cardio

Oxygen Debt

As athletes, you know the feeling; hands on your knees, trying to catch your breath after a grueling set of wind sprints. You try and stand tall, putting your hands on your head, desperately gasping for air. Before you know it, coach blows the whistle for the team to get back on the line to do it all over again.

In exercise physiology there are all sorts of wonderful phenomena going on inside your body immediately following an intense bout of exercise. One of the more traditional terms tossed around, and one that was hammered into my head during graduate school, was the term "oxygen debt." And for the sake of the conversation, you can think of oxygen debt as recovery time, or the amount of oxygen required during recovery to get your body back to a steady, normal state. The thing of it is, while it's called oxygen debt, it's not something you can actually pay back.

You know, Rev. Scotty Smith says, "Breathe in God's grace like you breath in air. It's just as vital, actually, more so." Reading that makes me think back to those old days of training. If you're a swimmer, maybe the gasp just above the water is a better picture. Either way, air is vital for our survival. But even more so is the grace that God offers us through Jesus. And the sin debt He paid in full on the cross of Calvary is a debt we can't repay. Good works -- when performed to try and keep us in good standing -- will only leave us gasping; think of a fish out of water. That's us without grace.

So with the wonderful Lent season fast approaching, keep that in mind. Grace allows us to breathe easy while we work. Because no matter your success or failure at whatever commitment the beautiful Holy season inspires in you, God can't love you any more than He does right now. So don't try and repay Him. Simply accept His grace, take a deep breath and sigh.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I like what Louie Giglio says: "For Lent, I'm giving up." For some of you, Lent represents an amazing time of renewal and commitment. Perhaps you're making commitments to read your Bible daily, or give up sweets, or television. Some of you will use this time to realign yourself with healthier foods and choices to exercise. Others will take what Louie said and simply give up trying to be perfect. Well, whoever you are and whatever your needs, we're here with you. God bless you and all of us as we're mindful of the coming season where God conquered death and the grave so we wouldn't have to.

CARDIO CORNER: If you participate in athletics, or any kind of intense activity, you're well aware of the feeling right after a bout of exercise. And EPOC -- excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (often used interchangeably with the term oxygen debt) -- is the number of calories expended (above resting values) after an exercise bout.

EPOC represents the oxygen consumption the body uses to return to its pre-exercise state. The physiological mechanisms responsible for increased metabolism following exercise include oxygen replenishment; phosphagen (ATP-PC) resynthesis; lactate removal; and increased ventilation, blood circulation and body temperature. The body generally takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours to fully recover to a resting state. Studies have found that the magnitude and duration of EPOC depend on the intensity and duration of exercise. Other influencing factors include training status and gender. (Source: American College of Sports Medicine)

A Healthy Conscience

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

Read: Philippians 3

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

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

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

--Jimmy Peña

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

WORKOUT OF THE MONTH: PrayFit 33

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

For more information or to order, click here!

Opening Day

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." --Romans 8:1

Read: Romans 8

Yep, I'm too predictable aren't I? For me, today marks the beginning of the 2014 Major League Baseball season. Of course, many of you know we're thrilled that the Boys of Summer have taken the field. In fact, I'm not kidding when I say I've been whistling "Take me out to the ballgame" a lot lately. (And maybe now so are you.)

But as I'll watch my beloved Yankees take the field today, it occurs to me that Opening Day can teach us a lot about grace. Reason being, right before player steps into the batter's box, each person's average on the screen will be .000 -- a clean slate. Reverend Scotty Smith says, "Jesus didn't just die to give us a clean slate, but to give us His righteousness." Take a swing at that for a second.

You know, each morning you and I step up to the plate ready to swing away at whatever the day throws at us. Thankfully, no matter how many strikeouts we had yesterday, God's mercy is new with each plate appearance. And with Easter fast-approaching, it feels so appropriate, no? Jesus conquered death so we can have life; an abundant life with no record of wrongs. When Jesus rose from the grave, He gave us every reason we need to look alive. You know, I'm now whistling a medley. "Take me out to the ballgame"...because I know "He Lives".

--Jimmy Peña

FAREWELL to THE CAPTAIN Today will be my favorite athlete of all-time, Derek Jeter's, last first bat of the season. I won't try to explain what it means to me, but I will express this. Many of the things I'm doing at PrayFit may very well be my last. I'm not sure - neither are you - of how many at-bats we have left. And much like Jeter demonstrates in this picture, I thank the Lord everyday for inspiring PrayFit. Maybe you're saying the same thing about a dream you're living. If so, here's a virtual fist-bump from me to you. Here's to a new day, a new season, a new opportunity to swing away.

The Captain

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

Still Time To Dance

I will be your God throughout your lifetime -- until your hair is white with age." --Isaiah 46:4

Read: Isaiah 46

You remember 8th grade dances, right? I sure do. I was the king of holding up the wall. Turn down the lights on a basketball court, add some streamers, some 80's music, and you had yourself a dance. Just...without the dancing. (No way I was crossing the outer marker.)

I thought of those dances while on a recent television interview. Referring to the senior citizens watching her show, the host asked me if it was ever too late to start an exercise program or to improve your health. Instantly I was transported to those last ten minutes of my 8th grade dance. Knowing my dad would be pulling up any minute to get me, I knew I didn't have another minute to spare. So I took a deep breath, swallowed any last drop of moisture left in my throat (gulp), and I defied 8th grade logic. I walked across the three-point line and asked the first girl I saw to dance. Best 10 minutes of the year for me.

And that's my answer to the host's question. Our life and our health are precious at any age. So if it's been a while since you've exercised or even if you've never crossed the outer marker, consider each sunrise the upbeat He's playing for you. So get crazy. Defy logic and move those arms and legs. Even if Daddy (Abba) says it's almost time to go, it's not too late to ask, "Can I have this dance, for the rest of my life?"

--Jimmy Peña

FAT-BURNING TIP: Train Hungry

Regardless of how long you've been exercising you have probably heard about the concept of "empty-stomach cardio." But it's not just lip service. Training while hungry -- ideally before breakfast -- can help you lose more fat when training. Researchers at Kansas State University found that exercisers who fasted before a low-intensity workout oxidized 94.3 more calories from fat, on average, than groups who had a meal 30, 60 or 90 minutes before exercise.

As you sleep, your body uses stored carbs (glycogen) to run your brain's motor, so in the morning, your body is in a carb-deprived state. This means that fat will be burned for fuel sooner during a workout.

As the study suggests, this approach is best done before low-intensity training because high-intensity training, such as sprinting, requires more carbohydrate for performance. What's "low" intensity? The most universal and leisurely low-intensity exercise is walking. So if losing bodyfat is one of your training goals, try putting your feet to the pavement before you put fork to mouth each morning.

BONUS TIP: The same logic applies to doing cardio after weights. Since weight training uses stored carbs for fuel, doing cardio after will help decrease the time it takes to start burning calories from fat.

DVD: Click here to get started on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge.

DVD "PLUS": Looking for a more advanced home routine? Try the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System.

Salvation Carpentry

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." --Galatians 6:14

Read: Galatians 6

Wendy, you complete me. Sorry to start with such a tired, borrowed phrase but it's true. She does. My weaknesses in this marriage are balanced out perfectly by her strengths. She speaks Spanish pretty well, which has helped on our travels and with living in Southern California. She's tall, so that means I have someone to reach my supplements on the top shelf. But she's also a do-it-yourself maniac which is great since I am challenged by even the most remedial of home improvement projects.

I don't think I've ever put something together without having an inordinate amount of parts leftover. While she savors opportunities to tool, tinker and fiddle -- or as she says, "to do it right" -- I prefer to just duct tape it and be done with it. And the tape may hold -- for a time -- but eventually, it fails. But crafting things to last should be my goal, as it is hers, which reminds me of a great sign I saw once:

"People use duct tape to fix everything. God used nails."

God knew that our eternity was too fine a construct to employ inadequate materials. The cross -- which stands as the definitive, finishing touch on our salvation -- was built to last. It was built as a sign that heaven wasn't a "do-it-yourself" project. And the hands and feet of the Great Carpenter held the nails to prove it.

