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He Set Limits

If focusing on how the body reacts to life has taught me anything this week (and over the years), it's that God gets us. He gets why we worry. Why else would He constantly encourage us to have faith? He gets why we suffer. Why else would He urge us not to lean on our own understanding? And yes, He also gets the body. As He formed us, He set limits. Let me say that again. As He formed us, HE SET LIMITS. As He encased our soul with flesh, He numbered our days on purpose. See, most sculptors never hope to reunite with their design, but God does. We're all He thinks about! Artists may pour heart and soul into their work, but our heart and soul is His work, and He wants us back. His biggest desire for our lives is that we meet the source of our lives. And if Jesus is in our hearts, He gets us.

–-Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What entry this week spoke to you? Was it about redemption? Atrophy? Our weak but glorious bodies? Let me know. Love to hear your thoughts. What is it about our temporary, frail flesh that motivated you this week? Do we work for healthy habits and greater abundance? Yes. But has anyone been comforted about the body's limited ability this week? Can you tell I want to hear from you? Much love to you all. Be blessed, enjoy the weekend, serve each other.

THE MESSAGE, DELIVERED

Jimmy Peña's message of health as a means of praise is being well-received by congregations around the country. His storytelling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss. For speaking appearances, ministry assistance, media inquiries, write us at info@prayfit.com. Share this information with pastors, elders and influencers with the knowledge that there is never a speaking fee for churches!

FAMILY CIRCLE: Social networks are like our extended digital family and we'd like to invite you to invite others! So "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit through our various channels. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community in 2014! Facebook Twitter Instagram

Heal The Wound, Leave The Scar

Yesterday on Twitter, one of my favorite authors, Reverend Scotty Smith, had such a neat question for us. He said, "In the new heaven/new earth, I want to sing like Steve Perry, love like Mother Teresa and paint like Makoto Fugimura. You?" I spent the better part of the afternoon trying to fashion my response. "Dance like Fred Astaire," made my list. So did "Tell a good story like Max Lucado" and "Look like Rob Lowe." Hey, it's Heaven! And while Loretta and I laughed together, I began to wonder what guys like Paul, John, or a battered Job will be doing in eternity. Right? I mean, the Bible is full of men and women who endured life -- individuals who really lived and have the scars to prove it.Reminds me of the old song that said, "Heal the wound, but leave the scar. A reminder of how merciful you are."

Friends, I don't think for a second Paul will ever forget being blind. Or John his loneliness. Or Job, those boils. Each of them built altars with the broken pieces of their lives and worshiped. May that be our week's perspective. Let's stay on our knees, remember His mercy, bathe in grace, and let the dream of Heaven be the reason we work so hard for a healthy lifestyle on earth.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Okay, I know you're dying to answer with me. What say you to Scotty's question?

Final Prayfit Diet CoverTOMORROW WE HIT BOOKSTORES! One more day guys!!! Your local bookstores are being filled with our newest book, The PrayFit Diet. We are so overjoyed. Thank you if you've already ordered yours. And if you get yours, please send us a pic and we'll share it on Facebook and Twitter. And we know from your messages and posts that many of you shop on Amazon, so here's the link where you can buy yours. Thank you for supporting our little ministry and for helping tomorrow's book launch. You're so good to us. If you write us a review on one of the major book vendor sites, we'd love to share it with the community, so send us yours by clicking here.

Joy To The World

Friends, today will be the last entry until after Christmas. And I'd like to simply take a second to wish you a wonderful week. Your health, family and entire lives are on my mind each and every day. Trust that. We have a lot in store next year, but we'll get to those 2014 dreams soon enough. For now, please know how much you mean to me. We'll have a gentle presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the coming days, but devotions will return December 30th. So, from all of us, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Celebrate Jesus, enjoy loved ones. Joy to the world.

Jimmy

A Healthy Conscience

"But we must hold on to the progress we have already made." --Philippians 3:16

Read: Philippians 3

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view -- deep breath -- it's time to gear up for Christmas. School activities, shopping lists, travel arrangements. Add to that a genuine desire to be healthy and as fit as possible, and the days get pretty packed, right? If it takes an hour in the gym or on the track to get my workout in, sparing even 10 minutes to read and pray is, well, tough to spare. A show of hands of those who can relate. Who has time to get quiet? Doesn't God know how busy I am?

