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Bossier man opens up free, faith based gym

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BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -

Christ Fit Gym is a place where workout shoes and bibles are not odd pairings. The gym's slogan is "spreading the gospel through physical fitness," but it hasn't always been this way.  

The gym's founder Billy Weatherall found himself at a crossroads when he got out of the military six years ago, "My two decisions were to make a bar or build a gym," Weatherall explained.
     
The war veteran chose the latter, first hosting the work outs in his garage. Back then, his gym operated more like a hybrid of his two ideas, a bar and a gym. "When we first started, we'd drink a 12 pack and just really goof off," said Weatherall.
      
Once he began a renewed relationship with god, he had a vision to open a different kind of gym, not fueled by gym memberships, but with faith, paid for through donations. "The gym turned into a Christian environment, we started doing bible devotions," Weatherall told KSLA News 12 and added that most people thought he was out of his mind, including Tonya Frank, his former gym instructor. "His sister was like he started his own crazy gym all on his own, I was like you got to be kidding me!" Frank said laughing.   

"We were prepared to lose our house, we were prepared to lose our vehicles and we haven't lost anything," Weatherall said and added he wouldn't have been able to take the risk without the full support of his wife. Donations poured in and Weatherall has been able to pay every bill since opening in September of 2012. 

Frank explained that the devotions at the beginning of each workout really sets them apart from other gyms, "No gym offers that, it is what truly makes this gym so unique." Frank now volunteers her time to the gym, along with several others like Don Valentine, who offers prepared church lessons on Tuesdays to the fitness enthusiasts. "When I retired, I had some time and said you need some help so here I am," said Valentine. 

Weatherall calls the gym's success so far a miracle and believes as long as the gym is honoring God, it's not going anywhere. "The Lord has sustained us completely," said Weatherall. 

While the gym's theme is largely religious, Weatherall encourages non-believers to feel welcome to attend too.

Click here for more information about the gym. 

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