A Little Ditty

"For physical training is of some value, but training in godliness has value now and in the life to come." --1 Timothy 4:8

Read: 1 Timothy 4

I'm likely giving away my age when I remind you of one of my favorite praise and worship songs, "I Just Came To Praise The Lord." Anyone?...Anyone?

"I just came to praise the Lord. I just came to praise the Lord. I just came to praise His holy name. I just came to praise the Lord."

Classic, right? On more than one occasion, I've felt like that in church. Shake hands, wave at friends, but get me to my seat, I need to talk to Jesus. I felt like that on my walk yesterday. I didn't set any land speed records, but I logged 3.12 miles. It's always such a good time talking to the Lord, cleansing my heart, clearing my mind, praying for family, asking for wisdom, planning excellence. Far beyond the physical benefits the walking is doing to my recovery -- being over a month removed from major back surgery -- my training has always been an extension of my quiet time. Sure, each stride sends vital nutrients to aid in healing, but my "walk" is more important.

Try it. Next time you hit the gym or go for your jog, remember today's little ditty. As you raise those weights overhead, remember the ultimate burden He lifted. As you run your miles, recall the distance He went to call you His own. And I know, the world will demand that you "focus" on the goal, the reason you're in the gym or on the road. And your response can either be spoken or sung, because in truth, you are focusing on the goal and the reason you're in the gym.

--Jimmy Peña

A Little Ditty with Jimmy: Old habits die hard, because 20-plus years ago -- during my really heavy lifting days -- my best lifts always came when my heart was right, my mind was focused and my motives were pure. If I was worried, convicted, or struggling somehow, I just wasn't my best. The habit of praying before each workout became a habit I would take into each set and each rest period, until my training became an extension of my quiet time. Trust me, while I had the Rocky soundtrack blaring in my ears, I had grace and forgiveness coursing through my heart. I even remember specific prayers, mantras even, that I'd say to the Lord. Funny, I still do. Even as I blaze through -- okay, limp through -- my 3.12 miles.

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: Double Crunch

One of the most challenging exercises that you can do for your abs is the double crunch -- which is featured in our workout of the week -- because it hits your abs hard from top to bottom. Here's how to get it right.

Double Crunch | Focus: Upper abs, lower abs | (VIDEO) Lie down on the floor with your legs straight, feet together. Place your hands gently behind your head and raise your feet off the floor roughly six inches. Crunch your upper body off the floor while simultaneously bringing your knees toward your torso, so that your upper body meets your lower body in the middle. Squeeze and return to the start, allowing your legs to remain above the floor throughout.