By CRISTINA JANNEY
A new gym in Hays offers Christ-focused fitness classes and training.
Inspire Body Mind Spirit opened Monday at 1204A Vine St. in Hays.
Amber Cunningham, 39, owner, has been a fitness trainer for 18 years. She is a 2002 graduate of Fort Hays State University. She was a trainer at the Center for Health Improvement for 10 years and then went out on her own.
She taught classes out of the gym at Celebration Community Church for seven years, and most recently was working out of her home.
She said the first 10 years she trained, all she did was train the body, but then she began to grow in her own faith.
She realized how important it is to not only exercise our bodies, but to get our minds right every single day and feed our spirits, she said.
“At Inspire, what we do is not only exercise the body, but also the mind and the spirit,” she said. “Inspire is built on the foundation of Christ at the heart and center. We are passionate about helping people grow in their faith and their relationship with Jesus Christ through biblical teachings, discussion and prayer.”
Cunningham offers group fitness classes, but those classes are concluded with a 10-minute devotional and then prayer.
“Fitness is about being healthy in body, mind and spirit,” she said. “We are a three-part being — a spirit with a mind, will and emotions, living inside of a body. You can’t exercise one without the other and expect to live a balanced life.
“At Inspire, we are all about healthy bodies, a sound mind and a renewed spirit. Inspire is also about people finding freedom in Christ. Jesus did not just die for our salvation. He came to set us free, and it is the truth that sets us free.”
Cunningham said the devotional time is a time for people to come together and share what is going on in their lives and be real and authentic with one another and help one another in life.
Cunningham said family is the second most important facet of Inspire.
“We understand the importance of putting God first and our families second above anything else,” she said.
She said she hopes to create a space where families can come and get healthy together.
Cunningham’s husband, Eric, 43, participates in fitness classes and also helps lead devotionals.
The Cunninghams have five children, a 21-year-old son who is a student at FHSU; an 18-year-old son, who just joined the Army; and 12-year-old, 5-year-old and 2-year-old daughters.
The Cunninghams offered fitness classes for youth receiving mental health treatment at KVC Hospital in Hays. However, those classes had to be suspended at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amber Cunningham said she hopes to resume those classes when COVID restrictions are lifted.
She also hopes to add youth classes later this fall.
The fitness center offers group classes, as well as individual and group training.
She is offering in-person circuit training classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. Tuesday and Thursdays she is offering 30-minute Zoom classes. Saturday she is offering a boot camp class.
The fitness center is open for scheduled classes and by appointment.
Cunningham said she plans to offer more classes in the fall.
The center is promoting social distancing during in-person classes, and Cunningham has even taken classes outside on nice days to allow for more space between participants.
Some of the center’s equipment includes TRX’s Thera-bands, kettle bells, rowing machines, equalizers, sleds, dumbbells, stability balls, monkey bars, rowers, bikes, med balls, scooters, punching bags, battle ropes and a treadmill.
This month Cunningham is offering a special for $45 per month for all classes. For students, it’s $30 per month. Zoom classes only are $30 per month. You can also pay $7 per class or $15 per week.
Despite an uncertain economic climate and the challenges of COVID-19, Cunningham said she still believes now is the right time to open the fitness center.
“I have been praying and waiting for this for several years, and I felt the time was right, right now,” she said. “I felt the Lord was telling me to do it now, especially in the times we are in right now.
“People are stressed out, fearful. Anxiety’s high. People are walking around depressed and not taking care of their bodies. I think more than ever, people need this. They need not only to exercise their bodies to relieve their stress and get the positive endorphins flowing, but also to be better mentally and physically.”
You can follow Inspire on Facebook or reach Amber by phone at 785-650-7505.