boxing

No Mas: Part I

No more. I don't want to fight anymore. The 1980 rematch between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran will forever be remembered by two words: No mas. For those who don't know the story, Roberto Duran, the toughest and most relentless fighter of his era decided he was done fighting midway through the eighth round of their championship bout. And with two words he sealed his legacy.

I recently watched a documentary surrounding Sugar Ray's quest to uncover the real reason Duran called it quits that fateful night. A stomachache -- as one of many reasons given to media from the Duran - could not have been, according to Leonard, the truth. So in Leonard's mind, even though he won fight, he didn't beat him. He needed closure. It's a remarkable film, but something Sugar Ray said in the last frame was a knockout.

For much of his adult life, Sugar Ray lived with alcoholism. And he acknowledged that when he finally told his story to the world, he felt free. Naturally, he related his sickness and years of isolation to how he reasoned Duran must have felt all this time. But alas, when Sugar Ray and Duran as much older men stood face-to-face, Duran stuck to the original story. And Leonard left Panama much like he left the ring in 1980 -- in disappointed wonder.

But then it occurred to him -- and here's where today's entry actually begins -- that in order to have closure, he had to give Duran his own. And in one of the most poetic statements I've ever heard, he did just that. A statement that -- to me -- echoes all the way back from that eighth round when Duran threw his arms up accepting defeat, to this very day, as Sugar Ray finally drops his own. As if issuing a ten count backwards, Sugar Ray mercifully picked each other up off the canvas and said, "As far as I'm concerned, He doesn't have to fight anymore." End Credits.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Guys, I sure hope you check in tomorrow for "No Mas: Part II." But I'd like to know: What do you get from this story? What Biblical principles jump off the page to you? Too many to get your head around? Yeah, for me too. Love to hear your thoughts. See you tomorrow. Lord bless you all.

DOWN FOR THE COUNT?

Here in the New Year, many of us are trying to streamline our diets. But at every turn, we're barraged with flurries of nutritional temptation -- unforgiving lefts and rights that can leave us wider in the waistline. While no one expects perfection of us in the kitchen we can all use a little remotivation! PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC gives us a few good reasons to say "No mas" when it comes to excess calories.

>> The unseen cost of extra calories

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?

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The Purpose Fulfilled Life

Hope you're enjoying the week looking at some of life's closers. First Mariano Rivera, and then of course Joseph. And while Joseph was unavoidable, the next two, I argue, are undeniable. If you've been with us for any stretch of time, you know they're a couple of my favorites.

"See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want  you to immediately remember this suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember that I know where I'm going." 

The man who said that is none other than Billy Graham. What a way to live and finish, amen? Sure sets the bar high, doesn't he? So does this next one.

There he was. Tied up. Who knows how long he'd been waiting? The most insignificant of animals with a seemingly 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, Jesus asked for him specifically. In that day, donkeys were known to protect sheep, but that day he carried The Lamb. God chose him. Uniquely qualified, his purpose was to carry Jesus to His. He delivered. I suppose you could say he was born for this moment.

You may have heard me say it before, but I like to think that a donkey nobody had ever ridden knew exactly who he carried. And 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. The only one who noticed him and needed him was the One he just carried.

Let's make it our life's purpose to close-out life -- like Billy and the donkey -- and be remembered for where we're going, and who we carried along the way.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What a contrast in closers, don't you agree? Bill Graham and the donkey. One life spent evangelizing the world, filling years with special moments. The other called to be ready for just one. Man oh man. That's tough to type. You and I are no Billy Grahams, but I would have proudly been the donkey.

 

Move With Your Life

"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." --James 2:26

Read: James 2

How many times have we asked God to move in our lives? I wonder if it even comes close to the number of times He's asked us to move with ours. Follow me through the day: The homeless beggar outside the supermarket; the lonely neighbor nobody ever seems to talk to; the teacher everybody gossips about. How many times a day does God ask us to move with our lives?

Same goes with our bodies. You may find yourself asking the Lord for the strength to stick with better food choices or for motivation to begin an exercise plan. But friends, if you know Him, He's made His move. The real question is whether the miracle He's done in your heart has reached your feet.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Fighter Conditioning

You may not have any interest in the Sweet Science, but the fact remains that boxers are some of the best conditioned athletes on the planet. They have to be. The whole-body demand of jabbing, slipping, bobbing and weaving for any length of time, over time, makes them stronger, leaner and tougher than those who practice other sports. PrayFit partner and endorser Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero boasts a physique that is equal parts form and function from all of his years spent in the gym. But if you don’t have the dough, or desire, to dive headlong into a franchise boxing gym membership, you can use this 12-minute, at-home solution to start building a pugilistic physique.

