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Meet The Rosary Promoter

The Rosary Workout ™

Peggy Bowes of

Peggy Bowes

"My hope is that in tying exercise to the Rosary, more Catholics will find this motivational.
You don’t have to choose between exercise and prayer — you can combine them!"

how to pray the rosary everyday

Peggy Bowes, a devout Catholic, is the author of The Rosary Workout™. She graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1988 and served nine years as an Air Force pilot. Peggy has since left the military to raise a family and is also very active in parish life. She has been a lector, CCD teacher, and Little Flowers Girls' Club leader. She also enjoys triathlons, hiking, adventure races, and other sports as she incorporates all the benefits and blessings of The Rosary Workout™. Peggy and her husband and two children currently reside in North Carolina.

This idea of incorporating prayer into an exercise program is really ingenious. Do you have any expertise in the field of physical fitness and what inspired you to create The Rosary Workout™?

As far as experience, I've been involved in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years. In addition to being an Air Force pilot, I was also a Health and Wellness counselor for the Air Force. Later, as a civilian, I was certified as a personal trainer and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant. I became an expert on metabolic and athletic performance testing, and I launched a successful business offering exercise program design and weight loss counseling. I truly enjoy educating people about fitness and giving them realistic solutions to reach their goals.

The inspiration for this program came to me after many years of praying the Rosary during exercise. I was out on a bike ride one day, and I had planned to do intervals (short bursts of high-intensity exercise, followed by a less-intense recovery period). I realized that the structure of the Rosary was perfect for interval training. I worked harder during the prayers that separate the decades (Glory Be, Fatima Prayer, mystery announcement and Our Father—about one minute) and then I recovered during the 10 Hail Marys (about two minutes).

I found that this combination helped me focus on meditation while making my workout more challenging. I tried out different variations on this theme, and it occurred to me that I could combine these unique workouts into the type of long-term training program that I had designed for my clients.

There is so much misinformation out there about workouts. How does The Rosary Workout™ guide people through this misinformation?

Great question! The media makes fitness seem so complicated, but it's really quite simple. There are four fundamental components to every exercise program:

  • Mode - the type of exercise
  • Frequency - how often it’s done
  • Intensity - how hard you work
  • Duration - total exercise time

By varying these components, it is possible to come up with thousands of different workout programs. That doesn't necessarily make them effective, however.

In my work with athletic performance testing, I implemented a type of training called periodization. Periodization is a systematic approach to varying the four exercise components in order to achieve optimum results. It is backed by mountains of scientific evidence which testify to its effectiveness.

Many sports coaches and competitive athletes implement periodized workouts, but they are just as useful for the recreational or beginning exerciser.

Periodization prevents random, unplanned and unstructured workouts as well as boredom, stagnation and plateaus. It eliminates a "stabbing in the dark" approach by providing a plan with goals and a means to achieve them.

A lack of variety in exercise produces limited results. If you always walk the same distance at the same pace in the same amount of time, you'll reach a point where no improvements in fitness are made. Workouts that are always at an easy pace won‘t provide a challenge, yet a steady string of tough workouts never allows for recovery and leads to burnout and possible injuries.

Periodization solves these problems.

The Rosary Workout™ uses a simplified model of periodization. Of course, every workout includes a spiritual goal as well, which makes The Rosary Workout™ different from any other exercise plan you’ll find.

After reading the first couple pages of your e-book, The Rosary Workout™, the words of Fr. Corapi relating praying the Rosary to beginning an exercise program were brought to mind. To paraphrase him, he said something to the effect that in order to begin both you must overcome inertia. At first it would seem like a chore then slowly it would become a habit and soon one should feel like their day is incomplete without it. Did you have this experience of needing to overcome inertia in order to develop a personal exercise program or to form the habit of daily recitation of the Rosary?

Another terrific question! I'm a lifelong exerciser and Rosary devotee so I'm blessed that there was really no inertia issue for me there, personally. My day does feel incomplete without both a workout and a Rosary. I do understand, however, that there are many people who want to exercise and pray, but are not quite sure how to get started.

In writing The Rosary Workout™, I designed the first part of the program for that type of person. The first few weeks are relatively easy. The goal is to simply learn the Rosary prayers and exercise twice a week for as little as 9 minutes, slowly building up to 20 minutes.

The focus is on forming a habit of both exercise and Rosary prayer by combining the two. There is just one habit to form to accomplish both goals.

I include plenty of suggestions for readers who struggle with the goals in the program. There is a checklist at the end of each level to ensure the reader has achieved all the goals for the level before "graduating" to the next one. Then a new set of goals is introduced. Each level builds on the previous one. Before you know it, both exercise and Rosary prayer will become habits that you never want to give up because of the great number of benefits and blessings you are experiencing.

How did incorporating the two help you succeed in the area of physical fitness and spiritual growth? Do you feel the two are related and has this pairing of the two brought peace and serenity to your life?

I think that physical and spiritual growth are definitely related. According to the Catechism, "The unity of the soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be a form of the body." (CCC, Sec 365)

We are created in God's image, and we are masterpieces of God's creation. Our human person, body and soul, is a gift from God-- it is of utmost importance to care for both. I think that the combination of exercise and prayer definitely brings peace and serenity to my life.

When I return from one of my Rosary workouts, I am refreshed and invigorated. I have more energy to face the rest of my day, and I usually have experienced a new insight to a spiritual issue that I've been pondering. Exercise really clears my mind, and I've learned to direct my thoughts to prayer and meditation. Once you experience it, you'll be eager to incorporate the combination more frequently.

The foundation of The Rosary Workout™ is the ability to meditate during exercise. How is this different than Yoga, Tai Chi and other New Age meditative incorporated workouts?

