Robertson County friends Callie Daruk and Erin Allen were tired of being fat, they said, so they decided to dance.
To work out via dance, that is — a commitment they made last fall to team up for one solid month, each day, on a quest to shed some unwanted pounds.
But as they kicked it into high gear following dance-video workouts on the web, the two friends, who had met through a discipleship group months earlier, quickly realized that their 30-day commitment to address the “discomfort and disdain” for their bodies, by exercising together and eating healthier and more sensibly, had blossomed into a much bigger vision.
The goal became about transforming themselves not just on the surface but on the inside as well — striving toward a change that would not only better their lives, but give glory to God through their bodies, they said.
“We talk as women about how there is so much pressure to clean the outside of our bodies and make it appear beautiful, when the inside is rotting away,“ said Daruk, who recalled a time years back when she had lost a lot of weight.
Daruk said the problem, despite that weight loss, was she had never really changed her viewpoint of herself — recalling how others had depicted or spoken of her negatively or just the mental struggles of simply dealing with the issues she had faced in life.
Allen and Daruk realized that to really feel better, a transformation “inside and out” was key.
With that in mind, they proceeded to do something about it — not just for themselves, but for other women desiring the same thing.
Today, that vision is called Dig Deeper Fitness.
It’s a Christian ministry, of sorts, that’s open to ladies of all ages, where the goal is to exercise for better health, but be transformed in their hearts and minds, too.
“We know the battle of carrying physical weight and mental weight, and it gets heavy alone,” said Allen, who explained she’s dealt with her own set of struggles and bitterness. “If you focus on one, but neglect the other, you are doing a disservice to yourself.”
The ladies lead two classes weekly, one at Denson Hall at 7 p.m. on Thursdays at Coldstream Christian Camp in Adams. The other is held at Springfield Baptist Church’s Old Fellowship Hall on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. The classes are free.
Currently, around 10-12 women attend on average, they said, for just over an hour at each session.
Attendees initially gather in an informal setting as part of a seven-minute devotional focused on different topics that apply to women. They use Biblical scripture as the foundation of the session, according to Daruk, noting “that we truly believe it has the power to transform hearts and minds.”
The group then engages in a time of sharing and open discussion, followed by prayer.
It’s during this portion of the community class that Daruk and Allen say is dedicated to helping ladies with that inward transformation they speak of, and women come “hungry” for just such a thing.
“We have gone way over sometimes,” said Allen, noting that discussion and devotion have occasionally gone past the time allotted. “A lot of times, transformational work from the inside-out takes time.”
Shortly thereafter, the ladies prepare by doing warm-up stretches for their pending dance fitness workout. Then they kick it into high gear with dance exercises, done strictly to Christian music.
“The music and dancing to secular music troubled our hearts. How can we do this in a way that honored God and ourselves?” Daruk recalled. “We asked ourselves: “how we can do a fast-paced, dance workout to Christian music? How fun would it be to see this room filled with women dancing to Christian music?”
The two said they’ve easily developed routines — to approximately 16 different tunes to-date. But Daruk is clear that attendees are sure to break a sweat and potentially feel sore from the workout the next day.
“It’s so uplifting,” said Dawn Pitts, of Adairville, Ky., who attends Dig Deeper Fitness. “It like renews you. It gives you new energy to continue on with the week. Sometimes, when it’s over, we don’t want to leave.”
Allen and Daruk agree that Dig Deeper Fitness is about way more than just seeing the numbers drop when they step on a weight scale.
It’s about striving to be healthier inside and out, which in the end, gives honor to God by taking care of the “temple’ He created, according to Allen.
They said the entire goal — eating healthier, exercising and working on an internal transformation — is an act of worship in itself.
Daruk noted that King David, who is referenced in the Holy Bible, danced before God in worship, and the ladies in class are told from the minute they walk into class to the moment they leave, that what they are doing is also an “act of worship.”
“It’s just an encouragement,” said Christine Apple of Springfield, another Dig Deeper Fitness attendee. “It’s not like any other exercise class. We look forward to coming and worshiping the Lord while exercising.”
The response to the class, coupled with the cause itself, has expanded Dig Deeper Fitness into yet another level. It is now working with the ladies’ discipleship group, also deemed “Dig Deeper,” — the one in which Allen and Daruk met — to bring a women’s day conference to the area, according to Daruk.
Titled, “Beholding His Glory,” the conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 8 at Coldstream Christian Camp, 4730 Goodman Rd. in Adams.
The event is free and can accommodate up to 100 ladies.
It will focus on teaching women to “behold God’s glory in the many beautiful roles women serve,” Daruk said.
Participants will engage in worship, break-out sessions and group activities; enjoy skits and speakers; and participate in a workout session by Dig Deeper Fitness.
And as far as their weekly Dig Deeper Fitness classes, Daruk and Allen both say the mindset is to show up each week, even if they never lose another pound.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter what, God is worthy of showing up for,” Allen said of the program. “He is worthy of our best and to glorify on our good days and bad days. The numbers falling off the scale and the numbers adding on the scale...He is worthy.”
For more information about Dig Deeper Fitness, go to Dig Deeper Fitness on Facebook.
To register for the “Beholding His Glory” women’s day conference, go to www.calliedaruk.com to register.