christ

What the Maker Knew

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." --Psalm 139:14

Read: Psalm 139

When God the Creator put the finishing touches on our unique souls, He knew. He knew we'd scrape our shins, disobey parents and upset friends. He knew our kids would reject us, enemies would haunt us and our memory would fail us; and all before losing life's final war with pain. He knew, but that didn't stop Him.

He proceeded to count hairs on heads then fingers and toes. He added color to eyes, dimples on chins and swivels to hips. Why didn't He stop? He knew that what life rejects, Christ accepts. Someday in Heaven, you and I will see just what became of us the day we finally believed what the Maker already knew.

--Jimmy Peña

In Matthew West's song, "Wonderfully Made" he sings: "You don't have to wonder, you are wonderfully made. Perfectly beautiful in every way. Wonderfully, wonderfully, made. You're anything but typical, it's true. They ain't seen anybody quite like you. God never makes a mistake. You are wonderfully, wonderfully made."

How should the fact that God -- The Maker -- says we're wonderful help us through our day? How should that mold and shape our health and fitness?

GREEN POWER: Kale & Cilantro

Harness the power (and flavor) of kale and cilantro

It's time to get your greens -- or more of 'em, as it were. By finding new ways to get kale and cilantro into your nutrition plan, either by adding them to salads and casseroles, you can get much needed immune help and vital nutrients.

>> Click here for more.

Easy To Miss

"He asked them, 'What are you discussing together as you walk along?'"  --Luke 24:17

Read: Luke 24

I can just imagine those two disciples walking toward Emmaus together. It was late in the day, their heads hung low as they kicked up dust with each reminiscent step. After minutes of silence, one would remember something Jesus said, bringing a grin to both their faces. After all, these two heard and saw things not written in the bible.

After another quiet mile or so, the other would bring up "that time when," and the two would smile, shake their heads, laugh and cry. Who would blame them? They missed their friend. Not the miracle maker or the water-walker, but just Jesus. The same Jesus who would tell a good joke at night, sending all the guys to bed laughing. And the same Jesus that listened to their stories with the anticipation of one who didn't already know the ending. Jesus was easy to miss.

Even when He was walking right next to you.

--Jimmy Peña

Friday Discussion: Did you see Jesus this week? Maybe in the doctor that gave you the news of your blood sugar? Perhaps it was the homeless man who wanted nothing more than for you to look him in the eye? Friends, Jesus may not walk beside us like He did on the road to Emmaus, but He walks among us. Whether in school, work or the gym, let's remind each other not to miss Him, because it's easy to do.

From the editors: Thankful to all of you for your faithfulness to PrayFit. You bless us. In Jesus' name, we train. Have a good weekend.

PRAYFIT TV Check out and share this inspiring video about the transformative power physical stewardship

Jimmy Peña's message of "Life is not about the body, but health is a means of praise" is being well-received by congregations around the country. His story-telling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss.

>> For ministry assistance or to get Jimmy out to your church, write us at info@prayfit.com.

The Absence of Perfection

"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." --2 Corinthians 12:9

Read: 2 Corinthians 12

In the history of professional baseball, there have been only 21 perfect games pitched -- instances in which no opposing batter reaches base over nine innings, or 27 outs. To put the rarity of such a feat into perspective, consider that there have been over 350,000 games played since 1876. More men have orbited the moon than have thrown a perfect game and no pitcher has done it twice. It is a feat that can cement a legacy, with five of these men having been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

However, it is not the presence of perfection, but its absence, that defines the careers of most pitchers. It is the quest for consistency of conduct on the mound, an acceptance of the knowledge that the hits will come and the resiliency to keep their team in the game that makes pitchers more productive in the long run.

You don't have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the pitcher's perspective. Called to the mound and given the ball on a daily basis, we strive to minimize our mistakes and to avoid the hits at all costs. Ultimately, however, it is our absence of perfection that defines us, for His power is made perfect in our weakness. For our efforts -- and for faith amid flaw -- we are bound for a Hall that keeps no record.