>> CLICK HERE FOR THE WORKOUT

"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

>> Be sure to watch Robert Guerrero take on pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather on May 4! Keep visiting here for more information on the fight, or visit the official fight site here.

Saved. Alone.

"In all things give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." --1 Thessalonians 5:18

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5

Over 100 years ago, a very successful lawyer and real estate mogul, Horatio Spafford, lost a lot in the great Chicago fire of 1870, but years later he lost much, much more. The fire left thousands homeless, and Horatio and his family spent years helping those less fortunate. Exhausted, Horatio and his wife, along with their four daughters planned a cruise to Europe. But just prior to pushing off, Horatio was called upon to stay for business. Still, he sent his family on their much-needed vacation.

Their ship however, the Ville du Havre, didn’t make it to England. Horatio learned of the tragedy through the now famous and urgent telegram from his wife. It read simply, "Saved. Alone."

I'm probably not the first person to do a poor job of summarizing the story of Horatio Spafford, but I was reminded of it yesterday while on a walk with my dog, Josey. As I turned a corner, talking to the Lord about my needs and concerns of our new website, I came across a homeless woman; mid-thirties, sunburned, sitting next to what looked like years of life in a shopping cart. I smiled, and she called Josey "perty." As I continued to walk, I thought to myself, "I'm worried about web traffic. She lives in traffic."

This week is a good reminder to hug those close to us, and to help those less fortunate. And 130 years later, Horatio can help us do just that. You may not recognize his name, but you know his famous hymn. As he boarded a ship to find his wife, he wrote these words:

"It is well with my soul. When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul!”

Good words for us to remember and repeat as we give thanks, if for no other reason than being saved alone. So from our families to yours, have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend.

--Team PrayFit

>> The PrayFit Daily will continue on Monday, November 26. Until then, you can continue to interact with the PrayFit Nation via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or visit our forums.

>> This weekend (Saturday, Nov. 24), catch PrayFit endorser Robert Guerrero in action on HBO as he takes on Andre Berto in what is shaping up to be one of the best boxing bouts on the 2012 calendar. Check out our Q&A with Robert as he prepares for this weekend's fight by clicking here.

The Sufficiency of Grace

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me." --2 Corinthians 12:8

Read: 2 Corinthians 12

Earlier this year, I did an interview with Moody Bible Radio, and one caller in particular came to mind as I sat down to write this entry. See, she struggles with a physical ailment; one she can't shake. Lord only knows how many times she's gone to the foot of the cross for healing. The sleepless nights, the prescriptions that don't help, the brokenness untold. Perhaps she asks Heaven if this is how she'll have to endure earth. Maybe you can relate because you've whispered similar on your own tear-stained pillow.

Paul could. We don't know for sure what Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was but we do know he was soul-stricken by it. Whether it was physical or spiritual, Paul begged God to remove it. God's response? Let's hear it from Paul:

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Paul mentions that God said, "No" in order to prevent him from becoming conceited. And yes, it's only God who knows what He's protecting you and me from or, like Paul, what God is enabling us to do in an even better way when the answer is no.

Today, if you're like me, you may be searching for the answer to the question Why? If so, rather than strain to see clearly through that prism of uncertainty, shut your eyes and pray for God to be seen through you instead. Though many of us are hurting, be encouraged. If your body is failing, He won't. If your limbs have stopped working, He hasn't. Let's stand close to Paul and let our pain be bathed in that same promise..."My grace is sufficient for you."

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BOXING

You may not have any interest in the Sweet Science, but the fact remains that boxers are some of the best conditioned athletes on the planet. They have to be. The whole-body demand of jabbing, slipping, bobbing and weaving for any length of time, over time, makes them stronger, leaner and tougher than those who practice other sports. PrayFit partner and endorser Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, who fights November 24 against Andre Berto on HBO, boasts a physique that is equal parts form and function from all of his years spent in the gym. But if you don't have the dough, or desire, to dive headlong into a franchise boxing gym membership, you can use this 12-minute, at-home solution to start building a pugilistic physique.

Why 12 minutes? Well, here, each minute will represent one "round" -- and high-profile, championship fights are always 12 rounds.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Crunches - 1 min. (VIDEO)

Straight punches - 1 min.

Bicycle crunch - 1 min.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Plank - 1 min.

>> For additional exercises and videos, click here.

Using a stopwatch or timer (www.gymboss.com), go through this workout circuit-style, taking little to no rest between moves. After the final move, stand up and get right into the entire circuit once more, for a total of 12 rounds. Perform this workout three times per week for max results.

Straight punches: A series of jabs and crosses (lefts and rights) delivered at eye level at an imaginary target at arms length. Throw as many punches as you can with good form in the scheduled minute of work. For more detail on boxing punches, click here.

