home

Adopted, Home

"And since we are his heirs, we are his children." --Romans 8:17

Read: Romans 8

She didn't know what was happening. After only a few weeks, her original owner wanted nothing to do with her and somehow that message reached my wife at work. Free to whoever wants her. Next thing I knew, a stranger was coming to our house with a puppy. That was a little over 15 years ago.

I have to tell you, when she arrived she was so scared. In fact, she wouldn't come out of the little kennel, so her owner proceeded to tip it over so she would fall out. Enter...me. At the time I weighed about 215 and could deadlift a truck, so I gently grabbed the guy's arm and told him that I would get her out. He didn't object. I gently set the kennel down and unscrewed every little knob and slowly opened the top. The moment she looked up at me, I adopted her. The very second she was set free, she was home.

Adoption. Isn't it something to think that the Bible says you and I are adopted? Orphans in need of rescue, God chose to adopt us as His. You know, life often drops us in places we didn't ask to be in. Unfamiliar surroundings, no place to call our home, no one to call our own. But God does what nobody else can. Our big, strong Savior, He gently opens our hearts -- and when we look up -- He welcomes us home.

--Jimmy Peña

Maddy in living roomMaddy Girl Friends, she died Monday. Many of you are well acquainted with my big chocolate lab, Ms. Josey Wales, but Maddy kept a low profile. Folks, she stayed up many a late night writing devotions with me. She was a good girl -- never hurt a soul, made no enemies. We miss her so much. (And if dogs go to Heaven, the Lord knows she likes a treat right before bed.) Love you my Maddy girl.

You Know The Story, Part II

"So he got up and went to his father." --Luke 15:20

Read: Luke 15

We had a rule growing up. If my brother and I got in trouble for doing something wrong, we weren't allowed to keep pouting about it. No sir. Once it was done, and my brother got what he deserved, it was over. Finished. Like it never happened. Well okay, we suffered consequences, yes, but it wasn't held over our heads. In fact, if I was pouting about it later on, you guessed it, I got in trouble for pouting. You know what that taught me? Trust. I trusted my parents. I knew what to expect. Periodically reprimanded, constantly loved.

Although he came back with memories of deeds as stinky as his pig-slopped clothes, yesterday's prodigal couldn't stray beyond his father's love. Before he knew it, a robe replaced his rags, a ring dressed his hand and a feast filled his belly. And while you and I may not have mud on our shoes, there's not a person reading this sentence who doesn't need that kind of grace from a grace-giving God.

You know, many of us have treated our bodies -- our inherited health -- much like the prodigal treated his promised pay. We've over spent and wasted it. But something tells me the prodigal son took better care of the things he was given after he got home. And so can we. For some, there's a family waiting for you, too; waiting for you to start eating better, to stop smoking, to start exercising. They're waiting to celebrate you. Who's coming home, been home, staying home? You're the life of their party. It doesn't begin without you.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Knowing that God sees our hearts, not our waistline, should invigorate and empower us to be better stewards of health. We're constantly loved. Doesn't that fire you up to live your entire life to its fullest? Let's see a few "YES" comments. We ask again: Who's coming home, been home, staying home?

NUTRITION TIP: Eat in Balance for Sustained Health

With all the fad diets out there that promise to help you lose weight for good, the best one may have been under your nose this whole time. Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that the body responded best to a diet that was split equally among the three macronutrients — carbs, protein and fat.

>> Click here for more on the study!

Throw Your Head Back

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." --1 Peter 5:7

Read: 1 Peter 5

Depending on when you open this entry, I'm doing one of many things. Check your watch. If it's early, and the sun is rising, be assured I'm dodging traffic and anticipating yellow lights. If it's mid-morning, I'm tapping my toes with my face plastered against the airplane window. And if it's around noon, I'm sprinting. I've let go of my baggage, thrown my head back and my arms are wide open. After weeks of touring, speaking and serving...I'm almost home.

Friends, life is a quick trip; a short but often brutal bridge. On it we sometimes get trampled. Maybe you can relate. Have you been overlooked this week? Ignored rather than recognized? Maybe you're struggling to cope with a troubled teen, financial hardships or health concerns. Whatever your recent trip of life has you burdened with, do what I am doing today. Drop the baggage and throw your head back. The One who knows you best, loves you most. So just run.

