Hebrews 12

Run With Me

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." --Hebrews 12:1

Read: Hebrews 12

As you may have read on some of the posts, I love to run. And while I’m no elite runner, I simply enjoy competing against myself and always try to beat my best times. Before my last race (a half marathon), I told Jimmy, “Even if I beat it by one second I’ll be happy.” Well, on mile No. 9, I began to fatigue and I knew by my watch that I was at risk of not running my best race. At that moment, someone ran up beside me and asked me what time I was shooting for. I told him I wanted to beat 1:57. He said “Okay let’s do it. That's the pace I want to keep."

We pushed each other through miles 10, 11 and 12. At mile 13, I yelled to my new friend “Let’s go, we’re almost there!” As I crossed the finish, I heard Jimmy call my name and first thing I asked him was, “What was my time?” Jimmy was set up to receive texts alerts so he knew right away. He looked up at me and said with a smile, "1:56!" I was so happy. I beat my time, and yes, it was by one second! At that very moment, my new friend and running partner ran up to me and gave me a big, sweaty hug. He told me this was his first race ever, and he simply wanted to get under the two-hour mark. He was ecstatic that he was able to do it.

You know, I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. He picked me (of all the other runners) to help him in his first race. And in doing so, he helped me with mine. Maybe it's Jimmy rubbing off on me, but it was neat for a "run" to remind me of my "walk." In today’s verse it reads, “and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Well that’s my heart's desire. I hope in everything I say and do I’m running in such a way as to be like Christ, just in case someone wants to run with me.

–-Loretta Peña

Loretta is a graduate of California Lutheran University and lives in Woodland Hills with her husband -- PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña -- and their two pups, The Outlaw Ms. Josey Whales and Queen Madeline. She loves the Lord, enjoys running, watching her beloved New York Yankees, all things Disney and sings a mean karaoke. 

Josh-snow3 TIPS TO A BETTER STRIDE

Looking for a more efficient, pain-free stride as you pursue your own running goals in 2013? Run down this no-nonsense checklist to start logging better runs today and feel free to share your own running tips in the comments section below.

RELATED: PrayFit endorser and American 50k record holder Josh Cox talks about life, running and faith. Click here for more.

Be Still and Run

"Be still and know that I am God.""Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us."

Read: Psalm 46, Hebrews 12

If you've ever watched a track meet on TV, you've noticed that as the runners enter the starting blocks, there's a moment of absolute silence. After the athletes find their place, they kneel, bow their heads, then -- pow! -- off they go.

Well, if you're new to PrayFit, we're a lot like that. In a sense, we represent two bookends of the day -- stillness and movement in one. We believe God was as serious when He said "be still" as He was when He said "run the race." And at PrayFit, we take these orders both literally and figuratively.

So welcome to the start of a new day. Find a good place to kneel, bow your head and run.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Banana Bread

The smell of a still-baking loaf of banana bread is an olfactory experience that we at PrayFit do not take lightly. Only we know all too well how dangerous this indulgence can be if eaten by the loaf instead of by the slice. Luckily, PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, knows how to take the sugary sting out of banana bread without sacrificing flavor.

"There’s no better way to use over-ripe bananas than banana bread, but all the butter and sugar in traditional banana bread recipes can clobber you with calories and fat," she says. "Use our tips to make this breakfast classic more figure friendly."

Nutrition Facts There’s a lot of variation in the nutrition info for banana bread recipes. Those made with butter and eggs come out higher in unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol, while those made with vegetable oils are still high in fat and calories, but contain more heart-healthy fats. On average, most breads come out to 110 calories and 4-5 grams of fat per ounce — and slices can vary from anywhere from 2-5 or more ounces.

Lighter Options There are numerous ways to tone down your favorite recipe. Try a couple of these easy fixes:

>> Bananas add moisture and sweetness so you can cut back on the fat and sugar. Try using 25 percent less fat and sugar than your usual recipe calls for. >> Applesauce or apple butter can also help replace the fat and added sugar. >> Downsize the portions to muffin or mini-muffin pans. >> Cut a standard loaf pan sized-bread into 12 slices. >> Make a cholesterol-free version using canola oil, apple butter and soy milk. >> Nuts and chocolate chips are great add-ins, but keep portions to no more than one tablespoon per serving.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

>> NUTRITION: Looking for more recipes and healthy eating tips? Visit our nutrition page by clicking here.

