music

The Land of Misfits

"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 last one 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 as we begin to prepare our hearts to celebrate His birth, 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 God and honoring Him with the body He 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

Christmas Tradition: Maybe it's just me, but when you hear the word "Misfits" you probably think of the classic claymation Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. (Or maybe it IS just me.) At any rate, what is your family's favorite Christmas movie? What do you have playing as you deck the halls? We have our favorites. Christmas Vacation anyone?

IMG_4821GEAR UP!: Give the gift of faith and fitness this Christmas. Please take a quick look at the store to find our t-shirts and tanks with some of our favorite verses. Friends, it's through your giving that we're able to continue the ministry of PrayFit and we are so grateful. We hope these items -- books, DVDs, apparel and more -- bless your life and your testimony as Christians with a heart for health. Thank you for your love and support.

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Yes, I'm Still Listening

Working and writing from home, I tend to keep the place filled with music. When I'm reflective, I've been known to go a little old-school (ya know, 90's Christian). If I'm researching, it's classical Beethoven or Tchaikovsky. For me, music just seems to help me focus on the mission at hand. One of the programs I often use is Pandora, a free music service that serves up all my favorites. I can create channels with my favorite genre, artists and songs. Before I know it, I've written volumes.

However, and some of you may be familiar with this, if you listen to Pandora long enough, it goes quiet, completely silent. If I'm consumed by a topic, deep in thought or finishing a paragraph, I may not actually notice it right away. But after a few minutes, when you finally click on it, a simple question appears: Are You Still Listening? That question always makes me pause. I like that it gives me the opportunity to click the button that says, Yes, I'm still listening.

Many of us have the week planned. The necessary routine is pretty much set. But as we schedule excellence each day, let's not forget to plan those precious moments alone with the Lord. We need to take our Bibles, read a passage, talk to Him, and listen to Him. We need to hit our knees and give Him our undivided attention. Because from the moment our little feet hit the floor, our lives are filled with so much noise. Indeed, from social media to social demands, life is a non-stop soundtrack. But in truth, some of it -- much of it -- should really only be background noise for the God-given mission at hand. Through it all, let's be sure to watch and listen for the question. It's a question that's always being asked. And when the moment comes, when the noise finally goes away, just take a deep breath and sigh, close your eyes, smile and say, "Yes, Lord. Yes, I'm still listening."

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Much like our physical muscle, spiritual muscle can atrophy. Our hearts need to be trained. However, most of the time, silence needs to be planned. Are you having quiet times? Are you being as disciplined about that aspect of life as you are about your workout? Let this week be that kind of week. Who's in?

Team PrayFit Heads to Baylor: PrayFit founders Jimmy and Loretta Peña head to Baylor University later this week. As special guests of faculty, Jimmy and Loretta will be attending the Baylor vs. Oklahoma football game on Thursday night, gratefully watching the action from the President's Box. Jimmy has also been asked to speak to a few classes in both the Health and Human Performance and Religion departments. More details to come, but please be praying for their trip and the his message to students.

fall hike appleraisin 007RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Morgan's Apple & Raisin Salad

Song of Songs says, "Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples." This fall recipe from newly-minted PrayFit contributor Kimberlee Bush does just that. Crunchy, crispy, tangy and -- wait for it -- healthy. The best part? This recipe was developed with the input of a four-year-old. True story.

>> Click here for the recipe!

 

4'33"

IMG_4510We were finally there. The 10th Anniversary Gala of The Walt Disney Concert Hall had been circled on our calendar for months. Loretta and I did nothing short of soak up every moment. We walked the red carpet, stood in the lobby, ate hors d'oeuvres, and to strangers who were equally as excited as we were, I gave a few cordial "How do you do's?" Within minutes, we'd witness the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra with honored, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and of course, conducted by the great Gustavo Dudamel. Before we knew it, bells tolled and lights dimmed. We took our seats. (I typed that with a whisper.)

After the first chair took his honored place, Yo-Yo Ma and Dudamel emerged side by side to thunderous applause. The program was set to be a musical allegory of the difficult tale of the hall's construction. Concerning the first piece, Dudamel urged us to take in "every corner and every sound of this beautiful space." No doubt we would. I held Loretta's hand. I could feel her anticipation through it. Like a distinguished gentleman, Dudamel turned and faced the music. One subtle gesture and every instrument was raised to the ready. With the stillness of a statue, Yo-Yo Ma held the bow against the strings, with his eyes fixed intently on his conductor -- as did every other member of the orchestra -- waiting for the cue. A cue that never came.