--Jimmy Peña

TRAINING TIPS: When to Pump the Brakes

Perhaps you’ve started out the year on a tear, working out several times a week and pushing your body harder with each session. That is fantastic but if you’ve started to notice that you’re a little slower, a little weaker and a little more fatigued than usual, or that your once-meteoric progress has come to a screeching halt, you may be a victim of overtraining.

>> Click here for more on overtraining.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

Just Run

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." --1 Peter 5:7

Read: 1 Peter 5

Depending on when you open this entry, I'm doing one of many things. Check your watch. If it's early, and the sun is rising, be assured I'm dodging traffic and anticipating yellow lights. If it's mid morning, I'm tapping my toes with my face plastered against the airplane window. And if it's around noon, I'm sprinting. I've let go of my baggage, thrown my head back and my arms are wide open. After weeks of touring, speaking and serving...I'm almost home.

Friends, life is a quick trip; a short but often brutal bridge. On it we sometimes get trampled. Being Friday, maybe you can relate. Have you been overlooked this week? Ignored rather than recognized? Maybe you're struggling to cope with a troubled teen, financial hardships or health concerns. Whatever your recent trip of life has you burdened with, do what I am doing today. Drop the baggage and throw your head back. The One who knows you best, loves you most. So just run.

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT: WEEK IN REVIEW Revisiting a week's worth of faith- and fitness-building entries

FAITH

>> Namesake: We stand for, kneel to and worship with our lives the One who didn’t take us off a list, but put our names on one…by giving us His

>> Follow the Leader: We are protected by the One that we follow

>> Can I Have This Dance?: It's never too late to dance...

>> Beating Miracles: Appreciating the miracle and workmanship of a vital organ

FITNESS

>> Body Toning: How to take your workouts to the next level and redefine your body in 33 days >> Recipe: A lighter, guilt-free spin on dessert

>> Community: How to build the PrayFit Nation, one click at a time

>> Tip: Training hungry can help you lose more weight

WHEN HE KNOCKED

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."— Revelation 3:20

It was a typical day when Jesus knocked on my heart's door. I wasn't expecting company, so when He knocked, I hesitated. Looking through the peep hole, I wasn't exactly sure what to do, so I paused. Again, He knocked gently. As I slowly opened the door to invite Him in, I admit, I was a bit embarrassed at what He walked into. I had plenty of grudges lying around, and the smell of fear lingered heavy in the air. Quickly trying to clean the place up, I asked if I could get Him anything, but He just made his way through the halls. (He seemed to know His away around.)

He first walked by my room of regrets. "Ugh, why didn't I keep that door closed?", I grumbled. Then my shoulders drooped when He saw all of the corners where I stood in compromise. "I'm sure He'll want to leave now", I resigned.

But the next thing I knew, we were in the backyard. I seldom went out there. He led me to the garden of Grace that He himself had planted. He said this garden will never die, and that I should spend time there each day. I nodded.

Then to my surprise, when we walked back inside, everything was made new. What was once a den full of doubts had become a living room of faith. It even had a new room; a Master bedroom. He said if I'd let Him, that's where He'd stay.

I'm so glad I let Him in that day. He's the resident king in the castle of my heart. I don't always act like I know that, but He shows me the garden everyday. And I nod.

--Jimmy Peña

>> IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Today marked the official, global release date of PrayFit's 33-Day Total Body Challenge DVD byLionsgate. View the trailer by clicking here, or order yours immediately by visiting Amazon. Share the news with your pastors, small groups, friends and relatives!

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: SAUTEED KALE Go green with this health-filled, spicy spin on kale

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 2 bunches kale, trimmed and chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add kale, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; reduce heat to medium and cook, turning frequently for an additional 5 minutes. Add vinegar and continue to cook until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes more.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 103 Total Fat:  3 grams Saturated Fat: 0 grams Carbohydrate: 15 grams Protein: 5 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 125 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.

>> For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.

