coach

Benchwarmer

"So Sarah laughed to herself." --Genesis 18:12

Read: Genesis 18

Benchwarmer. Not something that sat well with me. But during my sophomore year in high school, I endured it for the first time in my life. See, I was a baseball player, and a good one. But basketball? I probably should've hung up the Air Jordans as a freshmen. Sitting at the end of the bench during a blowout game, I hoped my friends and family would assume I was injured; maybe I twisted an ankle during warm-ups or something. But with a little over a minute on the clock, the unthinkable happened. Coach called my name.

"Reluctant" would be putting it mildly. I literally peeled myself off the chair. I removed my warm-ups from my cold body and joined the otherwise sweaty and necessary group of kids on the court. What's the use, I thought. Well, the clock ran out, we shook hands, and I put my warm-ups on as slowly as I had removed it.

Well, leaving the locker room that night to face the awkward "good game" from loved ones, Coach stopped me. He said something that I'd carry the rest of my life. He said, "I wanted to see your reaction when I called for you late in the game. Jimmy, it's never too late to make an impact."

Maybe you're wondering what kind of influence you can have. Perhaps you think it's way too late in the game for God to use you. That family member? Too far gone. That group of friends? Too set in their ways. No way God is calling me from the bench at my age, with my past. 

Folks, God has a way of doing the unexpected. And if He noticed Sarah laughing at the news of her baby on the way, rest assured He sees our reaction. So, take a minute to consider what the Spirit is whispering to your heart. If it's too lofty, too lowly, too late...God just may be looking for our reaction to His call. Carve this into your heart...If God calls for you, it's never too late to make an impact.

--Jimmy Peña

WALKING FOR HEALTH Just an hour of this low-impact activity per day can make you 50% healthier

Watch some TV? Just make sure you go for a walk after. New research put out by the American Heart Association showed that an hour of walking per day can cut your genetic tendency toward obesity as a result of watching the picture box by half.

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

>> For the full story, click here.

Pre-Game

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." --2 Timothy 1:7

Read: 2 Timothy 1

Imagine a coach before a big football game. The team has taken a knee and their helmets are off as they await the last few words of encouragement from their leader. The coach stands before them, clears his throat and says, "Now listen up, boys. We got here as a team and we'll finish as one. I believe in you. But...I gotta admit, I think the other coach is smarter than me, and the other kids? Well, they're a lot bigger than you. But hey, it was a fun season. Try not to get hurt. Now, let's go!"

Not much confidence in those words, right? Aren't we glad that's not how God sends us off into the world to tackle our biggest foes -- foes of financial hardships, health issues, relationship battles and good old fear and doubt? On the contrary, if God had a blackboard, He'd outline our daily route...straight to the cross on every play, every day. His pre-game speech might be brief: "Be strong and courageous, for I am with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). What else do we need to hear?

Question: The bible is full of wonderful, motivational verses that remind us of God's power and strength. What's your favorite? Tell us in the comments section below.

--Jimmy Peña

JIMMY PENA TO SPEAK AT MOM'S SQUAD MOTHER'S DAY CELEBRATION IN CLEVELAND

In less than two weeks (May 5), PrayFit Founder Jimmy Peña will join Grammy and Dove Award Winning sensation Point of Grace at the Mom's Squad Mother's Day Celebration in Ohio, hosted by Cleveland's 95.5 THE FISH.

"It's such a blessing to be included in such an important event, to be speaking to so many influential women and to be sharing the day with the amazing women of Point of Grace!" Peña says.

Do you want Jimmy and the PrayFit team to come to your church or business to share his motivational story of health as a means of praise? Using biblical characters and motivational scenarios, Jimmy will help motivate and inspire you and your congregation to view health differently than ever before. E-mail us at info@prayfit.com for more details!

Benchwarmer

"So Sarah laughed to herself." --Genesis 18:12

Read: Genesis 18

Benchwarmer. Not something that sat well with me. But during my sophomore year in high school, I endured it for the first time in my life. See, I was a baseball player, and a good one. But basketball? I probably should've hung up the Air Jordans as a freshmen. Sitting at the end of the bench during a blowout game, I hoped my friends and family would assume I was injured; maybe I twisted an ankle during warm-ups or something. But with a little over a minute on the clock, the unthinkable happened. Coach called my name.

