climb

The Scars & Stripes

"...and by His stripes we are healed." --Isaiah 53:5

Read: Isaiah 53

One day while driving along the canyon in Los Angeles, I came across a tall, old tree in the front yard of a beautiful home. Next to the tree stood an equally tall flag pole. Now, most days I probably wouldn't have noticed, but as I went by I realized the flag was tangled around some branches, evidence of some recent high winds. Now, you may be just like me, but something stirs inside when I see the stars and stripes helpless like that. I don't know, but our symbol of freedom shouldn't be stuck to a tree. It was wrapped so tight in fact, I literally said to myself, "Oh, someone has to climb up there."

With amazing pity for my crimes and yours, our Freedom willingly crawled up that old rugged cross. We were helpless, so someone had to climb up there. And Jesus, with His scars and stripes, embraced it.

--Jimmy Peña

Happy 4th of July everyone. Celebrate freedom! Please look for our next PrayFit entry on Monday, July 8th!

PRAYFIT USA!

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He Just Couldn't

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." --1 Peter 5:10

Read: 1 Peter 5

With yesterday being the start of Lent, I'm reminded about the countless biblical examples of people who had physical reactions to Jesus, either to be near Him or because they had just been with Him. We've said it before, but He just moves us! But there was one person who didn't move a muscle.

The criminal had just been given Heaven. Every sin of his wasted years had been forgiven, his name had just been written in the lamb's book of life, and soon the angels would be teaching him to sing. And yet, despite this gift of grace and mercy, He didn't run to embrace Him. He didn't leap for joy, lift his hands in praise or kneel in worship. Why? Well, he couldn't move. See, the nails were too deep, the pain was too great. If he could've climbed down that cross, he probably would've demonstrated physically what his heart had experienced spiritually.

What about you? You may be 18 or 80, and Lord knows this brief life is not about the body, but if you've been given Heaven, do what the criminal couldn't and tell your body to react. Walk the block, lift some weights, swim a few laps. And by all means, kneel. Don't wait. Celebrate in this life the free gift of the next one.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Are you preparing your heart for the holiest of seasons? Does that preparation involve physical commitments? Perhaps you're trying to be healthier for your spouse or kids? Whatever goals your heart has, don't let your heart stop. Keep going. For the right reasons, strive. What are some of your goals for spring? We'll help you pray.

TROUBLED YOUTH: According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.

Let Go of the Rope

"I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" --Psalm 91:2

Read: Psalm 91

As promised in yesterday's Prayfit Daily, here's another journal entry I'd like to share with you.

"I never predicted such weeks like this. If I ever get up...if I ever hope and rise and stand...if I ever smile, truly smile and speak and write and encourage, make no mistake, it won't be because I kept fighting. It won't be because of my inner man, my deep faith or some gut-summoned passion of belief. No, I have none of that. If I ever get better, it will only be by the mercy and unbelievable, inconceivable grace of my dear God."

Is that you today? If it is, I understand. For months, I tried -- hand over hand -- to scale the walls of a pit. The perfect patient with an impeccable health ethic. But as you just read, a few weeks ago, I let go of the rope to find myself on my back, looking up at the impossible, knowing that God's grace is the only answer. I tell ya, of all the things our health exposes, our frailty is one of them. Can anyone agree? How many of you reading this today are dealing with unforeseen health issues that you're struggling to overcome? If so, all of us at PrayFit want to pray with you. List your request(s) in the comment section below or simply say "unspoken" and we all promise to lift you up in prayer.

--Jimmy Peña

FITNESS TIP: What's in a Pump?

We are often asked what good "the pump" is during a workout. Here's the skinny on the muscle pump. First things first, a "pump" simply means that the amount of blood vessels that feed those particular muscles increases, allowing for an increase in the delivery of water and blood to the fibers, or a better pump, as it’s commonly known. It’s that enhanced pump that allows for ongoing success in size and strength because blood and water rush into the muscle faster than the circulatory system can remove it.

Why is that good? Well, that pump enhances the stretch on muscle cells, which triggers them to grow by bringing all the nutrients (e.g., amino acids, creatine, glucose, and hormones) and oxygen needed to support energy production, growth, and recovery within the muscle. The pump also helps remove the byproducts of metabolism (e.g., carbon dioxide and lactic acid), which fatigue the muscles and inhibit performance.

So if you lift weights and enjoy the benefits of the pump after a set, there is reason to rejoice. Send us your other fitness and physiology questions and we'd be happy to try and get to them here on the site.

>> LISTEN: Now, you can share the PrayFit Daily -- written and read by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña -- with a click of the mouse. Click here, listen to your fave devotionals, then use the new "share" tool to spread the faith!

A Precarious Position

"For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." --Psalm 116:8

Read: Psalm 116

Today, on a short walk around our complex with my girls, my oldest daughter ran ahead a bit. When I finally caught up to her, she was halfway up a small embankment, princess dress, flats and all. This small hill is a familiar one to us -- we use it as a shortcut on our walks to the neighborhood play area -- but we usually hike it together because it's a bit too steep for 2- and 3-year-olds to manage on their own.

"Mya, stop right there," I said calmly as she struggled with the ascent. "Your shoes are very slippery, baby, let me help."

She turned to me and momentarily lost her footing. Once determined to proceed to the small summit on her own, Mya now looked to me in desperation, reaching out to me for help. While the climb to the top would certainly have been no picnic, coming back down had its own set of dangers -- if she were to do it alone. Taking her small hand in mine, we carefully negotiated the slope and continued on our walk together.

When we walk with God, we enjoy balance and security. When we trek ahead without Him, we often find ourselves in daunting, precarious positions. But no matter how steep the climb, no matter how dangerous the descent, when we get stuck He'll always be there to offer His hand to help us down so we can continue on our walk...together.

--Eric Velazquez

DID YOU KNOW: This summer, PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña was selected as the first advisory board member to Pastor Rick Warren's The Daniel Plan. This worldwide faith-and-fitness initiative by Warren's team at Saddleback Church, helped participants lose 260,000 pounds in 2011. For the full story and more on The Daniel Plan, click here.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BODY TONING SYSTEM You can always browse our fitness page for cool workout ideas to take into the week. But if you're looking for something more structured that can take your body on a journey, we've got just the thing for you. PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System (Lionsgate) is a more advanced system that toggles between targeted exercises that build lean muscle and high-intensity cardio to blast through body fat. By repeating these intervals, you’ll see results faster than you would by doing cardio alone. This DVD will help you improve steadily each day, building your fitness and your faith. This DVD incorporates toning exercises with “PrayFit Minutes” – encouraging, weekly devotionals aimed at helping you become healthy in body and strong in Spirit.

“If you thought the first DVD was fun, effective and challenging, you won’t believe our newest edition,” says Jimmy Pena. “Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the most respected names in Christian publishing, is exclusively releasing our second DVD through retailers everywhere. We hope you order it and are blessed by the message and workout. Get ready. You are going to love it!”

>> For other PrayFit products to help boost your faith and fitness, click here.

PRECARIOUS POSITIONS

November 9, 2011Read: Psalm 116

"For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." --Psalm 116:8

Today, on a short walk around our complex with my girls, my oldest daughter ran ahead a bit. When I finally caught up to her, she was halfway up a small embankment, princess dress, flats and all. This small hill is a familiar one to us -- we use it as a shortcut on our walks to the neighborhood play area -- but we usually hike it together because it's a bit too steep for 2- and 3-year-olds to manage on their own.

"Mya, stop right there," I said calmly as she struggled with the ascent. "Your shoes are very slippery, baby, let me help."

She turned to me and momentarily lost her footing. Once determined to proceed to the small summit on her own, Mya now looked to me in desperation, reaching out to me for help. While the climb to the top would certainly have been no picnic, coming back down had its own set of dangers -- if she were to do it alone. Taking her small hand in mine, we carefully negotiated the slope and continued on our walk together.

When we walk with God, we enjoy balance and security. When we trek ahead without Him, we often find ourselves in daunting, precarious positions. But no matter how steep the climb, no matter how dangerous the descent, when we get stuck He'll always be there to offer His hand to help us down so we can continue on our walk...together.

--Eric Velazquez

REST NOT, WANT NOT How to use rest to your advantage when training with weights

If you train with weights, you likely do so with an eye toward being stronger and leaner. And while a great many exercisers will set their programs with precision — dutifully planning exercises sets and reps for each workout — very few are as diligent when it comes to rest periods. Instead, some people will choose to rest until it “feels right” to get into the next set.

But if you’re trying to burn more fat, you may want to start watching the clock.

“Studies find that those who rested 30 seconds between sets during weight training workouts burned 50% more calories than those who rested three minutes,” says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days.”

For more information like this from the Doc, visit www.jimstoppani.com or join his Facebook fan page.

 

 

NO HILL FOR A CLIMBER

June 28, 2011Read John 6

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

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

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

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

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

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