ADVANCED OPTION: Finish off your workout with three sets of push-ups (any style) to failure, resting no longer than a minute between sets. Tally your number and try to beat it next time out.

DID YOU KNOW?: High-intensity boxing workouts can burn 750-1000 calories in one hour. Find a gym near you at www.boxinggyms.com.

"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

The Lord Never Panics

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” --Isaiah 55:9

Read: Isaiah 55

Things on the ground look pretty small from 35,000 feet. I know, because that’s where this entry was written. Halfway through a five-hour trip cross country, the flight attendant announced, “If there is a physician on board, please come to the back of the aircraft.” She repeated it three times.

Immediately two young men, including a man sitting in my row, jumped from their seats and rushed to help. The rest of us simply sat and watched as a huddle formed in the back of the plane. After maybe a minute, a gray-haired man from the front of the plane walked passed us, almost casually, to join the effort. It wasn't long before the man from my row returned to his seat and explained that a young lady had suffered a panic attack.

Curious, I asked him if he was a physician. “No," he said. “There was only one doctor among us back there. Two of us were firemen, but only one doctor -- an older man. When he showed up, we all stepped back to let him work.”

(Get me a laptop, stat.)

In life, panic attacks, and the world responds with all sorts of solutions. But like today, I know I can’t run to the rescue. Only God can. Isn't it assuring to know that He is never rattled or stressed? He's always in control and is never late. He is never surprised and has never slept. He's sovereign over your house, my house and The White House. And the problems that find us, even at 35,000 feet, are well under His.

Now I think I’ll sit back and relax. We still have a ways to go.

--Jimmy Peña

INTERVALS: METABOLISM BOOSTER

Looking for a more efficient way to burn fat? We'll say it again: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best method of cardio for maximizing fat and weight loss. Interspersing max- or near-max efforts with less intense bouts of recovery simply challenges your body in a way that traditional, steady-state training does not.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology sheds some light on another way that HIIT burns more body fat.

"Researchers reported that six weeks of HIIT increased the amount of special proteins in muscle that are responsible for carrying fat into the mitochondria (where fat is burned away for fuel) by up to 50 percent," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "Having more of these proteins in muscle means that more fat can be burned up for fuel during workouts and when resting."

Try these PrayFit-crafted HIIT workouts to start building a stronger, more efficient body. And remember -- intensity is relative. Just give your best effort during the intervals. Everyone has a best -- this type of workout has you seek it repeatedly. And while most think "running" when it comes to cardio, you can perform your favorite aerobic activity in its place. Speedwalking, heavy bag work, jump rope or cycling are all perfectly acceptable substitutes for any HIIT running program you encounter. Simply apply the same training protocols to get greater benefits.

WORKOUT: TREADMILL HIIT

WORKOUT: HIIT PARADE

Love Stepped In

"It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it and paid the price." --Romans 3:22 Read: Romans 3

Yesterday the boxing world received a staggering blow when it learned that the great boxing trainer Emanuel Steward passed away at the age of 68. Our prayers go out to his family and friends, including PrayFit endorser and boxing champion Robert Guerrero. You know, something Emanuel said while calling a fight last year was something I'll never forget. It came on the night of the much-anticipated fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley.

In one of the night's earlier bouts, a fighter in the late rounds was taking too many blows, unable to defend himself. His corner didn't wait for the ref to stop it, but instead threw in the towel knowing their fighter had enough. Come to find out, the fighter's cornerman was also his dad. And then Emanuel Steward simply said, "Love stepped in. He just couldn't bear to see his son endure such a beating."

Friends, in the fight for our future, God could have stopped the fight. But since He knew that you and I could never defend ourselves, He let Jesus go the distance. I guess you could say, "love stepped in," until our fight was over.

--Jimmy Peña

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

"I'm Still Here. I Can Fight."

"I have fought the good fight." --2 Timothy 4:7

Read: 2 Timothy 4

Weeks before his HBO Pay-Per-View fight against top contender Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao made a profession. Not a prediction, a profession. Proclaiming Jesus Christ as his Savior and rededicating himself to his family, Manny said he is a brand new man. So much so that he said he "hates the old Manny." In a profession where so many adhere to a strict philosophy of force, Manny had made a profession of faith. And in the days leading up to the bout, the naysayers grew louder. He's soft now. His faith has blunted his edge. Manny's warrior instinct has been replaced with bible verses and gospel hymns.

But it didn't take Manny 12 rounds of completely dominating his opponent to quiet the doubters. It was how he handled himself when the decision came down from the judges. See, although Manny beat him, he didn't win. Then after giving Christ glory, a winded, humble Manny said, "The best attitude is respect and professionalism. I did my best. I'm still here. I can fight."

