The Student News Site of Ben Davis High School

Community West Side News

Community West Side News

Community West Side News

Fitness for everyone

The Blended Church welcomes all fitness levels with judgment-free Fit To Serve dance workout class

To fitness instructor Nichelle Miller, exercising is not about perfection — it’s about celebrating her body and everything it has done for her.

“At one point, I taught [fitness classes] nine times a week, and I was the fittest I’d been in years,” Miller said. “Then, life happened. I’ve had three amazing babies, and I’ve been able to have surgery and bounce back. Where I’m at physically, someone else wants to be, and where someone else is, that’s where I would like to be. We don’t all look the same, and that’s for a reason.”

Miller furthers her mission to be a positive force in people’s lives and help them love the skin they’re in as the leader of Fit To Serve, a dance workout class at The Blended Church.

She became a member of The Blended Church’s congregation nearly eight years ago when she moved from Pike Township to Indianapolis’ westside after her divorce. Miller would frequently drive past The Blended Church on Country Club Road, she said, and decided to visit after receiving a postcard in the mail inviting her to join its services.

Story continues below advertisement

“I will never forget going to [my first] 9:30 a.m. service,” Miller said. “There were people in jeans, football jerseys, and T-shirts. I went in the standard mindset of church — fancy. I was overdressed, so I stood out as a visitor, but walking in, it was the most welcoming place. There’s someone at the door to hug you as soon as you get there and through every other phase of the building. I’ve never stopped going.”

Miller wanted to become more involved with her church, she said, so she asked herself, “What can I do that I love that’s missing here?” To answer her question, she turned to her love for dance. As a certified Zumba instructor who has taken these Latin-inspired cardio classes since high school to relieve stress, Miller said, she decided to lead a family-friendly, hour-long workout class for all fitness levels as a connection group at The Blended Church.

Each Tuesday evening in The Blended Church’s Community Center, Miller opens her Fit To Serve class with a prayer. Then, she turns on her playlist full of various pop, country, and contemporary worship songs, from Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” to Kelly Clarkson’s “Blessed.” Class members — who range from five to 70 years old — follow Miller as she leads their stretches, kickboxing, salsa dancing and more.

Since Blended Church member Nicole Newton joined Fit To Serve in October 2023, she hasn’t missed a class. Newton appreciates how there is no judgment, she said, as she tones her legs muscles with squats and calf raises to songs like Taylor Swift’s “I Forgot That You Existed.”

“If you go out in public, people give you a side eye because your belly sticks out a little bit, or your butt doesn’t fit your jeans,” Newton said. “There’s every shape and size in our class. We all work together.”

There are no wrong moves in her workout class, Miller said. Some members march in place to Miller’s playlist, or they’ll opt for the low-intensity modifications she shows for each exercise. No matter how her class members choose to do their workout, Miller said, she enjoys seeing the supportive atmosphere members create as they hug and high-five each other after hard songs.

“[Miller] has a sparkling personality, and it shows through the class,” Newton said. “I haven’t seen her get upset if someone does [an exercise] wrong. She just says, ‘If you can’t do it, just do it to your liking.'”

To help members continue to care for their health outside of class, Miller posts healthy recipes in Fit To Serve’s Facebook group. She encourages her class members to try these new meals each week, she said, because she understands how difficult it can be figuring out what to eat each day. Miller’s favorite recipe she has posted so far has been for Coca Cola Chicken, where she simmered chicken breasts in Diet Coke and ketchup for the most tender barbecue chicken ever, she said.

As an introverted insurance agent, Newton said, attending Fit To Serve has helped her become more extroverted. Newton looks forward to the “adult time” she has talking with class members each week and during their quarterly Taco Tuesday outings to El Meson on Rockville Road.

“Getting to know [class members] outside of what I see in class or in church has been meaningful to me,” Miller said. “It’s been a blessing to my life because as much as I pour into them, they pour into me. If I’m having a rough day, and they don’t even know, their kind words, positivity, and laughs have been great.”

In 2024, Miller hopes to add a second Fit To Serve class throughout the week and grow the class past its typical 10-15 members. Even if they’re not a member of The Blended Church, Miller said, she encourages anyone who wants to continue their walk with God spiritually or physically to join Fit To Serve.

“[The Blended Church] is truly a great place to get a second chance,” Miller said. “I went in there as the biggest mess. I’m welcomed, and I’m loved for being the imperfect person that I am.”

Fit To Serve meets 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at The Blended Church’s Community Center through Door #8. To learn more about The Blended Church and Fit To Serve, visit its website or Facebook @theblendedchurch1.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Community West Side News

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ben Davis High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Community West Side News

Comments (0)

All Community West Side News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *