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Creator, Curator

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." --Ephesians 2:10

Read: Ephesians 2

God is a lot of things. To be more precise, He is everything. But certain of His attributes are more salient to us at different times. Today, you cling to His grace. Last week, you were grateful for the comfort of His word. But we are also sometimes just plain taken with His workmanship -- the artful, purpose-driven brushstrokes that He has made on everything we see. Masterpieces, all, to be sure. But what do you think is the pièce de résistance in His divine gallery? An expansive cosmos? Brimming oceans?

The world of art is a fickle one, where value is determined by discriminate buyers. The smallest imperfection can turn a multimillion dollar print into kindling -- colorful canvas that no one would want to hang in their foyer.

Similarly, we are all a part of our Father's collection, each of us besmudged by our own sin. But the same hands that created us are the same that maintain us. Day to day, we are touched up, reframed, resituated. In this gallery, the Creator is also the Curator and in His hall, we are never devalued.

--Eric Velazquez

For Discussion: Do you train regularly? If so, what is your true aim? How much time do you spend in the mirror evaluating the fruits of your labor? One of the "smudges" we all share is the desire to take credit. So let's try to remember Whose image we're supposed to reflect and whose handiwork we're really evaluating in the first place.

 

THE ULTIMATE HEALTH CARE SOLUTION New ABC report sheds some light on what really is the best medicine

"Millions of people in our society suffer from a ridiculous number of health problems -- some major, some minor that could become major -- because they lack basic fitness," writes Jordan Metzl, MD, in his new book The Exercise Cure. And it's not just making us fat and lazy -- it's also bankrupting the nation. "Based on current estimates, the United States spends more than $2.6 trillion -- 17 percent of the gross national product -- on health care. That's $8,300 per person," he adds.

Can we be doing more to solve the health care crisis in America?

>> For the full story, 9 Health Problems That You Can Treat with Exercise, click here.

The Little Jobs

"I know that you can do all things; and no one can stop you." --Job 42:2

Read: Job 42

"Jimmy, come help your Daddy." As a little boy, I'd make my way to the garage, and he'd be halfway under his '34 Ford, or welding, hammering or fixing something, whistling the entire time. "Yes sir?" I'd say. Of course, I probably had a baseball glove in my hands and eager to go outside and play. But within seconds I'd be holding a light, turning screws he'd practically completed, or he'd hammer a nail almost all the way and then let me finish it. I think back to those days a lot. He gave me the little jobs. And while they were tough, he knew I could handle them. But if I could whisper anything to my younger self, I'd say, "Ask him to show you the tough stuff." See, I'm not the best with my hands like Daddy, and not a day goes by that I don't wish I was. Can anyone relate?

You know, Jesus gives us the little jobs. If Heaven were up to our ability to be good enough or Godly enough, we'd never reach it. So He climbed on the cross to die for our sins so we can spend eternity with Him. A job nobody on earth -- below or above -- could do. He's put us in charge of things that require our effort.

So I take it back. Actually, if I could whisper anything to my younger self, I think I'd say, "Hey, don't hurry outside. He doesn't need your help, he wants your help. He just wants to spend time with you. Whistle with him. He's got the tough stuff. Just stay close."

Oh friends, may you and I -- as we tackle our little jobs on earth -- do just that.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: We can't work our way to Heaven, but God put us in charge of something that requires our effort: this body. What are you doing to be a good helper for the little job He's given you? A job He still oversees. 

HEART HEALTH BULLETIN: What is better for training your most important muscle? Rest or work? The experts weigh in. Click for the full story.

>> Bring this message to your church by contacting us here.

What Do You Say?

"I thank you, Lord, with all my heart." --Psalm 138

Read: Psalm 138

Sitting in a waiting room recently, I filled out paperwork, answering questions, checking this box and that one. Circle where it hurts and on a scale from 1-10, rate this, gauge that. And just as I was about to turn in my clipboard, I watched a daughter taking care of her mother in a wheelchair. When a nurse brought the mother some juice, the daughter gently asked, "What do you say?" Then her elderly mom -- barely able to hold the bottle -- turned and weakly said to the nurse, "Thank you."

With a lump in my throat I thought to myself, "She knows how to say thank you. She's just thirsty." My heart broke on a couple of levels.

But the moment made me wonder if I know how to say thank you. Not sure about you, but I spend a lot of my time listing my life's aches and pains, inconveniences and delays. Much like that paperwork, my daily prayers often go straight to where it hurts, and what I need, and my worry and fear. Like you, I'm so grateful that in no particular order, I can go right to Him with all of it. But if I could, I'd erase my answers and start over. Rather than ask God to heal what hurts, I want to mention to Him the things that don't. I want to circle my blessings. And as I read my list, may I hear that gentle reminder, "What do you say?" And like that sweet women, I know how to say thank you.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What are some ways you can thank the Lord for the blessings you have? If you could thank God right now, what would you list? You can share them with us if you'd like. I'm sure they'll be a blessing to others.

PROTEIN PLUS Is protein helping to decrease your blood pressure? Science says ‘yes’

In addition to the protein they consume from whole foods like chicken, beef and fish, many active individuals also choose to supplement their diets with protein powders. Doing so ensures more complete recovery from exercise, and works to blunt appetite and increase fat burning. And if you’re not using a protein powder to support your training, you may want to start.

>> Click here to figure out another crucial way protein is helping you keep healthy.

Hearts That Hustle

"Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might." --Ecclesiastes 9:10

Read: Ecclesiastes 9 It's interesting that of the blessings, trophies and awards I've been humbled to receive throughout my life, one stands out as my most cherished. When I was a kid, my coaches gave me the "Hustle" award. Ironically, it was for a sport that I wasn't particularly great at. Try and imagine running the 100 meter hurdles wearing swim fins. Got the visual? That's me playing basketball. And even that might be gracious. But while I didn't run the offense very well, or lead the team in rebounds, and although I was never the game's high scorer, I was never out-hustled. For whatever reason -- whether it be practice or a game -- something inside my heart just would not let me be out-worked.

You know, they don't give hustle awards when you grow up. But think about it. When you're the only one in the office unwilling to gossip? That's hustle. When you get up extra early each day to make sure your kids eat a balanced breakfast, that's hustle. And when you lace up those running shoes minutes after taking off the work ones, that's hustle.

As believers, we have faith in Christ. And that faith is not only the greatest tool God gave us to tackle the issues of life, it's also the reason to tackle the issues of life. Regardless of the situation, let's not be out-worked. When someone wonders what makes the difference in us, why we're not like the crowd at school or going with the flow at work, it's because Jesus is in our hearts. Hearts that beat. Hearts that hustle.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What will you hustle for today? You may not be diving for loose basketballs, but the game of life is calling you. Share your game plan with us.

Josh-snowTHE BEST WAY TO BURN EXCESS BODYFAT

If your primary training goal is to lose a few inches or pounds, you may want to give more consideration to your preferred training method to maximize results. There's an overwhelming amount of research pointing to this can't-miss fat-burning protocol.

>> Click here for the secret.

The Little Jobs

"I know that you can do all things; and no one can stop you." --Job 42:2

Read: Job 42

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA"Jimmy, come help your Daddy." As a little boy, I'd make my way to the garage, and he'd be halfway under his '34 Ford, or welding, hammering or fixing something, whistling the entire time. "Yes sir?" I'd say. Of course, I either had a baseball glove or bat in my hands. But within seconds I'd be holding a light, turning screws he'd practically completed, or he'd hammer a nail almost all the way and then let me finish it. I think back to those days a lot. He gave me the little jobs. And while they were tough, he knew I could handle them. But if I could whisper anything to my younger self, I'd say, "Ask him to show you the tough stuff." See, I'm not the best with my hands like Daddy, and not a day goes by that I don't wish I was. Can anyone relate?

You know, Jesus gives us the little jobs. If Heaven were up to our ability to be good enough or Godly enough, we'd never reach it. So He climbed on the cross to die for our sins so we can spend eternity with Him. A job nobody on earth -- below or above -- could do. He's put us in charge of things that require our effort.

So I take it back. Actually, if I could whisper anything to my younger self, I think I'd say, "Hey, don't hurry outside. He doesn't need your help, he wants your help. He just wants to spend time with you. Whistle with him. He's got the tough stuff. Just stay close."

Oh friends, may you and I -- as we tackle our little jobs on earth -- do just that.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: We can't work our way to Heaven, but God put us in charge of something that requires our effort: this body. What are you doing to be a good helper for the little job He's given you?

HEART HEALTH BULLETIN: What is better for training your most important muscle? Rest or work? The experts weigh in. Click for the full story.

>> Bring this message to your church by contacting us here.

We Are The Crowd

"Jesus stopped and said, 'Call him.' So they called to the blind man, 'Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you!' Throwing his cloak aside, he leaped to his feet and came to Jesus."--Mark 10:49-50

Read: Mark 10

No need to adjust your computer screen, that’s indeed the same verse as yesterday's entry. But I just had to go back to it. Ever since we posted last night, I haven’t been able to get a particular thought out of my head: The crowd knew something. Read the verse again.

Typically, we focus on either the blind man, Bartimaeus or, of course, Jesus. But the crowd's response has bugged me for nearly 24 hours. The crowd is…us. Why? Because they knew something. They knew what Jesus had the power to do in the blind man's life. Otherwise, they wouldn't have reacted as if the beggar had just won the lottery!

Read it again. Of all the thousand voices that were clamoring for Jesus to hear, that of a blind beggar behind all the others sitting on the side of the road found the ear of Jesus, and the crowd knew what that meant. Can't you just see them pause, their wide eyes, open mouths, and then their whiplash reactions as they run to the one who's number had just been called?

You and I stand among those who need to heed the call. Read the verse again (last time, I promise). Isn't Jesus calling everyone? Didn't He die for all the world? And if we've been saved and healed…aren't we the crowd who knows?

–Jimmy Peña

Question: Who in your life needs to know what you know?

GYM TIP: There's more than one way to use a treadmill. A recent study found that those who pedaled backward on treadmills and elliptical machines gained greater quadriceps and hamstring strength and had greater aerobic capacity than those who went forward. Click here for more.

bg-speaking-engagementsPeña to be Honored by UT Tyler Alumni Association: Next Friday (March 22), the University of Texas at Tyler Alumni Association will recognize five graduates at its Alumni Gala. Among those being honored will be PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña, who earned a master of science in clinical exercise physiology from UT Tyler in 1998. "It’s easy to think of Heaven on days like this," he said. "We’ve accepted an invitation we don’t deserve, to celebrate a reward we didn’t earn." Click here to read more.

Worthy of a Frame

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

Read: Psalm 139

Where do you keep your pictures? I’m not talking about fun, random, cell phone snaps or Facebook profile images. I’m talking about the special ones –- those worthy of a frame. That’s where we need to start…the mantle of your heart.

You know, we’ve all heard the statement that if God had a mantle, your picture would be on it. And while I love knowing that, I wonder what you and I would actually look like? At first, that thought might sound a bit weird, awkward or even irrelevant. I suppose it would be if we were talking about the body, but God sees our hearts. And like we’ve said many times, life is not about the body, and our bodies -- these frames -- will most certainly not last heaven.

But if anyone knows our bodies, what they’re capable of, and most importantly, how healthy they were intended to be on earth, it’s Him. So I guess you could say, we’re just pictures of grace; souls He saw worthy...of a frame.

--Jimmy Peña

QUESTION: God loves our souls so much he framed them with bodies. How does knowing that change the way you view the importance of health? Please give us your comments below and please share this with your Facebook and Twitter communities.

DID YOU KNOW? Obesity is threatening national security, according to a new study, because one in four young adults is too overweight to join the military. In some states, as many as 44 percent of young adults, age 18-24, are obese and unfit to serve and protect.

Source: Mission: Readiness

COMMUNITY: Plug yourself into the faith-and-fitness discussion by joining our social networks! FACEBOOK - http://www.facebook.com/officialprayfit TWITTER - http://www.twitter.com/prayfit

Get Your Voice Back

"How can I be sure this will happen? I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." --Luke 1:18

Read: Luke 1

Not his best moment. Zacharias has just been given really great news; news of eternal significance. He's been told that Elizabeth will bear him a son. And he will go before the Lord with the spirit and power of Elijah, no doubt. He'll be the frontrunner! And not only that, the courier of this miracle message wasn't a neighbor. It wasn't a trusted uncle or even the High Priest. No, Zacharias heard this first-hand from - wait for it - none other than Angel Gabriel himself.

Now, all things being equal, you'd think it would prompt Zacharias to simply rejoice, trust and obey. But as you read in today's verse, Zacharias chose to respond like you and I often do.

Who me? I'm not qualified for that job, have you seen my resume? Who me? A missionary? Have you read my laundry list of weaknesses? Who me? Regain my health after years of negligence? What good can this body accomplish?

There's no telling how effective we would be for the Lord if we trusted the things God lays on our hearts. You know, Zacharias' little faith spoke volumes, so Gabriel made him mute. Months later, on the day of his son's birth, those standing around Elizabeth objected to his given name. But Zacharias -- still mute -- boldly wrote on his tablet: His name is John.

In that instant, the bible says he got his voice back.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: When you and I let fear and doubt cloud our hearts and minds, we too become mute. What has God put on your heart that you need courage to accept? With the New Year well under way, what roadblocks and barriers to a healthier 2013 are already rearing their head? What is your plan? Do you have your voice back?

INTENSITY EQUALS PROGRESS

How hard do you train? If you haven't asked yourself this question lately, then it's probably likely that change to your health and physique are hard to come by. By gradually pushing yourself a bit harder -- and intensity is relative -- you will see greater results, faster.

>> Click here for more on how intensity plays into health and fitness and how you can use it to reach your goals faster in 2013.

Benchwarmer

"So Sarah laughed to herself." --Genesis 18:12

Read: Genesis 18

Benchwarmer. Not something that sat well with me. But during my sophomore year in high school, I endured it for the first time in my life. See, I was a baseball player, and a good one. But basketball? I probably should've hung up the Air Jordans as a freshmen. Sitting at the end of the bench during a blowout game, I hoped my friends and family would assume I was injured; maybe I twisted an ankle during warm-ups or something. But with a little over a minute on the clock, the unthinkable happened. Coach called my name.

"Reluctant" would be putting it mildly. I literally peeled myself off the chair. I removed my warm-ups from my cold body and joined the otherwise sweaty and necessary group of kids on the court. What's the use, I thought. Well, the clock ran out, we shook hands, and I put my warm-ups on as slowly as I had removed it.

Well, leaving the locker room that night to face the awkward "good game" from loved ones, Coach stopped me. He said something that I'd carry the rest of my life. He said, "I wanted to see your reaction when I called for you late in the game. Jimmy, it's never too late to make an impact."

Maybe you're wondering what kind of influence you can have. Perhaps you think it's way too late in the game for God to use you. That family member? Too far gone. That group of friends? Too set in their ways. No way God is calling me from the bench at my age, with my past. 

Folks, God has a way of doing the unexpected. And if He noticed Sarah laughing at the news of her baby on the way, rest assured He sees our reaction. So, take a minute to consider what the Spirit is whispering to your heart. If it's too lofty, too lowly, too late...God just may be looking for our reaction to His call. Carve this into your heart...If God calls for you, it's never too late to make an impact.

--Jimmy Peña

WALKING FOR HEALTH Just an hour of this low-impact activity per day can make you 50% healthier

Watch some TV? Just make sure you go for a walk after. New research put out by the American Heart Association showed that an hour of walking per day can cut your genetic tendency toward obesity as a result of watching the picture box by half.

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

>> For the full story, click here.

Playmakers

"The wicked flee though no one is pursuing them but the righteous are as bold as a lion." --Proverbs 28:1

Read: Proverbs 28

As I was watching the Miami Hurricanes dominate Georgia Tech recently in college football, one of the announcers referred to a player as "the playmaker." It gave me pause. What a compliment. What an honor. This player wasn’t just out there to fill in the gaps or run time off the play clock. He was "the playmaker" and everyone knew it. He was the heart of the team. All of those around him looked to him for direction and leadership and for what was coming next. Every single play, eyes on him, things were happening. There was action in the room.

When it comes to our faith, are we the real "playmakers" on the Father's team? Do we make the big plays every time the whistle blows or are we sometimes comfortable simply watching from the sidelines and cheering others on? Are we intentionally seeking to share God’s love and amazing grace with all of those around us, not only on game day, but every day?

I want to be bold. I want to be "the playmaker" for God in my own life and for those who would look to me for direction. Every single play, eyes on Him, there is action in the room.

--Allison Earnst

PrayFit's contributing writer, Allison Earnst, is a fitness expert, motivator, competitor and mother of three. She's been featured in numerous magazines including FitParent, Natural Muscle and Oxygen magazine. She has shared her fitness story on Good Morning America, Extra TV and Lifetime's "The Balancing Act." You can visit her blog by clicking here.

TRENDING IN...HEALTH

When was the last time you checked in on the rising epidemic of obesity in this country? If it's been a while, here's a heavy, disheartening update. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 35.7 percent of adults and 16.9 percent of children ages 2-19 are obese. And, if the trend continues, every state will see 44 percent of its population hit the obese category by 2030. Several states will hit 60 percent.

Despite the many causes of weight gain, the solutions are always simple: an increase an activity and changes to diet. A preponderance of resources on exercise and nutrition in the marketplace have failed to stem the rising tide of obesity and weight-related disease. Perhaps it's time for us to stop focusing so much on "the how" and start focusing more on "the why"?

By focusing on our health as a means of praise and seeing the need to be better stewards of our physical gifts, we can commit to serious, long-term change, honoring the One that created us.

"We don't strive to be healthy to be loved by God," says PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. "We strive to be healthy because we are."

For Discussion: Are you struggling with your own weight? What are the roadblocks to a healthier lifestyle? Do you think the Lord is pleased with the care that you have shown the body He gave you? Why or why not? Have you ever thought of your body as a divine gift that requires better upkeep?

But Even If He Doesn't

But even if he doesn't, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:18

Read: Daniel 3

Dr. Charles Stanley can often be heard saying, "Be obedient and leave the consequences to God." Kinda sums it up doesn't it? Go ahead and apply it to any circumstance you're facing. Trouble in a relationship? Making a decision about money? Need to trust God with a health issue? Be obedient and leave the consequences to God. Stands up, doesn't it?

Speaking of standing up, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego lived it. At the edge of a fiery furnace, they had a decision. Bow to an idol or be thrown in a furnace. They chose faith, believing that God would deliver them from the very fire that tested it. But then they said, "But even if He doesn't." That part of the verse has taken up residence inside my heart this week.

They didn't jump knowing they'd be delivered. They jumped knowing the Deliverer. I'm shaking my head as I type this sentence. I want an "Even if He doesn't" kind of faith. Save me, help me, heal me. But even if He doesn't...

--Jimmy Peña

HYDRATE BETTER, LOSE WEIGHT How water can help you to a slimmer waistline

One of the easiest things you can do to instantly boost your health is to simply drink water. Lots of it. Anecdotally, people who consume more water tend to have more energy throughout the day. But the science on the wet stuff makes your need for it all the more apparent. Check out this quick article on how water can help you burn more fat.

>> WATER: THE ULTIMATE FAT-BURNER

Can I Have This Dance?

I will be your God throughout your lifetime -- until your hair is white with age." --Isaiah 46:4

Read: Isaiah 46

You remember 8th grade dances, right? I sure do. I was the king of holding up the wall. Turn down the lights on a basketball court, add some streamers, some 80s music, and you had yourself a dance. Just...without the dancing. (No way I was crossing the outer marker.)

I thought of those dances this week while on a television interview in the Midwest. Referring to the senior citizens watching her show, the host asked me if it was ever too late to start an exercise program or to improve your health. Instantly I was transported to those last ten minutes of my 8th grade dance. Knowing my dad would be pulling up any minute to get me, I knew I didn't have another minute to spare. So I took a deep breath, swallowed any last drop of moisture left in my throat (gulp), and I defied 8th grade logic. I walked across the three-point line and asked the first girl I saw to dance. Best 10 minutes of the year for me.

And that's my answer to the host's question. Our life and our health are precious at any age. So if it's been a while since you've exercised or even if you've never crossed the outer marker, consider each sunrise the upbeat He's playing for you. So get crazy. Defy logic and move those arms and legs. Even if Daddy (Abba) says it's almost time to go, it's not too late to ask, "Can I have this dance, for the rest of my life?"

--Jimmy Peña

FAT-BURNING TIP: Train Hungry

Regardless of how long you've been exercising you have probably heard about the concept of "empty-stomach cardio." But it's not just lip service. Training while hungry -- ideally before breakfast -- can help you lose more fat when training. Researchers at Kansas State University found that exercisers who fasted before a low-intensity workout oxidized 94.3 more calories from fat, on average, than groups who had a meal 30, 60 or 90 minutes before exercise.

As you sleep, your body uses stored carbs (glycogen) to run your brain's motor, so in the morning, your body is in a carb-deprived state. This means that fat will be burned for fuel sooner during a workout.

As the study suggests, this approach is best done before low-intensity training because high-intensity training, such as sprinting, requires more carbohydrate for performance. What's "low" intensity? The most universal and leisurely low-intensity exercise is walking. So if losing bodyfat is one of your training goals, try putting your feet to the pavement before you put fork to mouth each morning.

BONUS TIP: The same logic applies to doing cardio after weights. Since weight training uses stored carbs for fuel, doing cardio after will help decrease the time it takes to start burning calories from fat.

DVD: Click here to get started on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge.

Jimmy Peña Named as First Advisory Board Member to The Daniel Plan

Peña joins expert panel for Saddleback Church’s worldwide faith-and-fitness initiative Lake Forest, Calif., July 3, 2012 – Jimmy Peña has been named as the first member of the advisory board for The Daniel Plan, Pastor Rick Warren’s worldwide faith-and-fitness initiative that helped 15,000 members in 190 countries lose over 260,000 pounds in 2011 alone.

“We’re excited to have Jimmy as the first member of our advisory board,” says Dee Eastman, Director of The Daniel Plan. ”He has an essence of how faith is integral to making lasting lifestyle changes. The strength of his background in the fitness industry is amazing but we were drawn to his heart. You can’t train that.”

Peña began PrayFit (www.prayfit.com) as a blog in 2008 and has since grown the brand to include a book (“PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days” – Regal Books), two DVDs (“PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge,” “PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System”Lionsgate Entertainment) and a list of endorsers that includes producer/actor Tyler Perry, entertainer LL Cool J, TV host Mario Lopez, elite ultramarathoner Josh Cox and Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.

“When I got the call from Dee, I couldn’t believe my ears. I am so honored and humbled to be a resource to her and the entire Daniel Plan team.”

The Daniel Plan was the brainchild of Pastor Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” in January 2011 as the first of seven “Decade of Destiny” initiatives at Saddleback Church, a Southern California-based church that serves over 20,000 congregants on a weekly basis. The idea came to him on a day when he had baptized over 800 people – Pastor Warren realized he, like his flock, was overweight and that the issue needed to be addressed.

Peña is the first member of the Advisory Board team that Eastman will be filling with like-minded, highly-qualified nutritionists, doctors and health and wellness experts. The first Daniel Plan effort was a year-long program by a team that included Drs. Mark Hyman, Daniel Amen and Mehmet Oz. The success of The Daniel Plan has captured the attention of CNN, ABC News and other major news outlets. Recently, it was the subject of a feature in TIME Magazine.

“We want to build a robust advisory board that will consist of people that can partner together to really improve health across the nation,” Eastman adds. “I want an amazing dream team of wellness professionals and Jimmy is the first member of that team.”

Peña will collaborate with Eastman and her staff on further curriculum development, additional resources and an enhanced online experience for Daniel Plan users in addition to speaking engagements and seminars.

>> For additional information about The Daniel Plan, visit www.danielplan.com, like it on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thedanielplan) or follow it on Twitter (@thedanielplan).

PrayFit Teams with HeavenUp.com

PRAYFIT TEAMS WITH HEAVENUP.COM PrayFit joins MercyMe, Phillips Craig & Dean and many more Christian artists and authors in HeavenUp.com, a new faith-based social networking site. HeavenUp, which is being called a "virtual fellowship" will also feature devotionals from the PrayFit team.

>> For the full story, click here.

>> Start your own account and friend PrayFit by registering here!

>> CLICK HERE TO VISIT PRAYFIT'S HEAVENUP.COM PROFILE!

A Dangerous Prayer

"Why did we ever leave Egypt?" --Numbers 11:20

Read: Numbers 11

Did you catch it? They actually missed prison. Not long after the Israelites met freedom, they actually longed for captivity. Behind bars they had no choices. As inmates, they had no responsibility. Even though they were trapped, they were warm, cozy, and full. Their prayer for freedom was a dangerous one. Nothing a generation in the desert couldn't answer.

What about us? When was the last time you and I prayed dangerously? About finances, a relationship...our health? See, once they were set free, the Israelites faced the need for obedience and responsibility; so do we. Folks, our bodies are merely tools, not finished products. Better fitness simply means better equipped. It's tough to visit the poor from the couch, and it's impossible to see the hurting in our own mirror. But we're warm, cozy, and full (even if of ourselves). (Note: this should speak to both the fit and the not-so-fit.)

If God allows us the opportunity for better health, what will we do with it? Will we sit? Focus on ourselves? Will we allow a generation to wander before we see health as a means of praise? If so, why did we ever leave Egypt?

--Jimmy Peña

STUDY: HIGHER PROTEIN DIETS BETTER FOR BODY COMPOSITION

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who consistently consume more calories than they burn each day will lose lean muscle and accumulate body fat more easily if their diets contain too little protein and too much fat and carbohydrates.

The results of the study suggest that the minimum protein intake federal health officials currently recommend -- 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men -- may not be enough to maintain muscle mass in some people. The study participants needed to consume at least 78 grams of protein per day to avoid losing muscle.

>> For the full story from CNN, click here.

GEAR UP: Looking for PrayFit books, DVDs or apparel? You're just one click away. Visit the newly-designed PrayFit store by clicking here.

Gracias A Dios

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'" --John 20:27

Read: John 20

"The usual?" she asked with a smile. The sweet lunchtime waitress and I have grown accustomed to each another. I'm greeted, not with a menu, but with a name. By now, she knows I don't like ice in my water, and that I prefer egg whites. Probably in her late sixties, she speaks beautiful Spanish and forces me to practice mine. I know she likes my PrayFit hat and goes to church just around the corner. Today, however, she lingered longer than usual after showing me to my booth. I knew immediately she was more empty than my stomach.

"Do you ever doubt?" she asked as she straightened her apron and adjusted her bifocals. Before I could answer, she began to serve up her hurt, and as she phrased it, the need to "see Him" in her life. A glimpse. That's all she wanted. Something to feel, something real. I didn't presume to have all the answers, but we chatted. By the time I ate and payed my bill, my friend was assured of two things: 1) she wasn't alone in her doubts, and 2) she wasn't alone at all.

Friends, Jesus understands. That's why when He showed His scars to Thomas, He showed them to you and me. In order to reach us, He let us touch Him.

Gracias a Dios.

--Jimmy Peña

THE POWER OF FAITH Jimmy Pena talks PrayFit in Chicago Sun-Times feature “We are bold to declare faith can move a mountain, and yet we doubt it can help us move a muscle," Pena tells Sun-Times writer Sandy Thorn-Clark during a recent interview.

The feature, which ran today, also discusses how PrayFit has managed to differentiate itself from other strictly-fitness products on the shelf today.

"After noticing communities — especially churches and schools — suffering physically 'at an alarming rate,' the native of El Paso, Texas, decided to use a gym as his pulpit in an effort to challenge Prayfit participants to do their best each day," Thorn-Clark writes.

>> To read the full article, click here.

>> YOUR TOWN OR BUST!: Fitness as a means of praise. Slimmer waistlines as a byproduct of obedience. The evangelism of fitness is catching on and your community could be next. Contact us at info@prayfit.com to bring PrayFit to your church or community event, or visit our online store to purchase books or DVDs to set up your own fitness ministry or small group.

Jimmy Pena Visits Fans at Berean Books in SoCal

Last weekend, PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena spent time signing DVDs and meeting with fans at two Berean Christian Stores in California's Inland Empire. Both stores -- one in Riverside, the other in Redlands -- featured prominent signage and displays of PrayFit books and DVDs. Jimmy was joined by his wife Loretta and PrayFit VP and editorial director Eric Velazquez. You can view a few of the pics below. >> To order your own copy of the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, click here.

He Remembers

"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." --Hebrews 8:12

A documentary recently left me drenched in a flood of tears. Hosted by Maria Shriver, the short movie was a touching look at Alzheimer's, and the devastating effects the disease has on the sufferer as well as the family. From grandchildren, to children, to spouses, the idea of forgetting and being forgotten is nothing short of a nightmare. As the credits rolled, I found myself calling my wife and mother. Please don't forget I love you, was the only thought I had as I dialed.

And then I found myself thinking of the Lord. Friends, aren't we so glad He remembers? Affectionally, He remembers when He made us. Faithfully, He remembers when we first spoke His name, and thankfully He remembers ours. The only thing He doesn't remember is our sin.

