activity

Jars of Clay

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are hard-pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." --2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Read: 2 Corinthians 4

Today's verse is as motivating as it is convicting. Take a look again. Notice what he said. "Treasure in jars of clay". That verse is coming from a man who was given 39 lashes five times, beaten with rods five times, pelted with stones, shipwrecked three times, and who would go without sleep, food and clothing; all because of his heart for churches, people, and the message of the inconceivable grace of Jesus.

Compare what Paul said to something I read on a picture quote recently where someone boastfully warns, "Before you judge me, step into my shoes and walk the life I'm living, and if you get as far as I am, just maybe you'll see how strong I really am." I admit, I'd love to hear Paul's graceful response to such a misstatement, because if the most influential man this side of Christ knew anything, He knew where his power and strength came from and from where it didn't.

But today's verse is also a comfort, not simply because of the physical metaphors of hardship, but for the reason to get up at all. "So that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." See -- to Paul -- surviving the shipwreck or sustaining the beatings weren't so much as death defying as they were life-revealing.

And to think, you're a jar of clay, too. So am I. A malleable, bendable, breakable, fillable and spillable jar of clay. I know, some days we feel more like a piñata than a Godly jar of clay. But if it's any help, just remember, if you hit a piñata hard enough, what happens? People get the treasure inside. And that's what I get from Paul. He bled Jesus. He bled the treasure.

So dear friends, let's invite others to step into our shoes and live the life we're living. And when they get as far as we're going, maybe, just maybe, they'll get to see exactly just how strong we're not.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: The jar of clay typing this sentence has been known to lose his wallet, his truck keys, and his health, to say nothing of his daily sins and filthy rags of good deeds. I've said it before and I'll say it again, getting up from a trial doesn't reveal our strength. The fall reveals that. Getting up reveals God's grace. What are you thanking God for today? Any praises? What has He given you the health, strength and grace to continue? As for me, I have one. You're reading it.

 

DEFINING INTENSITY

The fitness world continues to parade high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as one of the best ways to improve body composition, improve athleticism and increase general health markers. You may be thinking, "I'm not really capable of high-intensity training." Hey, we're right there with you. Even the youngest and healthiest among us get uncomfortable with the idea of pushing your physical limits. But here's the good news: intensity is relative. And you may be able to start reaping the benefits of this simple training principle today, no matter where you are on your health walk.

>> What is intensity?

BRING PRAYFIT TO YOUR TOWN

Churches. Community events. Schools. Corporate events. PrayFit is on the march in 2014 with its unchanging message; one of stewardship, of faith, of humility, of endurance. The team is actively booking spring and summer events! Reach out to us at info@prayfit.com for more details. 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.

The Three Rs

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord." --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3

A few years back, I read a great story from Max Lucado about 'giving God our boat'. He talked about how Peter and the others caught nothing until they surrendered the boat to Jesus. They turned over their jobs to the Lord and great things happened.

But we need to see all aspects of life as a boat to surrender, our health being one of them. For that to happen, we need to agree that being  healthy is a matter of obedience and an opportunity to praise God. To accomplish this, we need to renew, recalibrate, respond.

Renew: See health and fitness differently each day. See it as a way to show thankfulness and praise. Recalibrate: Measure the day's events, working to make room for your responsibility of greater fitness. Respond: Commit. Get up and move, utilizing your God-given abilities and gifts to better serve him.

Do you see your health as merely a state of being? Or is your view out of balance -- more self-centered than God-centered? Maybe you're not training right now at all, and you easily excuse lack of activity against your busy schedule and responsibilities. And finally, perhaps you're simply ready to say, "Jesus, takeover my health. Renew my mind and help me respond each day with a commitment worthy of the gift of life you've given me."

Wherever you are in your health walk, remember, God formed us, gave us our bodies--how we take of them is our response.

--Jimmy Peña

FOOD TIP: Great Starts

People always talk about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It puts a halt to muscle-wasting, sets your blood sugar right, crushes food cravings and provides you energy for whatever the day holds in store for you. But what does a perfect breakfast look like?

>> Click here to find out!

"GO"

"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'"— Mark 16:15

"Tell me, Jimmy, can you talk about some before and after successes?"

