jimmy pena

We Are The Crowd

"Jesus stopped and said, 'Call him.' So they called to the blind man, 'Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you!' Throwing his cloak aside, he leaped to his feet and came to Jesus."--Mark 10:49-50

Read: Mark 10

No need to adjust your computer screen, that’s indeed the same verse as yesterday's entry. But I just had to go back to it. Ever since we posted last night, I haven’t been able to get a particular thought out of my head: The crowd knew something. Read the verse again.

Typically, we focus on either the blind man, Bartimaeus or, of course, Jesus. But the crowd's response has bugged me for nearly 24 hours. The crowd is…us. Why? Because they knew something. They knew what Jesus had the power to do in the blind man's life. Otherwise, they wouldn't have reacted as if the beggar had just won the lottery!

Read it again. Of all the thousand voices that were clamoring for Jesus to hear, that of a blind beggar behind all the others sitting on the side of the road found the ear of Jesus, and the crowd knew what that meant. Can't you just see them pause, their wide eyes, open mouths, and then their whiplash reactions as they run to the one who's number had just been called?

You and I stand among those who need to heed the call. Read the verse again (last time, I promise). Isn't Jesus calling everyone? Didn't He die for all the world? And if we've been saved and healed…aren't we the crowd who knows?

–Jimmy Peña

Question: Who in your life needs to know what you know?

GYM TIP: There's more than one way to use a treadmill. A recent study 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. Click here for more.

bg-speaking-engagementsPeña to be Honored by UT Tyler Alumni Association: Next Friday (March 22), the University of Texas at Tyler Alumni Association will recognize five graduates at its Alumni Gala. Among those being honored will be PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña, who earned a master of science in clinical exercise physiology from UT Tyler in 1998. "It’s easy to think of Heaven on days like this," he said. "We’ve accepted an invitation we don’t deserve, to celebrate a reward we didn’t earn." Click here to read more.

Get Your Voice Back

"How can I be sure this will happen? I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." --Luke 1:18

Read: Luke 1

Not his best moment. Zacharias has just been given really great news; news of eternal significance. He's been told that Elizabeth will bear him a son. And he will go before the Lord with the spirit and power of Elijah, no doubt. The frontrunner! And not only that, the courier of this miracle message wasn't a neighbor. It wasn't a trusted uncle or even the High Priest. No, Zacharias heard this first-hand from none other than Angel Gabriel himself.

Now, all things being equal, you'd think that would prompt Zacharias to simply rejoice, trust and obey. But as you read in today's verse, Zacharias chose to respond like you and I often do.

Who me? I'm not qualified for that job, have you seen my resume? Who me? A missionary? Have you read my laundry list of weaknesses? Who me? Regain my health after years of negligence? What good can this body accomplish?

There's no telling how effective we would be for the Lord if we trusted the things God lays on our hearts. You know, Zacharias' little faith spoke volumes, so Gabriel made him mute. Months later, on the day of his son's birth, those standing around Elizabeth objected to his given name. But Zacharias -- still mute -- boldly wrote on his tablet: His name is John.

He got his voice back.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: When you and I let fear and doubt cloud our hearts and minds, we too become mute. What has God put on your heart that you need courage to accept?

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BeFit with Jimmy and Kym

To start this week, we encourage you to dive into these workout tactics, brought to you by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña and Dancing with the Stars cast member Kym Johnson. In the video below, Jimmy discusses why faith is important for staying fit, then puts Kym through the paces of a workout that requires only resistance bands and your own bodyweight. For more workouts like this one, courtesy of our friends at Lionsgate, visit their BeFit channel on YouTube.

Walking Behind

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." --Philippians 4:12

Read: Philippians 4

Perhaps the young man meant to say it. More likely, he was simply searching for the right words to use in describing his decision to follow Jesus. Still, the simple words he eventually did choose spoke volumes. He didn’t say he’d decided “to become a Christian.” He didn’t even say he’d chosen “to follow Jesus.” He said he had decided “to become one who walks behind God.”

What a profound statement! Deciding “to follow” someone doesn’t mean you have to be close to them. You can be separated by time, space or both. I can “follow” the path taken by the explorers Lewis and Clark and eventually wind up in the same place they did — but to do so is purely an intellectual exercise, based on the writings they left behind. I don’t have to have a trust relationship with either of them.