--Eric Velazquez

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. More advanced exercisers can rest 1-2 minutes and tackle the entire sequence once more. Use this routine 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days. 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": If you haven't already, please visit the Official PrayFit Facebook page and click "Like," then suggest us to 10 friends.

God's Most Common Command

"Never stop praying." --1 Thessalonians 5:17

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5

Of all the things God calls us to do, what does he require more than any other? No doubt it's to give to the poor. No wait, I know -- it's to love one another, for sure. What could be more important than that? Well, believe it or not, the most common command found in scripture is to pray.

Without question, God wants to hear from us -- from the times we need Him, to when He deserves our praise. And since we've never lived one second when either reason wasn't true, I suppose we have our answer.

You know, it dawns on me. We spend so much time on either the phone, on Twitter or updating Facebook. And all the while, God, our best friend who loves us more than anyone, is hanging on our every thought. Like a proud, new dad when he hears his daughter's first words, God is at the edge of His seat, ready to hear our status update. Brings a lump to my throat when I picture Him asking, "What's happening now?"

--Jimmy Peña

Question: How much time do you spend on social media? Are you willing to commit 5-10 of those minutes a day talking to God? Truly, we are never more powerful than when we are on our knees in prayer.

RACING FUEL Why going completely empty may not be the best option to burn the most fat

Many people think that getting out for an early run on an empty stomach is a great way to burn bodyfat. Those people aren't wrong -- but they're not entirely right, either.

Since your brain runs on glucose (blood sugar), when you wake up in the morning, your body is in a carb-depleted state. So going for a run before eating means that your body is likely to tap into fat stores for fuel sooner. But it can also put you at risk of losing muscle.

"You don't want to go on a completely empty stomach," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, nutritional authority and co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "A better approach is to take 5-10 grams of branched chain amino acids (BCAA), which provide the body with fuel while sparing muscle tissue."

So for your next early run, don't go completely empty. Top off the tank with 5-10 grams of BCAA to supplement your stride and to help you retain your muscle mass.

 

Still Time To Dance

I will be your God throughout your lifetime -- until your hair is white with age." --Isaiah 46:4

Read: Isaiah 46

You remember 8th grade dances, right? I sure do. I was the king of holding up the wall. Turn down the lights on a basketball court, add some streamers, some 80's music, and you had yourself a dance. Just...without the dancing. (No way I was crossing the outer marker.)

I thought of those dances this week while on a television interview in the Midwest. Referring to the senior citizens watching her show, the host asked me if it was ever too late to start an exercise program or to improve your health. Instantly I was transported to those last ten minutes of my 8th grade dance. Knowing my dad would be pulling up any minute to get me, I knew I didn't have another minute to spare. So I took a deep breath, swallowed any last drop of moisture left in my throat (gulp), and I defied 8th grade logic. I walked across the three-point line and asked the first girl I saw to dance. Best 10 minutes of the year for me.

And that's my answer to the host's question. Our life and our health are precious at any age. So if it's been a while since you've exercised or even if you've never crossed the outer marker, consider each sunrise the upbeat He's playing for you. So get crazy. Defy logic and move those arms and legs. Even if Daddy (Abba) says it's almost time to go, it's not too late to ask, "Can I have this dance, for the rest of my life?"

--Jimmy Peña

FAT-BURNING TIP: Train Hungry

Regardless of how long you've been exercising you have probably heard about the concept of "empty-stomach cardio." But it's not just lip service. Training while hungry -- ideally before breakfast -- can help you lose more fat when training. Researchers at Kansas State University found that exercisers who fasted before a low-intensity workout oxidized 94.3 more calories from fat, on average, than groups who had a meal 30, 60 or 90 minutes before exercise.

As you sleep, your body uses stored carbs (glycogen) to run your brain's motor, so in the morning, your body is in a carb-deprived state. This means that fat will be burned for fuel sooner during a workout.

As the study suggests, this approach is best done before low-intensity training because high-intensity training, such as sprinting, requires more carbohydrate for performance. What's "low" intensity? The most universal and leisurely low-intensity exercise is walking. So if losing bodyfat is one of your training goals, try putting your feet to the pavement before you put fork to mouth each morning.

