Working out in rhinestones

Karen Rowland was first place winner in SNAP’s Weight Loss Challenge in 2012, losing 21.6 percent of her total body weight. Here on the elliptical trainer, she vowed, "As God is my witness, I will never be fat again!" (contributed)

Karen Rowland was first place winner in SNAP’s Weight Loss Challenge in 2012, losing 21.6 percent of her total body weight. Here on the elliptical trainer, she vowed, “As God is my witness, I will never be fat again!” (contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Karen Rowland is a dynamo of energy and a whirlwind of color. We have been acquainted since we both joined SNAP Fitness in November 2010.

Rowland first caught my eye because at that time. She always came to workout wearing Ugg boots and various silk flowers in her hair coordinated with her colorful ensemble. With fingernails sometimes glittered, her workout gloves sported rhinestones.

A few weeks ago, I heard her telling someone, “Eight years ago on April 30, I quit smoking.”

“I got down on my knees and told God it was too hard for me and then I quit cold turkey. It was hard,” she relates, adding that she was supported by the prayers of her friends at Arbor Baptist Church.

Rowland shares encouragement to those she encounters at SNAP Fitness. When she notices someone with physical struggles, she tells them, “God can heal you of that pain. God wants you well.”

She has been praying for my knees since early spring and the troublesome left one has indeed quit hurting. Now, she says, she is praying I will never need knee surgery on that knee; that I will be able to keep it healthy with exercise.

“God gives me the words through the Holy Spirit,” Rowland said. “God opened this door for me.”

She quotes, “Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

“I love working out; the people I’m around here bring me up; I get a lot of encouragement.”

“I love the classes SNAP offers—Zumba and Total Body with Merri Gwin; Yoga with Christine Schupp Avery and Butts & Guts with Cindy Dobbins.”

Rowland attends First Baptist Helena and is involved in the Sewing Ministry that makes baby quilts, bibs, lap quilts for the elderly, and toiletry bags for migrant workers.

“I hope I am a good witness and can point people in direction of Jesus,” she says adding favorite words from Isaiah 55:12.

Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing; and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.