That -- gracefully -- He remembers to forget.

--Jimmy Peña

SLEEP & ALZHEIMER'S New research reveals startling risk of being underslept

How well you sleep at night may be an indicator of you risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. A new study out of the American Academy of Neurology showed that those who spent less than 85% of the time in bed asleep were more likely to have Alzheimer’s. While it’s important to note that about half of the subjects had Alzheimer’s somewhere in their family tree, the risk remains alarming.

Need more motivation to get your z's? Disrupted sleep can interfere with muscle recovery and the regulation of hormones that are critical for muscle-building, fat-burning and metabolism. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s and to keep your fitness goals on track.

>> For the full story from Medical News Today, click here.

Make Believe

"So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing." --1 Corinthians 9:26

Read: 1 Corinthians 9

As I was leaving Gio's Boxing Gym in Burbank (Calif.), amid the familiar cadence of speed bags and jump ropes, something a cornerman yelled to his boxer caught my attention. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter!" he said. I literally stopped in my tracks. What a powerful statement. Just how powerful, I'd realize just moments later.

Walking toward my truck, I came upon a film crew about to shoot a documentary -- a boxing documentary, no doubt. Lights, cameras and make-up. I stood for what seemed like years and watched a make-up artist applying shades of purple, black and blue to an actor's face and under his eyes. Boxing gloves? Check. Legitimate shorts? Those too. But he wasn't dressed for - nor returning from - a real battle. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter," ironically echoed in my head.

I wonder about my faith. And maybe you wonder about yours. Am I a make-believer in life? Or do I help make believers with my life? Like the verse above, I don't want to shadowbox. I want purpose. Give me somethin' to hit.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: In what area of your life, spiritually or physically, do you need to stand to fight? How can the Prayfit community pray for you? List your battles below or simply list them as "unspoken request(s)".

REPORT: CHILDREN OBESITY SPILLING INTO MANUFACTURING

A CNN report recently called attention to the latest casualty in the childhood obesity epidemic: school furniture manufacturers. Because of the expanding waistlines of children -- a full 15 to 17% of all kids are over 95th percentile for obesity -- manufacturers are forced to develop desks that can accommodate them. Child car seat manufacturers are also having to adjust with new designs to keep heavier kids safe.

"Childhood obesity affects their safety in matters beyond child seats and ill-fitting school furniture," the report says. "Obese kids are more likely to get heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and are more prone to diabetes, bone and joint problems. Their health problems are also more likely to follow into adulthood."

>> For the full report from CNN, click here.

ACTION PLAN: Let's be part of the solution. Today, take stock of how much activity your children are getting each day, taking physical education at school and organized sports into account as well. Discuss the importance of regular activity with your child and make today the first day of a scheduled family “workout,” where you spend 15-20 minutes exercising, walking or playing together.

Misfits Seldom Do

"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 one last 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 this week, 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 the body God 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

THE POWER OF THE JOURNAL

Keeping a consistent workout journal is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable. Here are some of the key things to note in your daily journal:

1 Exercises, sets and reps: Consider this the workout blueprint. Jotting all this down is a good way to ensure that your workouts have structure and that you have a clear plan of what work there is to get done each day.

2 Weight used: Whether it's your own bodyweight or a heavy barbell, keeping track of the resistance you're using serves as a mental note to consistently add more. Whether your trying to add muscle or just get stronger, gradual increases in weight are crucial.

3 Rest periods: How long did you take between sets? The shorter the rest periods, the more intense the workout. If you are lifting heavier, then longer rest periods may be helpful. In either case, keep a careful eye on the clock between sets.

4 Intensity techniques: Did you use drop sets today? Did you have your spotter help you through a few forced reps? Knowing which intensity techniques you're using to make your workouts more challenging will help you continue making gains. Knowing when and how often you're pushing it will also help you keep from overtraining.

>> What else do you keep track of in your journal? Let us know in the comments below, or on the PrayFit forums today.

>> Start a journal - Click Here

>> Got a journal already? Update it today, view other PrayFit workout journals, by clicking here!

PRAYFIT NEWS: PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña will be appearing on FOX's Good Day Atlanta this Wednesday, February 8, between 9:00 am and 9:45 am EST. For the full story, click here.