"Reluctant" would be putting it mildly. I literally peeled myself off the chair. I stripped my warm-up off my cold body and joined the otherwise sweaty and necessary group of kids on the court. What's the use, I thought. The clock ran out, we shook hands, and I put my warm-up on as slowly as I had removed it.

Well, leaving the locker room that night to face the awkward "good game" from loved ones, Coach stopped me. He said something that I'd carry the rest of my life. He said, "I wanted to see your reaction when I called for you late in the game. Jimmy, it's never too late to make an impact."

Maybe you're wondering what kind of influence you can have. Perhaps you think it's way too late in the game for God to use you. That family member? Too far gone. That group of friends? Too set in their ways. No way God is calling me from the bench at my age, with my past. 

Folks, God has a way of doing the unexpected. And if He noticed Sarah laughing at the news of her baby on the way, rest assured He sees our reaction. So, take a minute to consider what the Spirit is whispering to your heart. If it's too lofty, too lowly, too late...God just may be looking for our reaction to His call. Carve this into your heart...If God calls for you, it's never too late to make an impact.

--Jimmy Peña

WALKING FOR HEALTH Just an hour of this low-impact activity per day can make you 50% healthier

Watch some TV? No judgement here. We like NCIS: Los Angeles, too. Just make sure you go for a walk after. New research put out by the American Heart Association showed that an hour of walking per day can cut your genetic tendency toward obesity as a result of watching the picture box by half.

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

>> For the full story, click here.

Who Wants the Ball?

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." --2 Timothy 1:7

Read: 2 Timothy 1

Imagine a coach before a big football game. The team has taken a knee and their helmets are off as they await the last few words of encouragement. The coach stands before them and says, "Now listen up, boys. We got here as a team and we'll finish as one. I believe in you. But...I gotta admit, I think the other coach is smarter than me, and the other kids, well, they're a lot bigger than you. But hey, it was a fun season. Try not to get hurt. Now, let's go!"

Not much confidence in those words, right? Aren't we glad that's not how God sends us off into the world to tackle our biggest foes -- foes of health issues, financial hardships, relationship battles and good old fear and doubt. On the contrary, if God had a blackboard, He'd outline our daily route...straight to the cross. His pre-game words would be the same today as they were yesterday: "Be strong and courageous, for I am with you wherever you go" (Josh 1:9) and "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Who wants the ball?

Question: The Bible is full of wonderful verses that remind us of God's strength, love and guidance. What is your favorite?

--Jimmy Peña

51 FAT-BURNING TIPS

You can find plenty of ways to fight bodyfat everyday here at PrayFit.com but this list, put out by Health.com and picked up by CNN, is easy one-stop shopping for those looking to get a little leaner in 2012. The full list, which includes tips on everything from rep pace to nutritional supplements, can be found by clicking here.

>> NEW! Have you visited the redesigned PrayFit Store? Click here to shop for books, DVDs, apparel and more with our retooled, user-friendly shopping cart.

>> GUEST SPEAKING: Want PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena to come to your church in 2012 to help lay the groundwork for your fitness ministry? E-mail us at info@prayfit.com for more details!

SWING AWAY

October 5, 2011Read: Philippians 1

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

Well, seasons come and go. Baseball seasons, that is. If you've followed PrayFit for any length of time, by now you know we're baseball people. And personally, I have a tradition. Each year, since I left high school, I call my little league coach on the first game of the year and whenever it could be the last. And yesterday, with my beloved Yankees facing elimination, I called coach. The same voice that comforted me as a 9-year-old, somehow does the same decades later.

Not sure if you can relate, but some days just feel like the last game of the season. Whether at work, school or in your quest for greater health, we often feel like one more strike and we're done. But friend, don't quit. Like Paul said, "For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain." Whatever we lose in obedience on earth, God has something better in mind, especially if it's our Game 7. So step out of the box, and call on Him. Hear His familiar voice. And if the sun comes up, it's not just another at-bat. It's God's sign for us to swing away.

