BE FIRST

July 14, 2011Read: John 18

"Peter again denied it, and at once the rooster crowed." -- John 18:27

I can relate to Peter. In one moment, he declares adamantly he would never deny he knew who Jesus was; the next, he does it not once...not twice...but thrice. But still, what motivates me about Peter was that while he wasn't perfect, he was the one who stepped up. He may not have always been right, but he was never in doubt. First to reach for his sword to defend the Lord (only to be taught a quick lesson in self-control), and first to get out of the boat (only to be the example of how we sink without faith). But if you notice a common thread in the stories of Peter, the more he was first to fall, the more he learned to stand.

In our pursuit of a stronger faith, as well as to better health, we often make bold declarations that we will pray more, train more, and eat better...only to do the exact opposite the next moment. But friends, take courage. Keep being first. Set the pace with your family and friends. Remember, Peter knows what it's like to declare and fail, and to step out and sink. Pursuing obedience is a staggering undertaking. Fortunately, like Peter the pacesetter, we have a Savior who reaches further than the fall.

--J.P.

DEFINING INTENSITY

For as often as we espouse the virtues of high-intensity training, some may find our fitness tips to be a bit intimidating. After all, working harder than you're accustomed to never sounds like a fun undertaking. And while there are some actual, defining guidelines for intensity -- i.e. working to 95% of your max effort on an interval run -- you can take heart knowing that it is also relative.

One example is interval walking. If you're not up to performing sprints, you can simply speed up the pace of your walks. Try walking at a faster clip for 30 seconds, then falling back into your normal pace for 1-4 minutes. As you progress, speed up the pace -- it may not be long before you're into a slow jog -- and/or shorten rest periods. Ideally, you want to work toward 30-second "sprints" followed by one-minute "walks." One study showed that subjects who performed 4-6, 30-second sprints three times per week burned more bodyfat than those who did traditional steady-state cardio. But the term "sprint" is a measure of effort, rather than speed.

You don't have to be a sprinter to get the fat-burning, heart-healthy benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). By applying the basic tenets of  HIIT to your cardio and implementing concept of progression, you can start right where you are -- today.

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