By Susan LeDoux
You could say God wired Rosalind Walker, owner of Victory Fitness, to help others become good stewards of their spirits, souls and bodies.
“My parents got tired of me jumping around and wanted to channel my energy.”
They enrolled her in Bright Raven Gymnastics at age three, and by her teen years, Walker was competing successfully in high school. Her choice to attend the University of Notre Dame bestowed a dual major (economics and computer applications). Its Division I sports program included a gymnastics component that she described as “more of a social club.” Both her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame and her master’s degree in entrepreneurship from the University of Rochester, have served her well as she moved from the corporate world (Kodak, Harris Electronics, Xerox) to developing her business in 2002.
Walker began teaching fitness classes at Sandy Arena’s dance studio. Eventually the two separated to follow the paths the Lord had prepared for each — Arena to focus on dance and Walker to take over the studio for fitness classes. Her business, Victory Fitness, officially kicked off in 2010.
Now you know the who, what, when, how, and why of her story. The “where” is a completely different ball game, indeed, a unique business model. I interviewed Walker at Valley Manor, the lovely senior complex on East Avenue in Rochester, NY. As we sat in its well-tended garden, Walker told how she had just given a class for some of the residents. She said her older clients are consistent in their goals and attendance, and as an instructor who works out along with her class, she experiences less wear and tear on her own body.
She discovered that the mobile business model — teaching classes at various locations — eliminated studio overhead costs.
“Now I contract directly with organizations and go to their sites, working smarter and not harder.”
According to her website, www.VictoryFitnessROC.com , Walker “teaches to a variety of populations outside the mainstream fitness classes, including youth, senior citizens, and the physically and mentally challenged.”
Monroe Community Hospital’s Center for Lifetime Wellness, Anthony Jordan Center, Faith Temple Church, and New Life Ministries are just a few of her mobile training sites.
Walker said that even when she was a young Christian she noticed that many fine, godly people were seriously overweight. It occurred to her that God expects us to care for the bodies he gave us.
“We speak about part of the fruit of the spirit that is self-control, and we pray for types of addictions, but people don’t include food addictions. Some people have addictions and don’t want to confess to it. We tend to apply the Word in one place in our lives, but not in others.”
Walker applies 1st Corinthians 10:13 to her work. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
“We can apply that and walk in those ways out. Some people may have to stop watching so much cable TV and do something active. Go to Core Life instead of Burger King, or at Burger King get the veggie burger.”
Her First Place for Health class, a program that started in Houston, Texas, teaches people to place Christ first in everything, and that includes fitness and weight loss. The program combines Bible study, fitness, accountability, an eating plan, and journaling, so people stick to their goals. Her own spin on the 1½ hour class includes:
- a 30 minute Bible study
- a wellness session on a health topic (such as reading food labels)
- the workout.
Walker said working with Christians, especially in churches, makes her a stickler about the lyrics to the fast tempo music that accompanies workouts. She found when she ordered music on line, there was always that one song she felt she could not play, or she would try to talk over questionable lyrics. Finally, she decided to use her favorite Christian artists and create her own nixes with the ideal tempo and rhythms necessary. They have become quite popular, with orders from around the world.
Other classes include Pilates, KidFit, Zumba, step aerobics, Hula Hoop (her favorite), double-dutch jump rope, kickboxing and more. She does offer Yoga, but understands the Christian’s concerns about it. She described her experience with Yoga as a teen in gym class.
“The teacher had students salute to the sun, and even as a teen, young in the faith, I never felt comfortable with that.” She has seen Yoga classes where they get into a form of white witchcraft, out of body experiences, and New Age or Hindu elements.
“Some folks really want a Yoga class, and if they don’t hear the word yoga, they may not do it. I stick to the names of the positions and avoid the spiritual things.”
She prefers Pilates, which was first developed in the 1920’s to keep dancers fit and has since been modified for the public.
Because of her educational background, she especially enjoys her “Kid Fit” parties, where she combines math and science with exercise for the children.
“When we’re doing certain things, I’ll say ‘Put your legs at a right angle… straight angle with your arms… 90 degrees… hold your spine perpendicular to the floor.’”
Over the years, Walker has been active in many ministries, but her two passions remain “helping people be good stewards of their body and their finances – the two hardest areas for many people.”
If you feel called to take better care of yourself, Victory Fitness is ready to walk, jump, or jog along side you on your quest.