Rosary Workout - The Hurdle to Getting Off My Duff by Sarah Reinhard


workout-coverExercise seems to be the goal I can’t meet. (Well, it’s in fine company with cooking and cleaning, but let’s deal with one thing at a time, shall we?) I know I need to exercise. I don’t need to lose weight, but I do need to become intentionally active.   I’ve been battling it — trying and giving up, repeat — and, at some point last year, I actually sent up some prayers asking for divine help.

I have found that help. It’s called The Rosary Workout, by Peggy Bowes.

When I first read it, it was but an e-book, but now Peggy has a hard copy book too, and it’s perfect if you share my ailment known as Exercise Procrastination.

“I did not want my exercise program to be yet another entry on the crowded list of quick-fix, instant-result workout plans,” Peggy shares. “Instead, I decided to create a plan that would help a person improve both physically and spiritually.  This is not a multi-tasking prayer-and-exercise plan, but rather an integrated approach to taking care of the body and soul together.”

There are five parts, and I’ve included links to sample pages (which open as PDF documents):

* Part I – a summary of the Rosary, its history, the significance of Rosary prayers, and its power as an intercessory prayer. See a sample page.

* Part II – an introduction to the concept of the Rosary as the School of Mary and the importance of Mary’s role as advocate and teacher, the Nine Choirs of Angels and their significance in Rosary prayer. See a sample page.

* Part III – an explanation of the scientific principles of exercise that are the foundation for the workouts and great information on nutrition and hydration. See a sample page.

* Part IV – the preparation to begin the workouts, including suggestions on how to start and commit to The Rosary Workout™ and how to handle setbacks. See a sample page.

* Part V – the workouts, divided into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels, with graphics to explain the workout instructions. See a sample Intermediate Level workout.

My problem in the past has been a combination of time and motivation. I think I’ve found motivation in a way I never looked for it before: through my favorite prayer (though, admittedly, the hardest one I have to pray).  I love that Peggy encourages readers to keep a journal that includes not only details about each workout, but also details about spiritual things.  Did you go to Confession?  Have you been struggling?  Do you have a special intention?

Tying my physical and spiritual health together in such a tangible way feels right in a way that excites me, that makes me, for once, WANT to work out.

Would you like a copy of The Rosary Workout? Well, sure you would, but we have something even better…Peggy has generously offered to design a personal workout and 4-week healthy eating plan in addition to donating a book.

To enter, share your biggest exercise challenge before next Friday, July 2, 2010. We will share the plan, along with some general notes about the case (identifying and intimate details will be removed) in a future column here at

Copyright 2010 Sarah Reinhard


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


  1. This sounds SO AMAZING! My issue is so clearly “time.” I work outside the home and have two sons, and a husband who often works evenings and has a variable schedule, so there is never a schedule I can keep when I know he will be there to watch the children. I feel that if I could attend a class, or at least have set days and times when I exercise, I would stand a better chance, but I’ve not been successful “winging it” or squeezing it in when the opportunity presents.

  2. My biggest challenge to exercise is time. During the summer, it’s not a problem, but in the Spring I was in my last semester of grad school. On top of class work, I also had my capstone (thesis) project to finish. It was a difficult time but everything worked out in the end and I was able to graduate! 🙂

  3. This is exactly what I have been searching for.
    My greatest problem is mind/body integration. If I feel I am on-track in my spiritual life, truly remaining focused on Christ and the BVM as my example, then I struggle with exercise (almost as if I think of it as ‘worldly’). If I am really on-track with my workouts, then I begin to notice myself being more worldly and vain–trying to be more fit to be better than others, comparing myself to other women my age, reading workout magazines that have a lot of garbage in them in addition to the good stuff, and generally beginning to regard my worth in terms of looks.
    I just have a hard time figuring out how to make exercise part of my holiness mindset, which is why I am so pleased to read about this post!

  4. “Time” would be an easy excuse for me, but frankly, if I can find time to watch Dr. Who or look at Facebook umpteenth million times, I have no leg to stand on.