But to choose to “become one who walks behind God” is a different thing altogether. It means making a deliberate choice not to be the one who is seen by other people, because the One who walks in front is so much greater than I am. And I have to stick close not to get lost, because the way is tricky. It means accepting that I am not in control, so I have to trust the One who is leading the way. But that also means I don’t have to spend my time trying to figure it all out myself. It means accepting that my view will be limited. But it also means my circumstances — whether good or bad — don’t impact me greatly. If my eyes are locked on Him, everything around me is perceived only peripherally. (Maybe that’s what Paul meant when he said he had found the secret to being content “in plenty or in lack.”)

And if He fills my vision, that’s the most beautiful thing I could ever hope to see.

--Karla Dial

Karla Dial, a longtime PrayFit contributor, is the editor of CitizenLink and Citizen magazine at Focus on the Family. Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., she is a fitness enthusiast with over a decade of training experience.

SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PRAYFIT

The subject of physical stewardship is not a message you're likely to hear in this Sunday's sermon. But perhaps it should be. With an increasing number of our fellow congregants and family members struggling with obesity-related health issues, it's worth noting that the Lord desires abundant health for us and that even though He looks at the heart, failing to take care of the bodies He created in His image amounts to a heart issue. PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña has spoken at churches across the country, imparting the message of our health as a means of praise. Could your service be next? Check out the video below, share it with your church leaders then contact us to find out how you can bring this message to your congregation!

>> Can't wait for a church visit? Why not start a small group? Click here to get your hands on PrayFit DVDs and books and use them as your curriculum!

Jimmy Peña Named as First Advisory Board Member to The Daniel Plan

Peña joins expert panel for Saddleback Church’s worldwide faith-and-fitness initiative Lake Forest, Calif., July 3, 2012 – Jimmy Peña has been named as the first member of the advisory board for The Daniel Plan, Pastor Rick Warren’s worldwide faith-and-fitness initiative that helped 15,000 members in 190 countries lose over 260,000 pounds in 2011 alone.

“We’re excited to have Jimmy as the first member of our advisory board,” says Dee Eastman, Director of The Daniel Plan. ”He has an essence of how faith is integral to making lasting lifestyle changes. The strength of his background in the fitness industry is amazing but we were drawn to his heart. You can’t train that.”

Peña began PrayFit (www.prayfit.com) as a blog in 2008 and has since grown the brand to include a book (“PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days” – Regal Books), two DVDs (“PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge,” “PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System”Lionsgate Entertainment) and a list of endorsers that includes producer/actor Tyler Perry, entertainer LL Cool J, TV host Mario Lopez, elite ultramarathoner Josh Cox and Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.

“When I got the call from Dee, I couldn’t believe my ears. I am so honored and humbled to be a resource to her and the entire Daniel Plan team.”

The Daniel Plan was the brainchild of Pastor Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” in January 2011 as the first of seven “Decade of Destiny” initiatives at Saddleback Church, a Southern California-based church that serves over 20,000 congregants on a weekly basis. The idea came to him on a day when he had baptized over 800 people – Pastor Warren realized he, like his flock, was overweight and that the issue needed to be addressed.

Peña is the first member of the Advisory Board team that Eastman will be filling with like-minded, highly-qualified nutritionists, doctors and health and wellness experts. The first Daniel Plan effort was a year-long program by a team that included Drs. Mark Hyman, Daniel Amen and Mehmet Oz. The success of The Daniel Plan has captured the attention of CNN, ABC News and other major news outlets. Recently, it was the subject of a feature in TIME Magazine.

“We want to build a robust advisory board that will consist of people that can partner together to really improve health across the nation,” Eastman adds. “I want an amazing dream team of wellness professionals and Jimmy is the first member of that team.”

Peña will collaborate with Eastman and her staff on further curriculum development, additional resources and an enhanced online experience for Daniel Plan users in addition to speaking engagements and seminars.

>> For additional information about The Daniel Plan, visit www.danielplan.com, like it on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thedanielplan) or follow it on Twitter (@thedanielplan).

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.

