PrayFit Daily

Inspect What He Expects

Years ago, while cutting my teeth in leadership and service, I learned how important it was to inspect what you expect. Daily checklists and standard operating procedures were the keys to the satisfaction of both the consumer and the team around you. Here's a neat insight. In some of the finest hotels in the world, the housekeeping department employs a very simple strategy. In the back of the hotel -- or the back of the "house," as it's called -- they hang pictures of guest rooms. Within the frames are immaculate, impeccably clean, spotless rooms, with nothing out of place. Get this...they view them daily. That way, they know exactly how each room should appear, making it easier to create excellence. Each time a guest enters the room, it's perfect. Those pictures hang there as reminders of the standard that must be kept. When it comes to our lives as believers, Christian athletes or fitness-minded individuals, we too have checklists and standard operating procedures. We track our training and measure our meals, striving for a stewardship-savvy life. And by God's Word, our thoughts, motives, actions...our hearts can be measured daily. But try as we might, we're not always 5-Star. Some days we're more like a flickering no vacancy sign; not today, can't stay, go away. Isn't it true? We inspect what He expects only to find that we don't always think purely, speak kindly or act humbly.

Because of that, Jesus hung on the cross and paid for our sins, reminding us of the standard we couldn't keep. We need to go there daily.

--Jimmy Peña

Inspection: When it comes to fitness, do you inspect what He expects? If Jesus were the standard that determined your outlook on your health, would that force you to train more or less?

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BRING PRAYFIT TO YOUR TOWN

Sometimes, it's just a family that needs recalibrating in the areas of faith and fitness. But sometimes, it's your church family that could use a little tune-up. Congregations across the country have welcomed Jimmy and his message of health as a means of praise, using it as a way to kick off a revival of sorts...and your town could be next. Contact us at info@prayfit.com to schedule a visit from the PrayFit team! As always, for churches and other non-profit events there is never a speaking fee. Talk to your pastors and leaders. Reach out to us and let's see health as a means of praise, together.

Life's Greatest Pleasure

"People will be lovers of themselves." --2 Timothy 3:2

Read: 2 Timothy 3

I happened to run across one of those motivational posters this weekend. You know, the kind with those powerful statements meant to inspire you to be all you can be. Well, even though it wasn't exactly new to me, this one caught my attention nonetheless. It said, "The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you can't." Evidently, people agreed because it had about a million "likes" underneath it. And why not? Who doesn't want to show the world? But then it dawned on me: How many times someone has actually said to me, "Jimmy, I don't think you can do that." How 'bout you?

You know, if there's one thing I've noticed about the fitness industry it's that there's a self-placed chip on its shoulder and the delusion that someone is daring to knock it off. For whatever reason, Godly confidence has been replaced with a harsh, in-your-face tone, backed up with visuals. That topic demands a week's worth of devotions on its own but let me take it further. Even if it was true -- even if the world placed bets against one's "ability" to be do something, in fitness or otherwise -- is proving the world wrong really life's greatest pleasure?

"If man says I can't, and God says I shouldn't, I'd rather show Him than show them."

The correct answer brings me a long way to this point, and one that we try and get across at PrayFit: Let's not take so much pleasure in doing what others say we can't. Let's instead take pleasure in doing what God says we can. If they intersect, great. If they don't, even better. Besides, if man says I can't, and God says I shouldn't, I'd rather show Him than show them. But God runs this body. If you're jumping through hoops of comparison or climbing mountains of ego, stop. Drench your day in the gospel. The taunts and dares around you are subject to Jesus.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Can you spend so much time in the gym or counting calories trying to "prove" the world wrong (whoever that is) that you actually miss what God is calling you to do with the health you're building? What if the world said, "Believer, I bet you can't invite a perfect stranger to church. I bet you can't give to the homeless person on the corner. I bet you can't be modest." If that's what the world said we couldn't do, I wonder if we'd try to prove it wrong. Would it help us if we realized those things are God's will already? Share your thoughts below.

