lifestyle

PREGNANT WITH PURPOSE

September 28, 2011Read: Luke 1

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb." --Luke 1:41

Though he couldn't yet see, he was already focused. And though he couldn't yet walk, he jumped. You see, Jesus was in the room, and John knew it. So, let's face it: Elizabeth was pregnant with purpose.

It's true...Jesus in a room makes all the difference. When it comes to our jobs, school and even our health, when our purpose walks in, we know it. Sure, someday we'll all bow, but until then, let's jump.

--J.P.

SPEED EATING EQUALS WEIGHT GAIN Study shows that slower eaters have more favorable body composition

How fast do you eat? If you've never considered the question, maybe it's time you should. New research out of New Zealand shows a strong correlation between how quickly you scarf down your dinner and how wide your waistline is.

Researchers mailed a survey to about 1,600 New Zealand women aged 40 to 50 years, asking them to rate themselves on how quickly they ate and also to provide their height, weight and other lifestyle and health factors. About half of the women described themselves as middle-of-the-road in terms of their speed of eating. Thirty two percent fell in the fast or very fast categories, and about 15 percent of women considered themselves slow or very slow eaters.

The women at the slowest end of the scale had the lowest body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement of a person's weight relative to their height. For each step up the speed scale, the BMI rose by 2.8 percent. That translates to nearly six pounds for an average U.S. woman. Researchers suggest that rapid eating may simply lead to greater ingestion of calories.

>> For the full report, click here.

NATURALLY

September 7, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 6

"You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." –1 Corinthians 6:20

Running up the first steep hill of her half-marathon this weekend, Loretta came up behind a man going maybe half her speed. But since hills are hills, they struggled up together, each at their own pace -- two warriors needing the same air to answer the call of the hill. Halfway up, Loretta passed him, but not before they gave each other verbal encouragement.

You know, we've received a number of heartfelt emails and messages lately from many of you in dire need of encouragement to exercise. You've expressed that, for whatever reason, you just don't feel motivated. Well friends, we're praying for you. But at the same time, truthfully, not feeling motivated to honor the body is like saying you're not motivated to be honest. Remember, just because something doesn't come naturally to you doesn't mean you're not called to do it.

So please be encouraged. And do what God has mandated by respecting your body as one of His valuable tools. And oh, yes, the man Loretta was running with on the hill? He had no legs. Using his arms alone, he slowly turned the wheels of his chair over and over and over. Why did he climb? Well he probably had a few good reasons, but the fact that it came naturally, probably wasn't one of them. But no matter what (or why), like you and me, He was simply in the race and the hill was in the way. Answering the call of the hill isn't easy, but because Jesus said yes to His, you can say yes to yours.

--J.P.

HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS Reality-show rapid may not be realistic, or sustainable

A generation of crash diets and miracle fitness programs have fed into our collective and undeniable need for instant gratification. The good news and bad news is that some of these gimmicks work -- if only for a time -- keeping our eyes fixed attentively on the scale. No decrease in weight today? Take heart. The small print says it all: "Results not typical." Healthy, sustained weight loss may not be as rapid as you'd like, despite whatever conceptions NBC's "The Biggest Loser" may have created.

"Usually when people lose a lot of weight quickly, it’s mostly water weight," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. And once the water weight is gone, the frustration tends to set in, she says. "The early weight loss creates false expectations about the rate of subsequent future weight loss. A weight loss rate of 0.5-2.0 pounds per week is more likely to mean that your weight loss is from fat tissue. It also usually means that the weight loss is more likely to be maintained over time.

If you're striving to lose a few pounds, commit to making solid, sustainable lifestyle changes that can help you be a better steward of the body you have been given.

>> 8 WAYS TO EAT BETTER...FOREVER: What changes should you make if you're struggling to lose weight? Here are eight simple strategies anyone can start using today to start melting away inches and pounds.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

IN...DEPENDENCE

July 1, 2011 Read: 1 Peter 3

"So he went and preached to the spirits in prison." --1 Peter 3:19

This weekend we celebrate freedom. As a nation, we proudly hail the day we loosened the chains of tyranny from Great Britain. At PrayFit we want to salute the men and women who never lived to enjoy the freedom they fought to protect. Their memory is a reminder both in celebration and memoriam, that freedom is never free.