Folks, the world may disagree with your profession of faith, but being obedient has never proven to be popular or easy – just effective. Beset by the unyielding flurries that life has to throw at us – be they health, faith, work or family – we are often left with a simple choice: to surrender to the call of the canvas, or to fight boldly in a manner befitting a warrior. Because you are still here. And you can fight.

--Jimmy Peña & Eric Velazquez

Question: What are you facing this week? Are you or someone you love hurting physically, or emotionally? Are you struggling for motivation to be healthy? Perhaps you've neglected your prayer life. How can you use today to get back on track? Leave your comments in the field below.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BOXING

You may not have any interest in the Sweet Science, but the fact remains that boxers are some of the best conditioned athletes on the planet. They have to be. The whole-body demand of jabbing, slipping, bobbing and weaving for any length of time, over time, makes them stronger, leaner and tougher than those who practice other sports. PrayFit partner and endorser Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero boasts a physique that is equal parts form and function from all of his years spent in the gym. But if you don't have the dough, or desire, to dive headlong into a franchise boxing gym membership, you can use this 12-minute, at-home solution to start building a pugilistic physique.

Why 12 minutes? Well, here, each minute will represent one "round" -- and high-profile, championship fights are always 12 rounds.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Crunches - 1 min. (VIDEO)

Straight punches - 1 min.

Bicycle crunch - 1 min.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Plank - 1 min.

>> For additional exercises and videos, click here.

Using a stopwatch or timer (www.gymboss.com), go through this workout circuit-style, taking little to no rest between moves. After the final move, stand up and get right into the entire circuit once more, for a total of 12 rounds. Perform this workout three times per week for max results.

Straight punches: A series of jabs and crosses (lefts and rights) delivered at eye level at an imaginary target at arms length. Throw as many punches as you can with good form in the scheduled minute of work. For more detail on boxing punches, click here.

ADVANCED OPTION: Finish off your workout with three sets of push-ups (any style) to failure, resting no longer than a minute between sets. Tally your number and try to beat it next time out.

DID YOU KNOW?: High-intensity boxing workouts can burn 750-1000 calories in one hour. Find a gym near you at www.boxinggyms.com.

Make Believe

"So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing." --1 Corinthians 9:26

Read: 1 Corinthians 9

As I was leaving Gio's Boxing Gym in Burbank (Calif.), amid the familiar cadence of speed bags and jump ropes, something a cornerman yelled to his boxer caught my attention. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter!" he said. I literally stopped in my tracks. What a powerful statement. Just how powerful, I'd realize just moments later.

Walking toward my truck, I came upon a film crew about to shoot a documentary -- a boxing documentary, no doubt. Lights, cameras and make-up. I stood for what seemed like years and watched a make-up artist applying shades of purple, black and blue to an actor's face and under his eyes. Boxing gloves? Check. Legitimate shorts? Those too. But he wasn't dressed for - nor returning from - a real battle. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter," ironically echoed in my head.

I wonder about my faith. And maybe you wonder about yours. Am I a make-believer in life? Or do I help make believers with my life? Like the verse above, I don't want to shadowbox. I want purpose. Give me somethin' to hit.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: In what area of your life, spiritually or physically, do you need to stand to fight? How can the Prayfit community pray for you? List your battles below or simply list them as "unspoken request(s)".

REPORT: CHILDREN OBESITY SPILLING INTO MANUFACTURING

A CNN report recently called attention to the latest casualty in the childhood obesity epidemic: school furniture manufacturers. Because of the expanding waistlines of children -- a full 15 to 17% of all kids are over 95th percentile for obesity -- manufacturers are forced to develop desks that can accommodate them. Child car seat manufacturers are also having to adjust with new designs to keep heavier kids safe.

"Childhood obesity affects their safety in matters beyond child seats and ill-fitting school furniture," the report says. "Obese kids are more likely to get heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and are more prone to diabetes, bone and joint problems. Their health problems are also more likely to follow into adulthood."

>> For the full report from CNN, click here.

ACTION PLAN: Let's be part of the solution. 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.

MAKE BELIEVE

October 21, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 9

"So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing." --1 Corinthians 9:26

As I was leaving Gio's Boxing Gym in Burbank (Calif.) yesterday, amid the familiar cadence of speed bags and jump ropes, something a cornerman yelled to his boxer caught my attention. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter!" he said. I literally stopped in my tracks. What a powerful statement. Just how powerful, I'd realize moments later.

Walking toward my truck, I came upon a film crew about to shoot a documentary -- a boxing documentary, no doubt. Lights, cameras and make-up. I stood for what seemed like years and watched a make-up artist applying shades of purple, black and blue to an actor's face and under his eyes. Boxing gloves? Check. Legitimate shorts? He had those too. But he wasn't dressed for, nor returning from, a real battle. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter," ironically echoed in my head.