But folks, if there's ever a time to create new habits or fortify old ones, it's now. At PrayFit, we believe it's more important to have a healthy conscience that it is to be health conscious. For the fitness-minded, shame on us if we train and eat "perfectly" this week but never crack open our bibles or hit our knees. Sure, it's great to plan your workout, but more important to work your heart out.

So let's enjoy the season; shop till we drop, pull out the Christmas sweaters and hang the lights. But as you set the week's schedule including your workouts and meal plans, bless the Lord and your life by adding in those precious few minutes of reading, praying and listening. Start with today's chapter. Find out the context of the verse. God knows time is precious, and He misses His with you.

--Jimmy Peña

Did You Know? >> The average person spends 18 hours a month on Facebook (checking the news feed just 7 times a day.) How many verses could you read in 18 hours a month? Will you lay down social media to get closer to the Lord?

WORKOUT OF THE MONTH: PrayFit 33

Don't wait until the turn of the calendar to renew your commitment to health and fitness. The PrayFit 33-Day Body-Toning System, the sequel to the team's first workout DVD, is a highly-effective blend of resistance training and cardio that can help you reshape your body for good.

For more information or to order, click here!

To God Be The Glory

Don't worry everyone, I'm not a poet and I know it. But since it's Friday, I thought I'd add some rhyme to our reason. Indeed, we all know and agree that there is a reason for health -- to thrive, look alive, live abundant for family, church and the world. And we're up for the task, because all good things are possible through Him and all good things we do for Him. He gets all our praise.

So this is me, to all of you, to faith, to health...to God be the glory.

PF Poem by JP

If you missed any entries this week, we hope you browse the archives and see what we talked about. And be sure to chime in on our Secret Shopper Poll. We're overwhelmed by your feedback.

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Fear Less

Saturday night Loretta and I joined some friends at Universal Studios. To be honest, we're not huge fans of Halloween, but we enjoyed getting out with the gang. After dinner together, the dozen of us like Scooby-Doo and friends, gathered our collective courage and dared the various mazes designed to haunt and scare. Like, Zoinks!

Of course, I was hesitant. Not fully healed and still unable to twist or turn, I was fine to sit it out and meet everyone at the end. And I would have too were it not for my pesky friends. But in truth, a few things helped my decision to dare it. First, our group had private security in all directions to help keep us together. And second, the characters whose job it was to frighten us along each path were not allowed to touch us. Spook us, yes. Lunge at us, absolutely. But as long as I kept calm, I could walk in a straight line without fear; no need to react, wince or balk.

So like -- "gangway!" -- off we went. As we entered each maze, I literally found myself going through both a physical and mental checklist. First, I stood up tall, drew my core in tight and thought to myself 'nobody can touch you Jimmy. Don't react, don't wince, don't balk, just walk.'

Well, I foiled them. And halfway through the night I wrote this entry. As the skeletons in the closet attempted to trap me and the shadowy unknown tried to paralyze me, I thought of each of you. I figured, during a week designed to playfully frighten us, let's unmask fear -- the good fear, bad fear and the beginning-of-wisdom kind of fear. Hopefully when all is said and done, we can echo the psalmist when he wrote, "When I am afraid I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal men do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4)

Let's have a good week in this maze of grace. Oh, and one more thing, let's remember to stick together.

--Jimmy Peña

Next StepUPDATE: Jimmy's next step in therapy last week was lifting opposite limbs off the floor simultaneously. Not an easy move, even for the healthy spine, but slowly but surely, he's working his way back. You can leave your prayers and/or messages of encouragement below or e-mail them direct to jimmy@prayfit.com.

Flat Abs Smooth KneesSHARE TACTIC: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community...and don't be afraid to share the pages with friends and family! Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube

Glorious Unfolding

Well, how did the week unfold? Any glorious victories? What about pitfalls, any of those? Well, at the PrayFit house, we had a little of everything. But one thing's for certain, we sure have been blessed by this week's entries and your comments each day.