As believers, we too celebrate freedom; from our past, today's worry and fear of tomorrow. Those prisons have no key, but the cross stamps pardon on our hearts and the doors open. We're meant to live free indeed.

Friends, when it comes to our health, many of us have a burning desire to be free; from guilt, from diets, and from sedentary lifestyles. But no "how-to" guide or fitness guru is more able to help you achieve abundant health than the one who breathed it into our lungs in the first place. Because of His broad stripes, He's the only one we'll need when our health loses its final perilous fight with pain. Surely, we can trust Him with it in the meantime.

--J.P.

HEART HEALTH BULLETIN

Your heart is a muscle. And just like the rest of the muscles in your body, it responds positively to exercise. So it should come as no surprise that doctors are starting to turn away from long-held "rest and relaxation" approaches to heart health and rehabilitation, instead urging patients to train harder than ever. A more efficient heart, they rationalize, is better at delivering blood and oxygen to working muscles for everything from a walk to your car after work to a no-holds barred weight workout. This can fortify you against cardiovascular disease, help you recover from a heart incident and maintain a healthier overall weight.

>> ABC News delivers the details here.

>> RELATED: An introduction to high-intensity interval cardio

>> SHOP: Be sure to check out our newly-upgraded tees for men and women and take advantage of our clearance sale on selected apparel at the PrayFit store!

DROP IT

July 20, 2011Read: Exodus 4

"The Lord said, 'Throw it on the ground." --Exodus 4:3

Moses was reluctant to part with his staff but when he finally laid it down in obedience, it became the rod of God. Abraham was asked to lay down his own son upon the alter, and Peter was asked to lay down his nets after catching nothing all night.

 You know, we talk a lot about picking up the weights or picking up the pace in our pursuit of a fitter lifestyle, but God is honored most by what we're willing to lay down. What are you holding that's keeping you from living a healthier, more abundant life? Whatever it might be, just know that Moses, Abraham and Peter know first hand that it's alright to let go.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Back Attack

Now firmly in the grasp of summer, most of us are suddenly concerned with our arms and stomachs -- bodyparts that are on display in every tanktop or swimsuit. But no matter the season, one of the most neglected parts of our training programs is the back. Because it's not something you see in the mirror everyday, it's easy to minimize it's importance in your training split. But training the back hard and often not only makes for a stronger, more eye-catching physique but a healthier one at that. Strengthening the muscles of the back makes you stronger at nearly everything else, not to mention "mundane," everyday tasks like sitting, standing and walking. Often, people find that by training their backs, they have less back, hip or neck pain. Go figure.

This week's workout is for the gym-goer who wants a great back workout using primarily cables, which challenge the back with constant tension throughout each move. The back is a tough bodypart but, if done correctly, it can be one of the most gratifying training sessions all week. So here we go. After a good general warm-up such as jogging or riding a stationary bike:

Lat Pulldown: A good place to start, hitting the upper lats primarily, but also serving as a great overall warm up). Reverse-Grip Pulldown: This brings the biceps into play to a greater degree, which is why you can move more weight on this version. And by flipping your grip, you increase the range of motion, shifting more focus to the lower lat area. Wide-Grip Seated Row: This move targets not only the upper lats, but also the middle back, including the rhomboids and middle traps. Swimmers: A bodyweight-only move where you lie on your stomach and extend your legs and arms up and down in a swimming motion,  stimulating the lower back with laser-like precision.

So do 3-4 sets of the first three cable exercises with 10-12 repetitions. On the swimmers move, do 3-4 sets of 15 repetitions (or 15 seconds of controlled reps per set). You can do all your sets for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise or, to add a cardio element, you can perform this in circuit fashion, going from one exercise to the next with little rest.

>> JOIN THE MOVEMENT: Thousands of people have changed their lives and bodies through the transformative power of a simple motto: "In Jesus' name, we train." Find out why so many have made PrayFit a part of their daily routines by clicking here. And, as always, we thank you for continuing to share PrayFit with others! Use the "Recommend," "Tweet" and "Share" features at the top of this page to broadcast this link to your social networks!