Those Who Have Heard

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" --Romans 10:14

Read: Romans 10

Those of you who periodically stop in at the prayer requests section of the PrayFit forum may know that I struggle mightily with the plight of my younger brother.  At 30, his body is beginning to fail him. He is plagued by intestinal distress, some vision loss, dangerously high blood pressure and numerous other physical ailments, nearly all of which are the result of his own stubborn insistence on living the way he wants.

As both a big brother and someone who has made a career out of fitness, you can imagine how difficult it is for me to watch my brother destroy his body, one Big Gulp, one pack of cigarettes at a time. Over the years, I've discussed the gospel of health with him and have tried to be the kind of fitness witness he can mold himself after. Alas, he has heard the truth and still refuses to believe. Tragically, a slow and willful death is all that awaits. And for what? The comfort and ease of doing what feels good?

Today, there are so many people who have heard and do not believe. There are those who know the consequences of physical inactivity, smoking and poor nutrition yet continue to dishonor their bodies. There are also those who would thumb their noses at news of the resurrection of Christ, forgiveness of sins and the heaven that awaits, all in the name of living a life without moral consequence or conviction. Both roads lead to death. Friends, the One that gives life wants you to choose Him, just as much as He wants for you to thrive physically.

Some people never get the chance to hear the good news. So consider yourself blessed! You have heard. Now what will you do?

--Eric Velazquez

WILLFUL DESTRUCTION A few eye-opening facts about the most troubling health problem in America

--The annual healthcare costs of obesity in this country are $147 billion a year. This could rise to as much as $344 billion by 2018, according to one major study.

--Obesity has become one of the most expensive health problems in America today, surpassing smoking, according to a study in Health Affairs.

--Two-thirds of Americans are overweight although 85% of Americans characterize their lifestyle as somewhat/very healthy.

--Obese employee sick days total approximately 39 million workdays and 63 million doctor visits yearly.

--12 million Americans are considered severely obese, defined as more than 100 pounds overweight.

--Nearly a third of the children in this country are overweight and some experts believe up to one third of children will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lifetime.

--For the first time in the history of our nation, some medical experts warn that this younger generation may be on track to have a shorter life span than their parents as a direct result of the obesity epidemic.

Source: CNBC's "One Nation, Overweight"

He's My Brother

"Then I sent Moses and Aaron..." --Joshua 24:5

Read: Joshua 24

A great friend and mogul said to me yesterday, "I believe God puts people in your life to help show you where you're going." His statement couldn't have been more true about the day nearly seven years ago when I met then writer extraordinaire and future PrayFit VP Eric Velazquez. Little did I know that when I shook Eric's hand in the offices of Muscle & Fitness Magazine, God was showing me where I was going.

In the context of PrayFit, if I could humbly assign Eric a biblical counterpart, it would probably be Aaron. If you're thinking, "Aaron! Yes, of course! Aaron...wait...who's Aaron?" well, that helps my point. Aaron was Moses' brother. Often overlooked, but when Moses was in need, God sent Aaron. Moses stuttered, so God delivered. Aaron 'spoke well' and they became a team.

So please allow me to use the comparison to publicly acknowledge Eric and his selfless, often invisible, critical and fantastic work he does day in and out. If it weren't for Eric, there would be no daily message. If he's not writing amazing articles for the biggest fitness magazines in the country, or inspiring people to grow closer to the Lord and healthier in the process, he's smoothing out my stutter. He's my brother, and we're a team.

If you've been following PrayFit for any length of time, please help me in publicly thanking Eric for who he is and what he means to us all.

--Jimmy Peña

HEALTH FACTS, BY THE NUMBERS The AHA's most recent report on obesity and its ties to heart disease

149,300,000 - Number of U.S. adults (age 20 and older) that are overweight or obese

33.7 - Percentage of U.S. adults (age 20 and older) that are obese

23,600,000 - Number of U.S. children (age 2 to 19) that are overweight or obese

16.9 - Percentage of U.S. children (age 2 to 19) that are obese

33 - Percentage of U.S. adults that report doing no aerobic leisure-time activity

71 - Percentage of U.S. adults with cardiovascular disease that were overweight or obese

1 in 3- Deaths attributable to cardiovascular disease in the U.S.

Source: American Heart Association Statistical Update on Heart Disease and Strokes (2012)


February 9, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 6

"You are not your own." --1 Corinthians 6:19

We talk a lot about being good stewards of our money, our time and our bodies, but what exactly does that mean? Well, a steward is defined as someone who takes care of something that belongs to someone else. For some reason, it's easier to swallow the notion that our money is on loan or that we live on borrowed time, but when it comes to our bodies, we seem to assume full ownership, don't we?

Maybe it's time to renew the lease on life...



Even the leanest adolescents find difficulty maintaining healthy body composition when they head off to college. Sodas on the go, mac and cheese by the box and the cursed soft-serve machine in the school cafe quickly add up, making once-youthful metabolisms vulnerable to early slow downs.

One college in Minnesota took quick stock of their student body and found that nearly 48% of them were overweight or obese. Unfortunately, this sample is indicative of a larger problem on college campuses nationwide.

>> Read up on how this campus is working to bring about a healthier student population.


September 14, 2010Read: Phillipians 4

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." --Phillipians 4:6-7

Do you ever feel like a contestant on Let's Make a Deal? Well, that's me today. I've been hit with door Nos. 1, 2 and 3, each with something behind it that I may exchange for what's already valuable to me. Truly, all I need is a life-size deck of cards to poke my face through, and it's game on, Monty.

Decisions, decisions. Our lives are chock full of them, right? From the little ones we dealt with yesterday to the bigger versions around today's corners -- which way do we go?

As believers, isn't it good to know that if we're praying, seeking wisdom and trusting in the Lord that we can go boldly into life's choices with the utmost courage? We can decide in peace, knowing that we've prayed about it and we've placed that particular burden at the cross. But if we don't (and haven't we all been there?) -- if we don't pray daily and seek His will, decision time is anything but peaceful. We end up second guessing, fretting and regretting.

So today, if you're faced with the smallest of choices or even decisions that are life and death, let's present our choices to the One who conquered both. He's been around the bend and because of Him, the coast is clear. Truly, the only door we want to pick is the one He opens.


HEAVY IS THE BURDEN A few more facts about weight gain in America

--Obesity affects over one-third of the adult American population. That's approximately 72,000,000 people.

--200,000,000 adult Americans are classified as overweight or obese.

--American adults are one inch taller and 25 pounds heavier today than they were in 1960.

--In 1963, the average 10-year-old boy weighed 74.2 pounds. Today, the average boy weighs 85 pounds -- an increase of 14.5%.

Source: The Obesity Society