melody

Let Us Use Them

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them." --Romans 12:6

Read: Romans 12

If you have any classical music at the ready, go ahead and cue it up. (This reads better with it.) Ready? Now, imagine him. With only a candle to light the room, Mozart furiously scribbles with one hand while playing the piano with the other. His fingers can't keep up. Face buried in the music, he puts the finishing touches on a masterpiece. Although he's alone, he can hear every instrument lending its unique sound to the opus. Before a soul ever hears a note, he raises is head, closes his eyes and then...he's conducting.

Mozart left us his sheet music to follow, but if we play it out of key, it not only sounds wrong -- making dissonance out of harmony -- but it's not what the composer had intended. God -- the body's builder -- gave us the instructions on how we should build our lives and how these bodies support that purpose. Are we being worthy craftsmen, fulfilling His intentions? He certainly didn't intend for us to worship ourselves in the mirror, but we also weren't designed to sit idle in front our TVs.

No, some of us are the hands -- the reachers and the helpers. Others are the feet -- the seekers and doers. You may be the ears, the good listener or the tongue, a fine speaker. But whether yours is the back that carries, or you have the shoulders that bear burdens, we are the body. And like the bible says in Romans 12, "Let us use them."

--Jimmy Peña

3 WAYS TO START LOSING WEIGHT TODAY

Contrary to what many may have led you to believe, losing a few pounds and inches needn't be about complicated formulas or crushing deprivation. And while there are plenty of methods you can try to start slimming down your physique, we've boiled it down to three to get you started. Once you get these three tactics in check, then you can start building on to speed your progress.

>> Click here for the three tips.

Teach The World To Sing

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." --Romans 10:9

Read: Romans 10

Yesterday at the gym I was listening to a great new soundtrack filled with well-known classics in my headphones. The voices on this one song and the catchy chorus were just too good not to join in. So without hesitation, I began to add a harmony line; something I learned from countless days singing with Mom.

Well, as I got off the machine to start lifting, one of the employees nearby raised his eyebrows and looked at me as if to say, "Don't quit your day job, pal." I grinned and chuckled to myself. But it dawned on me. He didn't know I was singing the harmony. See, even if you're in tune, any harmony line doesn't sound right to others if they can't hear the melody.

Folks, our lives, the daily routines and these bodies are merely harmonies. Let's remember that we're out of tune if we're too focused on our minor line, never letting others hear who we're listening to. You know, "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony," but that can only happen if I'm in unison with God's favorite song of all -- and the only one He lifts His Holy hand for silence to hear -- the song of Jesus.

--Jimmy Peña

TURN UP THE VOLUME

A few years ago, PrayFit co-founder Eric Velazquez, Dr. Jim Stoppani and I formed the Weider Research Group when we worked together at Muscle & Fitness Magazine. One month in particular, we performed a study to determine how music affects strength.

We had a group of trained athletes complete a shoulder workout on two separate occasions. Both sessions consisted of three sets of dumbbell overhead presses, three sets of Smith machine upright rows, and three sets of dumbbell side laterals, all done using their 10-rep max and taking each set to failure. They did one workout while listening to their choice of music on headphones and during the other workout they listened to no music.

We reported at the 2008 annual meeting of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) that the subjects were able to do an average of one more rep per set when they listened to music as compared to when they did not.

The take-home message from this study is obvious: listen to your preferred music when you train (or during whatever activity you enjoy). Being able to complete one more rep with the same weight, or going that extra 1/4 mile, is what can make all the difference in your physical progression.

>> PRAYFIT DAILY: Over 8,000 members receive this faith-and-fitness devotional in their inbox each morning. Are you one of them? If not, click here to sign-up for the PrayFit Daily and then share the link with your friends. We're building a PrayFit Nation, one inspirational message at a time, and you're part of it!

RIGHT ON CUE

September 27, 2010Read: Philippians 1

"Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you, will carry it on until completion to the day of Jesus Christ." --Philippians 1:6

Last night, my nephew Casey called us to play a song he'd been practicing for an upcoming piano recital. Casey, 16, is an aspiring songwriter and musician, and as he thundered away at his keyboard, my wife and I put him on speaker. A few seconds into his masterpiece, Loretta and I were in awe. We couldn't believe his talent. "That's my nephew!" I boasted. And then right on cue, Casey's perfection got pitchy. What should have been sharp went south, and what flowed went flat.

"It needs work," Casey explained with a giggle as he got back on the phone. But of course, despite a few hiccups, we thought it was awesome. "Keep working, Case. It'll come," we encouraged with applause.

You know, Casey's call gave me encouragement for the upcoming week. Each of us has a song to live. A beautiful melody that God loves to hear us play. After all, He conducts our lifesong. And while we might hit a sour note from time to time, like Casey's riff, God the conductor is still at work and loving us through our low notes.

And as it so happens, a few minutes after the call, I sent Casey a text asking him what the name of the tune was. He sent back, "Who I am hates who I've been." (Wow, right on cue.)

--J.P.

PRAYFIT WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 10-Minute Full-Body Blast

Contrary to what most "hour per session" trainers will tell you, there's a fantastic level of fitness to be had by investing 10 minutes per day in exercise. The following quickie routine is a perfect day-starter for those looking to hit all their major muscle groups without an exhausting trip to the gym. After a few minutes of warm-up -- think 2-5 minutes worth of jumping jacks, running in place and arm swings -- perform each exercise listed, in order, to failure. Move from exercise to exercise without rest, save for the time it takes to list how many reps you performed on each. When you complete the last set of double crunches, rest 1-2 minutes, then perform the entire circuit once more, again listing your total number of reps.

Try this workout 2-3 times this week -- or for several weeks -- and, with proper nutrition, we guarantee you'll be looking and feeling stronger and leaner.

Exercise                                Sets        Reps Jump squats                           2              to failure Stationary Wall Squat            2              to failure Power Push-Up                      2             to failure Standard Push-Up                 2              to failure Double Crunch                       2              t0 failure

>> WORKOUT JOURNALS: Chronicle your successes and shortcomings of your experiences with this workout and others in a PrayFit Workout Journal by clicking here.