    Motivation is my kicker. I have never liked to exercise. Even in the Air Force, when my career depended on it, I would depend on my friends to make me get out there and run or lift weights. Now that I’m a stay-home mom with a man who loves me whatever my doughy shape, I don’t bother. I’d rather write or read or even clean house.

    Obligation works best for me, but I don’t have anyone to obligate myself to, and at this point, I’m so out of shape that trying to find an exercise partner is hard–they’re all in the same boat I’m in, and we’re not really pushing each other or anyone because deep down, none of us want to do it. Of course, that’s just an excuse, too, isn’t it?

  5. I want lose 50 – 70 pounds by next Easter, which will coincide with my 50th birthday. I like to walk and ride bikes, but the heat index where I live is approaching 100 every day. I don’t have a pool. Husband and I both lost our jobs so I can’t join a gym. Do have Leslie Sansone’s indoor walking workout DVDs, but not too motivated to do them. Keeping the calories low and nutrients high by tracking on Livestrong’s MyPlate. If I won the Rosary Workout program, I would use it to walk in the early morning or in the evening – any cooler part of the day. I think the whole program is an awesome idea!

  6. Biggest challenge is facing a 50+ weight loss need for health, a procrastinating nature and some arthritis that becomes my excuse. I need help!

  7. Dianna Wormsley on

    My issue is having energy when I have the time for exercise. That and making sure I’m putting exercise time in the right perspective of prayer time – although this would fix this for me!
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  8. My biggest hurdles are consistency and diet. I enjoy working out once I get in the habit but then something will set me off that routine and I’ll never get back into it. Regarding diet as a hurdle, somewhere in the past couple of years I’ve begun to eat mindlessly while fixing plates at the counter. I either don’t eat enough and end up feeling weak and shaky or I eat too much.

    Thanks for this opportunity!

  9. Yup, “Time” for me also. I have 2 active boys, 15 and 10 who play sports and band and need to be taken everywhere. I have a full time job and a 20 mile commute. My husband has starting traveling a lot and is out of town many evenings. Even with carpools, I am pressed for time. I tell myself I will get up early and work out, but I also have some foot problems that often are my excuse to not exercise.

    I am at risk for diabetes and really want to hold it off until I am in my 60’s.

  10. My biggest challenge? Motiviation. I also have a problem with distractions, and making excuses–too tired, just too into this book, wait, let me read one last blog post, etc. Take now, for example: I ought to be (a). exercising, (b). praying or (c) making breakfast for my family. Yet, here I sit., reading blogs (oh, and pausing to email you, tee hee hee). I have tried combining prayer with exercise, but I haven’t been able to be consistent with that at all; I seem to have a one-track mind. Often I’ll record something interesting on the DVR so I’ll have something to watch while working out on my elliptical, and that sometimes helps get me motivated. When I first saw “The Rosary Workout,” I thought it looked like just the thing I needed to reboot my spiritual life as well as get me back on a consistent exercise/healthy eating habit.

  11. Hello. I actually enjoy working out when I set my mind to it and just do it! I find excuses like I’m too tired from raising 2 children and homeschooling. I really need a kick start to get it going and some motivation!!! I would LOVE to win this contest! Thanks for all you do!!

  12. Cindy Ellis on

    My biggest issue is energy. Up early, working 40 hrs/week, over 50, and primary caregiver for my husband. Thought it was just my life. I was just diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. I am looking forward to feeling more rested real soon. My treadmill is going to be my friend now instead of my enemy. Rosary Workout would be awesome for me at this time of my life. Am hoping to walk/run my first 5k in September. God bless.

  13. TIME!!! Homeschooling 3, chasing a 4 yr old, a college bound oldest…then there’s the constant revolving door of company coming in/out of my house all year long. We barely have 4-5 weeks off in between live in visits of either my parents or my in-laws who all come at different times so they can stay here w/us (despite having other children, our house is their house of choice). Anyway, life is exceptionally busy & even when I get into a groove of daily exercise, the influx of “extras” around makes me shy away b/c I certainly don’t want to be seen doing it! lol Would love this!!! Thanks & God bless!