I wonder about my faith. And maybe you wonder about yours. Am I a make-believer in life? Or do I help make believers with my life? Like the verse above, I don't want to shadowbox. I want purpose. Give me somethin' to hit.

--J.P.

Question: In what area of your life, spiritually or physically, do you need to stand to fight? How can the Prayfit community pray for you? List your battles below or simply list them as "unspoken request(s)".

PRAYFIT TO RELEASE FIRST DVD

On December 6, Lionsgate Entertainment will release PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge to a global audience.  The DVD will feature a 33-minute, bodyweight-only program that boosts strength, stamina and flexibility. The program’s 33-day length is a nod to proven habit-forming behavior as well as the length of Jesus’s life. “He gave us 33 years,” says PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS. “Let’s give him 33 minutes for 33 days, honoring the one who made us.”

>> For the full story on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, click here. Or, to preorder immediately, visit Amazon.

THE VERY IDEA

July 18, 2011 Read 1 Corinthians 9

"No, I beat my body and make it my slave." --1 Corinthians 9:27

Last week I had the unique opportunity to be interviewed by The L.A Times on the subject of faith and fitness. Whether or not my input makes the article, I'm not sure, but it was an honor to be asked to participate. During the course of the conversation, the subject fell upon "why." Why the recent surge in the church toward taking care of the body? First the government, then schools and now the church. Together we named famous pastors that are now leading their congregations toward abundant health, and it dawned on me: We shouldn't even be having this conversation. Healthy living is not a new concept.

Long before PrayFit wrote its first devotion, and well before Rick Warren committed to losing weight, the very idea of taking care of the body that carries the soul was God's. It was His plan all along. We have no right, no stake to claim, and no sense of ownership to the idea that something so fearfully and wonderfully made deserves better attention and upkeep. Sure, Abe Lincoln might have been honest, but he didn't invent the truth. Mother Teresa gave to the poor, but she didn't design love. Our bodies were given to us so that we can serve God in all we do. The fact that the church is just now paying attention to the idea doesn't make us leaders, it makes us late.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BOXING

You may not have any interest in the Sweet Science, but the fact remains that boxers are some of the best conditioned athletes on the planet. They have to be. The whole-body demand of jabbing, slipping, bobbing and weaving for any length of time, over time, makes them stronger, leaner and tougher than those who practice other sports. PrayFit partner and endorser Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero boasts a physique that is equal parts form and function from all of his years spent in the gym. But if you don't have the dough, or desire, to dive headlong into a franchise boxing gym membership, you can use this 12-minute, at-home solution to start building a pugilistic physique.

Why 12 minutes? Well, here, each minute will represent one "round" -- and high-profile, championship fights are always 12 rounds.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Crunches - 1 min.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Bicycle crunch - 1 min.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Plank - 1 min.

Using a stopwatch or timer (www.gymboss.com), go through this workout circuit-style, taking little to no rest between moves. After the final move, stand up and get right into the entire circuit once more, for a total of 12 rounds. Perform this workout three times per week for max results.

Straight punches: A series of jabs and crosses (lefts and rights) delivered at eye level at an imaginary target at arms length. Throw as many punches as you can with good form in the scheduled minute of work. For more detail on boxing punches, click here.

ADVANCED OPTION: Finish off your workout with three sets of push-ups (any style) to failure, resting no longer than a minute between sets. Tally your number and try to beat it next time out.

DID YOU KNOW?: High-intensity boxing workouts can burn 750-1000 calories in one hour. Find a gym near you at www.boxinggyms.com.

Robert Guerrero handling Michael Katsidis in his HBO Pay-Per-View televised bout back in April. Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions. (www.hoganphotos.com)

 

LOVE STEPPED IN

May 9th, 2011Read: Romans 3

"It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it and paid the price." --Romans 3:22

This last Saturday night, the much-anticipated fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosely came and went with the expected outcome. But there was another fight that night that caught my attention. In one of the undercard bouts, a fighter in the late rounds was taking too many blows, unable to defend himself. His corner didn't wait for the ref to stop it, but threw in the towel knowing their fighter had enough. Come to find out, the fighter's cornerman was also his dad. As one announcer said, "Love stepped in." He just couldn't bear to see his son endure such a beating.

In the fight for our future, Jesus went the distance. While He could have stopped the fight, God knew we could never defend ourselves, so He let the battle rage. I guess you could say, "love stepped in," until our fight was over.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Dumbbell Complex

So many of us have to take our workout time where we can get it -- before work, at lunch or after work. There's a reason they call it "rush hour" at the gym. Unfortunately, time efficiency can be difficult during these times and a good, full-body workout that takes you from one station to the next might just be out of the question (unless you have two hours to spare).  No problem. This week's workout is right up your alley, as it has you working the entire body, in one spot, at the same time.