ONE-MINUTE LESSON: CRUNCH Build abdominal strength by mastering this do-anywhere exercise

In 2014, many of us will be trying to get in better shape. We'll be training our bodies to lift more, run farther, swim faster, jump higher. But no matter the demand we are placing on these bodies, a strong set of abdominal muscles is of paramount importance but maybe for a different reason than you're thinking. Infusing your abs with strength and endurance helps you to do all of those other things that you were counting on doing better this year because all roads pass through your core. A fitter middle means greater success, literally, in everything else. The crunch is a great move to get you started. Here's how to get it right.

http://youtu.be/bSarSds5Whg

Crunch | Focus: Upper abs

Lie face-up on the floor with your hands cupped gently behind your head (do not pull on your neck). Keeping your knees bent and with your feet flat on the floor, crunch your upper body up until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Squeeze your abs then lower yourself back to the start and repeat.

TIP: New to crunches? Try performing 15 slow, controlled repetitions for 3-4 total sets. Rest 30 seconds between sets. If you're more advanced, try setting a clock by your work, starting at one minute of continuous crunches and adding 10 seconds every workout.

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The New Year Is In Me

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new is here." --2 Corinthians 5:17

Read: 2 Corinthians 5

The confetti is all but cleaned up, the streamers are in the trash, Christmas decorations have been stored and the calendar is brand new. Deep breath...and...let it out. So THIS is 2014! But it doesn't take long for things to feel normal again does it? For some reason, the commute this morning is still bumper-to-bumper, co-workers are still grumpy and junk food made its way back to your lunch box. Seems last year's ho-hums and habits still cast their shadows.

Truth is, a new year is only new if we make it that way. For you and me, a change in year only matters when it changes in here (this is me pointing to my heart). So starting today, no matter what seems old, let's find a way to make it new. That commute? Try seeing it as an extended quiet time with the Lord. Those co-workers? Be the only one in the office unwilling to gossip or grumble. And at lunch, be the first to push away from the table as a way to praise the Lord for health. Slowly but surely, we'll realize the difference is in us. Seems those weren't shadows after all. It was shade.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: You and I aren't strong enough to overturn our circumstance, but Jesus is. And if we rely on Him each day, we can conquer our battles. Anxiety, health, job-related stress -- all of it needs to be placed at the foot of the cross as soon as our feet hit the floor. The closer we get to Him, the more shade we find. Welcome back, kids. And welcome, 2014.

PRAYFIT: WHO WE ARE

If you're reading this, we're blessed to have you. Whether you're a longtime reader of the faith and fitness writings we've been posting here since 2009 or a newbie who stumbled upon us in a friend's Facebook news feed, we take our commitment to you very seriously. We hope that you'll find the inspiration and practical tools necessary to become a better steward of your health.

Newcomer or not, we hope you'll take a second to read the broad strokes on who we are, what we believe and what our mission is. Our prayer is that the soul of PrayFit speaks to yours...

>> WHAT IS PRAYFIT ALL ABOUT?

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 in 2014! Facebook HeavenUp Twitter Instagram YouTube

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Nearly 10,000 people have chosen to receive the PrayFit Daily in their inboxes each morning. If you haven't signed up for this complimentary service already, simply click the links provided here. Click, type, send -- it could be the most rewarding 30 seconds you spend on the computer this morning! And if you want to help us go viral with this sign-up drive -- if you want to help us continue our faith-and-fitness revival -- you can do so by sending friends this link:

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2014: Let Him Make The List

Well dear friends, here we are. Last day of the year. Many of us are cleaning out cupboards, jotting down training schemes and setting our goals and objectives for a happy and healthy new year. And for that, we are so excited. We can't wait to be a resource of encouragement and motivation. And like many of you, I want God to make my list. But not as an item to be checked off, but that He actually MAKES my list.

Sure, I may have my own plan for the year, but honestly, I want His plan for my life! What about you? As you clean your cupboard, have you allowed Him to clean your heart? Like old food, what on the inside of us needs to be removed (or added) for next year? The list isn't easy, so let Him make it and then get excited about what God has in store. As you do, consider the changes you can make for His glory. We spend hours in the gym, running miles, swimming laps or on social media, but rarely spare 10 minutes a day in His Word or on our knees in prayer. Will that change for you this year?