HE UNDERSTANDS

November 18, 2011 Read: Hebrews 12

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." -- Hebrews 12:1

I think God understands the marathon. Many people will tell you that a marathon is all about the journey, the memories. Well, yes and no. While the memories have their moments, what awaits us at the end is really what it's all about. I mean, I loved the music at mile 12, but I didn't hang around for an entire song. It played, not so much that I would enjoy, but more so that I would endure.

When I began the race, I had a running partner as well as a dedicated pacer (the pacer's name was Paul, by the way.) But as you learned this week, a little over midway through the race, my body started to fail me. And when the partner and pacer ran ahead, I had to slow down. But had that not happened, I would have missed the blind man with his guide, and the woman in the wheelchair with no legs. And yes, I would have missed the two men who led me my last few miles of the race. Two men wearing identical shirts; bright yellow jerseys with black letters. Unmistakable to me. Not so much for the color combo, but for the words on their backs. On one shirt, "Father", and on the other, "Son". Oddly enough, the only comfort I could muster at the time was written on the back of two strangers.

The journey is one thing. But while our bodies fail us, friends leave us, and pacers lose us, the only real comfort is who we follow to the finish. I think God understands the marathon.

P.S. At dinner that night, I watched a lady limping her way through a restaurant. As she passed our table, I said, "Congratulations". Surprised, she thanked me. Hmm. You can always tell the runners. You can see it in their walk.

--Jimmy Pena

WEEK IN REVIEW

Faith

>> FOREVER ROAD: Each step is worth it when we remember who awaits us in the end

>> WHATEVER YOU DO: No matter how painful the pace, keep going

>> TRACKING NUMBERS: Following the steps of the one who's already won the race

>> TIRED OF RUNNING: His favorite place to run is to our rescue

Fitness

>> RUNNER'S RESOURCES: Our favorite digital haunts for running advice

>> SPEED TRICK: A surprising benefit of running sprint intervals

>> MASS FRUIT: How apples contribute to greater muscle gain

>> RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Spicy pulled pork

WE'RE PAGE-TURNERS

October 24, 2011Read: Hebrews 12

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus; the author and finisher of our faith." --Hebrews 12:2

The...End. Not something you expect to read at the start of a devotion, but it was something I witnessed on my plane recently. The lady across the isle was reading a book that made "War and Peace" look like a leaflet. Seriously, at one point on the flight, I saw her begin Chapter 153.

As we began our descent, I saw her turn to the last page of the final chapter. You expect to see someone start a book on a flight, but to witness the finish, now that's rare. The bold capped words, THE END, hung below a short paragraph that covered only half the page. Her focus and reaction to her story was my focus, and I reacted.

"So how was it?" (I just had to ask. Rare moments are tough for me to ignore). "It was great!" she responded. "Lots of twists and turns but I love the author, and the end was better than expected."

I glanced up to the roof of the airplane as if to catch the grin of someone nobody could see, "Good one, Lord" I mumbled. You know, if I enjoyed watching some stranger finish her story, how much do you think God enjoys watching us live ours? To Him, we're page-turners, so let's really live! After all, she was right; lots of twists and turns, but if you love the Author, the end will be better than expected.

--J.P.

Question: What are your goals this week? How are you planning to live in terms of your health and well-being? Gonna try some healthy recipes? Start a new routine? Make it known in the comments section below.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Mechanical Advantage

The body is an amazing thing in that it is fully fragile but fully adaptable. In any tough workout, progress is made in the daunting shadows beyond failure. Taking your body to the point of complete fatigue, then, is a desirable if only occasional ambition that can help you get healthier and stronger. But reaching that point doesn't have to mean the end of your workout. That's where adaptation comes in. By putting your muscles in a more mechanically advantageous position -- positions that demand less work -- you are able to extend your workout. Happily, additional cumulative work can lead to greater gains in the long run. This week's workout allows you to ask (and receive) more of yourself by simply capitalizing on mechanical advantage.