IMG_4473After about 30 seconds, I began to feel uncomfortable. What was Dudamel waiting for? There must be a technical difficultly. I remembered reading that the elaborate sailboat-style big screens were hoisted specifically for the evening, so maybe the video wasn't working? I just knew something was wrong. Trying not to be obvious, my eyes scanned the shadowed crowd. Surely I wasn't alone. After three minutes of complete silence with the musicians at-the-ready, I confirmed that Dudamel was the most professional, the most calm, the most composed man I had ever witnessed during a crisis.

But after four minutes and thirty-three seconds, the crisis ended when Dudamel turned around. Without hesitation, the hall erupted; a standing ovation filled with bravos and cheers. He took the hand of Yo-Yo Ma and they stood and applauded one another, the orchestra, the crowd and the hall itself. My head was spinning. What did I just witness? The next day, the L.A. Times described the moment like this: "Dudamel began where no American orchestra has, before it, dared to go — with John Cage's "4'33"," the so-called silent piece." I came to realize that the point of the piece was to take in the surroundings, the sound of silence, and to honor the hall's creator.

When we finally took our seats, Dudamel said that because we have honored the designer and taken in his blessed work, we will now experience what it can do.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Can't tell you how excited I've been to share that experience. Before I left the hall that night, I was thinking of all of you. I couldn't wait to compare that silent piece with our daily, silent peace. Each day, we're so eager to start the music, aren't we? To check the phone, our e-mail, the news, traffic and sports. We hit the floor, the road, the gym. We know what instrument we play and we don't wait to play it. But doesn't our Lord -- the Designer and Creator -- deserve our undivided attention? Like Yo-Yo Ma sat watching the master, wouldn't we be wise to do the same before we play? Trust me when I tell you, that when the music finally began in the hall, it was octaves above amazing. Friends, our lives are clearer, stronger, more powerful when we spend those few precious, silent moments with Him; waiting, listening, and watching for His cue. Only then do we really, truly play.

SILENT PEACE STARTS HERE

Some love the feeling of cracking the spine of their Bible. Others like to leaf through the pages of pocket-sized inspirational readings. Many of you prefer the ease and access of digital devotions like PrayFit, and we are so blessed by it. To enrich your morning meeting with the Lord and to right your rudder for the day, we have hundreds of entries from the PrayFit Daily for you to browse in our archive. But we also have a reserve of select devotions on audio, authored and read by founder Jimmy Peña. Bookmark the following links and keep them handy for when you're ready to let a little silence wash over you.

>> PRAYFIT DAILY ARCHIVE: A chronological catalog of all of our devotions since the very beginning!

>> PRAYFIT AUDIO: Grab your headphones and listen in on some of our favorite entries by clicking here. In fairness, some may not quite reach 4 minutes and 33 seconds.

Bravo!

Over our summer break, Loretta and I spent an evening with The Maestro of the Movies. Admittedly, this concert had been circled on our calendar for months. If the name John Williams isn't familiar, I'll bet you my keyboard that you know his work. In fact, if you've been to the movies over the last 40 years, chances are you know more than one song by heart. And there we sat. Under the night sky at the Hollywood Bowl, the wonderful and classy Julie Andrews hosted the gala and the great John Williams conducted the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra. And ohhh did they play. From the soundtracks of E.T. to Lincoln to Star Wars, each note was a memory as vivid as the stars above. The joy on Loretta's face as each melody played was priceless. And me? I thoroughly enjoyed every measure, but like a boy in line to meet a superhero, I was waiting for one song in particular. But before you could say, "Bravo," the first hour was over, the musicians stood and Mr. Williams left the stage under thunderous applause.

Intermissions are interesting. The lights go up and life resumes. Reality sets in. Minutes earlier I was a Raider of the Lost Ark, swinging over lagoons to find hidden treasure but let the music stop and my back is aching and my hips won't open! I was even sweating the traffic we would soon face getting out of there. But despite how I was feeling, a team of horses couldn't pull me away. Why? There was more. It was just the intermission. So I moved around a little, did some light stretching and said hello to the strangers in my aisle as I made my way back to my seat.

How are you feeling today? Have you been spending good, quality time reading God's word, praying, talking, listening? And what about your health? Eating right? Exercising? Is your workout a symphony of praise? I sure hope so. If not, I know it can get tough. But press on. God has an encore the bible says is beyond imagination. Not the half has been told of what's in store for us. So as you and I wait out this life, let's enjoy the intermission simply because of our inner mission. Move around a little, do some stretching, say hi to those around you. There's more. And oh, let's try not to sweat the traffic.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. The Maestro never did play my song. Can you guess what I was waiting to hear? I gave you a hint, did you catch it? Alas, after three curtain calls, the sweet 80-year old genius placed his palms together, put them to the side of his tilted face and motioned to his intimate party of 18,000 that it was time to go to bed. Bravo.

