Be First

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

Read: John 18

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 wasn't always 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.

--Jimmy Peña

3 TIPS FOR FAT LOSS Master these simple tips to start losing inches and pounds

1 CARDIO TIMING: The best cardio approach is to find a program and stick to it. But if you want to maximize those minutes spent in a sweat, perform your sessions before breakfast or after lifting weights. During these two windows, your body is in a carbohydrate depleted state. And since stored carbs (glycogen) are your body's preferred source of fuel, a lack of them will cause your body to burn fat for fuel faster.

2 CARB TAPER: People like to occasionally go on carbohydrate droughts, opting for ultra-restrictive diets that limit this macronutrient for extended periods of time. But that is ultimately unsustainable. A better approach is to choose mostly slow-digesting, healthy carbs, such as those found in oatmeal, whole-grain foods, vegetables and brown rice. But you can take that a step further by limiting your carb consumption later in the day, when your body is more apt to store them as fat. Have the majority of your healthy carbs at breakfast, then have progressively less as the day wears on.

3 TRAIN HEAVY: Many people are afraid of training with "heavy" weights for fear of injury or, as with many women, for fear of becoming bulky. But lifting progressively heavier weights is really just a sure-fire way to drastically alter your body composition. When possible, train with weight loads that bring about failure around 8-12 reps. This will build more muscle. More muscle means more burned calories while at rest. More burned calories at rest means less stored bodyfat. Research shows that training heavy elevates metabolism higher and for longer than training with higher reps and lighter weight. (And don't worry ladies, "bulking up" from weight training is more of an old wives' tale than solid science!)

>> 28 DAY PROGRAM: Looking for a solid training and nutrition program to help you reach your goals? Pick up "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." This book includes daily devotionals, structured workouts and meal plans that work. Find out more by clicking here.