 

KEEPING HOUSE

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back."— Mark 13:35

My wife Wendy and I live in a house of toddlers which means that at any given moment, our little home can look like hurricane-force winds blew through, tossing about everything that isn't nailed down. Toys are scattered, clothes are strewn over the furniture and...is that string cheese ground into our rug? We try, sometimes to no avail, to keep up with our cyclical mess.

However, once I get word that my mother-in-law is coming to visit, a new side of me emerges -- an unrelenting, super-cleaning alter ego that is intent on spot-shining the house into model-home glory. You see, not only did she and my father-in-law help us buy this place, but Ethelmarie keeps a pretty tidy house. And while she may not be bothered by the mountainous pile of juice cups in my sink, I still don't want her to see them. So my inner Mr. Clean -- the one that speedily washes fingerprints from windows and mops floors -- really only comes out when I know she's stopping by. And while her visits are usually announced, we love that she will occasionally just pop in. As a result, Wendy and I are now doing our best to keep the house Ethel-ready at all times, managing the maelstrom in small, daily increments (as much as Mya and Ella will allow, that is.)

We all have houses to keep -- both brick-and-mortar and flesh-and-blood -- that can benefit from daily attention. And you never really know when company's coming.

Lord, we are so grateful for the bodies that house our souls and do not take lightly that we were made in your image. Please help us find the daily motivation to be faithful stewards of the physical gifts we've been given. Amen.

--Eric Velazquez

>> Commit: Log on. Today, join other PrayFit readers at our online community by going to www.prayfit.com/forum. Here, you can create a free-form workout journal that you can update on a daily basis. Journals are routinely featured on PrayFit’s home page and shared with our various social networks. As the research would indicate, those keeping journals at PrayFit.com report having an easier time of sticking to a workout routine because they know that others are reading up on their progress. The authors of a recent study cited recommended the following types of websites for the best results:

--Sites that encourage accountability by asking users to consistently record weight, exercise, and calories consumed

--Sites that include tailored or personalized information

--Sites with interactive features that allow users to communicate with each other and with nutrition and exercise experts

--Sites with accurate health information

527 million >> Dollars made by Nutrisystem.com in 2010

23.8 >> Percentage of dieters that used a weight loss website in 2010

Source: Market Data Enterprises

EYES WIDE OPEN

November 4, 2011Read: Ephesians 1

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened." --Ephesians 1:18

As I prayed and waited to board my plane en route to the New York City Marathon yesterday, a scene from one of my all-time favorite shows, Friday Night Lights, came to mind. Before the big game, coach asked his young quarterback if his eyes were closed when he threw last week's touchdown pass. The kid's response: "No sir. My eyes were open. My eyes were wide open."

Well, I suppose that scene came to mind because that was my simple prayer -- that the Lord would open the eyes of my heart this weekend in New York. As a writer, not a runner, I know my purpose at the marathon isn't necessarily to have a fast start or even a strong finish, but rather to listen from start to finish. Indeed, after 26.2 miles, I want to be more focused on my walk than my run. May that be your prayer too. Whatever race lies before you today at work, school, or home, let's just try to see Him. All we want to do is see Him.

--J.P.

P.S. When they announced my flight, I turned and who was standing next to me? Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life. We chatted a few minutes, he asked about PrayFit, and I praised what he's doing at Saddleback Church in the area of health. Thank you, Lord. My eyes are open. My eyes are wide open.

PRAYFIT WEEK IN REVIEW Time to cherry-pick from a week's worth of faith and fitness

Faith

>> PURPOSE OVER PROCESS: Know the destination, savor the journey

>> ELLA'S GRIN: The Lord watches over us, pausing on moments too good to pass up

>> REASON FOR THE CALL: We represent Him in how we live, speak and move

>> ROAD WARRIOR: Because He traveled, we will get home

Fitness

>> 3 MILES: How did you fare in this week's fitness challenge?

>> KID ACTIVITY: How much is enough?

>> DEPRESSION: Beat the blues with a few minutes of exercise

>> MARATHON FUN FACT: How close was the closest finish at the NYC Marathon?

PRAYER REQUEST: PrayFit Nation, we ask that you join us in praying for founder Jimmy Pena as he tackles the course at this weekend's New York City Marathon. Please pray that he is kept safe from injury and that with each footfall, he strides with his eyes (and heart) wide open. We're so proud of you for undertaking such a feat, brother!