UPPER BODY

Plyo-Push up Standard Push-Up Push-Up (from knees)

LOWER BODY

Jump Squat Standard Squat Isometric Hold (squat at 90-degrees and hold to failure)

ABS

Double Crunch Standard Crunch Reverse Crunch

--Perform each exercise listed to complete failure before moving on to the next. Failure is the point at which you can no longer complete reps with good form. You can break up the upper, lower and abdominal workouts, doing them on separate days, or you can go through each exercise listed in sequence for a total body workout. If going the total-body route, you may go through the entire sequence 2-3 times total, resting at least 24 hours between workouts.

CHEER ME UP

July 20, 2011Read: Hebrews 12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses...”-- Hebrews 12:1

I know beyond a doubt that I’m not the first person to see heaven in a marathon, nor will I be the last. But standing among the countless other witnesses along the cement track just begged a comparison.

Maybe it was the blind runner holding on to his guide to get him through the miles. Or perhaps it was each coach strategically placed throughout the trail to encourage and motivate. (Indeed, each warrants a devotional all their own). But for me, it was written on a little girl’s shirt as she anxiously awaited her daddy to come running. It simply said, "Cheer me up." Not "Cheer me on" or "Cheer me through" but... "up." And with every passing group of runners, her shirt would come into view. Not knowing the context, I dismissed it.

But it wasn’t until the race was over, while I was waiting in the designated Family Reunion area, that her shirt made sense. We too are being encouraged each day. By those we know and those we don’t, and even by those we can’t even see. And someday, when our race is over and the good Lord calls us home, we’ll reunite with loved ones and strangers who have been anxiously awaiting our arrival –cheering us up – all along the way.

–J.P.

SO YOU WANNA RUN A MARATHON?

If you answered the above question "yes," PrayFit editorial director Eric Velazquez probably asked "Why?" with a look of confused pain on his face. But if all this talk of running has ignited a spark in your gut about taking on a marathon, we've done half our job. The other half would be for us to help you prepare. For that we look to our friends at Runner's World for some helpful training tips. If you're new to running, today's helpful tidbit is just for you.

BEGINNER: Who, exactly is a "beginner?" Well, if you've run 15 to 20 miles a week for at least six months, completed a 5K or 10K -- perhaps even something longer, you are a beginner. A marathon beginner can run five or six miles without collapsing afterward and want to gradually become a stronger runner with a marathon on the horizon.

>> The Plan. You're going to train just three to four days a week and gradually increase your weekly mileage from around 10-15 to 35-plus miles a week. The biggest key of all will be to gradually increase your mileage, especially that of your weekend long run. "The beginner needs to focus almost entirely on the long run," says anaerobic management coach Jon Sinclair (www.anaerobic.net), "but it's also good to throw in a little hill work and some aerobic intervals on alternate weeks to bolster your stamina and to liven up your training."

Lastly, we're going to have you running two low-key races -- such as a half marathon or 10K --  to get the feel of competition before the big day.

>> TOUGHEST WORKOUT EVER: Well, the contest isn't on anymore but we're still curious -- what was your toughest workout ever? If you continually challenge yourself, there's likely one or two workouts that stand out. Share here on our forums!

 

 

FINISH YOUR STORY

May 12, 2011Read: Hebrews 12

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus; the author and finisher of our faith." --Hebrews 12:2

The...End. Not something you expect to read at the start of a devotion, but it was something I witnessed on my plane today. The lady across the isle was reading a book that made "War and Peace" look like a leaflet. Seriously, at one point on the flight, I saw her begin Chapter 153.

As we began our descent, I saw her turn to the last page of the final chapter. You expect to see someone start a book on a flight, but to witness the finish, that's rare. The bold capped words, THE END, hung below a short paragraph that covered only half the page. Her focus and reaction to her story was my focus, and I reacted.

"So how was it?" I just had to ask. A rare moment is tough for me to ignore. "It was great!" she responded. "Lots of twists and turns but I love the author, and the end was better than expected."

