Eric Velazquez

Lord, Do You See Yourself In Me?

"The Lord looks at the heart..." --1 Samuel 16:7

Read: 1 Samuel 16

When Prayfit VP Eric Velazquez describes seeing his resemblance in his daughter's faces, this weeping writer fights back tears. He says, "Jimmy, it's one thing to know they're your own flesh and blood, but when you start to see yourself, it's simply amazing. I'm at a loss for words." (That says a lot coming from Eric, arguably one of the best writers in the country.)

But you know what? I want to be like Mya and Ella. Not that I want to look like Eric (handsome as he is), but the only thing I want more than being a dad one day is to be a child that resembles the Father.

Friends, we hope that's the message you've heard here at PrayFit. Some enjoy the fitness tips, others the recipes. But don't miss this: Nothing matters unless we have Jesus in our hearts. If we're at a loss for words, our approach to wellness merely serves as a back-up to A) praise Him with our lives and B) help spread the gospel. Despite our highest highs and lowest lows, when He looks at us, it's His own reflection He longs to see.

--Jimmy Peña

Lord, we love you. Our utmost desire is for you to live in our hearts. We seek your resemblance. See yourself, we pray. Amen.

DISCUSS: Are you a believer who feels compelled to take better care of yourself? Are you a fitness enthusiast who feels compelled to demonstrate more modesty? Whoever you are and whatever you feel called to do, we're here to support, motivate, and inspire to you to stay that course. It's our life's work to help your lives work with a deeper faith and better health.

EXERCISE IN DEPTH: The Plank

Today we take a closer look at one of the simplest, most effective exercises you can do for your core: the plank. This exercise has no movement whatsoever but has plenty going on. The plank primarily works the muscle called the transverse abdominis -- the muscle most responsible when we breathe out air. Try it, as you read this sentence, take a deep breath and then blow out as much as possible. Keep going....keep breathing out....feel that? Well, that muscle ache deep in your gut is exactly that, deep in your gut. In fact, the transverse abdominis is highly responsible for the strength of your spine and helps prevent low back pain. The stronger the transverse abdominis, the better your posture and the more likely you are to enjoy abundant low back health. Try it. Each day, shoot for a longer plank time. Here's how to get it right:

PLANK | Focus: Core, abs, lower back Lie facedown on the floor with your body straight and forearms resting on the floor. Slowly press your body up off the floor onto your forearms and toes. Keep your abs pulled in tight and your back flat while holding this position.

>> Does God call us to be fit? Let us know what you think by offering your comments on this discussion, either below in the comments section, or by clicking here to leave your thoughts at our forum.

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Jimmy Pena Visits Fans at Berean Books in SoCal

Last weekend, PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena spent time signing DVDs and meeting with fans at two Berean Christian Stores in California's Inland Empire. Both stores -- one in Riverside, the other in Redlands -- featured prominent signage and displays of PrayFit books and DVDs. Jimmy was joined by his wife Loretta and PrayFit VP and editorial director Eric Velazquez. You can view a few of the pics below. >> To order your own copy of the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, click here.

He's My Brother

"Then I sent Moses and Aaron..." --Joshua 24:5

Read: Joshua 24

A great friend and mogul said to me yesterday, "I believe God puts people in your life to help show you where you're going." His statement couldn't have been more true about the day nearly seven years ago when I met then writer extraordinaire and future PrayFit VP Eric Velazquez. Little did I know that when I shook Eric's hand in the offices of Muscle & Fitness Magazine, God was showing me where I was going.

In the context of PrayFit, if I could humbly assign Eric a biblical counterpart, it would probably be Aaron. If you're thinking, "Aaron! Yes, of course! Aaron...wait...who's Aaron?" well, that helps my point. Aaron was Moses' brother. Often overlooked, but when Moses was in need, God sent Aaron. Moses stuttered, so God delivered. Aaron 'spoke well' and they became a team.

So please allow me to use the comparison to publicly acknowledge Eric and his selfless, often invisible, critical and fantastic work he does day in and out. If it weren't for Eric, there would be no daily message. If he's not writing amazing articles for the biggest fitness magazines in the country, or inspiring people to grow closer to the Lord and healthier in the process, he's smoothing out my stutter. He's my brother, and we're a team.