--J.P.

THE DAIRY DEBATE

In "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," we advocate a balanced diet that splits calories evenly between protein, carbs and fat. The diverse selection on the weekly menu includes plenty of milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt, which has raised some eyebrows. While some suggest that dairy can contribute to inflammation and other allergies, the connection may be somewhat overblown.

"There is little clinical data showing a relationship between dairy and inflammation," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, senior science editor for Muscle & Fitness, FLEX and M&F Hers magazines and architect of the "PrayFit's" nutrition plan. "There is, however, a lot of research showing that dairy protein is one of the most effective for building lean muscle. That is not only important for aesthetic reasons, but for quality of life as we age. And since muscle mass is a metabolic tissue, it can help to further aid fat loss.

Stoppani concedes that dairy's bad rap isn't without cause. "Yes, there is some "evidence" to suggest that dairy products may be related to some inflammation. Again, there is not strong enough data yet to fully support this.  If it is a major concern for you, however, on any diet that recommends dairy you can simply replace any dairy foods with other protein choices, such as eggs, poultry, fish, or beef."

>> For more from Dr. Stoppani, visit his official website at www.jimstoppani.com. To try the PrayFit diet for yourself, pick up "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" today at Amazon.

FIT TOGETHER

January 18, 2011Read: Matthew 18

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

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

I thought of those old memories today because a small group from El Paso formed a new PrayFit huddle this week. They're teaming together to share faith, fitness and accountability because they know our health is an obligation as well as a means of praise.

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

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

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

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

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

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

Source: CDC

>> SHOP: Looking for PrayFit in print? Read more on "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" by clicking here, or visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon today!

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I'LL HAVE TO ASK

September 29, 2010Read: Luke 11

“Ask, and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find.” –Luke 11:9

Back in high school, I had a basketball coach ask me if I’d come back to the team. It had been a couple years since I’d played, and by then I’d become a one-sport athlete. His question was as brief as it was surprising when he asked, “Jimmy, we need you back. Will you play?”

My response was only a little less expected than what he said next. I replied, “Wow coach, sounds awesome. I just need to check with my dad first.” To which he smiled and said, “No Jimmy, I was only testing you, seeing if you’d be there for us.”

He shook my hand and thanked me. (I admit, I was relieved.) A little test, I guess. Whether I passed or not, I’m not sure.  But I’ve thought about that moment over the years. His question, my response, his reply. And I remember telling my dad about it later that night; dad loved that my answer required his blessing.

You know, we’re constantly being tested and the crossroads are always before us. Which way? That way? No way!! How much better would our lives be if with each decision, big or small, we said, “You know, I just need to check with my Father first.” And as I’ve learned even recently, it’s never too late to ask.

--J.P.

PRAYFIT RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Tomato Sauce

Makes 10 servings (1/2 cup each)

Ingredients:

6-8 large tomatoes cut into large chunks 1/2 large red onion, roughly chopped 1 red chili pepper, chopped 3 cloves garlic, whole 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon dried oregano Freshly ground black pepper 1 can (15 ounces) canned tomato sauce, no salt added 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 cup red wine 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place tomatoes, onion, chili and garlic on a large sheet pan; add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, oregano and pepper and toss to coat. Roast vegetables for 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes just begin to char; set aside to cool slightly. In a large pot, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then add the roasted tomato mixture, tomato sauce, tomato paste and wine. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add basil and parsley; season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Puree sauce using an immersion blender* until smooth.

*If you do not have an immersion blender, puree in a countertop blender in small batches. Make sure to hold the top of the blender closed with a dish towel while the machine is on.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories: 80 calories Total Fat: 3 grams Saturated Fat: 0 grams Total Carbohydrate: 11 grams Protein: 2 grams Sodium: 139 milligrams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian and is currently a nutrition expert for the Food Network, and has worked as a media spokesperson for Cooking Light Magazine. She has appeared on Good Day Street Talk, Food Network.com, Access Hollywood and GMA Health. Visit her at Dana White Nutrition.

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