WALKING BY FAITH IS A METAPHOR COMMONLY USED BY CHRISTIANS, but Pew 2 Pavement is putting that metaphor into action while helping Christians lead a more active lifestyle.
“If you look back at our history any big change that comes to from our community starts in the black church, our faith is strong but sometimes our health gets put on the back burner” said Nettye Johnson, founder of Pew 2 Pavement.
When Nettye Johnson wanted to make a change to her health for the better, she joined the popular weight loss program Weight Watchers and began working for the company.
“While there, I noticed not many African Americans were taking the steps towards as healthier lifestyle, and I felt the motivation had to come from a deeper place,” she said.
In January of 2013, Johnson launched Pew 2 Pavement a running club that merges faith and fitness.
Pew 2 Pavement is an eight-week program is designed to support, encourage and equip members of the body of Christ to embrace the discipline of walking and running as an act of worship and stewardship.
“Our faith tells Christians that our body is our temple, yet many of us are not taking the stewardship to treat it as such,” she said.
Johnson incorporates faith into the program by hosting daily devotionals with the group before they begin their weekend runs and encourages them throughout the week in various ways.
“I send out inspirational messages, scriptures, and sometimes YouTube videos to keep everyone in the group motivated throughout the week,”she said.
The group meets Saturday mornings to pray, talk about their progress, and walk and run together.
“Until I made being active a God thing and something bigger than just wanting to look a certain way or be a certain size, I was able to overcome a lot obstacles. This unites (Pew 2 Pavement participants) in a bigger way than a group who comes together to just workout,” she said.
The eight-week program is open to people of all fitness levels and is focused on helping participants develop habits that will lead to an active lifestyle and not just a slimmer waist.
“The focus of the program is to help (participants) create a healthy lifestyle they’ll continue to live once the program is complete,” she said.
As soon as participants begin the program, they work with Johnson to create a list of goals they want to accomplish during the program.
“This is what makes the program unique. I don’t tell participants what to do or how they will look at the end. We sit down and create a list of attainable goals,” she said.
Johnson said she has had a variety of participants who want set goals ranging from weight loss
to just wanting to lay to foundation to a more active lifestyle.
For example, when participant say they can only commit to working out as little as two times a week, she says it is a great first step toward living a healthier life.
“I am trying to help them set up a lifestyle. We would never go a day without brushing our teeth or praying. Why don’t we have the same approach to being active?” she said.
Johnson helps the participants create their own goals that center around their different motivators, body types, and health histories. Giving the participants the ability to create their own program based their on schedule and personal goals shows them that living an active lifestyle is easily sustainable.
As a fitness coach, Johnson said she only makes suggestions on what types of food Pew 2 Pavement participants should eat to reach their fitness goals.
“I help participants set up guidelines for their diets, but only a registered dietitian in Louisiana can create an actual diet for someone,” she said
Johnson also uses the program to introduce the various parks to the participants and the group uses courses at parks throughout Baton Rouge.
“We run in a variety of areas so that participants can learn how to create their own trails and can see there a variety of safe places to run in Baton Rouge,” said Johnson
The next session of Pew 2 Pavement will start in May and registration is now open for those who are interested at pew2pavement.com
“Our health is very important we can pray for good health, but we also have to make sure we’re doing our part” she said.
By Cameron James
City News Manager