  14. what a great idea! I travel 160 miles a day for work and seem to find all kinds of excuses not to exercise because of it. Rosary Workout sounds perfect for me mentally and physically!!

  15. Oh, gracious, it’s the motivation. I like to tell people that my favorite sins are Sloth and Gluttony. Gluttony is being handled well with Weight Watchers (again!), but sloth … oh, he’s a hanger-on. I was starting to go to the Y again more often until we all took turns being sick, then travelled, then had more sickness.

    So motivation (and the spiritual battle against sloth in general) … that’s my biggest problem.

  16. My biggest challenge is making sure that my exercise area in the basement is cleaned up. If I have to clean it in order to exercise, it isn’t going to happen! I have to remember to make sure the kids clean up after playing. Nothing like stepping on a Lego when I’m bleary-eyed!

  17. For many, many years, my wife was a member of calorie counters and struggled to keep her wait down. Her biggest challenge– me. I was not on board with supporting her and my personal eating habits matched with our family’s shared sweet tooth made for a hefty hurdle. We have just started a discussion of how we can lose a substantial amount of weight together. (Between us we need to lose the weight of 1 whole person… albeit a small one like you Sarah). We are both becoming convinced that some of our minor health ailments (headaches, arthritis) are being amplified by our girth. We also struggle to find time in our busy lives for our personal and shared prayer times. The rosary workout would be an excellent resource for us in both endeavors. Oooh! Oooh! Pick us! Pick us!

  18. Wow..this sounds really interesting!! Great idea! I LOVE working out…when I do. I just rarely do. I’m usually pregnant, tired, or it’s too hot outside, or I don’t have time, or I’d rather nap when I do have time because I’m tired…or we’re moving, or I don’t have a babysitter….well, the list goes on and on. I definitely need some motivation. I’m pregnant right now and have been meaning to work out…but you know how that goes…

  19. It’s Energy/motivation for me. I was swimming for awhile which I enjoyed, but it was difficult to find the time when my hubby was around to watch the kids while I ran to our local pool. Plus I wanted to be with him when he was home! So now I’m back to my treadmill, which I have a love/hate relationship with. I always feel as though I am wasting time on it, but if I could use it as prayer time as well, exercise wouldn’t feel like such a waste. I would love to discover the rosary, I have never prayed through an entire rosary, it is still pretty new to me.

  20. My biggest exercise hurdle is just getting over myself. I tell myself to start small but then as I think about it, it just seems like too much. I’m tired at work and then even more tired when I come home and then have to deal with dinner and household chores. I know that spending 30 minutes walking would ultimately give me more energy, but I convince myself that it won’t help and choose to spend the evening on the couch. That’s how I’ve ended up where I am, unhappy with the health issues I’ve encountered in the past, knowing that my level of fitness is part of our infertility issues and yet, as sad as it all makes me, still making excuses. I think this sounds like a lovely place to start making the connection between my spiritual and physical well being.

  21. Motivation is what keeps me from working out. That and procrastination. It’s so easy to find other things to do. This workout sound exciting physically and spiritually

  22. As a 54 year old mother of 4 and grandmother of 4, my biggest challenge is finding the time and keeping on track.
    One of my sons and his 2 year old daughter lives with my husband and I. We both work full time (I am a hospital RN nursing supervisor) and devote the rest of our time to helping out my son, who works nights and helping out my daughter, a night NICU nurse, with her two daughters who are 3 and 1…
    Time is of essence, and I seem to run out of it and “steam” for my prayer life and for my exercise time..I do hold an hour of Adoration time near and dear to my heart each week!!
    I would love to read about your plan and elicit your help to get back on the right track…especially so I have MANY MANY years to enjoy my granddaughters!!!