COVER YOUR EARS FITNESS INDUSTRY: You can hit every single fitness goal imaginable and completely miss honoring Him with your body. Remember, it's not the height of our health that matters, but the depth of our hearts. Like I said, the list isn't easy, so let Him make it.

And if you don't know Jesus as your Savior, we pray that's at the very top. You will never be the same once you do. Jesus in a life makes all the difference. Your health is worth fighting for, no doubt, but your heart was worth dying for. Thank Him for it. Accept Him. Invite Him into your life. Be filled with grace, then spend the rest of your days out-of-breath trying to live it and give it.

Have a blessed new year -- a year of genuine faith and a wholehearted pursuit of health. And if God makes your list...you will.

–Jimmy Peña

"The list isn't easy, so let Him make it and then get excited about what God has in store. As you do, consider the changes you can make for His glory."

The PrayFit Daily will resume Monday, January 6. If you're not already subscribed, click here! Get ready for 2014.

The Land of Misfits

"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 as we begin to prepare our hearts to celebrate His birth, 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 God and honoring Him with the body He 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

Christmas Tradition: Maybe it's just me, but when you hear the word "Misfits" you probably think of the classic claymation Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. (Or maybe it IS just me.) At any rate, what is your family's favorite Christmas movie? What do you have playing as you deck the halls? We have our favorites. Christmas Vacation anyone?

IMG_4821GEAR UP!: Give the gift of faith and fitness this Christmas. Please take a quick look at the store to find our t-shirts and tanks with some of our favorite verses. Friends, it's through your giving that we're able to continue the ministry of PrayFit and we are so grateful. We hope these items -- books, DVDs, apparel and more -- bless your life and your testimony as Christians with a heart for health. Thank you for your love and support.

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Nearly 10,000 people have chosen to receive the PrayFit Daily in their inboxes each morning. If you haven't signed up for this complimentary service already, simply click the links provided here. Click, type, send -- it could be the most rewarding 30 seconds you spend on the computer this morning! And if you want to help us go viral with this sign-up drive -- if you want to help us continue our faith-and-fitness revival -- you can do so by sending friends this link:

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Worn-Out Tools

"So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart." --Nehemiah 4:6

Read: Nehemiah 4

Like it was yesterday, I remember walking out of my English professor's office angry, upset and embarrassed. Gritting my teeth and holding back tears I marched, but I didn't get very far. "Excuse me, Mr. Peña!" And Coach Jim Loweree proceeded to alter my life. See, I had poured my heart into a project. Gave it everything I had. I stayed up late, studied early, went the extra mile. That's just what you did at the prestigious Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas. It was the home of The Fighting Irish -- a place of faith, unparalleled scholastics, sport, and most of all, tradition. But alas, I bombed it. To make matters worse, Coach Loweree was a man I idolized. I wanted nothing more than to maintain a perfect GPA and impress him along the way. And in a matter of seconds, both goals were gone.

Speaking of goals, earlier that year, I successfully recited the famous poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling to Coach Loweree. I never missed a beat when it came to recitations. I loved that part of class. Speeches by President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, all by heart, not one word missed. But a line from "If" has been rolling around my brain lately:

"Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, and stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools."

Worn-out tools. Midway through my three-month spinal fusion process, I'm walking steadily and doing my prescribed bends. Yes, to Rocky music, no doubt. We're just praying that the new hardware fuses perfectly with the bones, and that the same success we saw with my neck replacement occurs in my lower back. God's will we pray.

I wonder, have you ever had to rebuild anything? A business or a home? Perhaps another aspect of your life and maybe even your health. Well, rebuilding is a faith issue. Not in our ability to make things as they once were but for Whom we build. Because when things fall apart, when we watch the things we gave our life to break, He's why we stoop.

And remember how I mentioned that Coach changed my life? Well, he did. In the schoolyard that day, he told me that I was going to have to start all over. Yep, he stole a line from Kipling himself. But Coach also told me not to take grades so seriously, to keep working hard, keep honoring my parents and to stand up straight after a test if I did my best, regardless of the grade. Funny, I took his advice. I never made straight A's again. But after six book projects, 15 years of newsstand articles and my highest honor -- this website -- I hope Coach knows his freshman English class and that afternoon talk in the yard changed a kid. So thanks, Coach. I'm still stooping. Still rebuilding. My life's work is my faith and health. Perfect for worn-out tools like mine.