BONUS TIP: The same logic applies to doing cardio after weights. Since weight training uses stored carbs for fuel, doing cardio after will help decrease the time it takes to start burning calories from fat.

DVD: Click here to get started on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge.

Be First

"Peter again denied it, and at once the rooster crowed." --John 18:27

Read: John 18

I can relate to Peter. In one moment, he declares adamantly he would never deny he knew who Jesus was; the next, he does it not once...not twice...but thrice. But still, what motivates me about Peter was that while he wasn't perfect, he was the one who stepped up. He wasn't always right, but he was never in doubt. First to reach for his sword to defend the Lord (only to be taught a quick lesson in self-control), and first to get out of the boat (only to be the example of how we sink without faith). But if you notice a common thread in the stories of Peter, the more he was first to fall, the more he learned to stand.

In our pursuit of a stronger faith, as well as to better health, we often make bold declarations that we will pray more, train more, and eat better...only to do the exact opposite the next moment. But friends, take courage. Keep being first. Set the pace with your family and friends. Remember, Peter knows what it's like to declare and fail, and to step out and sink. Pursuing obedience is a staggering undertaking. Fortunately, like Peter the pacesetter, we have a Savior who reaches further than the fall.

--Jimmy Peña

3 TIPS FOR FAT LOSS Master these simple tips to start losing inches and pounds

1 CARDIO TIMING: The best cardio approach is to find a program and stick to it. But if you want to maximize those minutes spent in a sweat, perform your sessions before breakfast or after lifting weights. During these two windows, your body is in a carbohydrate depleted state. And since stored carbs (glycogen) are your body's preferred source of fuel, a lack of them will cause your body to burn fat for fuel faster.

2 CARB TAPER: People like to occasionally go on carbohydrate droughts, opting for ultra-restrictive diets that limit this macronutrient for extended periods of time. But that is ultimately unsustainable. A better approach is to choose mostly slow-digesting, healthy carbs, such as those found in oatmeal, whole-grain foods, vegetables and brown rice. But you can take that a step further by limiting your carb consumption later in the day, when your body is more apt to store them as fat. Have the majority of your healthy carbs at breakfast, then have progressively less as the day wears on.

3 TRAIN HEAVY: Many people are afraid of training with "heavy" weights for fear of injury or, as with many women, for fear of becoming bulky. But lifting progressively heavier weights is really just a sure-fire way to drastically alter your body composition. When possible, train with weight loads that bring about failure around 8-12 reps. This will build more muscle. More muscle means more burned calories while at rest. More burned calories at rest means less stored bodyfat. Research shows that training heavy elevates metabolism higher and for longer than training with higher reps and lighter weight. (And don't worry ladies, "bulking up" from weight training is more of an old wives' tale than solid science!)

>> 28 DAY PROGRAM: Looking for a solid training and nutrition program to help you reach your goals? Pick up "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." This book includes daily devotionals, structured workouts and meal plans that work. Find out more by clicking here.

You, He Knitted

"You knit me together in my mother’s womb." --Psalm 139:13

Read: Psalm 139

God spoke, and there was light. He breathed the stars in space and put the moon in place. But you? You, He knitted. Imagine, the God who filled the oceans with water made your eyes to blink. After spraying the cosmos with trillions of galaxies, He gave you goosebumps. (And then you did the same to Him.)

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Build, Burn

Try the following workout to jump-start your week. Build muscle, burn calories...all at your own pace. Everyone has a "best." What's yours? That's what your effort should be everyday. Walk in place with high knees - 1 min. Jog in place - 1 min. Jumping jacks - 1 min. Jog with high knees - 1 min. Rest 30 sec. Push-ups - 30 sec. Straight-arm plank - 30 sec. Standard plank - 30 sec. Push-ups - 30 sec. Rest 30 sec.

Repeat the entire sequence 2-3 times. Perform this workout up to three times per week, allowing 24-48 hours between sessions. For your push-ups, regardless of what type you are doing, count your reps and strive to increase that number from workout to workout.

DVD: Looking for a new program to speed your gains along in 2012? Try the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge DVD by Lionsgate.