If you missed any of them this week, Monday began with a moment of silence. Well, four minutes, thirty-three seconds of silence. Then, with strength and honor, life taught us that God alone lifts our burdens and we'd be wise to embrace our smallness. Sister Powell then weighed in and brought us all to tears and praise. She's the gladiator among us. And yesterday, we scooted over and got real close to one another and with you, prayed for many hurting people. We did a lot this week, and we're so glad you were with us along the way. The week was "a glorious unfolding."

A new theme begins on Monday and we hope you'll join us. Thank you for being a part of PrayFit. Each day for nearly six years, you've allowed us into your homes and lives. It's an honor we don't take lightly. Enjoy your Friday and weekend. Get some rest, be renewed, and we'll see you next week.

--Team PrayFit

P.S. We urge you to go to iTunes and download the new song by Steven Curtis Chapman called, "A Glorious Unfolding."

"The story is so far from over. So hold on to every promise God has made to us, and watch this glorious unfolding."

Wow, wow, wow. Hope you enjoy it. Each day this week was a lot like that for us. And we know that each day means another day closer to the Lord. So much in store. So far from over. Be blessed everyone.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter Instagram YouTube

>> SHOP: Spread the health via your apparel at the PrayFit online store. Custom hats, cozy tees and logo wristbands are all available at the click of a mouse, with easy shipping. You can also pick up PrayFit books and DVDs to help you start living a healthier lifestyle here. Click to get started.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

Remember Mrs. Kravitz?

"Love thy neighbor as yourself." --Mark 12:31

Read: Mark 12

Sitting on our little porch, I'm watching Loretta add potting mix, dirt and water to plants and shrubs. The smell of barbecue from a nearby condo fills the air. Somebody's cookin' out. The neighborhood seems alive tonight. Sun-filled cheeks on neighborhood kids is evidence of a fast-approaching summer. It seems God has dropped me in an episode of Leave it to Beaver. Somehow you'd expect Wally to come strollin' by. But I know better. This is no Pine Street.

I know better because I know myself better. When was the last time we visited a new neighbor? Or went to see the widow down the street? Or invited the single dad to church? Not sure if you can relate, but we have more in common with Mrs. Kravitz than we do June Cleaver. In reality, however, our homes, apartments and condos are as much an opportunity to witness as gyms, offices and schools.

I write about this today, because yesterday I was paid a visit by one of MY neighbors. Mind you, he's never been to our place, but he knew my truck hadn't moved in weeks, and he was heading out for coffee; just wanted to see if I needed anything. I won't try to explain what that meant to me, but the smallest gesture can have an enormous impact. Reach out to someone today. They just might need a cup of coffee.

–Jimmy Peña

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

>> SHOP: Spread the health via your apparel at the PrayFit online store. Custom hats, cozy tees and logo wristbands are all available at the click of a mouse, with easy shipping. You can also pick up PrayFit books and DVDs to help you start living a healthier lifestyle here. Click to get started.

>> CHAT: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

Naming Grace

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." --Romans 5:20

Read: Romans 5

Yesterday we asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter this question: What word best describes grace? The answers flooded in: Acceptance. Love. Gift. Undeserved. Peaceful. Unmerited Favor. Continuous. Free. Beautiful. Unconditional. Neverending. And many other wonderful responses.

Such a neat exercise, naming Grace. My preacher, Brother Henry Powell, used to say that when you accept Jesus, you're in the palm of His hand and when God looks at you, He sees you through the blood of His son and nothing -- NOTHING -- can remove you from His hand. I can still hear my preacher saying it. And friends, the fact that God doesn't see your sin and mine? That's grace. It truly is acceptance, love, a gift, undeserved, peaceful, unmerited favor, continuous, free, unconditional and never-ending. And let me offer my own: saving -- and of course -- amazing.