  23. I’m like the poster named Mark. I have to lose over 50 lbs for health but am demotivated a lot and often, have arthritic knees and multiple sports and car injuries. Yay. Fun. I’ve been praying for help. This could be it. Releasing weight would also help my thin self esteem to gain some needed weight.

  24. I have been married just over a year and adopted my husband’s three children who lost their mom to breast cancer. So I have been set in the maelstrom of family life and slowly watched my prayer life dwindle and my exercise routine go away. As I result I have gained so much weight (over 30 lbs) and am tired all the time. My only exercise now is getting in and out of the mini-van. 😉 I know that when I start my day with Mass, prayer, and then some exercise I am a better wife and mother. I have so little motivation and often get discouraged. Moving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Kentucky…well I could write a book. Any advise on eating healthy in an environment where it is difficult to do so would be helpful.

  25. My schedule is my biggest pitfall. I work nights and have 3 small children, one of whom has special needs so I feel like when I am awake during the day (my husband is a SAHD until hopefully he can find a teaching job and we swap places) if I am working out, I am taking time away from them. I know no mother has enough hours in the day. It’s just so frustrating when this is the situation you’re handed. I do some walking and stair climbing at work but not enough.

  26. I have a terrible lack of discipline. I am pre-diabetic and haved developed plantar facitics in my right foot. This still is not enough to motivate me to exercise properly. I say I am too busy, but that is an excuse, since my family is usually just me and my husband unless our children are visiting.

  27. My biggest challenge is prioritizing exercise as I should. With such packed days, its hard to get motivated to work out, even though when I do I feel so much more energized! So, perhaps my toughest hurdle is making it a habit.

  28. This is such an amazing opportunity! I started working out at the local gym 2 ish times a week, but then got sick and attended a wedding and travel. Well now I am no longer going again and have swelled up a couple sizes UGGGHHH. My eating habits haven’t changed. So hurdle, making it happen with children, priorities, and life. Thank you for your ministry!

  29. I have tried many different things to motivate into fitness but the rosary workout has been the first to actually do it!

  30. My biggest challenge is getting past my procrastination! I know I should be doing these kind of things, but to actually get off my butt? It’s pretty hard!

  31. My biggest challenge is that I have PCOS, am in the obese category, have pain in my knees and feet, and I just don’t know where to start. With PCOS, it is so much harder to lose weight. I didn’t realize this at first and got so frustrated that I wasn’t seeing any improvement in my weight when I was going to the gym 3 days a week. I just gave up. A year or so later, I found out that with the insulin resistance, losing weight is harder. So, I really need to find what can work for me and how to keep doing it even when I don’t see any improvement.

  32. Time. Fnding the time to exercise has been my biggest hurdle. I’ve finally leaped that hurdle by getting up at 6am. I never thought I could do it, but I’ve made myself do it because it’s he only time that is unscheduled (except for sleep, of course). I am facing having to rise even earlier once the school year starts. My motivation is the changes I’ve started seeing in my body- the fat is changing shape! I would love to find a way to combine the 2 most important things can do for myself: exercise and prayer.

  33. My biggest challenge is finding the time with three children and lack of energy. Even though it’s a challenge, it’s also an excuse. If I can find time for other things like getting on the computer throughout the day I can find the time to exercise. I don’t really need to lose that much weight, but I do need to get in shape. I’ve come to the harsh reality that after having my third child 9 months ago at the age of 38 my body isn’t exactly what it used to be. I agree that tying both physical and spiritual health together would motivate me to find more time for working out.

  34. Christine Hebert on

    My biggest exercise challenge is breathing. I have asthma and become short of breath if I try to do aerobic exercise. I can walk and swim, but any exertion and I feel like someone is squeezing my chest. I know how important it is to exercise, but I find it truly difficult. 🙁

  35. My Biggest Challenge is losing 50+ pounds while fighting depression and homeschooling to boys. This is complicated by having a dear husband who has been traveling every week and is only home on weekends! I need motivation BIG Time!

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