If you've been following PrayFit for any length of time, please help me in publicly thanking Eric for who he is and what he means to us all.

--Jimmy Peña

HEALTH FACTS, BY THE NUMBERS The AHA's most recent report on obesity and its ties to heart disease

149,300,000 - Number of U.S. adults (age 20 and older) that are overweight or obese

33.7 - Percentage of U.S. adults (age 20 and older) that are obese

23,600,000 - Number of U.S. children (age 2 to 19) that are overweight or obese

16.9 - Percentage of U.S. children (age 2 to 19) that are obese

33 - Percentage of U.S. adults that report doing no aerobic leisure-time activity

71 - Percentage of U.S. adults with cardiovascular disease that were overweight or obese

1 in 3- Deaths attributable to cardiovascular disease in the U.S.

Source: American Heart Association Statistical Update on Heart Disease and Strokes (2012)

Do You See Yourself?

"The Lord looks at the heart..." --1 Samuel 16:7

Read: 1 Samuel 16

Last week when PrayFit VP Eric Velazquez described seeing his resemblance in his daughter's faces, this weeping writer fought back tears. He said, "Jimmy, it's one thing to know they're your own flesh and blood, but when you start to see yourself, it's simply amazing. I'm at a loss for words." That says a lot coming from Eric, arguably one of the best writers in the country.

But you know, I want to be like Mya and Ella. Not that I want to look like Eric (handsome as he is), but the only thing I want more than being a dad one day is to be a child that resembles his Father.

Friends, as we end this work week, we hope that's the message you've heard here at PrayFit. Some enjoy the fitness tips, others the recipes. But don't miss this: Nothing matters unless we have Jesus in our hearts. If we're at a loss for words, our approach to wellness merely serves as a back-up to A) praise Him with our lives and B) help spread the gospel. Despite our highest highs and lowest lows, when He looks at us, it's His own reflection He longs to see.

--Jimmy Peña

"Lord, we love you. Our utmost desire is for you to live in our hearts. We seek your resemblance. See yourself, we pray. Amen."

WEEK IN REVIEW 

FAITH >> CUT TO THE CHASE: Let's follow Him so close that we're covered in His dust >> BREATHLESS: When we breathe it all out, He breathes it all in

>> WHAT CAN I BRING?: The One who matters most is the one that doesn't count

>> A DANGEROUS PRAYER: What will you do with the opportunity to live more healthfully?

FITNESS >> WORKOUT: Use this home-based routine to start the year with a sweat

>> EXERCISE: An in-depth look at one of the best exercises for your core

>> NUTRITION TIP: How to sneak more fruits and veggies in your diet

>> HEALTH: How higher protein diets help you stay lean  

ELLA'S GRIN

November 1, 2011 Read: Psalm 121

"The Lord watches over you." --Psalm 121:5

Last week, PrayFit co-Founder Eric Velazquez posted this picture of his little girls. What Eric wrote as a caption was something I'm sure only a Father can truly understand, but it hit me. Eric said:

"Does Ella's grin give it away that they're not really asleep? Still, I found them in bed, sharing a blanket and laughing yesterday, and it was just one of those fun, dad moments I wanted to snap. Bonus: Mya is in bed wearing a princess dress. She refused to nap without it."

Hmm...haven't we all slept with Ella's grin? We close our eyes, pretend, and try to fool God under the blanket of the very grace He provides. But the fact is, He knows us. And He loves us despite ourselves. Call me sentimental ('cause I am), but I like to think God watches over us like Eric does his kids, pausing on moments too good to pass up...with a grin of His own.

--J.P.

Lord, we love you. And you're watching. Though we often fall asleep on Your watch, we never lose your blanket of grace. We're so glad You love us and You never, ever... stop being Dad.

Question: How does knowing God is watching over you help you take better care of yourself and your family?

HOW MUCH ACTIVITY?

