By Tom Wilson, Fitness Coach

I enjoy training athletes because I like watching their hard work pay off during competition. But lately my enjoyment has come from the pulpit and not the athletic arena. Does anyone else just love watching our Pastor Rick come out on stage with a big smile on his face, his arms up in the air and full of energy to serve God? I love seeing that energy knowing how hard he’s been working to get it. Most of you just see the end result…a slimmed down pastor with more energy. So this week I was asked to share with you just how dedicated our pastor is to reaching his goals and the type of workouts he’s been doing to get there.

Prior to The Daniel Plan, we would schedule 5 days a week hoping to get 2-3 workouts in. With his schedule and “pastoral emergencies” it’s tough for him to always find the time to train. Now we’re pretty much on call 6 days a week. He’s even started working out after the weekend services. We do a pool workout after the last Saturday evening service and a gym workout after the Sunday services. These workouts help him to relax and unwind from all the emotions that go into the preparation and delivery of our weekly message.  He’s able to sleep better after the Saturday services and have more energy for his off day after the Sunday services. Maybe some of you could use the same approach to relax and unwind after your strenuous day at the office!

There are 3 different routines that we alternate between:


I would guess this is probably his favorite. We use webbed gloves, rubber tubing and other water workout tools to provide resistance in addition to the water itself. We mimic the same movements you see in a gym, only it’s all done while in the pool. This is a great workout as it keeps the heart rate elevated and provides resistance to the muscles throughout a full range of motion. It also allows for deeper squats and lunges as the water removes some of the stress our bodyweight places on the joints. Your knees may not be able to handle running on land but you’d most likely be able to run in water. This workout consists of 2 sets of a series of combination movements performing anywhere from 25-100 repetitions. The number of repetitions we do is determined by his energy levels that day. The total workout time is one hour followed by some neck strengthening exercises and stretching.


This workout is without a doubt his least favorite. I know this because he tells me most every time we do it! But it’s also one of the most effective at shedding body fat because it allows me to keep his heart rate right where it needs to be throughout the entire workout. For this workout we use dumbbells, wrist weights and a variety of rubber tubing to provide resistance all while walking at various speeds and inclines on the treadmill.  With this routine we go by time and not repetitions. For example, he’ll do a chest press with tubing for 1 minute followed by 30 seconds of rest. During the rest periods he stays on the treadmill and continues to walk. Then he’ll do another exercise for 1 minute followed by 30 seconds of rest and so on. This workout is pretty intense so the treadmill part is around 40 minutes. The rest of the hour is spent on a mixture of abdominal work and stretching.


This is a more common workout done in my gym with weight machines and free weights. The routines vary but the format is consistent and one you should follow as well.

We do a series of 5-8 exercises moving from one exercise to the next with very little rest between sets. This allows us to keep the heart rate up throughout the entire workout. 15-20 repetitions are performed on each exercise. This segment of the workout is followed by 1-2 minutes on the treadmill at a high speed and incline to spike the heart rate. We’ve been referring to this as a “burst” since the beginning of The Daniel Plan.

Once we’ve obtained the desired “spike rate,” the treadmill is stopped and a set of abdominal exercises are done to allow the heart to return to the desired training rate. This procedure is repeated with varying exercises for a full hour. Some days he gets the DMS treatment after his workout. DMS stands for deep muscle stimulation and is a tool I use to relax the muscles and get rid of knots that may be interfering with function. He loves this as do most all the people I work with!


Some results are more obvious than others. We can all see the weight loss and the increased energy. But there are so many other positive benefits that often get overlooked. Our pastor is way more flexible that he was when we first started…and I mean “way!” The stretching we do with every workout has helped to eliminate years of back pain he used to put up with. The specific neck stretching and strengthening exercises have helped to eliminate re-occurring headaches. He’s gotten a lot stronger and his balance is much improved. When we first started he had to take rest breaks throughout the workout. Now he goes from one exercise to the next showing that his recovery rate and both muscular and cardiovascular endurance are vastly improved. Overall, he says he hates missing workouts because he just feels so much better when he’s able to get them in.

Years ago when we first started working together he signed a copy of The Purpose Driven Life for me. He wrote, “Thanks for helping me get in shape to serve God.” To me, that’s what this quest for health is all about!