Glancing up to the roof of the airplane  as if to catch the grin of someone nobody could see, I mumbled to myself, "Good one, Lord." You know, if I enjoyed watching some stranger finish her story, how much do you think God enjoys watching us live ours? To Him, we're page-turners, so let's really live! After all, she was right; lots of twists and turns, but if you love the Author, the end will be better than expected.

--J.P.

RED...ALWAYS RED The benefits of red wine just got...sweeter

If you must drink wine, make it red. Numerous studies have touted the benefits of a key ingredient, resveratrol, that is found in your favorite class of cabernet. Resveratrol, an antioxidant, has been shown to aid in everything from heart health to energy enhancement. But the latest study on the compound shows a new, unexpected benefit.

According to researchers, daily consumption of resveratrol may reduce body fat levels by preventing the formation of fat tissue. In the study, two groups of lab animals were fed a high-fat diet but one supplemented with resveratrol. The resveratrol group had less body fat than non-supplemented animals, despite both groups having similar body weights, report researchers from the University of País Vasco.

Researchers admit that more research needs to be done to determine the exact mechanisms but until then, when you're pouring your next glass of vino, make sure it's red.

To read the full report, click here.

>> GEAR UP!: Find your faith-and-fitness fashionista by visiting our online store.

BE STILL AND RUN

April 13, 2011Read: Psalm 46, Hebrews 12

"Be still and know that I am God." --Psalm 46:10 "Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us." --Hebrews 12:1-2

If you've ever watched a track meet on TV, you've noticed that as the runners enter the starting blocks, there's a moment of absolute silence. After the athletes find their place, they kneel, bow their heads, then -- pow! -- off they go.

Well, if you're new to PrayFit, we're a lot like that. In a sense, we represent two bookends of the day -- stillness and movement in one. We believe God was as serious when He said "be still" as He was when He said "run the race." And at PrayFit, we take these orders both literally and figuratively.

So welcome to the start of a new day. Find a good place to kneel, bow your head and run.

--J.P.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Banana Bread

The smell of a still-baking loaf of banana bread is an olfactory experience that we at PrayFit do not take lightly. Only we know all too well how dangerous this indulgence can be if eaten by the loaf instead of by the slice. Luckily, PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, knows how to take the sugary sting out of banana bread without sacrificing flavor.

"There’s no better way to use over-ripe bananas than banana bread, but all the butter and sugar in traditional banana bread recipes can clobber you with calories and fat," she says. "Use our tips to make this breakfast classic more figure friendly."

Nutrition Facts There’s a lot of variation in the nutrition info for banana bread recipes. Those made with butter and eggs come out higher in unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol, while those made with vegetable oils are still high in fat and calories, but contain more heart-healthy fats. On average, most breads come out to 110 calories and 4-5 grams of fat per ounce — and slices can vary from anywhere from 2-5 or more ounces.

Lighter Options There are numerous ways to tone down your favorite recipe. Try a couple of these easy fixes:

>> Bananas add moisture and sweetness so you can cut back on the fat and sugar. Try using 25 percent less fat and sugar than your usual recipe calls for. >> Applesauce or apple butter can also help replace the fat and added sugar. >> Downsize the portions to muffin or mini-muffin pans. >> Cut a standard loaf pan sized-bread into 12 slices. >> Make a cholesterol-free version using canola oil, apple butter and soy milk. >> Nuts and chocolate chips are great add-ins, but keep portions to no more than one tablespoon per serving.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

>> FIT READING: Find out what all the buzz is about by picking up your own copy of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days."

In case you missed it...boxer Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero sported PrayFit.com on his trunks for his title-winning performance on HBO Pay-Per-View last Saturday. His 12-round, unanimous decision win over Michael Katsidis puts him in a position for a mega-fight later this summer or fall.

Photo by Tom Hogan - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions. (www.hoganphotos.com)

TO KNOW JACK...

January 28, 2011Read: Hebrews 12

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees." --Hebrews 12:11-12

We thought it only appropriate to end the week with a word about one of the pioneers of fitness, Jack Lalanne. Truly, we doubt we'll say anything that hasn't already been said or written about what Jack did for the world of health and wellness. And if Jack taught us anything, it's the simple fact that you can lead a long, healthy, vibrant life through regular exercise and good food. But alas, his passing teaches us that life is not about the body.

