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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

Alicia Chole: The truth about joy (12/28/03)

Cookies and Christmas: A roundtable discussion (12/21/03)

John Tesh: In pursuit of passion (12/14/03)

AGWM's L. John Bueno: Bread of life (11/23/03)

Teen Challenge's John Castellani: Christ breaks addictions (11/16/03)

Christian humorist Justin Fennell: Justifiably funny (10/19/03)

Representative Marilyn Musgrave: The role of Christians in government (10/12/03)

Dennis Gaylor: Fifty more campuses (9/28/03)

Kathy Troccoli: A message of hope (9/21/03)

Kristy Starling: Dreams come true (9/14/03)

CeCe Winans Love: Of Gospel and Grammies (8/31/03)

Gary Heavin: Faith and fitness (8/24/03)

Gracia Burnham: Grace in the jungle (8/17/03)

Seattle Mariner John Olerud: Hope when your health fails (8/10/03)

Chris Maxwell: Pastor recovering from memory loss (7/27/03)

Wayne Warner: Today’s Pentecostal Evangel: a historical view (7/20/03)

Paul Drost: Every church a parent or a partner (7/13/03)

Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger: What can be learned from history? (6/29/03)

Ron Drye: Ministering to the whole person (6/22/03)

Matt McPherson: Doing business by the Golden Rule (6/15/03)

The difference (6/8/03)

Fory VandenEinde: Fulfilling the Great Commission (5/25/03)

Tom Greene: The church's new generation (5/18/03)

Lisa Whelchel: Former sitcom star now an advocate for moms (5/11/03)

Tony Lamarque: Warden speaks about unconditional love (4/27/03)

Ann Graham Lotz: Just give her more of Jesus (4/20/03)

Lee Strobel: The case for Christ (4/13/03)

Randall K. Barton: Extravagant stewardship (3/30/03)

Bishop Gilbert Patterson: Bringing people together under Christ (3/23/03)

Pat Boone: A unique celebrity speaks out (3/16/03)

St. Clair Mitchell: God in Washington, D.C. (3/9/03)

Kay Gross: Ministry by women, ministry to women (2/23/03)

Thomas E. Trask: A historic General Council (2/16/03)

Denise Jones: Girls of Grace (2/9/03)

Doug Greengard: Beyond the NFL (1/26/03)

Three pro-life advocates call the church to action (1/19/03)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: The gospel in uniform (1/12/03)

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations


Faith and fitness

Gary Heavin, 48, is founder and CEO of Curves for Women and author of Curves: Permanent Results Without Permanent Dieting (G.P. Putman’s Sons, 2003). A born-again Christian, Heavin has made Christian values and biblical principles the cornerstone of his business — which has been named the world’s largest fitness franchise by the Guinness Book of World Records. More than 2 million women are members of Curves, which combines a 30-minute strength-and-cardio workout with nutrition and diet support. Heavin spoke recently with Assistant Editor Ashli O’Connell.

PE: Would you share your salvation testimony?

HEAVIN: One morning when I was 13 I woke up hearing the school bus go by. Why hadn’t I been awakened? I discovered that during the night my mother had died. She was 40 years old and she’d suffered from high blood pressure and depression. My father had left the household and I was the oldest at home, so it fell upon me to comfort my little brothers and call the ambulance. It was very traumatic. While kneeling beside my mother’s body I called out to God. I believe that was the moment I was saved. He kept me safe as a teenager, even though I was in some very difficult places.

PE: Did your mother’s death play a part in your desire to help women with their health and fitness?

HEAVIN: When I was given an opportunity to go into the fitness business I didn’t really understand why I had such passion for it. I opened my first women’s fitness facility when I was 20 years old. I’d been to college for two years as a pre-med major, but I realized I wasn’t going to be able to support myself through medical school. So I saw an opportunity to treat people before they became ill. I loved it, and I was good at it. For 28 years all I’ve really done is teach women how to have a better quality of life.

But I didn’t understand what was driving me until I was 40 and standing in a room teaching women about fitness and weight loss. I caught myself subconsciously scanning the crowd for the face of my mother. I realized at that moment the reason for the drive and the passion I had and it helped me understand what my destiny was. Soon after I founded Curves with my wife.

PE: Was the success immediate?

HEAVIN: God raised this thing up. In seven years we’ve gone from one franchise to almost 6,000. Entrepreneur magazine said we are the fastest-growing of all franchises in the world. CNBC recently said that on average somewhere in the world a Curves opens every four hours. We’re a debt-free company. God gave us the ability to grow an extremely large company without having to take on people who might compromise our obedience.

PE: Do you lose some potential franchisees over your commitment to godly principles?

HEAVIN: Oh yes. I get blasted every couple of days. But we’re called to love people, teach the truth in love and let God sort out the details.

PE: What is your philosophy on health and fitness and how they relate to faith?

HEAVIN: Our physical health and our spiritual heath are intertwined. When we’re depressed and ailing physically it takes away from our spiritual walk. Statistics show that if a woman at age 40 is overweight she is going to live a life that’s eight years shorter than it should be. I don’t think God wants us to die because we couldn’t get control of our weight. Exercise is the best way to deal with depression, heart disease and type II diabetes. It’s hard to do what God wants us to do when we lack energy and a sound mind.

PE: Why do you think women have responded so favorably to your message?

HEAVIN: Ninety-five percent of people regain the weight they lose. God showed me a way to raise metabolism and gave me all these resources to help women and set them free. So many of our women had given up on exercise and given themselves over to obesity and chronic disease, but God has allowed us to create a haven for them so they can get control of their lives.

PE: There are some people out there who say that women, whatever their size, just need to learn to love and accept their bodies as they are. Is that healthy?

HEAVIN: Our society has created a false image for girls to aspire to. We have done great harm to our daughters by lifting up airbrushed images of women who don’t even exist. Women should not bear the unrealistic burden of achieving that standard of beauty. What they should do, though, is not compromise and give up on their weight. To carry excess weight and justify it because that’s the way they’re made and they’ve struggled in the past to get rid of it is not acceptable either. We should use what we’ve been given and be the best that we can be.

PE: How important is giving back when God has blessed you financially?

HEAVIN: To whom much is given, much is expected. I have a motto: live well and give well.

PE: How does Curves give back?

HEAVIN: We give 10 percent of our gross revenues to charity. We also had our fifth national food drive last March. More than 5,000 franchisees across the company worked together to raise more than 4 million pounds of food for local food banks.

To do this in March is unusual, but I volunteered at a food bank and understood that this is the time of year they don’t have enough food. Everybody gives at Christmas, but in March the pantries are bare. So we help replenish their stock just when they need it.

PE: What would you say to another Christian entrepreneur who feels that building a company on godly principles and being outspoken about it could hinder its growth?

HEAVIN: Abundance only comes if you seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Seeking His kingdom means seeking God’s plan for our lives. God raises kings up and He pulls kings down. If you begin to compromise, He begins to pull away. He won’t honor people who are not reflecting His character in their lives.

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