THE VERY IDEA

July 18, 2011 Read 1 Corinthians 9

"No, I beat my body and make it my slave." --1 Corinthians 9:27

Last week I had the unique opportunity to be interviewed by The L.A Times on the subject of faith and fitness. Whether or not my input makes the article, I'm not sure, but it was an honor to be asked to participate. During the course of the conversation, the subject fell upon "why." Why the recent surge in the church toward taking care of the body? First the government, then schools and now the church. Together we named famous pastors that are now leading their congregations toward abundant health, and it dawned on me: We shouldn't even be having this conversation. Healthy living is not a new concept.

Long before PrayFit wrote its first devotion, and well before Rick Warren committed to losing weight, the very idea of taking care of the body that carries the soul was God's. It was His plan all along. We have no right, no stake to claim, and no sense of ownership to the idea that something so fearfully and wonderfully made deserves better attention and upkeep. Sure, Abe Lincoln might have been honest, but he didn't invent the truth. Mother Teresa gave to the poor, but she didn't design love. Our bodies were given to us so that we can serve God in all we do. The fact that the church is just now paying attention to the idea doesn't make us leaders, it makes us late.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BOXING

You may not have any interest in the Sweet Science, but the fact remains that boxers are some of the best conditioned athletes on the planet. They have to be. The whole-body demand of jabbing, slipping, bobbing and weaving for any length of time, over time, makes them stronger, leaner and tougher than those who practice other sports. PrayFit partner and endorser Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero boasts a physique that is equal parts form and function from all of his years spent in the gym. But if you don't have the dough, or desire, to dive headlong into a franchise boxing gym membership, you can use this 12-minute, at-home solution to start building a pugilistic physique.

Why 12 minutes? Well, here, each minute will represent one "round" -- and high-profile, championship fights are always 12 rounds.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Crunches - 1 min.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Bicycle crunch - 1 min.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Plank - 1 min.

Using a stopwatch or timer (www.gymboss.com), go through this workout circuit-style, taking little to no rest between moves. After the final move, stand up and get right into the entire circuit once more, for a total of 12 rounds. Perform this workout three times per week for max results.

Straight punches: A series of jabs and crosses (lefts and rights) delivered at eye level at an imaginary target at arms length. Throw as many punches as you can with good form in the scheduled minute of work. For more detail on boxing punches, click here.

ADVANCED OPTION: Finish off your workout with three sets of push-ups (any style) to failure, resting no longer than a minute between sets. Tally your number and try to beat it next time out.

DID YOU KNOW?: High-intensity boxing workouts can burn 750-1000 calories in one hour. Find a gym near you at www.boxinggyms.com.

Robert Guerrero handling Michael Katsidis in his HBO Pay-Per-View televised bout back in April. Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions. (www.hoganphotos.com)