You know, today at a traffic light, as I was thinking about Jack's life and tonight's entry, I watched a young lady in a wheelchair actually pulling the wheelchair of a blind person along the crosswalk. A timely reminder that from the strongest and fittest, to the weak and blind, we're all in dire need of a Savior.

Jack swam pulling boats. Others pull a friend's wheelchair to the next bus stop. From my vantage point, both required an equal dose of uncommon strength. Thankfully, it's God's grace that pulls us to safety.

--J.P.

PRAYFIT: WEEK IN REVIEW A look back at a week of healthy living tips

>> WORKOUT: Master the push-up in minutes a day

>> NUTRITION: Three eggs a day -- doctor's orders

>> OUTREACH: Interested in having Team PrayFit help you start your own fitness ministry? Write us at info@prayfit.com.

>> NUTRITION: A closer look at the health-packed, unsung hero of the citrus family -- the lemon

PRAYFIT IN PRINT: Don't delay your fitness goals any longer. End your week by setting up success for the next by picking up a copy of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." Authored by some of the best minds in faith and fitness around, "PrayFit" provides daily devotionals that are accompanied by a bodyweight-based exercise program that you can do in the comfort of your own home. The book also includes meal plans, healthy living tips and additional resources to help you tie it all together. To pick up a copy for yourself or a friend, visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon today!

BE STILL AND RUN

December 1, 2010Read: Psalm 46 & Hebrews 12 "Be still and know that I am God." --Psalm 46:10 "Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us." --Hebrews 12:1-2

If you've ever watched a track meet on TV, you've noticed that as the runners enter the starting blocks, there's a moment of absolute silence. After the athletes find their place, they kneel, bow their heads, then -- pow! -- off they go.

Well, if you're new to PrayFit, we're a lot like that. In a sense, we represent two bookends of the day -- stillness and movement in one. We believe God was as serious when He said "be still" as He was when He said "run the race." And at PrayFit, we take both orders literally and figuratively.

So welcome to the start of a new day. Find a good place to kneel, bow your head then run.

Lord, we love you. Give us clean hearts. Renew in us a longing to spend time with you, reading and studying your word and talking to you. We just need you. Amen.

--J.P.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Spicy Pulled Pork

Serves: 6

This pork is wonderful served with rice and beans, on grilled flatbread with cheese or in warm corn tortillas topped with shredded cabbage and diced avocado.

Ingredients: 2 pork tenderloin, trimmed (about 3 pounds) 6 fl oz dark beer ¼ cup apple cider or 2 tablespoons maple syrup Juice of ½ a lemon ¼ cup ketchup ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce 1 cup barbecue sauce 2 teaspoons adobo seasoning* 2 teaspoons chipotle pepper puree (recipe below) ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced ½ bulb fennel, thinly sliced

Directions: Cut each tenderloin into 3 large pieces – set aside. In a large soup pot, combine beer, cider, lemon juice, ketchup, Worcestershire, barbecue sauce, adobo, chipotle, onion and fennel.

Bring mixture to a simmer over medium high heat – add pork, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer pork to a clean cutting board and shred using 2 forks. Place shredded pork back into pot and continue to cook on medium-low heat, uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

Bonus: Chipotle Pepper Puree 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo

Place peppers into a blender or mini food processor and puree. Store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 4 months. Add small amounts to sauces, dips and marinades for a smoky and spicy flavor

*1 tsp of garlic powder can be used in place of adobo, but adobo seasoning can be found in the international foods section of most grocery stores

Nutrition Info Per Serving: Calories: 305 Total Fat: 5 Saturated Fat: 1.5 Carbohydrate: 14 Protein: 48 Cholesterol: 147 Sodium: 510 Fiber: 1

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer, and nutrition and fitness consultant for international food companies, restaurants and marketing firm. Dana is also the nutrition advisor to The Food Network.

>> GETTING STARTED?: If you're new to PrayFit and aren't quite sure where to start or how to let us serve you, click here.