Oh, that reminds me. One Twitter response I got from @larishaJ made me smile in agreement when she replied with: #secondchance. Yes indeed @larishaJ -- our "only" chance, really. Grace is our only chance.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Speaking of a neat exercise, how does grace shape the way you view your health and fitness? Does it empower you to be a better steward? Knowing God sees your heart, maybe it humbles you? Perhaps you're too focused on the outer man or woman, or maybe not enough. We'd love to read your thoughts and comments.

TRAINING ROOM TIP: Recover with R.I.C.E. When it comes to managing injuries such as twisted ankles and sore shoulders, there's a lot of misinformation out there. Should you heat it? Massage it maybe? The answer is simple and it boils down to four letters: R-I-C-E. Click the link below to get in touch with your inner athletic trainer and manage your nagging injuries better.

>> R.I.C.E. stands for...

THE DAILY, DELIVERED

Nearly 10,000 people have chosen to receive the PrayFit Daily in their inboxes each morning. If you haven't signed up for this free service already, simply go to our homepage and look for the box pictured here. Click, type, submit -- it could be the most rewarding 30 seconds you spend on the computer this morning! Already subscribed and not receiving it? Make sure your spam filter hasn't been catching it. And if you want to help us go viral with this sign-up drive, you can do so by sending friends this link:

SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/cSd8tp

He's Strong. We're Weak.

"For by grace you have been saved and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9

Read: Ephesians 2

It just never seems to end, does it? This pursuit of health. For you, maybe it's another day in the gym, looking at that same row of dumbbells. Or maybe it's walking another lap around the familiar track with the expected turns. Either way, picking up the weight or the pace are the keys to change, improvement or even maintenance. More...again. Again, some more. Besides, you're only as good as your last workout, so you huff and puff...(rough). Folks, aren't we glad Heaven doesn't require the same?

Let's face it, we're just not strong enough, fast enough, good enough. Fortunately, Jesus lifted our heaviest burden and walked the steepest hill. We can stop fighting a fight He's already won. In fact, the next time you're struggling to lift yesterday's dumbbell with a body designed to weaken, or you're trying to keep your previous pace with steadily slowing legs, take a second and smile. Go ahead. Just grin and shake your head. Let it remind you of just how small and weak you are, and just how big and able He is. I admit, whenever I do that, I seem to be a little stronger and a little bit faster. I don't know. Maybe it's because I realize He's put me in charge of something that requires my effort.

--Jimmy Peña

STRENGTH TIP: Go Unilateral Did you know that by training one limb at a time, you can actually produce 20 percent more force? Get the inside scoop here.

NETWORK, SHOP, CHAT, SOW Take advantage of the many outlets and resources available to the PrayFit Nation

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

>> SHOP: Spread the health via your apparel at the PrayFit online store. Custom hats, cozy tees and logo wristbands are all available at the click of a mouse, with easy shipping. You can also pick up PrayFit books and DVDs to help you start living a healthier lifestyle here. Click to get started.

>> CHAT: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

"Being a big believer in Jesus Christ, PrayFit gets me on track to start my day off in the right direction. In boxing there is no room for error. You have to be not only be physically prepared but spiritually strong as well." — Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, 6-Time Boxing World Champion

>> Catch Robert Guerrero in action this weekend as he squares off against pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather on Showtime Boxing. For more info on the fight, click here!

Be Really Still

“Be still and know that I am God.” –Psalm 46:10 Read: Psalm 46

If you’ve never had an MRI procedure, let me paint the scene. You lay down and the technician gives you ear plugs to numb the deafening sounds that are soon to come. You get secured into position and after a short list of instructions, you’re sent inside this narrow tube. Claustrorphobes should skip the next sentence, because they send you in head first, so that your entire body is inside the casing, with just a couple of inches between the end of your nose and the inside of the cylinder. To say you feel vulnerable is no exaggeration. You battle mental questions like, “What if I can’t get out? What if the power goes out? What if?!”

Your only solace is the comforting voice of the tech that booms around you throughout the exam, repeating his instructions and making sure you’re okay. The most important thing? Be very, very still. Regardless of what’s going on around you, what you hear, as well as your seemingly helpless predicament, don’t move a muscle until the test is done. If you’re able to be still, the physician has a better chance to determine what’s going on inside. You know where I'm headed.