--Team PrayFit

OPEN HOUSE

August, 11, 2011Read: Isaiah 1

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow." --Isaiah 1:18

Walking Josey around the neighborhood this last weekend, I came across an open house sign. The arrow pointed us up the street, so...up we went. Interestingly, the closer we got to the house, the nicer things seemed. The manicured lawn looked like the greens of The Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta. Smiling neighbors waved at the milkman. Kids played hopscotch. Josey chased cartoon animals across the street while Mr. Bluebird rested upon my shoulder. After all, it was an open house. And everything seems perfect at an open house.

Okay, maybe the cartoon animals were a little much, but as I stood watching the people going in and out, I could relate to the owner who had clearly taken great pains in preparing the house to make a good first impression. Before we let anyone in our lives, we hide the dirt. We sweep regrets under the rug, polish the pain and spit-shine the shame. We don't want anyone to see the proof under the roof.

Isn't it comforting to know that we don't need to clean ourselves up before we let Jesus in? We can stop scrubbing failures from the floor and just open the door. Besides, the asking price for our heart's home is way too high for anyone but Him, and He paid it in full.

--J.P.

FUEL AND FAT

Like most Americans, you probably paid somewhere near $4.00 a gallon at the pump this week. But before you go and blame Middle East unrest, market instability or rapid inflation, you might want to consider the following statistic.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine,  nearly one billion gallons of additional fuel per year can be attributed to the average weight gain between 1960 and 2002 of people living in the United States. This represents nearly three times the total amount of fuel consumed by all passenger vehicles each day based on current driving habits, or approximately 0.7% of the total amount of fuel consumed by passenger vehicles annually. Moreover, it is estimated that over 39 million gallons of fuel are consumed annually for every one pound increase in average passenger weight.

In other words, the heavier we get, the harder our cars, trucks, trains and planes have to work to transport us from A to B.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

TIME TO BOARD

June 7, 2011 Read: James 4

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." --James 4:14

Last week, while on my way to do an interview with Guideposts Magazine in New York, I found myself stranded at the airport. No flights coming or going, I settled into my corner of the gate area and watched others do the same. Turns out, airports are to a writer what open car windows are to my chocolate lab Josey; an overload on the senses.

As I sat there, I watched my fellow travelers as they took ownership of their waiting space. One lady turned a few open seats into a makeshift office. Another man used the floor for a picnic. I thought I'd seen it all until a young couple installed a mailbox and rolled-out a welcome home mat. Their address: 2 Behereforever Lane.

Okay, so maybe the young couple didn't exactly make the waiting area their front porch, but you and I sure do. We claim what's ours, deadbolt our belongings, and even though we're not, we make ourselves at home.

Truth is, we're not here to stay and our wait isn't all that long. But instead of seeing the brevity of life as encouragement to stay strong and healthy, we rationalize since it's not gonna last, why bother? But we have to remind ourselves that we don't do good things in order to be loved, we do them because we are. (If only we saw our health that way.)

So, after a five-hour delay, it was finally time to board. I began packing up my things when a little girl holding her father's hand walked by and asked, "Daddy, will there be someone waiting for us?" And while I didn't hear the father's reply, I do know the answer. And because of that, I think the best we can do is wait and live abundantly like God intended...and be ready when it's finally time to board.

--J.P.

TREADMILL: BACKWARDS PROGRESS? How a new study is redefining how to use this staple piece of gym equipment

While most of us would just as soon ignore the treadmill, it is still one of the most basic and essential pieces of gym equipment around. But are we using it optimally?

A new study, released at the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) annual meeting, found that those who pedaled backward on treadmills and elliptical machines gained greater quadriceps and hamstring strength and had greater aerobic capacity than those who went forward.

The study will require larger samples to measure but the results are encouraging for those rehabilitating injuries as well as those returning from a long layoff that need to build strength and endurance quickly. The most obvious caveat is that backwards walking, at least in the beginning, should be done using the provided safety handles until you are more sure-footed with the chosen equipment.

For the full story, click here.

>> SHOP: Looking for a good Father’s Day gift? Visit PrayFit’s online store to pick up a hat, shirt, wristband or book for the dads in your life!

