mercy

Let Go of the Rope

"I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" --Psalm 91:2

Read: Psalm 91

As promised in yesterday's Prayfit Daily, here's another journal entry I'd like to share with you.

"I never predicted such weeks like this. If I ever get up...if I ever hope and rise and stand...if I ever smile, truly smile and speak and write and encourage, make no mistake, it won't be because I kept fighting. It won't be because of my inner man, my deep faith or some gut-summoned passion of belief. No, I have none of that. If I ever get better, it will only be by the mercy and unbelievable, inconceivable grace of my dear God."

Is that you today? If it is, I understand. For months, I tried -- hand over hand -- to scale the walls of a pit. The perfect patient with an impeccable health ethic. But as you just read, a few weeks ago, I let go of the rope to find myself on my back, looking up at the impossible, knowing that God's grace is the only answer. I tell ya, of all the things our health exposes, our frailty is one of them. Can anyone agree? How many of you reading this today are dealing with unforeseen health issues that you're struggling to overcome? If so, all of us at PrayFit want to pray with you. List your request(s) in the comment section below or simply say "unspoken" and we all promise to lift you up in prayer.

--Jimmy Peña

FITNESS TIP: What's in a Pump?

We are often asked what good "the pump" is during a workout. Here's the skinny on the muscle pump. First things first, a "pump" simply means that the amount of blood vessels that feed those particular muscles increases, allowing for an increase in the delivery of water and blood to the fibers, or a better pump, as it’s commonly known. It’s that enhanced pump that allows for ongoing success in size and strength because blood and water rush into the muscle faster than the circulatory system can remove it.

Why is that good? Well, that pump enhances the stretch on muscle cells, which triggers them to grow by bringing all the nutrients (e.g., amino acids, creatine, glucose, and hormones) and oxygen needed to support energy production, growth, and recovery within the muscle. The pump also helps remove the byproducts of metabolism (e.g., carbon dioxide and lactic acid), which fatigue the muscles and inhibit performance.

So if you lift weights and enjoy the benefits of the pump after a set, there is reason to rejoice. Send us your other fitness and physiology questions and we'd be happy to try and get to them here on the site.

>> LISTEN: Now, you can share the PrayFit Daily -- written and read by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña -- with a click of the mouse. Click here, listen to your fave devotionals, then use the new "share" tool to spread the faith!

Pick A Food Fight

"And everyone who is striving, has self-control in all things." --1 Corinthians 9:25

Read: 1 Corinthians 9

At PrayFit, we place a great deal of emphasis on healthy eating habits in order that you might live more abundant lives. Of course, we believe that this life is vapor-quick and that no matter how many good foods we eat or bad foods we avoid, our days are numbered. Let's face it, food can't save us.

And many say, "Since life is so quick, why not eat up?" We say "Since life is so brief, why not stay the course?" Think about it: Where does God live? He lives inside of us. Our bodies are His dwelling place. How much respect are we showing if we have a willful disregard for what certain foods -- not to mention what certain amounts of foods -- can do to our bodies? Again, this won't translate into long-lasting change unless you see healthy eating as an act of obedience.

Now, we're not saying we can't enjoy food -- even the cheat kind -- but too many of our friends and siblings, parents and kids are struggling in a battle against food-related illness...A battle we were never meant to fight, and one we're sure to lose unless we:

--push away from the table sooner --shop smarter --teach our kids portion control --put up a fight

Besides, God didn't design us to be at the mercy of food. Let's bless His heart by taking care of ours.

--Jimmy Peña

DANA'S HEALTH FOOD QUIZ

PrayFit nutritional consultant Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, is the best in the business when it comes to helping people develop healthy eating habits. A stickler for education, Dana came up with this simple quiz to gauge just how much you know about the difference between processed foods and fresh foods.

1. Which typically contains the most additives and preservatives?

A. Frozen dinners B. Sugary cereals C. Canned tuna

2. Which is lowest in sodium?

A. Frozen pizza B. Frozen vegetables C. Canned soup

3. Which preservative is typically used to add color to hot dogs and lunch meats?

A. Xanthan Gum B. Sodium Nitrite C. Citric Acid

4. On food packaging, "natural" means...

A. Nothing B. The ingredients meet federal requirements C. The ingredients come from nature

RESULTS

Add up your score based on the following points system: 1. A: 5 points; B: 3 points; C: 1 point 2: A: 3 points; B: 5 points; C: 1 point 3: A: 1 point; B: 5 points: C: 3 points 4: A: 5 points; B: 3 points; C: 1 point

Your Score:

15-20 Points: All About Fresh You know better than to mess with frozen pizzas and breakfast sandwiches and instead opt for mostly fresh ingredients and the healthiest of processed foods like frozen veggies, canned tomatoes, dried fruit and whole grain crackers.

10-14 Points: On the Fresh Track While you may not always be making it to farmers’ market or produce aisle, your diet has a healthy balance of fresh and packaged foods.

4-9 Points: Packing in the Preservatives A quick lesson in fresh foods 101 would do you some good. Pay closer attention to those labels and tally up the sodium count, are you getting way more than you need?

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.