A FIGHTING SPIRIT

November 21, 2011Read: Matthew 26

"The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." --Matthew 26:41

In my second favorite movie of all-time (Rocky II), Rocky walks to his trainer's apartment in the middle of the night to ask for his locker back; he wants to fight again. Dismissive, Mickey delivers one of the most painful and sad lines I've ever heard: "You got the heart, but you ain't got the tools no more." In other words, the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. As an athlete, that phrase carries serious meaning. I know what it's like to be physically limited from doing what my heart is dying to do. But as a Christian, that line is more than a body blow.

As believers, our souls have work to do. In our passage, when Jesus said to His disciples to stay awake, He literally meant "physically." How many reading this page would agree that you'd would be so much more productive at work, alive with your spouse, able to keep up with the kids or even active in church, if you enjoyed better health? If so, maybe you need your locker back.

You may not want to admit it, but it's time to wake up; there's a fighter in you. If the spirit is willing, your body has no right to hold it back. And if you're reading this page, Mickey was wrong. If you've got the heart, you still got the tools. Your soul just needs a fighting chance.

--Jimmy Peña

WATCH | "You've got the heart but..."

THANKS: PrayFit wants to extend a very special thank you to the wonderful people at Planet Infinity and Breadoflife.org for inviting us to speak and share our mission of faith and fitness this past Saturday. You blessed us beyond belief.

 

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: THE GREAT INDOORS

Want a good dose of intense, indoor cardio to start the week? Here you go. Variety is not only advisable but required to keep your body changing. This workout forces you to adjust your speed, incline, duration and rest all in the same workout, keeping your lungs and limbs guessing. This interval-style scheme promotes speed, power and endurance, all while increasing your total work capacity. If you're looking for a brutal but effective way to shake up your current cardio routine (and burn a few extra calories), then this workout is for you.

SPEED             INCLINE             TIME          REST

5mph               5%                   2min             1min

6mph              6%                   1min                1min

7mph               7%                   1min              1min

8mph               8%                   45sec             1min

9mph               9%                   30sec             1min

10mph             10%                 20sec           1min

9mph               9%                   30sec             1min

8mph               8%                   45sec             1min

7mph               7%                   1min              1min

6mph               6%                   1min              1min

5mph               5%                   2min              1min

>> For more workouts and tips, visit our fitness page.

HE'S HOW, HE'S WHY

October 17, 2011Read: Matthew 4

"Come, follow me." -- Matthew 4:18-20 Last Friday night we glanced back. For those who didn't see it, here's the thought we posted on Facebook: "Whew, Friday. Looking back down the week's mountain, some of us wonder how and why we made it. I know I do. That Monday meeting, Tuesday's test, Wednesday's wreck...well, you get the point. But it's ok to look back. Moses looked back at the sea he crossed. Daniel looked back at his bed in a lion's den. And Jesus? He looked back too. Of all the memories He had on Friday, our future was one of them. So go ahead. Look back in awe, in wonder. And while we do, let's remember that Jesus finished His week to give us purpose in ours. Whew, Friday. That's how. He's why..."

And so...whew! Monday. That was quick. The foot of yet another mountain. Head craned, eyes up...it's steep. But before you start your climb, look down. Notice? Somebody's been here. Go ahead, kneel to get a closer look. Seems our 'how' and 'why' has cleared a path. Are you shaking your head in wonder? Yeah, me too. The one who delivered us on Friday is leading us on Monday. Let's look up the hill in awe as we put one foot in front of the other, shall we? We'll see you at the top.

--J.P.

Workout of the Week: Legs in 10

You may not have heard it here first but you've certainly heard it here often: Training your legs regularly is one of the best things you can do to enhance your body composition. The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves represent a large portion of your body's musculature so, by working them hard you burn more calories. This, of course, on top of the more direct benefits such as increased strength, stamina and power production. This lower-body routine allows you to train for multiple goals at once, without equipment and in just a few minutes.

Warm-up: Jog in place for 1 min. High-knee running Jumping jacks Squat jumps Split jump lunge Speed skaters Wall squat hold

--Perform each exercise for one minute, resting 15-30 seconds between each. Then, repeat the entire sequence as many times as possible.