 

CARRY ME HOME

May 6, 2011 Read: Isaiah 46

"Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." --Isaiah 46:4

On a softball team, each player has her role to play. And in the highly competitive world of collegiate athletics, even more specialization occurs. In 2008, Western Oregon University right fielder Sara Tucholsky, a pesky contact hitter by trade, strode to the plate with two runners on base in a game against conference rival Central Washington.

Just looking to play her role -- perhaps to draw a walk, or poke a run-scoring single into the shallows of the outfield  -- Sara was just as surprised as the rest of the 300 spectators in attendance when she drove the ball over the left-center field wall. The three-run home run was the first of her waning softball career and, in her excitement, she missed first base. As she turned to run back to first, she felt a distinctive pop -- she had ruptured a major ligament in her right knee . Collapsing and crawling back to first base, Sara was met by her coach. The umpire informed them that no one could complete the home run trot but Sara, or else the home run would be ruled a single, negating this watershed moment for the ailing senior. If anyone from her team touched her, she would be called out.

Then, in a stunning act of sportsmanship, Central Washington's Mallory Holtman -- a senior on her club and owner of nearly every major offensive record in her school's history -- offered to carry Sara around the bases. Scratching his head at why the opponent would want to, in essence, give the team a run that they were about to lose, the umpire informed her that there was no rule against it. Mallory and teammate Liz Wallace then lifted Sara up and carried her around the bases, gingerly touching her foot to each base along the way.

Sara was in tears, in pain and out of options but in her wounded state, she was shown the way home by those willing to carry the burden, even at great cost to them. This simple act of sportsmanship beautifully illustrates the fact that when we feel too broken to carry on -- when we feel like we don't know the way or when the pain is too heavy to bear on our own -- we also have someone to pick us up and lead us home.

For ESPN's take on this inspirational story, click here.

--E.V.

ENGAGE, SHARE, SHOP

>> ENGAGE: One thing that PrayFit prides itself upon is fellowship. Bringing like-minded readers together to share struggles and successes, tips and tricks is fundamental to what we do here! Here are a few of the current topics going on our forums...

What's Your Testimony | 7 posts

Questions for the Trainer | 22 posts

Child Obesity | 15 posts

>> SHARE: Help us get others on board with this whole "faith and fitness" thing. Use the "Recommend," "Tweet," "E-Mail" and "Share" buttons at the top of each day's entry to get your social network in the know about PrayFit. Also, you can "like" us, "follow" us or "watch" us by clicking the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube icons at the bottom of each page.

>> SHOP: As we head into Mother's Day weekend, you can select a gift for mom that will keep on giving long after those flowers wilt. Visit our online store to pick up official PrayFit shirts, hats or wristbands or send her a copy of our print project, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." The book includes meal plans and easy-to-follow workout programs that can help keep mom fit and healthy.

KEEPING HOUSE

May 3, 2011 Read: Mark 13

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back." --Mark 13:35

My wife Wendy and I live in a house of toddlers which means that at any given moment, our little home can look like hurricane-force winds blew through, tossing about everything that isn't nailed down. Toys are scattered, clothes are strewn over the furniture and...is that string cheese ground into our rug? We try, sometimes to no avail, to keep up with the cyclical mess.

However, once I get word that my mother-in-law is coming to visit, a new side of me emerges -- an unrelenting, super-cleaning alter ego that is intent on spot-shining the house into model-home glory. You see, not only did her and my father-in-law help us buy this place, but Ethelmarie keeps a pretty tidy household. And while she may not be bothered by the mountainous pile of juice cups in my sink, I still don't want her to see it. But my inner Mr. Clean -- the one that speedily washes fingerprints from windows and mops floors -- really only comes out when I know she's stopping by. And while her visits are usually announced, we love that she will occasionally just stop by. As a result, Wendy and I are now doing our best to keep the house Ethel-ready (as much as Mya and Ella will allow, that is) at all times.

We all have houses to keep -- both brick-and-mortar and flesh-and-blood. And you never really know when company's coming.

Lord, we are so grateful for the bodies that house our souls and do not take lightly that we were made in your image. Please help us find the daily motivation to be faithful stewards of the physical gifts we've been given. Amen.

