Can I be honest? I was quite bitter when I had to shut down the Bible Study Tips website. I didn’t understand why a work I was doing for the Lord had encountered such opposition. Little did I know that the Lord was closing that door to open new opportunities. The closure of Bible Study Tips forced me to dig deep and discover what else I enjoyed in life outside my faith, which rightly feels all-encompassing at times.
When I got the news about needing to shut down Bible Study Tips, the first thing I did was take a walk around the block. Once I got home, I went for a run. Both activities gave me space to clear my head and decompress from life’s many external pressures.
It was in those moments that I discovered something: exercise and physical activity were my freedom zone. Those moments, however brief or elongated, allowed me to find a world that was all my own.
That got me thinking about my next venture. I brainstormed ideas and that’s what I want to share today. This is nothing concrete. It’s raw (and mildly filtered) thoughts on where I would like to go next on this journey called life. I want to talk to you about an idea called Freedom Zone Fitness.
What is Freedom Zone Fitness?
When I came up with the name Freedom Zone, I dreamed up lots of things it could become. My first inclination was to start a fitness clothing brand. I had the idea in my head of t-shirts with things like “[blank] is my Freedom Zone” with the blank being whatever sport/activity someone participated in. For example, running is my freedom zone. I still like the idea and may do something with it, but I wanted something more. While money is always nice, I was not put in this world to simply make a quick buck. When I wake up each morning I want to add value to people’s lives in some tangible way. So, I kept thinking.
As I brainstormed more, my thoughts drifted toward community. What if I created a community of fitness minded individuals who find freedom in their sports and physical activities, no matter their level of expertise? This could be something that begins online and grows into local clubs and meetups. I liked this idea, and it’s what I’ve been chewing on ever since.
How can I build such a community?
I’ll come back to that, but let’s move to the logo I designed.
Like any good venture or entity, you need a logo.
I had no idea what I wanted for a logo when I first came up with the name. Maybe something super simple, like slightly stylized text. Maybe a full logo, text and all. Who knew? All I knew is this was only an idea and I couldn’t afford to pay someone to design something that may never see the light of day. That led me to istockphoto where I looked up different keywords for inspiration. I then tried different online logo creation sites, most of which presented me with fairly simplistic and templated icons. All of these gave me ideas.
Then, I pulled out my iPad and Apple Pencil, opened Affinity Designer, and started drawing. After about an hour of work I landed on something that looked similar to the finished product. After several days of minor tweaks, I changed the colors, the form and lean of the runner, and even the fonts. Finally, the logo at the beginning of this post is what I landed on.
The Meaning Behind the Logo
Each element of the logo has meaning, so let me explain.
First are the rings or circles. These circles represent heart rate zones. For those in the fitness world, many like to wear heart rate monitors to track the intensity of their workouts. You do this to make sure you’re working out as hard or light as you need to on any given session. For example, my 5k training program is heart rate zone focused, which means I am focused on how fast my heart is beating in addition to working my way up to running a 5k distance. Each ring or circle represents one of the five heart rate zones.
The next element is the runner. When people think of working out, running is one of the first activities that comes to mind. Running is an activity anyone can do without any specialized equipment. The runner is leaning forward as if running a race. Each of us is running our own race trying to reach the finish line. At the same time, there is freedom in this movement, representing the freedom we find in exercise and fitness, as if breaking free from life’s cares.
So, when I think of Freedom Zone Fitness, I picture both heart rate zones and the freedom we find in working out. This freedom is multifaceted. It is freedom of location (such as getting outdoors), as well as freedom from life’s stresses or burdens. At the same time, exercise brings freedom in the form of a holistic approach toward life: mentally, physically, and spiritually.
That is what Freedom Zone Fitness means to me.
I want Freedom Zone Fitness to be a place where anyone can feel welcome. You know, like a Planet Fitness type vibe where everyone is welcome and free from judgment, but without the pizza and doughnuts. In other words, I want it to be a place where novices and experts alike can come together to share their stories and encourage one another.
Truthfully, I don’t know what this looks like. That’s part of why I’m writing this. I want to get the thoughts out of my head. Will it be a community blog that anyone is free to contribute to? How about an online forum where we can all post our thoughts or ask questions? Will it simply be a website that people come to for articles on fitness and holistic living? I don’t know. All I know is I want it to be something that builds community online and offline. But we do enough online as it is, do we really need one more thing to keep us staring at a screen instead of getting out there and experiencing life? Probably not, but the community is important.
Local Clubs & Meetups
The most beneficial aspect of all this is the idea of local clubs and meetups. Running and cycling clubs are already pretty popular. Spokane has a few running clubs, and most of the bike shops have weekly rides. These are great ways to find community and are typically open to all experience levels, but I can also see it as something people are intimidated by. Why? Because they intimidate me on some level because I still feel like I’m in the novice stage of running & cycling. So, I think it’d be nice to create a nationwide or global community that has local meetups, so you can have a group to join no matter where you live or move to in the future, knowing it will be welcoming.
As I write these words, I feel like I’m trying to reinvent the wheel. Who knows. Maybe I am. But maybe it’ll begin with starting my own club locally. I mean, everyone had a reason for starting their club, right? Why not me?
Yeah, the clothing brand remains an idea. I’d love to have gear to wear when I’m out running or cycling. Why? Because it opens doors to talk about what I enjoy. For example, I love wearing my “6+4+3=2” t-shirt from Baseballism because it sparks conversation every time I wear it & I get to talk about my love for baseball. And for those that immediately get it, I know I’ve found a fellow baseball fan. I want to have that same thing happen with Freedom Zone.
Personal Training & Coaching
One of the things I talked about in my switch to Polar was my desire to become a certified personal trainer and running coach. I think this is a natural branching off point for Freedom Zone Fitness. I could use the branding as a means to promote a side hustle that helps others achieve their fitness goals through coaching and training.
A Local Gym or Class
This is dreaming big, but I can also see Freedom Zone becoming a local gym or avenue that offers classes people attend. While attending a discipleship conference last year, I met a pastor whose church meets in the gym he owns in Wisconsin. I thought that was cool and was an idea that stuck with me. He was an ordinary guy who started a gym with a purpose. Why couldn’t I?
So, what’s next (or first) for Freedom Zone Fitness? I don’t know. Like I said, these thoughts are raw and I don’t know where to go with them. All I know is I want to see this community happen. Maybe it begins with the #freedomzone hashtag on Instagram. Or, it could start with the website or forum.
Right now, I’m praying and planning. If you have any thoughts on this feel free to leave a comment, especially if this is a concept you can get behind. In the meantime, look for me to start using the logo & hashtag a bit more as I figure out what it will become.