SHARE: GOALS What is one goal you hope to crush this week? List it here in the comments section. Is it consistent prayer time? Bible study? Perhaps you want to walk a certain number of laps or run a particular number of miles. Whatever it is, make it known. Let us and others help hold you accountable. We're on this side of the hill together.

HE GETS US

September 15, 2011Read: Psalm 103

"For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." --Psalm 103:14

If focusing on creation and how we were wonderfully made has taught me anything this week, it's that God gets us. He gets why we worry. Why else would He constantly encourage us to have faith? He gets why we suffer. Why else would He urge us not to lean on our own understanding? And yes, He also gets the body.

As He formed us, He set limits. As He encased our soul with flesh, He numbered our days on purpose. See, most sculptors never hope to reunite with their design, but God does. We're all He thinks about! Artists may pour heart and soul into their work, but our heart and soul is His work. (And He wants us back). His biggest desire for our lives is that we meet the source of our lives. And if Jesus is in our hearts, He gets us.

--J.P.

INTERVALS: METABOLISM BOOSTER

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 new 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.

TREADMILL HIIT

HIIT PARADE

 

IT TOOK A LIFETIME

August 8, 2011 Read: Deuteronomy 2

"The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands." --Deuteronomy 2:7

On Friday, Prayfit VP Eric Velazquez gave us a great reminder of God's faithfulness. We learned that although the Israelites wandered, they weren't lost. But in the end, what should have been an 11-day journey eventually took 40 years.

When it comes to your health and fitness, does it feel like you're wandering? Perhaps today, you're looking around thinking, "This looks so familiar. I just know I've been down this road before." (Not making time to exercise, diet is less than clean, motivation needs a jump-start, etc).

Well friends, take heart. Eventually the Israelites stood on the edge of the land they walked so far to see. And though they still had the river to cross and the walls to crumble, they made it. Picture them as they stood there; eyes wide, deep breaths, staring down their goal. What they saw took a lifetime. Your health does, too.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK

Not a lot of time before work to workout? Find some empty space in your living room, garage, or backyard for this brief but effective total-body routine. In just a few minutes, this strength-and-power building routine will have provided you with more energy for the day ahead and set your metabolic fire ablaze.

Walk in place for 1 minute Jog in place for 1 minute High-knee run in place for 1 min Standard push-up to failure Jump Squat (20 reps or to failure) Rest 20-30 seconds

--Repeat the entire sequence 3-5 times. Try this workout two times this week, allowing 48-72 hours between sessions. If you're more experienced, aim for five total go-throughs with it, three times per week (or every other day).

KEY TERM Failure: the point at which you can no longer complete reps with good form on your own.

>> EXERCISE: For text and video descriptions of many of the exercises you find in these workouts, click here.

>> ABOUT US: Learn more about the dedicated team at PrayFit.

POWER & STRENGTH

June 6, 2011 QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength."

--Dr. Charles Stanley

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Strength & Cardio

Changing your body for the long term is due in large part to exercise selection and workout intensity. And if you're looking to strengthen, tone and build your heart health, this workout gives you a full dose of training for the week.

We're going to hit your upper and lower body using just your bodyweight in just a few minutes. We'll also work some high intensity cardio in the same spot to get the blood pumping and heart stronger. Once you go through the sequence, feel free to go through the exercises a second time. Remember to take each exercise to exhaustion unless otherwise noted and perform the workout 2-3 times per week for maximum results.

Walk in place - 1 minute Bodyweight squat - 1 minute Jump squat - to failure Stationary (isometric) wall squat - to failure Push-up - to failure Plyometric push-up - to failure High knee running in place - to failure Jumping jacks- 1 minute Walk in place - 1 minute

>> For details on how to perform many of PrayFit's core exercises, click here.

I WILL HOLD

February 28, 2011Read: Proverbs 24:16

Quote of the Week

"The person who wins may have been counted out several times, but never heard the bell."

--Author Unknown

Workout of the Week: A treadmill trial

In a week dedicated to the theme of commitment and perseverance, this routine will challenge your stamina while helping you burn fat.

As you know, interval training for both men and women helps save muscle tone while burning fat better than long-duration cardio bouts. The sprint time matches the low intensity period as well as the complete rest period. This particular interval routine will last about 10 minutes, but repeat it if you have the time for one twenty-minute workout. Try to keep to the interval times prescribed but feel free to mix and match the time intervals slightly based on your abilities and goals.