--E.V.

ON TARGET: LUNGES FOR HAMSTRINGS The workout of the week may not target the muscle groups you think it is

When most people think of lunges, they think of sore quads. Sure, lunges work your quadriceps -- the large muscles that cover the front of your thighs -- but new research indicates that this functional exercise may primarily target their antagonist (opposite) muscle group.

Swedish researchers had competitive soccer players perform four sets of 12 reps of the walking lunge twice a week for six weeks. And when they tested the subjects at the end of the study, they found that the athletes had gained a 35% increase in hamstrings strength. Their average increase in quad strength, meanwhile, was zero which indicates that the lunge may be more of a hammie move than you thought.

The catch is that the study included walking lunges. This week's workout included the stationary version of the lunge. Both varieties are effective for targeting hamstrings, although the stationary lunge may provide a small amount of additional work for the quads because of the step back to the start position.

Source: Jim Stoppani, PhD

SHOP: Get yourself outfitted in some new faith-and-fitness gear, or pick up a copy of PrayFit in print. Click here to head over to the PrayFit store.

JOURNAL: You keeping a journal of your workouts? Studies indicate that those who keep records of their exercise may enjoy better long-term success. Additional research confirms that those who participate in online accountability forums, like those here at PrayFit, find that results come easier than those who don't. Sign-up and start your own PrayFit workout journal today by clicking here.

FEATURED JOURNALS

dmoorer: On the PrayFit program

PF El Paso: Group PrayFitters still going strong in Texas

JeffYoung: Starting fresh

Smerge: Losing weight, PrayFit style

>> Wanna help breed accountability with these members? Click "share" or "recommend" at the top to get others in the know, or simply head over to their journal and offer some feedback.

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH

April 6, 2011Read: Mark 12

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

Sitting on our little porch, I'm watching Loretta add potting mix, dirt and water to plants and shrubs. The smell of barbecue from a nearby condo fills the air. Somebody's cookin' out. The neighborhood seems alive tonight. Sun-filled cheeks on neighborhood kids is evidence of a fast-approaching summer. It seems God has dropped me in an episode of Leave it to Beaver. Somehow you'd expect Wally to come strollin' by. But I know better. This is no Pine Street.

I know better because I know myself better. When was the last time we visited a new neighbor? Or went to see the widow down the street? Or invited the single dad to church? Not sure if you can relate, but we have more in common with Mrs. Kravitz than we do June Cleaver. In reality, however, our homes, apartments and condos are as much an opportunity to witness as gyms, offices and schools. Let's make it a point this week to do something in Jesus' name for those we live around.

--J.P.

VIDEO: SPEEDY SOUP

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

VIDEO: IN THE KITCHEN WITH DANA ANGELO WHITE

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

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

 

STRONG FOR THE WEEK

February 18, 2011Read: Ecclesiastes 7

“Finishing is better than starting.”Ecclesiastes 7:8

So here we are. The end of another week. Fridays are always a good time to look back and survey the efforts of the previous few days. Instinctively, we focus on things that we’ve done or tasks that we’ve completed, marking them off one by one like to-do items on some kind of mental Post-It note. But for each item we “cross off” the list, our brains, gearing up for the weekend, may start drifting into reward mode which is why Friday can sometimes be the least productive day of the week.

On Fridays, our focus on the things that matter most – including our faith and our fitness – can become obscured.

We may marginalize our time spent on our knees so that we can run full speed into the weekend. Or we might shrug off the day’s workout and wander from our healthy eating habits knowing Monday's workout is right around the corner.

Let's face it, no one is immune to the occasional case of the “Fridays,” but we’d be wise to remember that how we finish the week is just as important as how we start it – not just for us, but for those who would learn from our example.

--E.V.

START TO FINISH

Since we are waxing philosophical about strong finishes, it’s probably a good time to remember where you started. What brought you to PrayFit in the first place? Click here for a video refresher of what PrayFit is all about.

VIDEO: WELCOME TO PRAYFIT

>> Visit our newly updated fitness and nutrition pages for even more workouts, exercise tips, and recipes!