As the numbers on child obesity climb and favorite after school activities gravitate more toward thumb work than lawn play, do you wonder exactly how much activity is enough for your kids? The more your child runs around, the better. But if you’re looking for a basic guideline to help them follow, look to the experts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes per day of activity, including some of the “vigorous” variety three times per week.

>> Commit:

Today, take stock of how much activity your children are getting each day, taking physical education at school and organized sports into account as well. Discuss the importance of regular activity with your child and make today the first day of a scheduled family “workout,” where you spend 15-20 minutes exercising, walking or playing together.

 

(Source: CDC)

 

 

 

 

IT TOOK A LIFETIME

August 8, 2011 Read: Deuteronomy 2

"The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands." --Deuteronomy 2:7

On Friday, Prayfit VP Eric Velazquez gave us a great reminder of God's faithfulness. We learned that although the Israelites wandered, they weren't lost. But in the end, what should have been an 11-day journey eventually took 40 years.

When it comes to your health and fitness, does it feel like you're wandering? Perhaps today, you're looking around thinking, "This looks so familiar. I just know I've been down this road before." (Not making time to exercise, diet is less than clean, motivation needs a jump-start, etc).

Well friends, take heart. Eventually the Israelites stood on the edge of the land they walked so far to see. And though they still had the river to cross and the walls to crumble, they made it. Picture them as they stood there; eyes wide, deep breaths, staring down their goal. What they saw took a lifetime. Your health does, too.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK

Not a lot of time before work to workout? Find some empty space in your living room, garage, or backyard for this brief but effective total-body routine. In just a few minutes, this strength-and-power building routine will have provided you with more energy for the day ahead and set your metabolic fire ablaze.

Walk in place for 1 minute Jog in place for 1 minute High-knee run in place for 1 min Standard push-up to failure Jump Squat (20 reps or to failure) Rest 20-30 seconds

--Repeat the entire sequence 3-5 times. Try this workout two times this week, allowing 48-72 hours between sessions. If you're more experienced, aim for five total go-throughs with it, three times per week (or every other day).

KEY TERM Failure: the point at which you can no longer complete reps with good form on your own.

>> EXERCISE: For text and video descriptions of many of the exercises you find in these workouts, click here.

>> ABOUT US: Learn more about the dedicated team at PrayFit.

HE'S MY BROTHER

July 15, 2011Read: Joshua 24

"Then I sent Moses and Aaron..." --Joshua 24:5

This week, Prayfit VP Eric Velazquez has been out on assignment. The assignment? Vacation with family. Time away from being the glue for everything we do at PrayFit. If I could humbly assign Eric a biblical counterpart, it would probably be Aaron. If you're thinking, "Aaron! Of course! Aaron...who's Aaron?" Well, that helps my point.

Aaron was Moses' brother. Often overlooked, but when Moses was in need, God sent Aaron. Moses stuttered, so God delivered. Aaron 'spoke well' and they became a team.

So please allow me to use the comparison to publicly acknowledge Eric and his selfless, invisible, critical and fantastic work he does day in and out. If it weren't for Eric, there would be no message. If he's not writing amazing entries and inspiring people to grow closer to the Lord and healthier in the process, he's smoothing my stutter. He's my brother, and we're a team.

--J.P.

WEEK IN REVIEW Your weekly, one-stop shop for healthy living tips

>> HOW TO: Learn the basics of effective journaling for faster, more noticeable results

>> CHALLENGE: Are you up for making one small change each night in a single week?

>> DISCUSSION: How important is it to care for the bodies that He so carefully built?

>> STRATEGY: 6 ways to get more out of meals without expanding your waistline

HEARD: Peace Officers for Christ, International is committed to improving the mental, physical and spiritual health of police officers everywhere. PrayFit helps us do just that. If the police are to serve honorably we must be able to withstand spiritual attack every bit as much as physical assaults. This is more than a ‘pump you up’ book. It certainly does that but more importantly, it will pump up your spiritual fitness level as well. I look forward to sharing it with my colleagues across America and the world. But whatever your calling, this book is for you.”

–Rick Hicks, Chief of Police (retired) and Board Member, Peace Officers for Christ, International

>> Order your copy of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" at Amazon today by clicking here.