swHw Stories: fitbook + faith

y’all,* can i just say how honored i am to be given the opportunity to share a little part of my heart with my fellow she works HIS way members?   but before i get on my pixelated pulpit, i want to first introduce myself. my name is angela + i started my business, fitlosophy, nearly 10 years ago with just one single product: fitbook. since then, it’s grown into a complete line of healthy lifestyle products that now grace the shelves of stores like target + walgreens, as well as online through our website + amazon. our mission is simple: create innovative products + programs that uniquely inspire people to live life fit. but this isn’t a story about me. it’s a tiny tale of how God has used one girl’s struggle to positively change the lives of thousands of people all around the world.

[an excerpt: an example of God’s recent goodness in my business.]

i am a lot of things. respectful of differences. disturbed by inequality. informed on truth. and aware of reality. but there is one thing that i am not: silenced by popular opinion. so often we either cower to avoid giving offense or do the opposite – speak out with disregard or disrespect. but i would argue that there’s mellower middle that still moves the needle. admittedly, i sit back and observe at times, because frankly, i’ve found that quiet kindness changes more hearts than combat. but as of late, i’ve opted to step out in faith, be bold + in kindness share a little piece of my heart (now babayyy). sorry, had to.

rewind: when i had a tug on my heart, oh probably 3 years ago, to create this new product that blended faith + fitness, you can imagine that it was pretty far outside my comfort zone. i mean, who am i?

i love this quote from my friends at good news feed that challenged me to my very core:

“God uses the unlikely to do the unthinkable.”

whoa. like, mind blown. before you sit there and think just for one moment, “yeah, but…” [fill-in-the-blank] trust me, my qualifications for this are nil. sure, i went to sunday school, perfectly primped in my can-can + black patent-leather shoes, complete with pigtails. and yes, i read the Bible because it’s the bomb – but i heavily rely on my little tabbies that tell me where to find the books and i’m so not one of those who can rattle off scripture on-demand. so who am i to preach with my history of multiple eating disorders and former president-of-the-perfectionist club title, with a dandy divorce under her belt??

who am i?

well, let me tell you: i am a child of God.

in fact, who am i NOT to?
who better to?

what i’ve found in my sometimes-wobbly walk with God, is that He doesn’t call the prepared – but rather, He prepares the called. like this is the Guy that hung out with prostitutes + tax collectors (apparently, they weren’t well-liked back then either) and the poor and the misfits. let’s be real: Jesus could’ve dined with dignitaries, but chose to slum it with the sinners. just to clarify, i’m not self-identifying as an aforementioned lady-of-the-night here or anything, but we all have our own laundry list of sins. and this world wants us to stay in that place, feeling shame for our past.

but here’s what i know from personal experience: God isn’t concerned with my past – but He’s extremely interested in my future. in fact, i’ve found that He’s allowed immense amounts of pain in my life because with Him and through Him, He’s transformed those struggles into my strengths; turned pain into my purpose. see, that’s the amazing thing about the God that we serve. i don’t have to be perfect because i’m saved daily by His grace. i don’t have to have it all together because His mercies are new every day. but why-oh-why would this matter to me? or furthermore, to my business?

in a church service spring of last year, may 21st, 2017 to be exact, God used the sermon to nudge me toward action. the message was this: so often we allow our pain to become our prison; it literally holds us captive from living the life that we’re created for. but this is where God comes in. if we allow Him to work in our hearts, He can use our pain to serve as a platform to live out our purpose. but not for us to perch on-high for worldly praise – but for His glory.  literally, in my journal that day at church i wrote: “launch faith journal in october.” so, i was like 1 month late, launching in november. (i blame boats for not sailing fast enough. or that i procrastinated. or both.)

two days after that message, i took action. i sketched, doodled + designed the vision that had come to me so clearly after years of not knowing what this might look like. my first step before any of that: i sought counsel. emailing my long-time friend, michelle myers, founder of she works His way, i basically said, “it’s go time.”  we literally met virtually (vis-à-vis social media) back in 2010. i reached out after reading her book “the look that kills,” and since then we’ve become business buddies + prayer partners who have collaborated umpteen times to bring Truth to an industry inundated with lies that our worth is connected to our worldly bod. and here’s the kicker: to this day, we’ve still never met in-person. like i would go to the ends of the earth for this girl, and the only fist-bump we’ve exchanged is in emoji-form. how strange + yet awesome is that?

what would follow were months of calls, drafts, prayers, texts, and even a few tears as she gently guided me in creating and collaborating on the development of our latest product to launch: the fitspiration faith + fitness journal. for so many years, i compartmentalized my faith into this tidy little bucket over in one corner – that’s where i would toss in my to-dos of going to church, reading the Bible, going to life group. yay me, checking off the goody-goody list! (except when i didn’t.) and then over in a completely opposite corner were my healthy obsessions, like my fitness, clean-eating, and my physical appearance – which in and of themselves aren’t bad – except that’s not what God wants.  He wants oneness with us. do you ever think, “well, why would God care about my fitness? isn’t it kinda vain?” without Him, yes – it can be. not always, but it was for me more often than i care to admit. or, “is God really concerned with what i munched for brunch?” yes, in fact He is…because you’re His. and anything that brings you closer (or takes you further away) from Him matters deeply. and that includes our fitness, our food, and even (actually, especially) our goals. what challenged me to the very core, was the fact that i was spending hours planning workouts, fitting in a sweat sesh + prepping food, yet when it came to time with God, days would go by where i was “too busy” to spend purposeful time in prayer or block off time with the Bible.

