It’s 7:00 a.m. Outside, the sun has yet to melt the frost on campus. Inside, a sleepy group of nearly 40 young men gather in the dorm lobby for a worship thought and prayer from Dean Cho before heading downstairs to the weight room. Some days they run in the gym or around campus. Some days they play games. Today is workout day.

The spacious basement of the men’s dorm allows room for 19 workout stations. In groups of two, students rotate through these stations, spending one minute at each. Dean Cho’s whistle marks time: Sit-ups – Whistle – Pull-ups – Whistle – Ping-pong while jogging in place – Whistle – Exercise bike – Whistle.

Like every weekday morning for the last five years, students in both dorms gather every morning for a period of personal fitness. Inspired by Spirit of Prophecy counsel and research presented in the book SPARK by John Ratey, we are convinced that young people involved in physical fitness activities on a consistent basis will have higher cognitive abilities, less depression, aggression, and mood swings, and develop sharpened spiritual perceptions.

While some students would rather not wake up at 7:00 am and others wish the personal fitness period was longer than 30 minutes, physical activity in the morning is a part of Wisconsin Academy’s commitment to achieving a balanced program of mental, physical, and spiritual growth. This is yet another way Wisconsin Academy is preparing leaders for a life of service.