Gracias A Dios

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'" --John 20:27

Read: John 20

"The usual?" she asked with a smile. The sweet lunchtime waitress and I have grown accustomed to each another. I'm greeted, not with a menu, but with a name. By now, she knows I don't like ice in my water, and that I prefer egg whites. Probably in her late sixties, she speaks beautiful Spanish and forces me to practice mine. I know she likes my PrayFit hat and goes to church just around the corner. Today, however, she lingered longer than usual after showing me to my booth. I knew immediately she was more empty than my stomach.

"Do you ever doubt?" she asked as she straightened her apron and adjusted her bifocals. Before I could answer, she began to serve up her hurt, and as she phrased it, the need to "see Him" in her life. A glimpse. That's all she wanted. Something to feel, something real. I didn't presume to have all the answers, but we chatted. By the time I ate and payed my bill, my friend was assured of two things: 1) she wasn't alone in her doubts, and 2) she wasn't alone at all.

Friends, Jesus understands. That's why when He showed His scars to Thomas, He showed them to you and me. In order to reach us, He let us touch Him.

Gracias a Dios.

--Jimmy Peña

THE POWER OF FAITH Jimmy Pena talks PrayFit in Chicago Sun-Times feature “We are bold to declare faith can move a mountain, and yet we doubt it can help us move a muscle," Pena tells Sun-Times writer Sandy Thorn-Clark during a recent interview.

The feature, which ran today, also discusses how PrayFit has managed to differentiate itself from other strictly-fitness products on the shelf today.

"After noticing communities — especially churches and schools — suffering physically 'at an alarming rate,' the native of El Paso, Texas, decided to use a gym as his pulpit in an effort to challenge Prayfit participants to do their best each day," Thorn-Clark writes.

>> To read the full article, click here.

>> YOUR TOWN OR BUST!: Fitness as a means of praise. Slimmer waistlines as a byproduct of obedience. The evangelism of fitness is catching on and your community could be next. Contact us at info@prayfit.com to bring PrayFit to your church or community event, or visit our online store to purchase books or DVDs to set up your own fitness ministry or small group.

Jimmy Pena Visits Fans at Berean Books in SoCal

Last weekend, PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena spent time signing DVDs and meeting with fans at two Berean Christian Stores in California's Inland Empire. Both stores -- one in Riverside, the other in Redlands -- featured prominent signage and displays of PrayFit books and DVDs. Jimmy was joined by his wife Loretta and PrayFit VP and editorial director Eric Velazquez. You can view a few of the pics below. >> To order your own copy of the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, click here.

Misfits Seldom Do

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." --1 Corinthians 1:27

Read: 1 Corinthians 1

If he were your neighbor, you'd move. If choosing teams, he'd be the one last picked. Without a doubt, on the island of misfits he'd be king. But he didn't care. More bold than beautiful, John knew the act to follow was really the act to follow. So he used whatever God gave him to get his message across to a world in need.

Friends, our bodies are merely tools. In the end, they simply get us from life's A to B. But our short trip was so important that Jesus made His. So this week, let's add how we eat and exercise to the list of strange ways God makes Himself known to those around us. Will you be popular? Maybe not. Regarded or rewarded? It's doubtful. But then again, the only attention that's really important is the attention you're paying to the body God designed for you. So go ahead. Be the last one standing. In a world that disregards the body as a means of praise, you'll be in good company when you don't fit in. Misfits seldom do.

--Jimmy Peña

THE POWER OF THE JOURNAL

Keeping a consistent workout journal is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable. Here are some of the key things to note in your daily journal:

1 Exercises, sets and reps: Consider this the workout blueprint. Jotting all this down is a good way to ensure that your workouts have structure and that you have a clear plan of what work there is to get done each day.

2 Weight used: Whether it's your own bodyweight or a heavy barbell, keeping track of the resistance you're using serves as a mental note to consistently add more. Whether your trying to add muscle or just get stronger, gradual increases in weight are crucial.

3 Rest periods: How long did you take between sets? The shorter the rest periods, the more intense the workout. If you are lifting heavier, then longer rest periods may be helpful. In either case, keep a careful eye on the clock between sets.

4 Intensity techniques: Did you use drop sets today? Did you have your spotter help you through a few forced reps? Knowing which intensity techniques you're using to make your workouts more challenging will help you continue making gains. Knowing when and how often you're pushing it will also help you keep from overtraining.

>> What else do you keep track of in your journal? Let us know in the comments below, or on the PrayFit forums today.

>> Start a journal - Click Here

>> Got a journal already? Update it today, view other PrayFit workout journals, by clicking here!

PRAYFIT NEWS: PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña will be appearing on FOX's Good Day Atlanta this Wednesday, February 8, between 9:00 am and 9:45 am EST. 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!

TRACKING NUMBERS

November 16, 2011 Read: Isaiah 43

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you." --Isaiah 43:1

Bib No. 18-164 wasn't tracking. Even though race officials, sponsors and loved ones knew bib No. 18-164 started the race, nobody knew where he was on the course. See, bib numbers have bar codes that tell everyone your pace, stage and whereabouts. Without a functioning bib, you might as well be invisible.

Can you relate? In the course of your day, have you ever felt as if nobody knows just exactly where you are? Oh sure, you're at your cubicle or at home with your kids. But is anyone really watching what you're going through, let alone loving you through it? Your hurt is real. Your pain is deep. And walking away would be much easier than running this rat race. But we're more than tracked, and our steps are better than traced. Hope isn't lost and neither are you. God finds us and loves us from start-to-finish.

And as far as bib No. 18-164, he officially finished in just over five hours. And while his time didn't warrant interviews or draw a crowd, he did receive his medal. But he wasn't alone in this achievement -- the prize went to anyone who accepted the invitation to finish the race. Friends, God invites us to accept Jesus into our hearts and lives. When we do, we join a race He's already won on our behalf. Our job is to trace His steps and help others do the same. See you at the finish.

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION TIP: Apples for Size

"I commonly advise people to eat an apple preworkout," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "Apples contain polyphenols that have been shown to increase muscle strength, endurance and fat loss."

A recent study affirms those benefits, showing that one of the polyphenols in apples, ursolic acid, also increases muscle growth and fat loss. For the scientific speak on the topic, click here.

>> PRAYFIT IN YOUR HOME: PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, comes to your living room this December with the release of the "PrayFit: 33-Day Total Body Challenge" DVD. Learn more and reserve your copy today by clicking here.

 

MAKE BELIEVE

October 21, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 9

"So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing." --1 Corinthians 9:26

As I was leaving Gio's Boxing Gym in Burbank (Calif.) yesterday, amid the familiar cadence of speed bags and jump ropes, something a cornerman yelled to his boxer caught my attention. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter!" he said. I literally stopped in my tracks. What a powerful statement. Just how powerful, I'd realize moments later.

Walking toward my truck, I came upon a film crew about to shoot a documentary -- a boxing documentary, no doubt. Lights, cameras and make-up. I stood for what seemed like years and watched a make-up artist applying shades of purple, black and blue to an actor's face and under his eyes. Boxing gloves? Check. Legitimate shorts? He had those too. But he wasn't dressed for, nor returning from, a real battle. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter," ironically echoed in my head.

I wonder about my faith. And maybe you wonder about yours. Am I a make-believer in life? Or do I help make believers with my life? Like the verse above, I don't want to shadowbox. I want purpose. Give me somethin' to hit.

--J.P.

Question: In what area of your life, spiritually or physically, do you need to stand to fight? How can the Prayfit community pray for you? List your battles below or simply list them as "unspoken request(s)".

PRAYFIT TO RELEASE FIRST DVD

On December 6, Lionsgate Entertainment will release PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge to a global audience.  The DVD will feature a 33-minute, bodyweight-only program that boosts strength, stamina and flexibility. The program’s 33-day length is a nod to proven habit-forming behavior as well as the length of Jesus’s life. “He gave us 33 years,” says PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS. “Let’s give him 33 minutes for 33 days, honoring the one who made us.”

>> For the full story on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, click here. Or, to preorder immediately, visit Amazon.

FOR A MOMENT

September 27, 2011 Read: James 4

"If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." --James 4:15

Way before you found your hobby, He gave you hands. And long before you walked into your first job, He gave you legs. Sure, we need money, but He didn't wrap our hearts with it. We need shelter, but a roof doesn't cover the soul. If anyone knows what we needed to get through this life, He does. And our body topped His list. How it got to the bottom of ours, is a mystery.

Folks, make no mistake -- God makes no mistakes. If, in all His wisdom, it was important for us to have a body on earth, how on earth could we diminish its importance? Sure, someday what we needed first in life -- and the common denominator and vehicle to all our other needs -- will ultimately breakdown and fade. But our flesh-and-blood lives are just a moment in eternity. While some see the brevity of life as an excuse to give in, it's really the reason to endure. He didn't build our bodies to last forever, and it's a good thing. But He knew you could do anything for a moment.

-J.P.

PRAYFIT TO RELEASE FIRST DVD

On December 6, Lionsgate Entertainment will release PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge to a global audience.  The DVD will feature a 33-minute, bodyweight-only program that boosts strength, stamina and flexibility. The program's 33-day length is a nod to proven habit-forming behavior as well as the length of Jesus's life. "He gave us 33 years," says PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS. "Let's give him 33 minutes for 33 days, honoring the one who made us."

>> For the full story on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, click here. Or, to preorder immediately, visit Amazon.

LISTEN, BE HEARD

August 26, 2011Read: Jeremiah 29

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." --Jeremiah 29:12

It's been a blessed and educational week for us at PrayFit. For the last several days, we've been happily confined to studios, warehouses and soundproof stages, rehearsing for today's filming of our very first home workout DVDs. The good people of Lionsgate Entertainment have entrusted us with taking our message of faith and fitness to the masses, while we've placed our trust (and gratitude) into those helping us make sure we get it right.

PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, who will host the DVD series (due out this winter), has been on camera before, but this week has been an entirely different beast. Working with an incredibly talented cast and crew, Jimmy has had to learn to absorb tons of feedback from every direction. As you can imagine, the volume of opinions can make things tough to process, even for an established fitness veteran like Jimmy. But he knows that following the lead of those who have been here before is an integral part of this new venture . The communication hasn't been one-sided, however. Jimmy's input on why PrayFit's message is so important has helped everyone get on the same page. Ultimately, a combination of listening and being heard will make for a much more powerful message, both in substance and in spirit.

It is perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of Christianity that our Lord craves dialogue with us. He has written the law on our hearts, but he also desires constant two-way conversation that can enrich our lives, feed our souls and even nourish our bodies. When we pray, He listens. When we listen, we learn. Taking the cue of the One who came before us, we can't go wrong.

--E.V.

Lord, this morning, as we finalize our goal of bringing PrayFit's message to families everywhere, we pray for wisdom, confidence and calm. We are so grateful that you hear our prayers and pray that you would help us listen for your voice among the noise of the day. We are humbled by the opportunity and pray that you help us see it through in a way that pleases you. In your name, amen.

>> GET ON "THE LIST": Nearly 5,000 people have signed up for the PrayFit Daily. And why not? Who wouldn't like a bite-sized dose of inspiration and healthy-living tips delivered to their inbox each morning? Sign-up today, or share the link with a friend, by clicking here.

 

THE LORD NEVER PANICS

August 17, 2011Read: Isaiah 55

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” --Isaiah 55:9

Things on the ground look pretty small from 35,000 feet. I know, because that’s where this entry was written. Halfway through a five-hour trip cross country, the flight attendant announced, “If there is a physician on board, please come to the back of the aircraft.” She repeated it three times.

Immediately two young men, including a man sitting in my row, jumped from their seats and rushed to help. The rest of us simply sat and watched as a huddle formed in the back of the plane. After maybe a minute, a grey-haired man from the front of the plane walked passed us, almost casually, to join the effort. It wasn't long before the man from my row returned to his seat and explained that a young lady had suffered a panic attack.

Curious, I asked him if he was a physician. “No," he said. “There was only one doctor among us back there. Two of us were firemen, but only one doctor -- an older man. When he showed up, we all stepped back to let him work.”

(Get me a laptop, stat.)

In life, we tend to panic, and the world responds will all sorts of solutions. But like today, I know I can’t run to the rescue. Only God can. Isn't it assuring to know that He is never rattled or stressed? He's always in control and is never late. And the problems that find us, even at 35,000 feet, are well under His.

Now I think I’ll sit back and relax. We still have a ways to go.

--J.P.

>> PRAYFIT  IN THE NEWS: Earlier this week, PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena was the subject of an interview on bodybuilding.com, the world's most heavily-trafficked fitness website. Learn about health as a means of praise from this Texas kid turned fitness expert in "Body & Soul."

>> DID YOU KNOW? Vitamin D isn't just a vitamin -- it's a powerful tool in achieving better overall health. Numerous studies show that Vitamin D can lower blood pressure, help prevent certain kinds of cancer and fortify you against diabetes. Vitamin D can also help you feel fuller longer, store less bodyfat, burn more abdominal fat and improve strength levels. According to Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Stronger Faith and Healthy Body in 28 Days," vitamin D enhances muscle contraction and protein synthesis, meaning better workouts and improved recovery afterward. The Endocrine Society recommends that healthy individuals get in 1,000-2,000 international units (IU) per day from all sources (food and supplemental). Those who are overweight could benefit from slightly higher doses, up to 4,000 IU.

IT TOOK A LIFETIME

August 8, 2011 Read: Deuteronomy 2

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

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

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

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

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

GUARDIAN OF YOUR HEALTH

August 4, 2011Read: Philippians 4

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 4:7

We are capable defenders. We put locks on our doors at home and security systems in our cars. We spam proof our e-mails and put passwords on our phones. We stand at the gates of the most important elements in life.

But when it comes to health, we're much less protective. Although we're armed with knowledge, that guard is fast asleep outside our door. We've offered diabetes, heart disease, and obesity the keys to their favorite rooms as they check in, and we validate with shortened lives and lost limbs.

But folks, we are capable defenders. When God said to honor our bodies, we became guardians of health. Our eternity is His responsibility; we can't earn it. Fortunately for us, He put us in charge of something that requires our effort.

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW? >> For the first time in history, the overweight outnumber the malnourished. (Source: "Sugar Nation" by Jeff O'Connell)

GET YOUR PRAYFIT VIDEO FIX

Full Circle (100 Huntley): http://bit.ly/jcSCan

Christine Williams (100 Huntley): http://bit.ly/g1092P

Listen Up TV: http://bit.ly/lxRK61

What is PrayFit?: http://bit.ly/kQkk04

Welcome to PrayFit.com: http://bit.ly/lOB2uJ

 

LEAVING HIM BEHIND

June 8, 2011 Most people, Christian or not, are familiar with the Footprints story. The end stanza where the Lord tells the author why there was only one set of footprints during the hard times puts a lump in the throat of even those with the most hardened of hearts.

"The time when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you."

This week, amidst a storm of work tasks and family obligations, I also found myself alone on the beach. As I chatted to the Lord about all of my stresses -- the deadlines, the bills, my overcrowded daytimer -- I was stopped in my tracks, not by his response but by His silence. Hurt and agitated -- as I would be with any friend -- by the apparent indifference to my woes, I turned to look at Him. Seeing that He was no longer by my side, I looked back. There He was -- quickening His stride to hear what I was saying.

He never stopped caring about my problems. I had just become so consumed with stress that I didn't realize that I'd left Him behind. In just a few days, I seem to have outpaced my Maker, the distance between us filled with my own neglect.

Sometimes, as we struggle to navigate the chaos of life, we forget that God wants us to walk with Him. He still carries us through the tough times but we'd do well to remember to stay close by His side because He died to hear every word.

--E.V.

CARBS: FUEL NOT FOE The simple truth about carbs and fitness

There are scores of books and mounds of literature on the consumption of carbohydrates and how this macronutrient relates to performance and body composition. But the bottom line is that your body needs carbohydrate to fuel any number of basic processes. Carbs are the preferred fuel source of the cell, so going totally without them in hopes of shedding a few pounds can end up working against you. To keep things simple, try to focus first on the types of carbs you're consuming daily and when you're consuming them.

Complex carbohydrates, referred to as "good" carbs, are slower-digesting in nature and thus have less of an effect on blood sugar. They provide a steady stream of fuel for your work day and for your active lifestyle while having a minimal impact on your waistline. Examples of these good carbs include oatmeal, vegetables, wheat bread and other whole grain products.

Simple carbohydrates, or "bad" carbs, are digested rapidly in the body causing huge swings in blood sugar and spikes in the hormone insulin which can signal for your body to store fat. White bread, white tortillas, sugary snacks and beverages can be detrimental to your energy and overall health if consumed in excess.

STRATEGIZE: Most of the day, make sure that your carb sources are of the complex variety. The only exceptions to this rule are first thing in the morning or after a hard workout, when your body actually needs a rapid refuel of sugars to fuel recovery.

>> FAD DIETS: Have you ever tried a brand diet like Atkins, South Beach or Paleo? Do you rely on microwave diet meals to keep you in balance? Tell us your experience with diets in the comments section below, being sure to mention your successes and stumbles.

>> VIDEO: Check out PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena talking faith and fitness during his recent appearance on 100 Huntley Street Full Circle.

>> 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!

LET FRIDAY BEGIN

June 3, 2011Read: Psalm 121 “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” --Psalm 121:2

It’s Friday. The ninth inning. The fourth quarter. The last period.

When coaches encourage their players to “leave it all out on the field,” it’s not to sure-up a victory or avoid defeat, but more so to prevent regret either way.

Of all people, Jesus understood Friday. If anybody ever had cause to hesitate before Friday’s first step, He did. But He finished the game. He suited up and took on the best the world had to offer by offering himself for the world.

Let's finish the week stronger than we began it. In Jesus' name, we train.

--J.P.

NAVIGATION STATION Today, we highlight some of the most visited pages on the site. Find everything you need to live abundantly in just a few clicks.

NUTRITION: Recipes, healthy eating tips and more

FITNESS: Workouts, exercise descriptions and the latest fitness news

FORUMS: Enjoy fellowship and accountability with the PrayFit community

STARTER GUIDE: Hear from the founder and learn what you need to get started...TODAY

STORE: Gear up with shirts, hats and wristbands or shop for others at the PrayFit store

>> QUESTION OF THE DAY: Just finding the time to moving is the hard part. Once you're up and about, what is your favorite form of healthy activity? Share in the comments section below and have a great weekend!

 

 

 

TOP RANK

April 8, 2011Read: Proverbs 16

"Pride cometh before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." --Proverbs 16:18

Last night, I was telling a good friend that PrayFit received a strong endorsement and that we jumped  from rank No. 52,000 to No. 49 on Amazon overnight -- the #1 biggest mover on Amazon over the last 24 hours. I was out-of-my-skin excited. So blessed! I ended my sentence with "God is good, isn' t He?" His reply? "Yes He is. But He was just as good when you were ranked No. 52,000."

Gulp.

You know, you and I put a lot of stock in how the world ranks us. From bank accounts to street addresses to book clubs, we can get so focused on where we fall, that's exactly what happens.

--J.P.

PRAYFIT BULLETIN A "newsy" look at what's new in the world of PrayFit

Faith and Fitness in Demand: Thanks in part to a very gracious endorsement from PrayFit supporter Tyler Perry, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," spent the day yesterday as the No. 1 book on Amazon's Movers and Shakers list and climbed to No. 49 on the site's sales rankings. We also welcomed over 100 more subscribers to the PrayFit Daily list, which delivers devotionals and healthy living tips to readers' inboxes each morning.

PrayFit Steps into the Ring: This weekend (April 9), boxer/believer Robert Guerrero will tangle with the relentless Michael Katsidis on HBO Pay-Per-View but he won't be alone. An endorser of PrayFit, Guerrero will be wearing our website address on his trunks. For more info on the fight, visit HBO Boxing.

“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

Store Remodel: Check out our streamlined store -- newly remodeled for your purchasing pleasure -- by clicking here. If you're into the whole faith and fitness thing, you may as well dress like it.

(Pray)FitFabFun: E! News host Giuliana Rancic does more than dish on celebrity gossip. Her website, FabFitFun, which caters specifically to the ladies, is filled with tons of info on exercise and nutrition. PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, who serves on the site's advisory council, will be featured on the site this Monday (April 11). Among the things that Pena will be discussing is the concept behind "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." Set it to your favorites and check it out on Monday, or for a quick tour of Rancic's site, click here.

PRAYFIT 101

October 5, 2010 Paul says in Corinthians (1 Cor. 9:24) to run "in such a way as to get the prize." Assuming that you're heeding his advice today, we want to help you find your stride. Our goal is to provide you with the resources to bolster your faith and fitness in only minutes a day. Take a second to view this message from founder Jimmy Pena.

VIDEO: WELCOME TO PRAYFIT.COM

Then, for more information on how to use this website and all it has to offer you, check out this step-by-step starter guide.

PRAYFIT: GETTING STARTED

>> SPREAD THE FAITH! Help us spread the gospel of faith and fitness TODAY by "liking" us at Facebook and then suggesting us to five people!