Courtesy photo
Ann Hager, front left, has been teaching fitness classes at First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho for a decade.

For a decade now, Ann Hager has been combining two of her passions, God and exercise, at First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho.

Hager, who owns ReFocus Fitness Consulting, started Live Inspired! Ministry at the church as a way to inspire the community to make a healthy lifestyle choices through God’s word, healthy eating and regular exercise. Saturday at 10 a.m. at FBCRR, Hager will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of her ministry.

“God put it in my heart. I just closed down my fitness studio in Albuquerque, and I thought, ‘What can I do that can make a difference in people’s lives?” Hager said. “So I started with like a small group, you know, in the foyer exercising on Sunday afternoons, and then it grew. We started adding seniors and then their husbands started coming.”

The fitness class grew at the church, where Hager’s husband sings on the praise team, into several classes. There’s a strength and core workout each Monday and Thursday, seniors classes on Monday and Wednesday and a Zumba class Tuesday night. Hager teaches the Wednesday morning seniors class.

“In our seniors class, we have about 40 people attending every week,” Hager said. “Of course, when COVID hit, we took a break; we just put videos online for them to follow. And then we started back up again, and it’s just been amazing, especially for seniors because seniors like that fellowship, you know being around people, and it made a difference having that big group together.”

Hager ran her 10th marathon last summer to celebrate her 60th birthday. She partnered with Breaking the Silence New Mexico, which does outreach in schools and fights the stigma of this widespread mental health issue. Hager raised more than $9,000 for the group. Live Inspired! has also made an impact at the church.

“It’s like God puts stuff in my heart, and I’m like, ‘OK, let’s see what happens,'” Hager said. “It just really made a difference to our church as far as growing and as far as the seniors being able to have something to look forward to. And then it brought people into the community; we have people from all over Rio Rancho and even Albuquerque come into the classes.”

Saturday’s class will be a little different as Hager and her team celebrate a decade of fitness with snacks, prizes and a little nostalgia.

“This ministry has been amazing,” Hager said. “My ministry is my priority. And the biggest thing was my husband was supportive because ministry means we don’t get paid. We do it out of being a servant to the Lord. The girls that I recruit, they don’t get paid either and they’ve been so supportive and helping me. So, it’s been pretty awesome. It’s bittersweet, though because you know, we’re getting older, but I’ll be doing this until I can’t walk anymore.”