this changed immensely once i started using my fitspiration journal (our top-selling gratitude-meets-fitness journal), which has Scriptures sprinkled in here + there, but it’s not faith-focused. it includes a daily prompt to track health + gratitude, which for me was always a reflection of God’s blessing on my life. then i noticed something: the right-hand side of the page was always a prayer and a little doodled-design of a verse. then i started seeing pic after pic on instagram by our faithful followers also using this space for scriptures.  fast-forward six months and ta-da: the tool that we designed to provide you with a specific space for daily grace, gratitude + #soulgoals.  here’s what i love: it’s a real + raw way to dial in your healthy disciplines to tend to the very temple that God gave us, while first focusing on the Father.

our earthly bods are a gift from God, so being healthy isn’t just physical – it’s a spiritual discipline. what better way to honor our Creator than tending our temple with daily fitness, nourishing our bods with healthy fuel + setting goals that glorify Him?

[end excerpt]

choosing to launch this faith-based product was something God put on my heart, yes. and we (team effort, here people, with your “purpose police’” miss michelle, being an all-too-humble-yet-very-vital contributor) worked our tails off to bring it to reality. but watching what God did with it has been nothing short of phenomenal. as michelle says, “God takes our efforts + multiplies them beyond our capabilities.” a few fun facts behind this literal leap of faith that i’ve yet to share (‘til now):

  • michelle came down with strep throat + i was in urgent care the day before we were scheduled to do a facebook live to launch this product together. as she always reminds me: “the devil is a punk.”
  • the morning of our facebook live, we started nearly 30 minutes late because of technical difficulties – like, the button to add michelle to the facebook live WITH me (as planned) was not anywhere to be seen. with michelle’s sweet nudge via text, she encouraged me that going solo was what God wanted, so i went live without her where i proceeded to ugly-cry with hundreds (and ultimately thousands) of viewers watching. after gaining my composure, i fumbled along still with tears in my eyes as i shared my heart and the why behind creating our first faith-driven product. in my ten years in business, i’ve never once felt so vulnerable + raw + exposed. and it was exactly where God wanted me – because it’s in our weakness that He is strong.
  • i personally received countless direct messages, texts, emails + blog comments from friends, fitbookers + followers who were felt comfortable enough to share how something i said impacted their heart for God. it astounds me even still how He used my feeble + (what i saw as) failed attempt at a “perfect” product launch to ultimately point all the glory back to Him. had it gone as planned, it would’ve been another “yay, look at fitlosophy go.” instead of “look at God go!” trust me, there was nothing “yay angela” about my mascara-stained cheeks! but God used that to touch others in ways that have zero to do with me. zilch.
  • the launch of our fitspiration faith + fitness journal set a company record for grossing the highest 1-day sales on our website in the history of the business.

my goal in giving you a glimpse into my heart + my business is simple: to bring Him the glory; to remind us all that none of this is worthwhile if we don’t allow Him to use our struggles to show His strength; and share what it looks like to be bold + step out in faith even when your business is in the “secular” space. for me though, it doesn’t matter whether we’re running ministries or multi-million-dollar organizations. it’s all from Him + for Him.

“it is more blessed to give than to receive.” [acts 20:35]

lastly, allow me to brag on the heart of your founder. not only would this product never have been possible without her counsel + contribution, but i’m beyond grateful for her prayer over this project throughout the entire process. that is just part of the reason why $1 from the sale of each fitspiration faith + fitness journal is joyfully given to she works HIS way to further their mission of supporting business-minded, Jesus-loving women in their walk with Christ + serving others.

faithfully yours,
angela
founder + chief fitlosopher

*p.s. i intentionally write in lowercase. it’s a brand thing and it drives some people + partners bonkers. but for me, it’s been a constant reminder that HE > i. that no matter what He chooses to do with this business, it’s not ever about little ol’ me. and p.s. i’ve never shared my why behind my ‘life in lowercase’ before, so consider this a she works His way insider exclusive.

By | 2018-02-16T09:31:49+00:00 February 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on swHw Stories: fitbook + faith

About the Author:

Angela Mader, is the founder and chief fitlosopher at fitlosophy. What was once her own personal battle has evolved into her passion for positively influencing the lives of others. Born and raised in Colorado, Angela is a graduate of CU-Boulder, holds an MBA from UC-Irvine, and has certifications in personal training and fitness nutrition. She is a self-proclaimed goal guru, motivational speaker, and type-A entrepreneur who thrives on creating products that matter, is driven by her God-given purpose, and powered by insane amounts of coffee.