Of all the questions about PrayFit I fielded on the radio this week, that was probably the toughest to answer. Not because we don't have powerful testimonies of physical change, but like I told the host, "It's too early for a victory lap." Because honestly, the day health won't be a necessary battle will be the day it's no longer our responsibility.

But right now, during this "before" called life, our souls want to go places our bodies simply can't go. And because of that, sadly, our minds don't let our hearts even dream of living abundantly. Serve on the mission field? Laugh. Participate in a charity walk? Chuckle. Make it to church? Sigh. Our physical troubles have become spiritual warfare. We're soldiers of the cross who can't reach the battlefield.

Sure, someday we'll be rescued from a body that doesn't work, but until then, let's see what it can do for the cause of Christ. After all, His great commission to us -- "Go" -- hasn't changed. It's still an action verb.

–Jimmy Peña

YOUTHFUL STRENGTH

In addition to the typical monkey bar romps and lunchtime hoops, dedicated muscle strengthening is a good idea for kids. Training for strength, contrary to a commonly-held belief, does not interfere with a child’s growth or promote excessive musculature. In fact, even a minimal amount of strength training can be beneficial for a child’s bone density, muscle growth, coordination and motor learning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least three days per week of activities that include strengthening moves such as gymnastics, push-ups or jumping rope.

>> STOCKING STUFFERS: Looking for a few gifts to hang from the chimney with care? Visit the PrayFit Store to do a little digital shopping for the faith-and-fitness devotees in your life.

 

 

 

 

ELLA'S GRIN

November 1, 2011 Read: Psalm 121

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

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

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

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

--J.P.

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

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

HOW MUCH ACTIVITY?

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

>> Commit:

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

 

(Source: CDC)

 

 

 

 

GRACIAS A DIOS

October 20, 2011Read: John 20

"Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." --John 20:27

"The usual?", I asked with a smile. The sweet lunchtime waitress and I have grown accustomed to each another. I'm greeted, not with a menu but with a name. By now, she knows I don't like ice in my water, and that I prefer egg whites. Probably in her late sixties, she speaks beautiful Spanish and forces me to practice mine. I know she likes my PrayFit hat and goes to church just around the corner. Today, however, she lingered longer than usual after showing me to my booth. I knew immediately she was more empty than my stomach.

"Do you ever doubt?" she asked as she straightened her apron and adjusted her bifocals. Before I could answer, she began to serve up her hurt, and as she phrased it, the need to "see Him" in her life. A glimpse. That's all she wanted. Something to feel, something real. I didn't presume to have all the answers, but we chatted. By the time I ate and payed my bill, my friend was assured of two things. 1) she wasn't alone in her doubts, and 2) she wasn't alone at all.

Friends, Jesus understands. That's why when He showed His scars to Thomas, He showed them to you and me. In order to reach us, He let us touch Him.

Gracias a Dios.

--J.P.

KIDS & ASTHMA

Want to keep your kids lungs healthy? Keep them at a healthy bodyweight. Research shows that overweight or obese children are 50%  more likely to have asthma than children who maintain a healthy weight. But even if your child is heavy, keep them eating a sensible diet and make sure they still get 60 minutes per day or more of moderate to rigorous physical activity. Increased physical activity can actually work to improve lung function, so the benefits far outweigh the risks. More severe cases should be monitored more closely, of course, so be sure to consult with your family physician before starting your child out on any structured exercise program.

 

 

 

 

DAD HANDS

July 28, 2011Read: John 20

"So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.'" --John 20:25

The older I get, the more my hands are looking like my dad's. I'll be typing or writing something, and I'll pause to look at my hands and immediately think of his. But unlike my clumsy paws, Dad can actually put his to work. He can fix everything or put anything together. Weld it, untie it, prime it, paint it, dig it...you name it, if we put it in his hands, he's able.

It's funny...despite that knowledge, I've often handed something to Dad for help, and immediately began to tell him how to do it or what I think should be done next. To which Dad simply says, "James, am I doing this, or are you?" (Gulp)

I think we have the tendency to do the same with the Lord. We pray for His guidance, ask for His help, and we "give it to Him" yet we never really let go of worry, doubt or control. (A show of hands of those who can relate...)

But we need to remember that the very same hands that reached for a sinking Peter on the water, assured a doubting Thomas in the upper room, and rubbed mud into the eyes of the blind, are the very same hands that still reach for us today. They assure us in hospital rooms and lead us through the dark times. He can hold us like a newborn baby in one hand, while holding off Satan's army with the other. Big or small, He wants us to bring Him our knots each day. It's what He does. After all, He's got Dad hands, and He is able.

--J.P.

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: Power Push-Up

Once you've mastered the standard push-up...then what? We ask, we answer. The power push-up is a great way to build some dynamic, athletic activity into a stale routine.

Power Push-Up | Focus: Lower chest, shoulders, back, abs | (VIDEO)

Get into a push-up position with your body in a straight line, feet together, hands wider than shoulder-width apart and your eyes focused on the floor. Explode yourself up to full arm extension, allowing your hands to leave the floor. Catch yourself with your hands on the floor and decelerate yourself to the start and repeat. Don’t bounce your chest off the floor, but rather start each rep when your chest reaches an inch or so away from the floor.

>> For a video demonstration of this and other exercises, click here.

EVERYBODY IN

July 7, 2011Read: Matthew 18

"For where two or more gather in my name, there I am with them." --Matthew 18:20

Among the things I miss most about playing sports in high school and college, would be those times when coach would huddle us up to give us words of motivation. We'd all take a knee, and at the end of speech he'd say, "Everybody in." He'd put out his hand, and we'd stand to put ours atop his. At that very moment, there was nothing that could stop us. I learned way back then that powerful things happen when people come together with a common purpose and a serious plan.

Speaking of small groups, we don't know what all was said among the disciples in the upper room, on shorelines, or on hillsides, but something tells me they huddled. When it was time to get everyone's attention, I like to think they brought it in real close like teams do. After all, if our faith had a team, they were the first string. And to think, what they said to each other before that first huddle broke, eventually got to you and me. Common purpose, serious plan.

Are you in a huddle for a stronger faith and better health? Maybe you have a group from church or your neighborhood? A couple of friends who hold each other accountable? Maybe it's you and your spouse. Whoever you are and however you meet, we take a knee with you and yours. We applaud your common purpose and serious plan. And when you stand, our hand reaches to the middle with yours. When teams huddle, nothing is impossible. Everybody in?

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

In this country, there are just as many people who exercise regularly as those that don't. In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009, 35% of adults 18 years and older were found to engage in regular physical activity. The same study showed that a full 33% engaged in zero leisure time activity at all.

So if you're part of the 35%, then bravo. But this shows that some 65% of Americans do not exercise regularly.

Care for another stat? According to the CDC, 34% of Americans 20 and over are obese.

The message is clear: it's time for us to get moving.

Source: CDC

NO HILL FOR A CLIMBER

June 28, 2011Read John 6

"Then Jesus climbed a mountain..." --John 6:3

A friend of mine, Betty Gutierrez of Fitness on Fire Ministries in Grapevine, Texas, can often be heard telling her class that "Jesus would climb mountains to pray, so we know He was healthy." Her message makes me think...Jesus wasn't healthy for health's sake, but for Heaven's. In order to pray, he climbed. In order to worship, he walked. His body simply got His soul where it needed to go. His health on earth was in direct response to His purpose.

At PrayFit, we believe that our health is not so much about how we want to look, but more about what we need to do. The more fit we are, the better we live, move and serve. Our health should enable our purpose, not get in the way. To think, Jesus was often out of breath for us...when was the last time we were out of breath for Him? But then again...we don't have to climb mountains to pray.

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the CDC, more than 60 percent of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity. And approximately 25 percent of U.S. adults are not active at all.

What are you doing in your home, school, community or church to help improve these daunting statistics? Tell us what works for you. Your fitness testimony could change a life. And if we can help, please let us know. We're here.

THERE WILL BE DELAYS

March 16, 2011Read: Matthew 17

"Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?'" --Matthew 17:19.

Thinking about 2011 goals is pretty exciting (and daunting). My heart skips a beat when I think of some of the big mountains my little legs want to climb. Dreams are awesome, aren't they? It's like saying, "That one, God. Yes! Let's conquer that!" And with a little faith, we chase them.

Well, just as soon as we began our road trip home the other day, I saw a sign: DELAYS AHEAD. I didn't give it much thought. A few miles later: EXPECT DELAYS. I looked at my watch. "So far so good," I reasoned. So I shrugged, turned up the radio and set my cruise control. But sure enough the next sign literally read: EXPECT EXTREME DELAYS SOON. They weren't kidding about the "extreme" or "soon" parts. In fact, I knew it was gonna be bad when I saw cars pulling off the highway by any means possible to find a short cut. Our quick five-hour trip had quickly become eight.

You know, as we begin to think about, pray for and jot down faith and fitness goals for the upcoming year, we can expect delays. Even though we might hit the new year at full speed, the chances of a few roadblocks are high. But let's not quit or lose heart. Whatever the next bend brings, the good Lord will get us through. So let's stay on the right road and keep the faith in drive.

--J.P.

Application: As we approach a new season, have you hit any roadblocks or delays on your toward your goals? How's your bible study and prayer time? What about your eating habits and exercise routines? It is time to recalibrate?

FITTER WITH FIDO

If you're a dog owner, you're already at a huge advantage in your quest for a slimmer physique. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that 61% of dog owners walked their dog for at least 10 minutes at a time, while 27% took the family pet out walking 150 minutes per week or more. The odds of getting 150 minutes of walking per week -- a baseline level of fitness -- were 34% higher for dog walkers compared to non-dog owners and the odds of doing any leisure time physical activity were an astounding 69% higher. The most staggering statistic, perhaps, was the fact that 39% of the respondents in the study didn't walk their dogs at all!  Even our canines are suffering from our ambivalence to exercise.

GOD COMES THROUGH

February 8, 2011Read: Psalm 78

"He rained down manna for the people to eat, He gave them the grain of heaven." --Psalm 78: 24

God came through. When His people were in the desert; manna. When Noah opened the ark's window; an olive branch. If you're like me, you're waiting on something.  Maybe it's a promise to be kept or a letter to arrive, but whatever it is, let's remind each other that while the world can be unfair and people forget, God delivers. Oh, we might not be waiting for a dove to signal land or bread to fall from the sky, but look up -- God will come through.

--J.P.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

If you've been looking for a way to stick to a fitness program, science may have an answer: Open the door and go outside. A recent study published in the research journal Environmental Science and Technology found that those who exercised outdoors had greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.

Source: Science Daily

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.

VITAL SIGNS

October 20, 2010Read: Luke 15

"The angels in heaven rejoice whenever a sinner gives his heart to the Lord." --Luke 15:7

Someone once said that the heart of the problem is the heart of the person. And over the course of my life, I'm learning that to be true. The longer I live, the more sure I am of the fact that whatever good anyone could or will ever see in me is all because of Jesus. Anything else? My issue, my problem, my heart.

I was reminded of that earlier this year when I was having a physician's examination. Before going into an outpatient procedure, they attached a few leads to my chest to monitor my heart throughout the exam. Funny, after only a few seconds it began to chime loudly. The surprised nurse quickly walked back in and turned it off. When asked, she said that the alarm sounds in the ER whenever a heart rate falls below 40.

The irony of the moment made me pause. A monitor specifically designed to alert others of a failing heart, was actually letting the room know of a strong one.

What are you and I doing to let others know the condition of our hearts? Because unless we share Christ -- unless we sound the alarm -- some people may never know that what's really going on inside is a celebration. Unsure how to do that? Just start sharing love. For that, we don't need a monitor with a 12-lead...all we have to do is follow His.

--J.P.

BURN MORE FAT Vary your activity to maximize your get-lean efforts

At PrayFit, we lean pretty heavily on resistance training as to cause drastic, lasting change to your overall body composition. But as you may have read here before, ultimately, the best kind of activity is the kind that you will continue to do.

CNN recently ran an article citing the calorie-burning effects of some popular forms of exercise. For instance, did you know that inline skating can burn 425 calories in 30 minutes? Or that hula hooping can nuke 300 calories in the same amount of time? Read up on seven of the best fat-burning activities around, then weigh in below on what your favorite is.

>> SUPER CIRCUIT: Use this PrayFit-crafted circuit to start torching fat in 10 minutes or less each day.