--Jimmy Peña

GYM TIP: There's more than one way to use a treadmill. A recent study found that those who pedaled backward on treadmills and elliptical machines gained greater quadriceps and hamstring strength and had greater aerobic capacity than those who went forward. Click here for more.

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Sown Up With Love

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." --Colossians 1:17

Read: Colossians 1

To imagine God carefully knitting our souls together is, well, tough to imagine. It's easier to picture Him forming mountains than it is to see him fashioning hearts. But nothing in all creation was created with more care. Compared to you, Everest is a mole hill and the Sahara is a single grain of sand. Are the heavens amazing? Absolutely. Does the earth pronounce His splendor? Without a doubt. But only you and I were sown up with one distinguishing trait and something no star above can claim: choice.

And much like an artist puts a signature on his work, God signed us. That's right. In our very cells, God made His mark. Pictured here is the actual structure of the protein molecule that binds all of our cells together: Scientists call it laminin, but let's just call it love.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: I first learned about Laminin from my Louie Giglio. Folks, isn't it amazing how we're held together? From Heaven down to earth, it's all about the Cross. What will you do today to protect what protects you?

To hear Louie Giglio talk about Laminin, watch his Indescribable series. Be blessed! (I had the blessing of listening to Louie for 4 years at Baylor University.) While I was at Muscle & Fitness, Louie was the one who first told me that we need to "embrace our smallness". A theme that I would never forget.

 

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! And if you want to help us go viral with this sign-up drive, you can do so by sending friends this link:

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Carry Your Purpose

"'Go into that village over there,'" he told them. 'As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.'" --Luke 19:30

Read: Luke 19

There he was. Tied up. Who knows how long he'd been waiting? The most insignificant of animals with an inconsequential life. No thoroughbred blood running through his veins. His next meal was his only solace between chores. A helpless laborer, a meaningless creature. When, all of a sudden...

If you're like me, you've questioned your significance. Is this really what I was meant to do? Well, the next time you ponder your purpose, think of that donkey. Jesus asked for him specifically. Sure, the Lord could have chosen any method of transportation, but He chose him. Uniquely qualified, his purpose was to carry Jesus to His.

Forgive my imagination, but I like to think that a donkey nobody had ever ridden knew exactly who he carried. I bet he did his best to make Jesus proud. Of course we don't know what the Lord said to him as He got off and walked away, maybe nothing. But this writer likes to think that as the crowd took Jesus the rest of the way, that little donkey stood taller than ever. After all, Jesus, the Maker, needed a ride.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Have you ever pondered your purpose? Ever wondered what Jesus could use you for? No matter what your life's calling or trade, there is someone you know or someone you don't who is empty and lost. You're hand-picked. Like the donkey in our story, you may be the carrier of their only hope. So, deliver.

PRAYFIT NUTRITION: MILK There’s a good alternative for those sensitive to cow’s milk

If you’re sensitive to cow’s milk, you might try the goat variety. Did you know that goat’s milk has more essential amino acids and more omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium than cow’s milk? With all that said, its protein is easier to digest than cow’s milk and has less lactose. Wondering about the taste? It’s a bit on the sweeter side.

>> DAILY FEED: Wanna get PrayFit sent to your inbox on a daily basis? Sign up here, and tell your friends and family to do the same!

A Captive Audience

"They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as eagles." --Isaiah 40:31

Read: Isaiah 40

A couple of years ago, we reported that the Orange County Zoo had a special guest come to visit. Well...he's back. Every day, a wild bald eagle has been seen perched on a tree overlooking the zoo's eagle exhibit. And each time he draws near the enclosure, he can be heard vocalizing with the birds below. Imagine, a majestic bald eagle, free and able to go anywhere in the world, is most content near the captive. Why? Simple. He's in love. Experts say the wild eagle has an infatuation with a female eagle inside the enclosure and, even though the two will likely never meet, he never leaves her side.