--Eric Velazquez 

FAITH & FITNESS HOTLINE A peek into some of the busier discussions on the PrayFit forums

>> In need of some spiritual guidance

>> Does anyone have a cheat meal?

>> Reversing Type 2 diabetes

>> Runners: Questions and concerns

>> Does God call us to be fit?

>> Rebirth of health: "I'm done with the lies"

PRAYFIT SUNDAY: "We don't strive to be healthy to be loved by God," PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena has said to churches nationwide. "We strive to be healthy because we are." Is your church in need of the gospel of health? Contact us today to see about bringing this message to your church. Click here to get started.

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

Yesterday morning I was a guest on Moody Bible Radio out of Chicago -- my second week in a row to help support their faith and fitness initiative. Well, 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

HEALTH TIP: TAKE IT OUTSIDE Do you workout in a gym? In your home? Well, if you are finding it tough to reach your fitness goals or if you're looking to rejuvenate your program, you may want to take it outside. Research offers some positive research on just how important a little Vitamin Sunshine can be for your training this summer.

>> For the full story, click here.

A Rescue Mission

"Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin." --Hebrews 9:22

Read: Hebrews 9

Last year a group of American troops, including 22 Navy SEALs, were killed in Afghanistan. According to news reports, the troops on the ground requested additional forces, at which time a CH-47 Chinook helicopter was dispatched, carrying members of the U.S. special operations command. They died on a rescue mission.

The next day I watched an interview with the family of Aaron Vaughn, one of the SEALs killed in the crash. Of Aaron, his mom said: "Everything he did was secret, and it just feels really strange right now, that only in his death can we celebrate who he was in his life." Known as a devout follower of Christ, Aaron loved America, and there was nothing else he would rather do with his life.

At PrayFit, we honor Aaron Vaughn and all of those with him. We can't think of a more appropriate way to remember Aaron's ultimate sacrifice than to recall what Jesus did for us on Calvary. He loved us, and there was nothing else He would rather do with His life. He became the ultimate sacrifice, and died on a rescue mission.

--Jimmy Peña

IN MEMORIAM We are so grateful for those who serve in the military -- those who build their lives around defending those they will never meet, for a cause they believe in without compromise. If someone you know or love is serving in the armed forces, or if you have lost someone who wore the uniform, we salute them.

Cut to the Chase

"Come. Follow me." —Matthew 4:19

The phrase "cut to the chase" originated in scripts during the silent film era. After dramatic story lines, these mute motion pictures would routinely end in chase sequences on dusty roads. Today, the phrase has come to mean "get to the point." Fittingly, with our first entry of 2012, that's exactly what we intend to do.

At PrayFit, we believe that a pursuit of health is all about enabling us to follow Christ with reckless abandon. Frankly, everything we have should help us chase Him; our money, our time, and yes, our bodies. The more fit we are, the better we serve Him—not for health's sake, but for heaven's. So let's get to the point.

This year, our health should do nothing less than assist us in our pursuit of Him. Like it's been said, let's follow so close that we're "covered in His dust." He's calling for us. And our story lines of life will become motion pictures of grace the sooner we cut to the chase.

Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Home-Based Start-Up Get your body moving this week with this 10-minute routine

Jumping jacks - 1 minute Jog in place - 1 minute Push-up - 33 seconds Plank - 33 seconds --Repeat sequence for 10 minutes

While we note the importance of pursuing health with reckless abandon in 2012, it should be noted that we are referring to the big picture. Think of it more of a year-long pursuit than a blind charge out of the gate. If you've been to your gym already in 2012, you've likely seen throngs of gym newbies and returners attacking their fitness goals with a Rocky movie montage-like determination. But you can't undo all of 2011 in the first month of 2012. Getting fit and staying fit is a matter of building consistency and a rocket start could see you fizzle fast.

This workout is measured, both in its aim and its intensity. The goal? Get moving. That's it. This head-to-toe lineup of exercises allows you to use all your major muscle groups, without going to the gym, in a way that won't overtrain you too soon. Try this routine 2-3 times this week, or beyond, to start increasing your baseline fitness levels for whatever routine you'd like to try next.

>> WHAT'S NEXT?: If you're ready for something more challenging, you can try the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, by Lionsgate. This at-home program, led by PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, helps you push your training to the limit while using only your bodyweight. Click here for more info or to order!

STANDING UP STRAIGHT

November 28, 2011 Read: Psalm 84

"No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." --Psalm 84:11

Isn't it interesting that at the mere mention of the words 'good posture', we automatically pull our shoulders back? (Admit it, you just sat up a little taller in your chair as you read that sentence.) Well, if it helps, I sat up as I wrote it. Many of you don't know, but a little over a year ago, I had spine surgery; a couple of fusions and an artificial disk were all my neck needed. Okay, basically I have a brand new neck. And of the many rehab mandatories, a lifetime of maintaining good posture is at the top of the list. That's why I'm constantly asking my wife to remind me of it.

Good posture. Physically and spiritually. Isn't that the goal each day? Am I eating right? Am I reading my Bible? Am I walking uprightly in my pursuit of abundant living? When it comes to my very small, brief life, there's a lot I think I need, but I want nothing more than a backbone for Christ, while protecting the frame He designed around it.

I just want to stand up straight.

Have a good week everyone. In Jesus' name, we train.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BACK ISSUES

Speaking of good posture, a strong back can help. Next time you're at your gym, try this workout. It'll help target all the major muscles of your back.

Lat Pulldown: 3 sets x 10-15 The lat pulldown is great as a warm-up as well as the start of your working sets. Do a few light warm-up sets with very light weight before reaching failure at the designated rep range. The lat pulldown targets the upper part of the lats, the wide, wing-shaped muscles that extend from your armpit down to your lower back.

Wide-Grip Seated Row: 3 sets of 8-12 Close-Grip Seated Row: 3 sets x 8-12 The wide-grip seated row will zero-in on your upper lats, while also hitting your middle back (rhomboids, middle traps). When you switch to the narrow grip, you shift the focus to the lower lats.

Pull-Up: 4 sets x To Failure Close-Grip Pull-Up: 4 sets x To Failure Finish your quick yet effective back workout with pull-ups and chin-ups, to failure, four sets each. Do as many wide-grip pull-ups as possible then finish with the underhand chin. Your biceps, which come into play more with this grip, will help you tax every remaining fiber in your back.

--Rest 60-90 seconds between sets and exercises. --Perform this workout once per week, preferably as one of the first in your schedule of workouts. --Do 5-10 minutes of general warm-up work, such as jogging or jumping jacks, in order to increase blood flow and elevate your core temperature. Follow each workout with a few minutes of back stretches to maintain flexibility in these crucial postural muscles.

COMING SOON!: December 6 marks the official release of PrayFit's first DVD, now available for pre-order on Amazon and other retail websites.

 

GRACE FOR IMPACT

August 18, 2011Read: Matthew 18

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

Yesterday, my friend Allison King Earnst -- in just a few words -- wrote a novel's worth of wisdom. She alluded to the fact that God will often plot a course for believers to meet and team-up for the cause of Christ. She called it a "spiritual collision." The expression (appropriately) knocked me back on my heels.

Friends, in the area of health, we need each other. If we're gonna to live abundantly like God intended, we need moms and dads, brothers, sisters, spouses and friends, to help us hit life head on. And when we do, God is more than near, He's here. So let's do more than just meet. Let's collide! With a running start, let's push our faith into the battle. God Himself designed these bodies of ours and the world won't take them without a fight. So...I'll see you in the middle? Remember, it's not the battles we lose that should bother us, it's the ones we don't suit-up for. Thankfully, in the times we break through, and when we ultimately break down, God promises grace for impact.

-JP

DID YOU KNOW? High blood sugar can sour your mood. In a recent study, researchers found that people who drink two and a half cans of soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious than those drinking less pop. What's more, the depressed have a heightened risk for Type II diabetes. The reverse also holds true: Diabetics are twice as likely as others to suffer depression.

Source: Jeff O'Connell's "Sugar Nation"

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.

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!

