The renovated Finnegan Fieldhouse opened to the public on Monday. As well as boasting a new look and state-of-the-art fitness facility, Franciscan University of Steubenville’s gym will be the first university to work in full partnership with a world-renowned fitness training organization.
David Jack, a leading sports performance and conditioning coach and ActivPrayer co-founder, said Catholics can incorporate prayer in order to help create a more fulfilling, motivated and inspired attitude toward fitness.
“Inspired action dedicated to intentions greater than self,” said Jack at the opening ceremony. “Eight simple words, but such a profound idea. We want people to find the balance between action that makes sense and intentions that are powerful.”
Franciscan’s new fitness facility will work in full partnership with ActivPrayer by encouraging students to incorporate ActivPrayer’s philosophy into their workouts.
This philosophy, said Jack, is contrasting to the media’s, which spreads a message of working out and exercising for self and the idea of looking better. The object of ActivPrayer is to offer up a specific intention, or intentions, for a workout session and making it others-driven as opposed to self-driven.
“We just hope that (the program) teaches students that they can use the gym as a way that inspires themselves and helps them to help others,” said Jack. “The beautiful thing about the program (is) there is no set goal. It’s your own intention, your divine, authentic intention.”
Following his talk, Jack and the university fitness staff invited those in attendance to participate at one of the many new exercise stations. University personal trainers were present at each station to teach proper form and technique.
Some of the available workout stations were jump rope areas, kettle bell instruction, and weight training.
Student personal trainer Mallory Garthwaite said, “We hope that all students, especially those who have never been excited to workout, will embrace ActivPrayer and that it will bring them back to the gym.”
“We’re here as trainers to serve the students and meet them where they are,” Garthwaite continued. “We want to help them grow in all aspects of themselves – in mind, body and spirit – through fitness.”
Rory O’Brien, a leader of student personal trainers, said all personal trainers are working to incorporate the idea of ActivPrayer with each client they work with.
“We want to help facilitate intentions,” O’Brien said, “and also teach correct form and help in areas they’re working on – kind of a combined personal trainer and accountability buddy.”
He also emphasized that personal trainers are available at no cost to all students and that he encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunity.
Franciscan psychology professor Stephen Samut, with the assistance of the fitness team, will be conducting a research study regarding the impact of ActivPrayer on the student body.