TRAFFIC

October 28, 2011Read: Ecclesiastes 7

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride." --Ecclesiastes 7:8

I could hear it in his voice. Dejected, defeated, exhausted, PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena was in his third hour of a commute that should take 45 minutes. Those familiar with Southern California freeways can relate to the emotional roller coaster of emerging from a sea of brake lights with renewed hope, only to pull to a screeching halt a quarter mile ahead. Accidents, curious passersby, construction -- all things beyond his control. Tonight, Jimmy was, as ever, at the mercy of the pace provided.

Life can be the same way. Just when we think that we are ready to meander into the fast lane, we are pinned in by other obstacles and forced to stay put until the traffic eases. In these moments, we may want to lay on the horn or maneuver for the next closest exit but invariably, the best play is to exercise patience and wait it out.

Are you stuck in one of life's jams, physically or spiritually? In need of Godspeed? Stay in your lane and let Him guide you through. Someday the rearview will reveal that there really was no better place on earth, than on the road that led to Heaven.

And oh, for the record, Jimmy made it home just fine. It was much later than he may have wanted but he arrived safely to a smiling wife and a silent embrace that seemed to absorb all of the frustration of the road behind him. Someday, we'll all be so blessed.

--E.V.

PRAYFIT WEEK IN REVIEW

Faith

>> WE'RE PAGE-TURNERS: If you love the Author, the end will be better than expected

>> THE ONE WHO CALLS: Believe it or not, you're in the same class pharoahs and kings

>> THE MOMENT AT HAND: Let's clear our throats and make the most of our opportunities today

>> NO OTHER WORD FOR GRACE: It may be worth novels but a single word will do

Fitness

>> WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Use mechanical advantage to enhance your productivity

>> TEST THE MACHINE: Make practice out of setting the bar high and hurdling it the next day

>> SMARTER SOUP: Liven up this comfort food with a few easy tips

>> MUSCLE FOOD: Add eggs to your breakfast to get stronger

 

 

 

A MAZE OF GRACE

October 18, 2011Read: Hebrews 13

"So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" --Hebrews 13:6

"On a scale of 1-10, it's probably a 9 (in difficulty)" said Bob Connor, the owner of a Massachusetts corn maze. Last week, his farm became the center of national attention when a couple and their newborn couldn't find their way out as darkness fell. The emergency 911 call recorded their fear, and when it came to pass, it was learned that the trio was only 25 feet from the exit when help arrived.

Sounds simple enough, and the farmer's 15 minutes of fame have come and gone, but the story stuck with me this weekend. When it comes to health, the day's maze gets tough to navigate when darkness falls. If we're not careful, we can easily get lost amid the tall statistics. Before you know it, we're turned around and confused while sickness and disease become real scarecrows in the cornfield of life.

So friends, if you're struggling, take courage. Whatever labyrinth you find yourself in, God is neither bewildered or astonished. He's never slept and knows the way. Although the enemy wants to puzzle you, God simultaneously has your hand and an aerial view. So, don't panic. Mercy is on the way. We're either almost out, or He's almost back. You're lost only in a maze of grace.

--J.P.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

According to NBC News, a new survey from Gallup indicates... >> Only 1 in 7  American workers are at a normal weight without a chronic health issue; >> 86% of American workers are above normal weight or have chronic health issues; >> Health problems can be linked to 450 million missed work days; >> Abnormal weight costs the economy 153 billion in lost productivity.

How have weight-related issues affected your business, your productivity or the work of a colleague? Please leave your experiences in the comments section below.

THE PRIZE FIGHTER

November 15, 2010Read: 2 Timothy 4

"I have fought the good fight..." --2 Timothy 4:7

This past Saturday night, many in the sports world gathered around their televisions to watch the much anticipated boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. But by the end of the bout, those watching were witness to much more than just stiff jabs and timely upper cuts. One fighter taught a lesson in mercy, the other, in courage.

Hardly able to count the fingers being held before his swollen eyes, Margarito demanded to continue fighting. His opponent knew he was about to fall. But had Margarito quit or Manny gone for the knockout, no one would have blamed either, but instead they did neither. When the bell announced the final round, Margarito stood up and Manny stood down.

Ironic -- mercy meeting courage -- because for the fight to go the distance, both were required.

As we begin this week, despite last week's left hooks and low blows, the bell means it's time to get up. After all, as believers we're "prize" fighters, aren't we? And while our enemy shows no mercy, God does. (Ding...ding)

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 10-Minute Bodyweight Cardio Blast

No treadmill? No bike? Not a problem. It's short-sighted to think that you need some piece of gym equipment to get your heart racing. The greatest piece of equipment at your disposal is your body. Hit this intense, at-home cardio session to burn calories and start the day off right.

TRAINER TIP: To increase the amount of fat you burn, try this workout on an empty stomach. After a night of fasting, available blood sugar is low, meaning that your body will tap into stored fat for fuel faster than normal.

Perform each exercise for one minute and move to the next exercise immediately, with no rest between moves.

Walk in place Jog in place High knee running Jumping jacks Fast feet (Squat down, spread your feet and tap your toes as fast as you can) High knee running Virtual jump rope (Feel free to use an actual jump rope if you have one) High knee running Jumping jacks Walk in place

>> MONDAY "TO DO": Today, we're asking for a favor. If you haven't already, please visit the Official PrayFit Facebook page and click "Like," then suggest us to ten friends. Help us get to 1,000 "Likes" by the end of the year to help more friends and family get a daily faith and fitness inspiration as we head into 2011.