We have a lot going on around us; from the economy, to security issues to health problems. Sometimes we feel trapped, surrounded by the strange but familiar sounds of a life we’ve chosen, asking scary questions like, “What if I don’t get better? What if I fail? What if?!” Yet the most important thing? Be as still as we can, and listen for His voice through the noise.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Friends, the above entry is a repost from 2010, prior to my first spine surgery. Well, yesterday I had another MRI. And for the first time ever, halfway through the test, I had to get out. For whatever reason, I lost my breath and opened my eyes; both of which they strongly discourage. Not sure what happened in there, but as I exited the machine, the tech was standing at my side. He completely understood. After a minute of catching my breath (and wits), I nodded as if to say, "Let's do it." Oh folks, the Lord understands we want to get out sometimes. But He's right there. It's Friday, friends. Let's do it.

NETWORK, SHOP, CHAT, SOW Take advantage of the many outlets and resources available to the PrayFit Nation

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

>> SHOP: Spread the health via your apparel at the PrayFit online store. Custom hats, cozy tees and logo wristbands are all available at the click of a mouse, with easy shipping. You can also pick up PrayFit books and DVDs to help you start living a healthier lifestyle here. Click to get started.

>> CHAT: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

"Being a big believer in Jesus Christ, PrayFit gets me on track to start my day off in the right direction. In boxing there is no room for error. You have to be not only be physically prepared but spiritually strong as well." — Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, 6-Time Boxing World Champion

Self-Made

"Do you not know I have the power to have you crucified?" --John 19:10

Read: John 19

You can't pick up a newspaper, click on a website, or in many cases, look in the mirror without seeing someone claiming to be "self-made." Look to any industry, and there's someone who claims that they got to the top on their own; the Captain of a solo flight from rags to riches. Truth is, thinking we've made it to the top of anything alone is not only tough to swallow, it's dangerous to digest. Like someone once said, "A self-made man runs the risk of worshiping their creator."

Pilate took that risk. He raised his resume in the face of Jesus and beat his own chest. "Do you not know I have the power to have you crucified?" 

Folks, of all weeks, this is one that should remind us that we are nothing without Him. Alone, you and I are self-made messes. And when it comes to our health, if we're blessed to have it, it's a gift. Even the motivation to maintain it is a gift. We can't boast. You and I can't generate any of it alone. So as we recalibrate our souls this holy week, be sure to embrace the real meaning of fitness; service. Let's not get so caught up in the process of health that we forget about the purpose of it. As fitness-minded believers, we'll make the greatest impact when we look in the mirror and see only God's hands and feet.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Arugula Pesto

Enliven your pasta repertoire with this healthier summer sauce from PrayFit and Food Network contributor Dana Angelo White. For the recipe, click here.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

For Those Who Can't, Stand

"...Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." --Mark 10:49

Read: Mark 10

Yesterday on Facebook, I posted something I witnessed on Sunday:

"I sat behind a man in church on Sunday, paralyzed from the neck down. It was interesting to me that when the choir director asked the congregation to stand and sing, you could feel the reluctance and see the slow-moving crowd rise to their feet. I thought to myself, I wonder how fast this sweet man would stand if he could. The next song we sang was 'Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.' You know what? This man's voice was the loudest one around me. Plainly said, when we were asked to stand, he already was. Folks, life is not about the body, so if you have health and ability, use it as a means of praise. And believer, if you're called to stand and sing -- and you can stand up and sing -- stand up and sing."

The responses to our post had us in tears and awe. We wanted to share a few of them with you.

Renee Foster: "We have a young boy in our church who has been wheelchair bound his whole life and yet, when we sing he raises his one hand by just bending it at the wrist from his wheelchair armrest. It's all he can do so he does it. Imagine what an example that is for us."

Tricia Weaver Cross: "Thank you so much...I have a 13 yr old daughter that is wheelchair bound with a brain injury. I know that if she could stand and sing she would, with hands raised in praise. One day...one day!"