THE NEW YEAR IS IN ME

January 3, 2011Read: 2 Corinthians 5

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

The confetti is all but cleaned up, the streamers are in the trash, and the calendar is brand new. Deep breath...ah, so this is 2011! But it doesn't take long for things to feel normal again does it? For some reason, the commute this morning is still bumper to bumper, co-workers are still grumpy, and junk food made its way to your lunch box. Seems last year's ho-hums and habits still cast their shadows.

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

It was shade.

--J.P.

START THE NEW YEAR WITH PRAYFIT

January 6 marks the "official" nationwide release of PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days. It's only days away, but it's been circled on our calendars for months. Now that it's here -- just in time for our season of renewal -- we hope (and pray) that you'll welcome this date with similar enthusiasm.

"We can't tell you how excited we are," says Jimmy Pena, founder of PrayFit. "It might not be the last fitness book you'll ever buy, but with today's steep decline of faith, we feel it's the one book this country needs more than ever."

This book is great for beginners, someone coming off of a long layoff, or even the seasoned athlete wanting to maintain his or her stamina. It's a bodyweight-only, at-home workout and devotional replete with nutrition tips and meal plans.

"You've got to pick one up for yourself and for a friend or loved one!" says Pena.

But PrayFit is much more than what fills those pages. Find out below how you can use PrayFit to make 2011 one for...the books!

>> LEARN: To learn more about PrayFit: Your Guide to A Healthy Body and A Stronger Faith in 28 Days, click here.

>> START: For a message from the founder and some tips on how to use PrayFit.com as an ongoing resource for your faith and fitness goals in 2011, click here.

>> SHARE: Build accountability into your program for the new year by starting your own fitness journal and engaging with other PrayFit users at our forums.

>> NETWORK: We're a faith and fitness community...and we're digital. "Like" us at the Official PrayFit Facebook page or "Follow us" on Twitter.

DEFINE YOURSELF

August 23, 2010Read: 1 Corinthians 3

"...the spirit of God lives in you." --1 Corinthians 3:16

Image is everything, right? Just ask those who worked at the Ritz-Carlton during the depression. After the crash of 1929, when neighboring store fronts were closed and out-of-business signs were in full view, it was business as usual at the Ritz (or so it seemed). Management asked the few remaining staff to turn on all the guest room and ballroom lights, so it would appear from the streets that the hotel was unaffected by the economic tragedy when, in truth, the heart of the hotel was empty.

Can you relate? I know I can. If you're like me, you sometimes turn on your smile and muster up that charm in order to hide what's really going on inside...or what's not. We don't want anyone to know when we're low on energy, short on answers and slow to joy. No matter what, we're open for business.

But God knows our hearts and loves us despite them. He understands when we feel empty, and filling that vacancy is His specialty. Once He checks in, He never checks out.

>> Do you feel His presence daily? Share your thoughts, experiences and comments below.

--J.P.

PRAYFIT WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: THE GIDEON Make room for this week's holiday feast with this fitness gauntlet

Today and each Monday we'll post a sample workout routine for you to try. On any given week, it could be a run, a resistance workout or a boxing-inspired bout. Whatever it is, we hope you try it and enjoy. Give it your best, log your workout in the forums and encourage others to do the same. You'll need your stopwatch or a nearby clock and a notebook to journal your numbers.

Your workout today is one we like to call, The Gideon. Anyone can try it because it's all relative to your own fitness level.

>> For complete exercise descriptions, click here.

>> New to PrayFit? Click here to learn how to get started.

Exercise Warm Up: Jog in place or use a treadmill for 5 minutes.

Jump squats for 30 seconds | Record total jumps Bodyweight squats for 30 seconds | Record total squats Wall squats for as long as possible | Record total time

>> After reaching failure -- the point at which you can no longer hold this position -- on wall squats, stand and rest for 1-2 minutes. >> Complete the entire workout five times total.

>> NETWORK: Sign in to the PrayFit forum to log your workouts, post questions for the trainer and to see how you're stacking up against friends and family with the Gideon.

>> FRIEND US: If you haven't made the move already, click here to visit our official Facebook page, then click "like" to start receiving updates.