The complex, which can be performed with dumbbells or a barbell, allows you to train multiple muscle groups in succession without adjusting the weight. The order of the exercises can be altered to suit particular training goals. Your goal here? A solid, full-body workout that helps you build or maintain strength, while also keeping your fat-fighting furnace adequately stoked.

What you're going to do is pick a light-to-moderate set of dumbbells -- one that allows you to do around 20 reps on most isolation moves like lateral raises and curls. The reason we're going lighter is because we're going to begin each round of exercises with isolation moves. After we've hit certain bodyparts with laser-like accuracy, we'll move to a few exercises that require multiple joints and muscle groups, which allows you to raise the intensity without increasing the weight. By the end of the set, what once felt light will actually feel heavy.

Don't let lack of space or time ever stand in your way for a tough, proven workout.

For this workout, do 20 reps of each exercise, resting only as long as it takes to get into position for the next move. At the end of the last exercise, rest 1-2 minutes and repeat the sequence. Three total trips through the complex, 2-3 times per week is plenty. You'll have trained your entire body in a fraction of the time it would have taken otherwise.

Bent-Over Lateral Raise | Target: Shoulders (emphasis: rear delts) Lateral Raise | Target: Shoulders (emphasis: middle delts) Standing Dumbbell Overhead Press | Target: Shoulders (emphases: front, middle delts) Bent-Over Dumbbell Row (two-hand) | Target: Back (emphasis: lower lats) Biceps Curl (simultaneously) | Target: Biceps Dumbbell Squat | Target: Legs (emphases: quads, glutes, hamstrings)

REVIEW PRAYFIT: Have you read "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days?" If so, we'd love to get your thoughts. Take a second to review us for other potential readers on Amazon by clicking here.

WHO ARE THOSE PRAYFIT GUYS, ANYWAY? Click here to learn more about PrayFit's mission.

TOP RANK

April 8, 2011Read: Proverbs 16

"Pride cometh before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." --Proverbs 16:18

Last night, I was telling a good friend that PrayFit received a strong endorsement and that we jumped  from rank No. 52,000 to No. 49 on Amazon overnight -- the #1 biggest mover on Amazon over the last 24 hours. I was out-of-my-skin excited. So blessed! I ended my sentence with "God is good, isn' t He?" His reply? "Yes He is. But He was just as good when you were ranked No. 52,000."

Gulp.

You know, you and I put a lot of stock in how the world ranks us. From bank accounts to street addresses to book clubs, we can get so focused on where we fall, that's exactly what happens.

--J.P.

PRAYFIT BULLETIN A "newsy" look at what's new in the world of PrayFit

Faith and Fitness in Demand: Thanks in part to a very gracious endorsement from PrayFit supporter Tyler Perry, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," spent the day yesterday as the No. 1 book on Amazon's Movers and Shakers list and climbed to No. 49 on the site's sales rankings. We also welcomed over 100 more subscribers to the PrayFit Daily list, which delivers devotionals and healthy living tips to readers' inboxes each morning.

PrayFit Steps into the Ring: This weekend (April 9), boxer/believer Robert Guerrero will tangle with the relentless Michael Katsidis on HBO Pay-Per-View but he won't be alone. An endorser of PrayFit, Guerrero will be wearing our website address on his trunks. For more info on the fight, visit HBO Boxing.

“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, 3-Time Boxing World Champion

Store Remodel: Check out our streamlined store -- newly remodeled for your purchasing pleasure -- by clicking here. If you're into the whole faith and fitness thing, you may as well dress like it.

(Pray)FitFabFun: E! News host Giuliana Rancic does more than dish on celebrity gossip. Her website, FabFitFun, which caters specifically to the ladies, is filled with tons of info on exercise and nutrition. PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, who serves on the site's advisory council, will be featured on the site this Monday (April 11). Among the things that Pena will be discussing is the concept behind "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." Set it to your favorites and check it out on Monday, or for a quick tour of Rancic's site, click here.

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH

April 6, 2011Read: Mark 12

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

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. Let's make it a point this week to do something in Jesus' name for those we live around.

--J.P.

VIDEO: SPEEDY SOUP

If you're looking for a hearty, healthy soup, look no further than the kitchen of PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC. In this clip, Dana shows you how to make what she refers to as the "perfect" bowl of soup -- low sodium and loaded with nutrients. So click away and get cookin' -- a quick and nutritious dish awaits!

VIDEO: IN THE KITCHEN WITH DANA ANGELO WHITE

>> FIGHT NIGHT: Don't forget to check out PrayFit athlete Robert Guerrero as he takes on Michael Katsidis for the WBO and WBC interim lightweight boxing titles, live from Las Vegas on HBO Pay-Per-View this Saturday (April 9). Guerrero will be wearing PrayFit.com across his trunks when he steps into the ring! For more info, visit HBO Boxing.