THE INNER MISSION What is God calling you to do with your health? What goals are you setting? Perhaps with the kids back in school, you've set some new objectives? Maybe you're a couple desiring to start an exercise plan together. Whatever you need your health for, enjoy your time, follow your heart's dream. Make music while you wait.

"I discipline my body like an athlete training it to do what it should." 1 Cor. 9:27NEW GEAR Our fitness can be our witness. But if people aren't quite receiving the message, we have no problem making it more obvious. The newest additions to our apparel line broadcast your dedication to health as a means of praise. Click here to check our new assortment of men's and women's tanks.

DESTINATION: YOUR CHURCH If you are a regular visitor to our site, then you are likely familiar with the core of Jimmy Peña's message. But if you've never had the chance to hear this message delivered in person, now is your chance. PrayFit is actively seeking churches to visit this fall and winter. Write us at info@prayfit.com to find out how you can bring Jimmy to a service at your place of worship!

Press Play

"I will remember the works of the Lord." --Psalm 77:11

Read: Psalm 77 Ever notice that the first song you hear in the morning is the tune that somehow your brain plays all day? You don't even have to hear the whole thing -- just a few notes and you got yourself a theme song. Better make it a good one, amen? You know, it's neat how the Lord can show you something, be it a story in a book, a movie theme, or even the words of a song, and you don't realize why until -- well -- until you realize why.

Back in March, Loretta and I downloaded an album by JJ Weeks Band called All Over the World. At first, it was just an incredible CD that Loretta wouldn't leave the house without hearing. (I'm the resident DJ, of course.) And it's so good, I've even written devotions with their music playing in the background. But what I loved hearing in March, I needed to hear in June.

Can you relate? Ever gone through something, and you're immediately reminded of a lesson God taught you some time in your past? Books, conversations, music. I like to imagine God doing neat things like that. Since all things work together for my good, I like to think that the notes He puts in my head one day, He gracefully leads to my heart the next. After all, how many times in my life have I whispered, "So that's why."

What song do you have in your heart today? As we start a new week, are you battling fear or doubt? Facing financial pitfalls or health struggles? Whatever your day has in store, let's recall the lessons we've learned. Extend the grace. Pray for courage. Summon your song of praise. So that when the enemy begins to hum that unwelcome dissonance of failures and weaknesses that seek to rob you of joy...close your eyes and press play.

–Jimmy Peña

P.S. If you want to bless your life, go to iTunes and download "Is It Ever" and "Sunrise" by JJ Weeks Band. Listen to the words. Write them on your heart. And when you need them, you'll say to yourself, "So that's why."

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Abs & Calves

Today's workout will hit your midsection and your lower legs quickly and effectively. Even though you can't completely isolate any one portion of the abdominals, you can involve one section over another based on angles and which portion (upper or lower) of your body is moving at one time. As far as your calves, the standing calf raise targets the gastrocnemius, tthe larger, diamond-shaped muscle atop the smaller, deeper, soleus muscle.

>> Click here for the abs & calves workout!

Perfect Harmony

"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 walked by, 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 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.

WHAT'S ON YOUR PLAYLIST? Some of you (and you know who you are) have told us you're tired of listening to Toby Mac. Nothing against Toby Mac, but hey, what else gets the blood pumping? We want to know the top three songs that are on your playlist. Ready? Go.

Can't Be Silent

“‘I tell you,’” he replied, “‘if they keep quiet, the rocks will cry out.’” –Luke 19:40

Read: Luke 19:28-40

The song of creation. Can you hear it? You and I are God’s special guests in a masterpiece performed in His honor that He conducts. Not only that, He’s given us “first chair.” In orchestra speak, first chair is reserved for the one who is both most capable and responsible, regardless of the instrument they play. You and I are active participants in a grand arrangement entitled, 'Creation.'

When the Pharisees demanded Jesus to quiet the praise of His disciples, He assured them that if the disciples hush, they would literally hear rock music. But the idea of God’s people being quiet is probably as sad a commentary as I’ve ever read…like a father who comes home to a silent family oblivious to his presence, or a mom who has never heard her children say, "I love you." Friends, the God of wonder, who has a beyond-conceivable love and unbelievable future for us is worthy to be praised with everything we have — our minds, our money, our time, and yes, our bodies.

The song of creation. Are you playing it? It’s your life. Your cue! You can’t be silent. He gave you the music. You are the music. Just read the notes and watch the Master. You’re in the first chair. Be amazed…and play.