Makes me think...In all His majesty and freedom, nothing captures God's attention like you and me. He shows up in our days, loves to talk with us, and He never leaves our sides. Why? Simple. He's in love. The object of His affection? Us. And like it says in Isaiah, although at times we feel trapped, He's with us everyday. And if we wait on Him, we'll do just like that eagle...and fly.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: In what areas are you waiting on the Lord? You're praying diligently, perhaps for the job to come through, the house to sell, the prognosis to improve? What can we help you pray for?

HEALTH, ON THE SIDE Side dishes are supposed to be an accompaniment, but many favorites can jam in more calories than you want for an entire meal. Lighten up your plate with these healthy (but still delicious) substitutions.

Instead of: French fries Choose: Oven-baked fries The Payoff: At least 30 percent less fat

Instead of: Mac and Cheese Choose: Rice Pilaf or 5-Ingredient Cheesy Rice The Payoff: A healthy reduction in fat, cholesterol and calories.

(If it’s mac and cheese or bust, try our tips for lightening up your favorite recipe.)

Instead of: Mashed potatoes Choose: A baked sweet potato or sweet potato oven fries The Payoff: Half the calories and piles of vitamin A

Instead of: Butter-drenched vegetables Choose: Roasted seasonal veggies The Payoff: Big flavor for a fraction of the fat and calories

Instead of: Creamy salad dressing Choose: Vinaigrette The Payoff: Healthier fats and 40 calories less per tablespoon

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.

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The Race with Grace

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3

Her face says it all. Exhaustion meets joy and mission meets accomplishment. Now, I don't mean to over-dramatize the moment but I think Paul was on to something when he talked about the Christian life as a race -- a race that believers are called to run with endurance, never aimlessly. Over the last few years, we've written entries after marathons, many of which are among my favorites. But this picture, taken mere seconds before she saw me, pretty much sums it up. And with the week's race being almost over, I thought it appropriate for today.

For some of you, the week was steep. The phone never rang, the e-mail didn't arrive, or your health didn't cooperate. For others, everything was downhill, and you could do no wrong. Either way, I think our dear friend Sandie Powell said it best when she said, "The amazing thing is that He is as proud of our attempt (to run) as he is in our finish." And she's right. Did Loretta win the marathon? Well, maybe only in my eyes, but my eyes are the only ones that mattered. She wasn't the fastest, but she gave it all she had, and there was no doubt where she was headed.

I want to live like that, don't you? Everything we do and say, how we treat health and how we love others to show the world that we're on a road that leads to the only One that matters. From start to finish, we're in this race with grace. And after the uphills, the downhills and even the pitfalls, when mission meets accomplishment -- not ours, His -- our face will say it all.

--Jimmy Peña

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Me and My Drum...

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, working as unto the Lord, not for men." --Colossians 3:23

Read: Colossians 3 Turns out PrayFit has a theme song -- a song that sums up PrayFit perfectly. My wife and friends might guess it's a Rocky montage or the Gladiator theme song but alas, no. I have one better. The Little Drummer Boy. (Pa rum pum pum pum)...

"Come they told me, a newborn King to see. Our finest gifts we bring, to set before the King. Little baby, I am a poor boy too. I have no gift to bring, that's fit to give a King. Shall I play for you on my drum? Then He nodded... I played my drum for Him. I played my best for Him. Then He smiled at me. Me and my drum."

You and I are poor. Like the little boy, we have nothing to bring that's fit to give the King. But He's delighted when we come to Him. And it's music to His ears when we play our life to its fullest. And that's the basis of PrayFit. Giving our best effort to let health be a means of praise. I want to bring a smile to His face, don't you? The very idea of doing so brings one to mine; to me and my drum. Pa rum pum pum...pum.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What is your offering today? P.S. This entry was written while listening to "Little Drummer Boy" by The Vocal Majority on The Twelve Days of Christmas album; just in case you're inspired. I highly recommend it with closed eyes.

PRAYFIT POLL: Over the next few weeks, we want to conduct a series of polls to help our team serve you better. If you wouldn't mind, taking a second today or anytime you see this poll to give us your feedback. We'd be in your debt. Please leave your responses to this informal survey in the comments section below.

1. Are you able to enjoy the Prayfit Daily each weekday? Would it be more convenient if the devotion(s), tips and recipes came to you only once per week, or once per month? 2. What sort of information do you find most useful? The devotions? Workouts? Fitness tips? 3. What would you like to see more of in our health-related items? More workouts? More recipes? More stats and research? 4. Is there anything specific about our website that you would want us to improve upon in 2013?

WORKOUT OF THE MONTH: As you work to keep winter weight gain at bay -- the average is about 0.8 pounds per holiday season -- we suggest the PrayFit: 33-Day Body Toning System. This highly-challenging workout can be done at home with some dumbbells and a workout mat and is guaranteed to provide a powerful stimulus for change. Whether you're looking to lose a few inches around the waist or simply shape-up specific bodyparts, this is the DVD for you. Click here to read more or to purchase one for yourself or a friend! (NOTE: As a reminder, once we reach 25 reviews on Amazon, we're offering one random reviewer a gift from the new PrayFit online store!)

In its first week of release, it has been in the Top 25 of Amazon's hot new releases in fitness & exercise. A quick click of the play button below will give you a glimpse at what this workout has to offer. The best part? It's just 33 minutes a day, honoring the One who gave us 33 years.

Teach The World To Sing

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." --Romans 10:9

Read: Romans 10

Yesterday at the gym I was listening to a great new soundtrack filled with well-known classics in my headphones. The voices on this one song and the catchy chorus were just too good not to join in. So without hesitation, I began to add a harmony line; something I learned from countless days singing with Mom.

Well, as I got off the machine to start lifting, one of the employees nearby raised his eyebrows and looked at me as if to say, "Don't quit your day job, pal." I grinned and chuckled to myself. But it dawned on me. He didn't know I was singing the harmony. See, even if you're in tune, any harmony line doesn't sound right to others if they can't hear the melody.

Folks, our lives, the daily routines and these bodies are merely harmonies. Let's remember that we're out of tune if we're too focused on our minor line, never letting others hear who we're listening to. You know, "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony," but that can only happen if I'm in unison with God's favorite song of all -- and the only one He lifts His Holy hand for silence to hear -- the song of Jesus.

--Jimmy Peña

TURN UP THE VOLUME

A few years ago, PrayFit co-founder Eric Velazquez, Dr. Jim Stoppani and I formed the Weider Research Group when we worked together at Muscle & Fitness Magazine. One month in particular, we performed a study to determine how music affects strength.

We had a group of trained athletes complete a shoulder workout on two separate occasions. Both sessions consisted of three sets of dumbbell overhead presses, three sets of Smith machine upright rows, and three sets of dumbbell side laterals, all done using their 10-rep max and taking each set to failure. They did one workout while listening to their choice of music on headphones and during the other workout they listened to no music.

We reported at the 2008 annual meeting of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) that the subjects were able to do an average of one more rep per set when they listened to music as compared to when they did not.

The take-home message from this study is obvious: listen to your preferred music when you train (or during whatever activity you enjoy). Being able to complete one more rep with the same weight, or going that extra 1/4 mile, is what can make all the difference in your physical progression.

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TO THE PRAYFIT 5000

October 13, 2011 Friends, PrayFit reached another milestone. What started as a daily blog being sent to a handful of friends, now reaches over 5,000 like-minded people every morning (over 5,500 to be more precise). And we can say with the utmost certainty, it's an honor we take seriously. Steeped in prayer, and surrounded by walls of perspective, our fitness devotions are meant solely to help all of us heighten our regard for health, and our ability to maintain it, as a means of praise. Many of you participate in various kinds of fitness activities, share meal plans and philosophies, all while giving Jesus the glory. By doing so, you energize the PrayFit philosophy: healthy in body, strong in spirit.

It's our sincere hope that you continue to read and share our site with loved ones. But most importantly, continue to pray for PrayFit. When we write our entries, you're on our minds and in our prayers. Thank you in advance for doing the same for us.

You know, when C.S. Lewis said, "You don't have souls, you are souls. You have bodies," little did he know he was weaving the very fabric of our purpose. Someday, I'll thank him for it. And today, let that be our mantra. In how we work, move, eat and play, let's take care of the body that carries the soul.

In Jesus' name , we train.

Team PrayFit

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