are proving to be very effective.
As the ministry grows, we also look to expand and serve other ministry leaders (church and para-church) and coaches, which are two groups that often struggle with health issues due to long hours and job stress.
It is exciting to see real life-change occurring, knowing that our team will be able to serve with great energy and endurance. Knowing that the leaders of the organization genuinely care about the health
of our team is even better.
|FCA Staff Respond:|
“This was a great experience overall! It is such a blessing to have leadership that is concerned with our health. This program has definitely raised my awareness about physical health!”
– Emily Arnone, FCA Ministry Services, Kansas City, Mo.
“I appreciate the concern of FCA and their intentional desire to provide an opportunity for this health and fitness assessment. I now have more specific goals and plans to improve in several areas.”
– Randy Jensen, FCA Multi-Area Director, Minnesota
“We had a great time with the fitness assessments! It was encouraging to actually see that the hard work of physical training pays off with a healthy heart and good blood pressure.”
– Jill Ewert, STV Editor, Kansas City, Mo.
“Providing the assessment for our staff is just one way of showing how we much we value them and their commitment to Christ. Jimmy and the Cardio-Kinetics staff did a great job of assessing and encouraging. Because of their consultation, many of our staff have enhanced or developed wellness plans for themselves and their family members. The Health and Fitness staff greatly blessed us, and we are very grateful for their time and care.”
– Al Schierbaum, Regional Director, Great Lakes Region
To support this part of the FCA Ministry or for additional information, please contact Jimmy Page at the FCA Health & Fitness ministry office: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit fcahealthandfitness.org.
Medical Disclaimer: All information in his article is of a general nature and is furnished for your knowledge and understanding only. This information is not to be taken as medical or other health advice pertaining to your specific health and medical condition. Always consult a physician or health professional before beginning any exercise or nutrition program.
*For more stories about faith and sport, visit www.sharingthevictory.com, the official magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.