>> GEAR UP: Make sure you're outfitted for your fight night party. Pick up our newly designed PrayFit hats and t-shirts at the PrayFit Store.

 

WE WEAR HIS NAME

March 4, 2011Read: Philippians 1

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." --Philippians 1:21

Yesterday, we at PrayFit confirmed plans to promote, endorse and sponsor one of our favorite athletes. A champion in and out of the ring, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero and PrayFit agreed to terms for his HBO Pay-Per-View televised fight on April 9. We are absolutely ecstatic. A man of God, a loving husband, and a three-time world champion, Robert Guerrero's trunks will carry a new logo: PRAYFIT.COM

In the middle of the ring and in the heat of battle, he'll be wearing our name.

You know as believers in the fight of our lives, we wear His name. With His blood, He stamped his promotion and endorsement on our hearts. He says, "He's mine! She's with me! I'm in their corner!" And any scars we show, we bear for Him. May the marks we bear point others to the cross. So whether it be at work, home, school or with your health, consider this moment the bell, and let's make it a good fight.

--J.P.

“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, 3-Time Boxing World Champion

PRAYFIT WEEK IN REVIEW

>> WORKOUT: Test your mettle and build your endurance with this run-based workout

>> REPORT: Pecans boost heart health

>> RECIPE: Healthy BBQ chicken pizza. Do we have your attention now?

>> NUTRITION: PrayFit rates five dairy-free alternatives to cow's milk

WATCH!!!: Catch the highlights of Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero in his last fight, a decisive, HBO-televised win over 2004 Olympian Vicente Escobedo.

SHARE: Looking for quick-hit exercise and nutrition information, ideas and programming? Visit our new Fitness and Nutrition pages and be sure to use the new social networking features -- recommend, share, tweet, e-mail -- up top to help spread the word.

READ: "PrayFit: Your Guide to A Healthy Body and A Stronger Faith in 28 Days," now available in stores, is a fantastic, fundamental guide for anyone looking for a renewal of faith and fitness. The book includes 56 days of daily devotionals, complete exercise programs for both beginners and intermediates, as well as full meal plans to speed your results. To pick up a copy for yourself or a friend, visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon today!

AN ATHLETE'S FAITH

January 10, 2010Read: 1 Corinthians 9

"All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.: --1 Corinthians 9:25

PRAYFIT QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"It doesn't take faith to be physically fit, but if we have faith, we should try to be." --Jimmy Pena

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Shoulders

Building stronger, better looking shoulders is a good goal whether you're a hardcore lap swimmer or a desk jockey. Anyone who has ever had a shoulder injury will attest to that. Because of how critical your shoulders are to any exercise or everyday life activity, it is important to train them to be fit and functional. This short workout works provides a dose of both.

If you have set of two-pound dumbbells, soup cans or other handheld object in that weight range, you can do this workout. But don't let the light weight nature of this routine fool you -- done right, a deeply effective burn awaits. By working without rest, you will stress both slow- and fast-twitch fibers to the point of complete exhaustion. Do as many rounds as you have time for, or as much as your shoulder can handle, performing each exercise to failure.

Bent-over lateral raise Lateral raise Front raise Overhead press Straight punches

TRAINER PLUS: For those who are curious, the order of exercises is strategic in that each move puts you in a position that is stronger than the previous. So when you fail at the bent-over lateral raises for example, when you stand up, you gain a mechanical advantage and are able to continue without rest. After the last exercise, rest anywhere from 30-60 seconds -- but no longer. This will add a cardio element to your workout, providing an extra dose of physique-friendly calorie burning.

BE HEALTHY, QUIETLY

December 13, 2010Read: Matthew 6

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." --Matthew 6:1

We've been talking a lot lately about the importance of our physical health as a means of praise, and if that has reached your heart, we're so blessed. If the mere prospect of a new day is reason enough to praise God with smarter choices at the dinner table, then great. Because you're right...it's not about the body.

With that said, perhaps the challenge is to be healthy, quietly. In truth, if our health is praise, there's no need for a declaration of independence from a sedentary lifestyle, and no need to sound the alarm against a less-than-stellar diet. No speeches, no "look at what I'm doing for God" announcements. We're called to take care of the body that carries the soul, period. So let's allow the byproducts of our obedience do the talking.