Isabelle Kafarela: "My father is paralyzed. What he wouldn't give to have the use of his legs! We thank GOD every day for my father's spirit as he lives with pain daily! Lord, please give my father Niko Kafarela strength in spirit to live Your Purpose daily!"

Bud Krueger: "The next time I stand, guess who will be there in front of me...Jesus, God, Holy Ghost. Amen"

No words, right? Well, I have a few for us. "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name." And for those who can't, stand.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Chicken Sausage & Pepper Flatbread

Looking for something that tastes way worse for you than it really is? Try this savory recipe from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC.

>> Recipe - Click here

For more PrayFit recipes and healthy eating tips, visit our nutrition page.

Throw Your Head Back

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." --1 Peter 5:7

Read: 1 Peter 5

Depending on when you open this entry, I'm doing one of many things. Check your watch. If it's early, and the sun is rising, be assured I'm dodging traffic and anticipating yellow lights. If it's mid-morning, I'm tapping my toes with my face plastered against the airplane window. And if it's around noon, I'm sprinting. I've let go of my baggage, thrown my head back and my arms are wide open. After weeks of touring, speaking and serving...I'm almost home.

Friends, life is a quick trip; a short but often brutal bridge. On it we sometimes get trampled. Maybe you can relate. Have you been overlooked this week? Ignored rather than recognized? Maybe you're struggling to cope with a troubled teen, financial hardships or health concerns. Whatever your recent trip of life has you burdened with, do what I am doing today. Drop the baggage and throw your head back. The One who knows you best, loves you most. So just run.

--Jimmy Peña

TRAINING TIPS: When to Pump the Brakes

Perhaps you’ve started out the year on a tear, working out several times a week and pushing your body harder with each session. That is fantastic but if you’ve started to notice that you’re a little slower, a little weaker and a little more fatigued than usual, or that your once-meteoric progress has come to a screeching halt, you may be a victim of overtraining.

>> Click here for more on overtraining.

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Uphill Battles

"Carry each other's burdens." --Galatians 6:2

Read: Galatians 6

>> AUDIO: Click here to listen to this entry, as read by Jimmy Peña. [audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/PrayfitAudio/Uphill+Battles.mp3]

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Simon did. Simon of Cyrene was of course the man who helped Jesus carry the cross up the hill toward Calvary. In one moment, a bystander. The next, a cross bearer. He did literally what you and I are called to do figuratively. Little did he know the example he was setting. I wonder if he knew his sin would soon be nailed to the tree he carried.

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Jesus did. Yet Jesus knew that what He faced, He had to face alone. Nobody on earth, above or below, could take His place as He took ours. But the thought of you and me facing our days without hope was enough to kill Him. The weight of the cross and our helplessness were more than He could bear.

Simon, Jesus. Two men, one cross and an uphill battle.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Build & Burn Getting leaner isn't just about burning more calories. How much weight you can lose is determined in large part by how much muscle you are able to build or maintain. The best body-changing type of workout helps you to use up calories while also challenging your muscles to rise to the occasion. This workout does just that, working all of your major muscles groups with a quick, at-home, equipment-minimal scheme that's sure to leave you better for the effort.

>> Click here for the workout! For additional exercise tips and routines, visit our fitness page.

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Misfits Seldom Do

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." --1 Corinthians 1:27

Read: 1 Corinthians 1

If he were your neighbor, you'd move. If choosing teams, he'd be the last one picked. Without a doubt, on the island of misfits he'd be king. But he didn't care. More bold than beautiful, John knew the act to follow was really the act to follow. So he used whatever God gave him to get his message across to a world in need.

Friends, our bodies are merely tools. In the end, they simply get us from life's A to B. But our short trip was so important that Jesus made His. So this week, let's add how we eat and exercise to the list of strange ways God makes Himself known to those around us. Will you be popular? Maybe not. Regarded or rewarded? It's doubtful. But then again, the only attention that's really important is the attention you're paying to the body God designed for you. So go ahead. Be the last one standing. In a world that disregards the body as a means of praise, you'll be in good company when you don't fit in. Misfits seldom do.

--Jimmy Peña

TRAINING TIP: Rest Right, Blast Fat

If you're spending time in the gym and your goal is to get a little bit leaner, don't just go through the motions. The time you are taking between sets of exercise may be limiting how much fat you can burn. Here's how to use rest to lean up faster!

>> Click here to start burning more bodyfat today!

>> READ: For quick-hit, healthy living resources, visit our dedicated fitness and nutrition pages, which are updated with new content each week.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

Worthy of a Frame

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." --Psalm 139:14

Read: Psalm 139

Where do you keep your pictures? I’m not talking about fun, random, cell phone snaps or Facebook profile images. I’m talking about the special ones –- those worthy of a frame. That’s where we need to start…the mantle of your heart.

You know, we’ve all heard the statement that if God had a mantle, your picture would be on it. And while I love knowing that, I wonder what you and I would actually look like? At first, that thought might sound a bit weird, awkward or even irrelevant. I suppose it would be if we were talking about the body, but God sees our hearts. And like we’ve said many times, life is not about the body, and our bodies -- these frames -- will most certainly not last heaven.

But if anyone knows our bodies, what they’re capable of, and most importantly, how healthy they were intended to be on earth, it’s Him. So I guess you could say, we’re just pictures of grace; souls He saw worthy...of a frame.

--Jimmy Peña

QUESTION: God loves our souls so much he framed them with bodies. How does knowing that change the way you view the importance of health? Please give us your comments below and please share this with your Facebook and Twitter communities.

DID YOU KNOW? Obesity is threatening national security, according to a new study, because one in four young adults is too overweight to join the military. In some states, as many as 44 percent of young adults, age 18-24, are obese and unfit to serve and protect.

Source: Mission: Readiness

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Welcome Back

"I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." --Galatians 2:20

Read: Galatians 2

Well?? (typed with a big smile and spoken loudly)

On behalf of everyone at PrayFit, welcome back. If you've recently subscribed, thank you for being part of our community. We hope you remain constantly encouraged and challenged to live your best life, in part, by what you read from us each day. Speaking of your "best life," yesterday Dr. Charles Stanley was encouraging his congregation to live theirs. I took notes.

He told them that if they wanted to be everything God intended, taking care of themselves was an absolute. He thundered away as he reminded them that the bodies they neglect wasn't theirs, but it was God's temple on earth. He said an unhealthy body weakens 1) your energy for the task, 2) your ability to focus, 3) your alertness, 4) your enthusiasm and 5) your readiness to take on new challenges for the Lord. And he ended the section by saying, "We have a right, a privilege and responsibility to keep our bodies healthy."

Notice his theme? Health as a means of praise and of service. For those who are new, that's a common thread of ours; one that's woven into each and every thing we say and do. It's not that we don't have anything else to energize the effort but we just can't seem to exhaust its strength and power. This Thursday marks five years of daily devotions at PrayFit.com -- five years of celebrating God, touching hearts, moving bodies, soothing hurts and experiencing grace.

And so let a new year begin. May it be a year of genuine faith. May we be on our knees in prayer daily before and above all other priorities. May we remind ourselves of the grace we've been given so that we freely give it to others just the same. And when our eyes are clear and our hearts made right -- during the easy times and even when the world has us on the run or the ropes -- may we dig down deep within the temple He gave us to gladly, boldly, humbly, modestly and courageously honor Him with it, in Jesus' name.

Welcome back to PrayFit.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What is your personal theme this year? Do you have one? If you do or want to think of one, please share it with us. We'd like to pray for each and everyone one of them and let the worldwide PrayFit community do the same.

>> GET STARTED: If you're looking for a launching off point for your get-fit endeavors in 2013, try one of our two at-home, 33-day fitness programs or our book, which includes two 28-day bodyweight-only programs and a full meal plan. You can grab these resources in our online store.

>> READ: For quick-hit, healthy living resources, visit our dedicated fitness and nutrition pages, which are updated with new content each week.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

Seeds Worth Sowing

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this will he also reap." --Galatians 6:7

Read: Galatians 6

My abuelo was an avid gardener. He could grow just about anything in the rich black soil he had cultivated for years. In the spring, I decided that this was going to be the year that I stopped wishing for a garden – it was time to make it happen. I wanted to learn how to grow my own food for my family just like he did. I was excited to research what types of fruits and vegetables would work in my climate and one day, while I was dropping seeds into the ground, a familiar biblical principle jumped out at me: Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.

Can I plant jalapeño seeds and get watermelons? Or plant cucumber seeds and get tomatoes? Of course not. If you grew up in the church like I did, this principle was likely applied to obedience and our conduct as Christ followers. But the principle applies to so many areas of life, including business and relationships, so it should come as no surprise that it also carries over into our health and fitness. Can we reap a strong body by being a couch potato? Can we expect to feel well and live abundantly by eating junk food? No. We will reap good health and increased energy if we sow clean eating and strength training.

Wishing and hoping do nothing for a garden or our bodies. If I do nothing, I can expect nothing. The basic law of reaping and sowing will bring us the harvest we have planted. So it’s time to take a look at our own lives. What will we reap in six months? A year? All you have to do is look at the seed you’re sowing today.

--Catrina Vargas-Cormell

An entrepreneur, Catrina Vargas-Cormell was one of the first members of the PrayFit community. Catrina is now a PrayFit executive committee member and PrayFit Group leader in El Paso, Texas. For more from Catrina, join her group, “Hungry!,” on Facebook or visit her PrayFit workout journal.

NETWORK, SHOP, CHAT, SOW Take advantage of the many outlets and resources available to the PrayFit Nation

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

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>> CHAT: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

Daddy, Daddy

"He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.'" --Matthew 26:39

Read: Matthew 26

Ella's scream has a way of piercing ears but this morning, it broke my heart. In the arms of her swim instructor, who was imparting what my wife and I know are vital and potentially life-saving skills, a hysterical Ella reached out to me. "Daddy, daddy!" she cried, over and over. All I wanted to do was to take her hand, to let her know it would be okay, to reassure her that I would never let any harm come to her. Instead, I walked out.

I swallowed the lump of parental guilt in my throat when I remembered how important this lesson would be. She would have to suffer so that she could be taught. Turning away, in this case, was how I could best protect her.

God could have saved His son. He could have taken the cup (v. 39) as Jesus begged Him to do. With his only Son "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," God could have easily interceded on his behalf. Instead, against every paternal instinct and with His heart breaking, He did nothing.

When her 15 minutes were up, she sat smiling in Wendy's lap, feasting on a lollipop, the reward for her brief aquatic ordeal. At the pool, I turned away so that Ella could learn. In the garden, God turned away so that we could live.

--Eric Velazquez 

PRAYFIT RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Tomato Sauce

Makes 10 servings (1/2 cup each)

Ingredients:

6-8 large tomatoes cut into large chunks 1/2 large red onion, roughly chopped 1 red chili pepper, chopped 3 cloves garlic, whole 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon dried oregano Freshly ground black pepper 1 can (15 ounces) canned tomato sauce, no salt added 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 cup red wine 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place tomatoes, onion, chili and garlic on a large sheet pan; add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, oregano and pepper and toss to coat. Roast vegetables for 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes just begin to char; set aside to cool slightly. In a large pot, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then add the roasted tomato mixture, tomato sauce, tomato paste and wine. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add basil and parsley; season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Puree sauce using an immersion blender* until smooth.

*If you do not have an immersion blender, puree in a countertop blender in small batches. Make sure to hold the top of the blender closed with a dish towel while the machine is on.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories: 80 calories Total Fat: 3 grams Saturated Fat: 0 grams Total Carbohydrate: 11 grams Protein: 2 grams Sodium: 139 milligrams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian and is currently a nutrition expert for the Food Network, and has worked as a media spokesperson for Cooking Light Magazine. She has appeared on Good Day Street Talk, Food Network.com, Access Hollywood and GMA Health. Visit her at Dana White Nutrition.

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