FITNESS | EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS & VIDEOS | NUTRITION

TEMP HOUSING

January 27, 2011Read: 2 Corinthians 4

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal." --2 Corinthians 4:18

During a recent book tour and business trip, I spent a couple weeks in a particular city helping an important client. He was gracious to put me up in a very nice condo while I was there. But, despite my short stay, anyone who knows me knows I don't travel well, and the more like home I can make things, the better. So Loretta sent me with my favorite movies, books, my pillow...basically, anything from home I could fit in my carry-on, I took.

But no matter how much I tried, that condo still felt foreign. Despite what I dressed it up with, it was nothing more than temp housing. Nonetheless, I kept it as clean as possible during my stay simply because of the client I represented.

You know, there's a reason why this world feels foreign, and these bodies like temp housing: they are. But because of Who we represent, best we can do is take care of them during our short stay. We'll be home soon enough.

--J.P.

LEMON DROPPED

What’s better than the tangy and sour pucker of a juicy lemon? I love them so much I’ve got my own lemon trees. There’s more to this fruit than just lemonade — learn why these citrus fruits are so good for you, and how to use them everywhere from appetizers to desserts.

What, Where & When Brought to North America by Christopher Columbus, lemons played a very important role for centuries, providing vitamin C and protecting sailors from the nutrient deficiency known as “scurvy.”

California and Florida are the leading producers in the U.S., with peak season running through the winter months.

Lemon trees can be identified by electric green and oval-shaped leaves (they make beautiful greenery for flower arrangements). When producing fruit, the tree’s tiny white flowers omit a citrus perfume as they bloom.

Common varieties include Eureka, Ponderosa and Lisbon. A slightly less well-known variety is the Meyer lemon, a crossbreed between a lemon and an orange. Native to China, the juice is sweeter and less acidic. They’re divine for salad dressings, sauces, drinks and desserts. You’ll typically find these lemons in your grocery store in the early spring.

Nutrition Facts The juice of one lemon packs in the flavor for only 12 little calories and more than 35 percent of your daily needs for vitamins C. Lemons also contain fiber, B-vitamins, magnesium, health-protecting flavonoids, and the antioxidant limonene. Limonene is believed to have anti-cancer properties, but more research is needed.

What To Do With Lemons Lemons are so extraordinary because they know no culinary boundaries. From sweet and savory, cakes and cookies to main courses and cocktails, the juice, pulp and peel add the perfect hint of brightness and acidity.  Use the juice to perk up sautéed or roasted veggies or melt down with sugar to make lemon simple syrup for drinks and desserts. Use the grated zest to liven up cream cheese, give flavor to marinades, or add flecks of flavor to cookies.

Shopping Tip Choose lemons that are bright yellow, firm, plump and heavy for their size. Store for up to a week at room temperature or in the refrigerator drawer for 2-3 weeks.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

EXTREME MAKEOVER: HEART EDITION

August 31, 2010Read: 2 Corinthians 5

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

Last year, I had the privilege of spending a week on the set of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. When it aired, I remembered the feeling I had when that family first answered the knock at the door, then came back a week later to a brand new house. Talk about gut-wrenching! Someone they never expected came into their world and freely gave them something they couldn't afford on their own. He saw where they lived and said you don't have to live here anymore.

As I stood and watched the process, I couldn't help but think of Jesus. Just like we did for that family, He knocks gently, anxiously awaiting our answer. But rather than calling for a wrecking ball, He does the unthinkable: He moves in. Instead of a hammer, He carries a suitcase. He gives us something we could never afford on our own--Himself--saying we don't have to live here anymore, alone.

--J.P.

COMMUNITY KEEPS WEIGHT OFF If you're looking for a way to get or stay slim, you're in the right place

A new study is confirming what we've said all along -- that by sharing time with other fit-minded people, you can actually have more success in your quest to reach or stay at your goal weight.

The more people used an interactive weight management website such as PrayFit, the more weight loss they maintained, according to the study. The research showed that consistent website users who logged on and recorded their weight at least once a month for two-and-a-half years maintained the most weight loss.

You can build in extra accountability by keeping a public workout journal, such as those located at our forums.

For the full story from Science Daily, click here.

>> REGISTER: If you haven't already, it's time to register at our forums and start your own workout journal! Sign up here!