maintenance

He's Strong. We're Weak.

"For by grace you have been saved and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9

Read: Ephesians 2

It just never seems to end, does it? This pursuit of health. For you, maybe it's another day in the gym, looking at that same row of dumbbells. Or maybe it's walking another lap around the familiar track with the expected turns. Either way, picking up the weight or the pace are the keys to change, improvement or even maintenance. More...again. Again, some more. Besides, you're only as good as your last workout, so you huff and puff...(rough). Folks, aren't we glad Heaven doesn't require the same?

Let's face it, we're just not strong enough, fast enough, good enough. Fortunately, Jesus lifted our heaviest burden and walked the steepest hill. We can stop fighting a fight He's already won. In fact, the next time you're struggling to lift yesterday's dumbbell with a body designed to weaken, or you're trying to keep your previous pace with steadily slowing legs, take a second and smile. Go ahead. Just grin and shake your head. Let it remind you of just how small and weak you are, and just how big and able He is. I admit, whenever I do that, I seem to be a little stronger and a little bit faster. I don't know. Maybe it's because I realize He's put me in charge of something that requires my effort.

--Jimmy Peña

STRENGTH TIP: Go Unilateral Did you know that by training one limb at a time, you can actually produce 20 percent more force? Get the inside scoop here.

NETWORK, SHOP, CHAT, SOW Take advantage of the many outlets and resources available to the PrayFit Nation

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

>> SHOP: Spread the health via your apparel at the PrayFit online store. Custom hats, cozy tees and logo wristbands are all available at the click of a mouse, with easy shipping. You can also pick up PrayFit books and DVDs to help you start living a healthier lifestyle here. Click to get started.

>> CHAT: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

"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, 6-Time Boxing World Champion

>> Catch Robert Guerrero in action this weekend as he squares off against pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather on Showtime Boxing. For more info on the fight, click here!

I'LL DRIVE

December 8, 2010Read: Psalm 139

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." --Psalm 139:14

"Jimmy, you drive." Those three innocent words used to cause me serious panic. Well, it wasn't so much what was said, but who said it. Growing up, whenever the family went anywhere, Dad drove. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times he didn't. But on the other hand, when I got old enough to drive, he'd surprise me and want to take my truck.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't so much the driving that worried me, but it was the condition of my truck. See, I wasn't a neat freak. Alright, that's putting it mildly. I was kinda messy. (My mom and Loretta are both nodding and shaking their heads right about now.) And whenever Dad caught me off guard, his disappointment in how I was taking care of the truck he gave me was like a dagger.

See to Dad, that truck was more than something to get me from here to there. It was a gift that he practically built with his own hands. And my negligence might as well have been a blow to the gut. Speaking of, at PrayFit, we believe that our effort to be healthy, whether it be to lose weight or lower our blood pressure, is a way to show God just how thankful we are for the body He made to get us through life. Hypothetically speaking, if God asked us to take Him from here to there, in what condition would He find us? On second thought, that's not all that hypothetical after all.

--J.P.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: ORANGE-CHOCOLATE COOKIES

That's right, it's time for some dessert. Being healthier, after all, isn't about painful deprivation as much as it is about better choices. So if you are moving your body regularly, you shouldn't feel guilty about occasionally giving in to your sweet tooth. But if you are being calorie-conscious, this can be a bit more agonizing unless you know how to indulge without going overboard. That's where PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, comes in.

"My mother-in-law discovered this recipe last year in a magazine, and these cookies became an instant family favorite," she says. "The combination of orange and chocolate makes for a light but decadent cookie. At 90 calories each, you can have one (or two) and not feel guilty about dessert."

Orange-Chocolate Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

1 cup butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 egg yolk 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup orange marmalade 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate 1 tablespoon shortening

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk and orange peel. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut into rounds. Press your thumb into center and fill with 1/4 teaspoon orange marmalade.

Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets in a 375-degree oven for about 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Dip half of each cookie in chocolate mixture. Place cookies on rack to set.

Calories: 89 Fat: 5.5 grams Saturated Fat: 2.5 grams Protein: 1 gram Carbohydrate: 11 grams Sodium: 2 milligrams Cholesterol: 15 milligrams Fiber: 0 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. You can also visit her blog for more recipes at http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/.

>> PLUS! 3 ways to start losing bodyfat...today

"IT'S A RENTAL"

August 4, 2010Read: 1 Corinthians 6

"You are not your own. You were bought at a price, so honor God with your body." --1 Corinthians 6:20

Somewhere, on some rental car lot -- with the sounds of inbound flights drowning out the hum of transit buses coming and going from the terminal -- an economy sedan sits in solitude, used, beaten and soiled. Coffee stains, cigarette ashes, Slim Jim wrappers. An inadvertent pen mark is making a home in the upholstery and the suspension on the car is aching from the accumulation of sharper-than-normal turns and a Dukes of Hazzard approach to the speed bumps on the return route to the terminal.

Why are we so hard on our rentals? Because we don't have to take it home with us, of course! Strangely, the same person who would put their Avis in door-dinging peril prefers to park their high-priced Mercedes in the remotest corner of the grocery store lot at home.

Our bodies are rentals -- they are only ours for a fleeting moment of time in eternity -- but we need to treat them more like our own credit depends on the condition in which we return them. Today, take to cleaning out your personal make and model -- better fuel, a spotless interior and a shiny, polished coat. You'll feel better and the ultimate Lessor will be appreciative of the upkeep.

--E.V.

RESISTING BONE DEPLETION Keep bone density high with resistance and high-impact training

Training is all about progression. No matter what your goal is, you should always work on beating yesterday's best. This is the only way to ensure drastic, lasting change in your physique and overall health. But just in case you needed another reason to bust your tail in the gym or elsewhere, increased intensity can also boost your bone health.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reports that long-term running and resistance training helped to increase bone mineral density. They also found that high-impact activities, such as running, have a greater positive effect on bone mineral density than resistance training.

So two activities that many people still shun because of their perceived difficulty -- weight training and running -- hold myriad benefits, not just for those looking to become leaner or more athletic, but for anyone looking to fortify bone structure. By training this way, you could literally be adding years to your life clock and keeping yourself out of the urgent care in the meantime.