--Jimmy Peña

THE PERFECT BREAKFAST?

Does such a thing exist? Well, there's certainly breakfasts that are better for you than most and this is one of them. Click the link below for a high-protein, energy-packed morning meal that will work to rebuild muscle and provide long-lasting fuel for your day.

>> Is this the perfect breakfast?

>> GET STARTED: If you're looking for a launching off point for your get-fit endeavors in 2013, try one of our two at-home, 33-day fitness programs or our book, which includes two 28-day bodyweight-only programs and a full meal plan. You can grab these resources in our online store.

>> READ: For quick-hit, healthy living resources, visit our dedicated fitness and nutrition pages, which are updated with new content each week.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

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

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!

Flying Without Wings

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." --Matthew 6:33

Read: Matthew 6

In Jonathan Pierce's song "Flying Without Wings", a great line always connects with me. He sings:

"So impossible as it may seem, you've got to fight for every dream. 'Cause who's to know, which one you let go, would've made you complete."

Last week, the space shuttle Discovery, sitting atop a 747 shuttle carrier aircraft, flew over the Washington Monument; its last flight. See, both the goal and the cost to get there are just too high. A bittersweet end to NASA's dream of boldly going where no man has gone before. But no matter where you stand on the politics of it, one thing is undisputed: We went as high as we could.

Friends, as we begin the week pursuing Jesus, let's be dreamers who fight for the things God put in our hearts. If He's called our souls to it, everything we have -- including our health -- is subject to that calling. And as believers, we're climbers, over-comers, and conquerors. So keep going, stay strong. Let's go as high as we can on earth, knowing Jesus paid the cost for the Heaven-seekers to someday go higher.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Shoulders, Arms, Abs

Sure, it's still early spring but that means it's the perfect time to start getting ready for summer. This workout tackles shoulders, arms and abs. All you need is a set of dumbbells and a little bit of space, either at home or the gym.

For each exercise listed, choose a weight that brings about failure at the rep range listed. By "failure," we simply mean the point at which you can no longer complete reps with good form. For example, if you complete 15 reps when you could have done 18, you should probably use a bit more weight on the next.

Spend about five minutes warming up -- jumping jacks, running in place, jumping rope and shadowboxing are all good ways to increase your heart rate and core temperature as well as prime your joints and muscles for the work ahead. This is preferable to static stretching ahead of exercise, which does not reduce your risk of injury or increase flexibility. Rest no longer that one minute between sets.

SHOULDERS Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 Sets of 10-15 Standing Dumbbell Overheard Press: 3 Sets of 10-15 Standing Dumbbell Upright Row: 3 Sets of 10-15

ARMS Dumbbell Curl: 3 Sets of 10-15 Dumbbell Kickback: 3 Sets of 10-15

ABS Double Crunch: 3 Sets to failure

>> NEW!!! For a more comprehensive target training routine plus motivation and biblical encouragement, try the NEW PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System DVD, exclusively through Thomas Nelson Publishing and its family of retailers. Find out more or place an order by clicking here.

Moved to Move

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever." --Psalm 30:10-12

Read: Psalm 30

This morning, during worship service at church, I fell victim to the rhythm. Without making a conscious decision to do so, I found myself air-drumming the bench in front of me, tapping my foot to the beat and gently bobbing my head as I sang along with the choir. Sometimes, a song -- whether by melody, message or miracle -- just takes hold of your body and compels you to move. Isn't it as amazing that something as simple as a song can inspire you to the point where God's love within you is left with no choice but to expressed through movement?

But long after we're dismissed from service, our bodies are still crying out to move for the Lord -- to run, jump, lift, climb and ride in perfect step to a song that He so meticulously composed on our hearts so long ago. All we have to do is tune in and listen and let the music do its work. This Master's magnum opus was written to evoke a particular response -- to move you to move.

--Eric Velazquez

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Arms This week's workout focuses on your biceps and triceps. Contrary to what some may think, training your arms is not simply a matter of vanity. Strong bi's aid on all pulling activities and well-trained triceps generate more force on all your pushes. Though smaller by comparison, these muscles play a crucial role in how much weight you can lift on other exercises such as bench presses and rows. So training them regularly does more than just help you look better in sleeveless tees. This routine requires the use of dumbbells and can be done at home or the gym.