New Age meditation focuses on self, while Rosary meditation focuses on Christ and the gospels through the mysteries. New Age meditation empties the mind, while Christian meditation seeks to fill the mind with Truth.

A lot of Catholic homeschooling mothers are often pregnant or trying to shed the extra pounds put on by pregnancy. It is so hard to stay fit when you are struggling with postpartum weight plus a busy homeschooling schedule. Do you think a lot of these mothers could benefit from The Rosary Workout™?

I think the struggle for most people is not in finding time for exercise but in finding motivation for exercise. It goes back to what you said about overcoming inertia. My hope is that in tying exercise to the Rosary, more Catholics will find this motivational. You don't have to choose between exercise and prayer — you can combine them!

I can definitely relate to the issues faced by homeschool moms because I homeschooled my children for over four years. When you homeschool, you have a tremendous responsibility to teach your children not only about the Catholic faith, but also how to care for their bodies. If you don't make time for recess, PE and other health-related studies and practices, then your children will not make time for them when they grow up.

You must lead by example.

Children have so much energy, and it's hard for them to sit still all day. Take a break in your studies and go outside and just play. Start building a stash of playground equipment—jump ropes, hula hoops, balls, mats, bats, cones, an aerobic step, etc. They're not expensive and can be found at most discount stores.

Set up an obstacle course or stations where you perform different exercises for a set time. Make it fun, and join in! If the weather is bad, then rent or buy an exercise DVD. My children and I all enjoyed those Billy Blanks kickboxing workouts. Even little ones can join in. There are several homeschool PE books and programs available, but I got a lot of ideas from websites for school PE teachers.

Even if you don't homeschool, exercise with your children. So many schools have cut their recess and PE programs, and childhood obesity is becoming a serious issue. One last bit of advice: It is not selfish to take time to exercise, whether you're a homeschool mom, a working mom or dad, a priest or religious, or a single person. You will likely find that exercise, especially when combined with prayer, will actually give you more energy to meet life's daily challenges.

Please tell us about your "field tests" with The Rosary Workout™ program.

Naturally, I want to ensure that my own program is effective, so I found a great opportunity to field test it when I signed up for an Adventure Race after completing the first version of the book. The race required about 6 miles of running, and I hadn’t run for several months. I started with a run-walk program, alternating Rosary decades of running with walking.

After a few weeks, I could run during a full Rosary (20 minutes, or about 2 miles, for me). Then I started adding the intervals of the Intermediate Series to increase speed. Finally, I progressed to the Advanced Series to add distance to my runs. As my fitness improved, so did my ability to meditate. I had so many spiritual revelations during those runs! On the day of the race, I actually prayed the Rosary aloud with the other women on my team, who were also Catholic. I still had plenty of energy when we crossed the finish line.

What about someone who is unfamiliar with the Rosary, they may be intimidated and thinking there is too much to learn. What do you have to say to them?

The first part of the book educates the reader about the basics of both exercise and the Rosary. I include several appendices with more information on the Rosary as well as a list of recommended websites. Each level of the program includes a specific goal to help the reader learn to first pray the Rosary and then to learn about the mysteries and meditation. The progress is gradual so as not to be overwhelming.

Can The Rosary Workout™ be structured to suit all levels of fitness?

Definitely! I include modifications throughout the program for the reader who might be very fit but new to the Rosary. On the flip side, I include modifications for the reader who has prayed the Rosary for years but is an exercise novice. Most people will be somewhere between the two extremes, and I include checklists for each level so any reader can know exactly where to begin the program.

How thorough is The Rosary Workout™ program? What can the reader expect?

I tried to be very thorough in teaching the reader about the Rosary and about exercise before even getting to the workouts. I think that if you have a solid understanding of both, then the workouts will make more sense and you will be motivated to begin the program.

The program itself has nine different levels. Each one is named after, and dedicated to, one of the Nine Choirs of Angel and includes specific goals and workouts for a 4-week period. At the end of each level I include "homework" assignments to encourage the reader to explore different aspects of faith and fitness outside the scope of The Rosary Workout™. By the end of the program, the readers will be able to design their own workouts. The ultimate aim of the program is to guide the reader to becoming more Christ-like.

Do you have graphics and charts in The Rosary Workout™ for people who need those type of visuals?

I include a graphic with color-coded Rosary beads to describe every type of workout. They follow the workout instructions throughout the program to provide a visual reference. There is a link to a sample workout and graphic on the home page of my website. (See below)

Where can our readers go to find out more about The Rosary Workout™?

I have a website with more information: The ebook version is available there as well as sample pages and a list of FAQs. I'm also thrilled that The Rosary Workout™ has recently been published by Bezalel Books. I don't sell it through my website, but it can be purchased at Amazon has a "Look Inside" feature so that you can view a few sample pages from the book. I write a blog called "Don't Know Much About the Rosary"

Do you have any final motivation to share with the sluggish reader who is not really sold on the significance of physical fitness and its relationship with the fitness of their soul?

Sure— pray for help! Secular fitness programs omit this powerful aid to begin, and stick to, an exercise program. Finally, consider the fact that you have a role to play in God's Divine Plan. He has chosen you for a specific mission and has bestowed upon you the gifts and graces to accomplish it.

By enriching and improving your physical and spiritual health, you can best achieve your unique purpose on earth. The Rosary Workout™ is designed to equip you physically and spiritually for the challenges that lie ahead.

You have got to purchase this book, The Rosary Workout™. It is affordable and you will not be disappointed. Also, check out Peggy's website here and support Catholic entrepreneurs like Peggy.

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What A Work Out! Not rated yet
It was a thrill interviewing Peggy Bowes. We learned so much during that interview and look forward to hearing more from her in the future. We would …

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Peggy was recently interviewed on EWTN. We have included her interview here for your convenience.

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Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end. Amen.
-From the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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