After a thorough warm-up, consisting of active moments such as running in place, jumping jacks and shadowboxing...

Sprint for 1 minute

Walk for 1 minute

Step off for 1 minute (during this time, set the treadmill back up to sprint speed)

Sprint for 45 seconds

Walk for 45 seconds

Step off for 45 seconds

Sprint for 30 seconds

Walk for 30 seconds

Step off for 30 seconds

After a 1 minute rest, repeat

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

NAME DROPPER

January 14, 2011Read: Mark 9

"I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ, will certainly not lose his reward." --Mark 9:41

All week long, I've had this thought running through my mind: He who knows us best, loves us most. I'd like to break it down, if I may.

"He who knows us." Have you ever considered that God actually knows you? If someone famous knew you, how would that make you feel? You'd likely want to do a little name-dropping now and then, huh? Come to think of it,  over the last few years, I've met some pretty big stars, but I bet not one of them can actually glance up at the sky and count them. But God can.

"He who knows us best." We all have close friends, spouses, parents, and siblings. Some of us even have twins! But nobody -- and I mean nobody -- under the sun knows you better than the Son Himself. From thoughts we haven't even thought to the ones we wish to forget, He knows us best.

"He loves us most." Here's the kicker. He actually loves us. He doesn't like us or tolerate us. He doesn't excuse us or simply endure us.  He loves us. More than you love your kids, your husband or grandmother. Imagine?

You know,  it's really not a matter of how far we'll go in this life, but more about where we'd be without Him.

I feel like name-dropping. How 'bout you?

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW? Consider the Cost

Three hundred billion dollars. That's a "3" followed by 11 zeros. Forgive the food reference, but that's a lot of cheddar. Sadly, this number now represents the amount of money that the U.S. and Canada combine to spend each year on obesity and weight-related problems. And since we insist on being better whenever possible, it's worth noting that $270 billion of that price tag rests with the U.S.

The $300 billion total cost in the United States and Canada is the result of: increased need for medical care ($127 billion); loss of worker productivity due to higher rates of death ($49 billion); loss of productivity due to disability of active workers ($43 billion); and loss of productivity due to total disability ($72 billion), said the Society of Actuaries (SOA).

This number, while staggering, should serve to motivate you in 2011. Let's strive to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Source: Business Week

GET-LEAN RESOURCES:

Workout of the Week: HIIT Cardio

Burn Fat Faster

Drink Water to Burn More Fat

Eating for Fat Loss

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.

COURAGE TO SHOW UP

January 4, 2011Read: John 14

"In my father's house are many rooms..." --John 14:2

I couldn't help but notice today--from Twitter to Facebook to chain emails--the avid exercisers mocking the new faces at the gym. And they all had the same, general theme: "Oh those resolutions. I wonder how long they will last..."

Aren't we glad God doesn't say the same about us? "Oh, here's Jimmy again. Same sin, same confession, I wonder how long this commitment will last."

If it helps, think of the new face at the gym like a visitor at a crowded church on Christmas day. Acknowledge them, welcome them and tell them you'll see them next time. You never know, your words of encouragement might be just what saves their lives. Remember, it took courage for them to show up. Now, it's your turn.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: HIIT PARADE

If you tackle both weights and cardio in the same workout, always do your cardio after your weights. Research shows that your resistance training will be hindered if preceded by intense cardio, however, your cardio will not be hindered if preceded by weights. Also, you burn more fat and calories if you follow your weight training with cardio. And remember, volumes of research show that high intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more fat and calories in less time than the slow, long bouts of traditional, steady-state cardio.

So if you need a tough HIIT session to burn some unwanted fat and calories after a tough weight workout, try this quick blast.

Warm-up: 3-5 minutes

Run for 1 minute

Rest for 1 minute

Run for 45 seconds

Rest for 45 seconds

Run for 30 seconds

Rest for 30 seconds

Run for 15 seconds

Rest for 15 seconds

--After 1 minute of rest, repeat the entire sequence backwards, starting with the 15-second intervals.