This is a form of training known as German Volume Training, or GVT, and simply calls you on you to perform 10 sets of a single exercise in order to fully and effectively target the muscles. The quick-training wrinkle? You'll be supersetting, or alternating between biceps and triceps exercises. And because you'll be targeting arms, you can keep rest periods short -- biceps and triceps recover fairly quickly -- to keep the intensity level high. Choose a weight that you can safely complete 20 reps with but perform only 10. Continue alternating exercises until you have performed 10 sets of each exercise.

Exercise Sets/Reps Dumbbell Curl 10/10 -superset with- Lying Dumbbell Extension --Rest only 30-60 seconds between supersets. --Perform this routine at least once per week and no more than twice. If you train arms twice, allow at least 3-4 days between sessions for recovery. --Perform a few light sets of curls and extensions before beginning your 10 working sets.

NEWS: PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena spent some time this weekend meeting with fans and signing DVDs in Southern California. Check out the pics here!

HE UNDERSTANDS

November 18, 2011 Read: Hebrews 12

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." -- Hebrews 12:1

I think God understands the marathon. Many people will tell you that a marathon is all about the journey, the memories. Well, yes and no. While the memories have their moments, what awaits us at the end is really what it's all about. I mean, I loved the music at mile 12, but I didn't hang around for an entire song. It played, not so much that I would enjoy, but more so that I would endure.

When I began the race, I had a running partner as well as a dedicated pacer (the pacer's name was Paul, by the way.) But as you learned this week, a little over midway through the race, my body started to fail me. And when the partner and pacer ran ahead, I had to slow down. But had that not happened, I would have missed the blind man with his guide, and the woman in the wheelchair with no legs. And yes, I would have missed the two men who led me my last few miles of the race. Two men wearing identical shirts; bright yellow jerseys with black letters. Unmistakable to me. Not so much for the color combo, but for the words on their backs. On one shirt, "Father", and on the other, "Son". Oddly enough, the only comfort I could muster at the time was written on the back of two strangers.

The journey is one thing. But while our bodies fail us, friends leave us, and pacers lose us, the only real comfort is who we follow to the finish. I think God understands the marathon.

P.S. At dinner that night, I watched a lady limping her way through a restaurant. As she passed our table, I said, "Congratulations". Surprised, she thanked me. Hmm. You can always tell the runners. You can see it in their walk.

--Jimmy Pena

WEEK IN REVIEW

Faith

>> FOREVER ROAD: Each step is worth it when we remember who awaits us in the end

>> WHATEVER YOU DO: No matter how painful the pace, keep going

>> TRACKING NUMBERS: Following the steps of the one who's already won the race

>> TIRED OF RUNNING: His favorite place to run is to our rescue

Fitness

>> RUNNER'S RESOURCES: Our favorite digital haunts for running advice

>> SPEED TRICK: A surprising benefit of running sprint intervals

>> MASS FRUIT: How apples contribute to greater muscle gain

>> RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Spicy pulled pork

CAN'T BE SILENT

September 16, 2011Read: Luke 19:28-40

"'I tell you,'" he replied, "'if they keep quiet, the rocks will cry out.'" --Luke 19:40

The song of creation. Can you hear it? You and I are God's special guests in a masterpiece performed in His honor that He conducts. Not only that, He's given us "first chair." In orchestra speak, first chair is reserved for the one who is both most capable and responsible, regardless of the instrument they play. You and I are active participants in a grand arrangement entitled, 'Creation'.

When the Pharisees demanded Jesus to quiet the praise of His disciples, He assured them that if the disciples hush, they would literally hear rock music. But the idea of God's people being quiet is probably as sad a commentary as I've ever read...like a father who comes home to a silent family oblivious to his presence, or a mom who has never heard her children say, "I love you". Friends, the God of wonder, who has a beyond-concievable love and unbelievable future for us is worthy to be praised with everything we have -- our minds, our money, our time, and yes, our bodies.

The song of creation. Are you playing it? It's your life. Your cue! You can't be silent. He gave you the music. You are the music. Just read the notes and watch the Master. You're in the first chair. Be amazed...and play.

--J.P.

PRAYFIT: A WEEK IN REVIEW

Monday >> YOU, HE KNITTED: From the vastness of space to the intricacies of your body, He created you with care >> ALSO: A workout to help you build strength and burn fat in just minutes

Tuesday >> SOWN UP WITH LOVE: The ultimate symbol of sacrifice is imprinted on our hearts -- literally and figuratively >> ALSO: How to boost strength instantly by 20%

Wednesday >> HE KNEW: He carefully constructed us, knowing that what the world would reject, Christ would accept. >> ALSO: How to select a cereal that's healthier for your breakfast table

Thursday >> HE GETS US: Sculpted in His image and by His own hand, we know He understands us >> ALSO: How interval training turns up your ability to burn fat