Push away from the table sooner, quietly. Turn the TV off earlier to go outside, quietly. Praise God with your health, quietly.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Bolder Shoulders in 10

People's motivations for exercise may vary but the desire for stronger, better looking or just plain healthier shoulders is pretty universal. This complex joint possesses of the most delicate and amazing musculature in the entire body, which is to our benefit because that allows for a variety of ways in which they can be trained. For this quickie shoulder routine, which will walks the line between strength and endurance, grab some light dumbbells or even a pair of soup cans. Trust us, this won't take much weight. If you need a shoulder smash -- a new challenge to set the foundation for a remade set of deltoids -- then this week's 10-minute workout is just for you.

A good warm-up is always important but it could be argued that it is most important on shoulder day. The wide range of motion with you shoulders is maintained by several small muscles that can injure easily if not properly prepared for the work ahead. For this, or any other shoulder routine, follow the prescribed warm-up as the bare minimum of your training prep.

Warm-up | Raise your arms out to your sides until they're parallel with the floor. Make small circles with your arms for 1-2 minutes. Without rest, go right to into this routine. Rest as little as possible as you go from one exercise to the next.

Using your soup cans or light dumbbells: Lateral raises for 1 minute Alternating straight punches for 1 minute Front raises for 1 minute Alternating straight punches for 1 minute Bent-over lateral raises for 1 minutes Alternating straight punches for 1 minute Overhead presses for 1 minute Alternating straight punches for 1 minute

--To keep your alternating straight punches effective, simply focus on punching to full extension at eye level or just above.

THE PRIZE FIGHTER

November 15, 2010Read: 2 Timothy 4

"I have fought the good fight..." --2 Timothy 4:7

This past Saturday night, many in the sports world gathered around their televisions to watch the much anticipated boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. But by the end of the bout, those watching were witness to much more than just stiff jabs and timely upper cuts. One fighter taught a lesson in mercy, the other, in courage.

Hardly able to count the fingers being held before his swollen eyes, Margarito demanded to continue fighting. His opponent knew he was about to fall. But had Margarito quit or Manny gone for the knockout, no one would have blamed either, but instead they did neither. When the bell announced the final round, Margarito stood up and Manny stood down.

Ironic -- mercy meeting courage -- because for the fight to go the distance, both were required.

As we begin this week, despite last week's left hooks and low blows, the bell means it's time to get up. After all, as believers we're "prize" fighters, aren't we? And while our enemy shows no mercy, God does. (Ding...ding)

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 10-Minute Bodyweight Cardio Blast

No treadmill? No bike? Not a problem. It's short-sighted to think that you need some piece of gym equipment to get your heart racing. The greatest piece of equipment at your disposal is your body. Hit this intense, at-home cardio session to burn calories and start the day off right.

TRAINER TIP: To increase the amount of fat you burn, try this workout on an empty stomach. After a night of fasting, available blood sugar is low, meaning that your body will tap into stored fat for fuel faster than normal.

Perform each exercise for one minute and move to the next exercise immediately, with no rest between moves.

Walk in place Jog in place High knee running Jumping jacks Fast feet (Squat down, spread your feet and tap your toes as fast as you can) High knee running Virtual jump rope (Feel free to use an actual jump rope if you have one) High knee running Jumping jacks Walk in place

>> MONDAY "TO DO": Today, we're asking for a favor. If you haven't already, please visit the Official PrayFit Facebook page and click "Like," then suggest us to ten friends. Help us get to 1,000 "Likes" by the end of the year to help more friends and family get a daily faith and fitness inspiration as we head into 2011.

THE FINE PRINT

October 22, 2010Read: Acts 2

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” --Acts 2:38

Car commercials make me chuckle sometimes. After the soft, deep, melodic voice convinces and comforts you to purchase what’s too-good-to-be-true, a speed talker recites the declaration of fine print in one breath: More money than you can afford due at signing, not available in all states, void where prohibited (which is probably everywhere or at least where you live), all outrageous terms subject to credit approval (which is highly unlikely).

We live in a strings-attached society. No wonder we’re a tough crowd. Show us a good deal and we’re looking for a trap door. Maybe that’s why grace is such a tough sell. The world just knows there’s a catch. But if Heaven had fine print spoken in one final breath, it might read something like this: Payment for your sin is more costly than you can afford but Jesus paid your debt in full; grace available to all the world and never prohibited; it's free, it’s a gift. Jesus loves you no matter your credit; accept him today, don’t wait.

Yep. Too good to be true. I’m sold.

–J.P.

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

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 10-Minute Fat Blasting Workout

HEALTH: Are artificial sweeteners safe?

FAT-BURNING: 7 more ways to burn fat faster

RECIPE: Sautee some kale with PrayFit nutritionist Dana Angelo White

>> NEWS: Today, PrayFit secured the endorsement of three-time boxing champ Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (see below). Be sure to tune in to his fight on HBO's Boxing After Dark on Saturday, November 6.

"Being a big believer in Jesus Christ, PrayFit gets me on track to start my day of 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."

--3-Time Boxing World Champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero