"Let The Healing Never End"

"Jesus wept." --John 11:35

Read: John 11

If you haven't read today's chapter, Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. And when Mary finally reached Jesus, Lazarus had been dead four days. Perhaps they thought Jesus didn't hurry or didn't notice. Either way, the grief and pain that Mary and the others were feeling moved Jesus to tears. Although Lazarus would soon be having a good laugh, Jesus cried. Why? Because their loss was His too, and their pain hurt. Imagine that for a second. Their agony hit His heart and...gush.

Yesterday I received encouraging news with one of my surgeons (last year's). But it wasn't an easy appointment. So important was this check-up that I had my wife, mother, dad and small corner of friends hitting their knees for me. I even bet my mom went old school -- like biblical -- and prayed in a closet. And it was the doctor who delivered the good news to a teary Loretta. But he wasn't crying with her. He didn't console her, hold her and he definitely didn't cry. Why? He knew the outcome. He saw her tears and quickly knew how to dry them.

You know, if Jesus could instantly dry the eyes of a broken Mary, surely He could prevent His own from welling up. But aren't we glad He knows how we feel? And shows it? Which makes me think, that probably wasn't the last time Mary cried, or cried out to a healing God. And yesterday wasn't the last day we'll follow her example. I'm learning that it's true that on this side of Heaven, the healing never ends. Like you, I often want Him to hurry or notice. If I didn't know better, I'd say this life looks a lot like that short road to Bethany.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Incidentally, tomorrow is my 14-day check-up with the neurosurgeon. Let the dust fly, and like my boys of the group Salvador sing, "Let the healing never end". Amen?

REPORT: ROOT OF THE PAIN Are you walking around each day with chronic pain in your knees or back? It might not be the thrashing you put on your body in your formidable years. It may be the few extra pounds you've accumulated since. The good news is that there's an easy fix.

>> Get the full report here.

LISTEN: Want to take in some of your favorite entries direct from Jimmy? Click here for a selection of audio devotions and be sure to share the link with your social networks!

What the Maker Knew

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." --Psalm 139:14

Read: Psalm 139

When God the Creator put the finishing touches on our unique souls, He knew. He knew we'd scrape our shins, disobey parents and upset friends. He knew our kids would reject us, enemies would haunt us and our memory would fail us; and all before losing life's final war with pain. He knew, but that didn't stop Him.

He proceeded to count hairs on heads then fingers and toes. He added color to eyes, dimples on chins and swivels to hips. Why didn't He stop? He knew that what life rejects, Christ accepts. Someday in Heaven, you and I will see just what became of us the day we finally believed what the Maker already knew.

--Jimmy Peña

In Matthew West's song, "Wonderfully Made" he sings: "You don't have to wonder, you are wonderfully made. Perfectly beautiful in every way. Wonderfully, wonderfully, made. You're anything but typical, it's true. They ain't seen anybody quite like you. God never makes a mistake. You are wonderfully, wonderfully made."

How should the fact that God -- The Maker -- says we're wonderful help us through our day? How should that mold and shape our health and fitness?

GREEN POWER: Kale & Cilantro

Harness the power (and flavor) of kale and cilantro

It's time to get your greens -- or more of 'em, as it were. By finding new ways to get kale and cilantro into your nutrition plan, either by adding them to salads and casseroles, you can get much needed immune help and vital nutrients.

>> Click here for more.

Are You Reaching?

"She thought, 'If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.'" --Matthew 9:21

Read: Matthew 21

She did what a suffering Job couldn't. Jacob, David -- them, too. Run through the bible and find as many people as possible who hurt physically, and one woman did exactly what each of them would have done in an instant. Having suffered for years with an issue that condemned her as an unwanted and unclean outcast, doctors couldn't heal her and family disowned her. She was out of choices, so she got up. She mustered strength of heart and elbowed her way through the crowd. She said to herself, "If I can just touch the hem of his garment." Now, the bible says many people were pressing against Jesus when He asked, "Who touched me?" (Mark 5:30)

Maybe you can relate. Are you hurting physically? Perhaps you've been dealing with pain unknown to most, but like the woman in our story, something has privately clouded your life. Or maybe you're apparently healthy and able, and yet you've willfully and knowingly neglected your body as a fearfully woven gift. Whoever you are and whatever your needs, make no mistake...Jesus knows your hurt and your heart. There's no pain or scar He won't understand, so bring it all. And remember, while many people actually touched Jesus on the road that day, only one truly reached.

--Jimmy Peña

STUDY: EXERCISE ACUTELY IMPAIRS COGNITIVE FUNCTION You may want to do those TPS reports before your next tough workout

How well do you recall things or process complicated problems immediately after exercise? If you just finished a workout, then maybe you need to read that sentence again. We'll wait...

If you really think about it, and are honest with yourself, you likely have more difficulty focusing on anything more complicated than mixing your protein shake. A new study shows that those who took cognitive function tests immediately after a workout had significantly slower response times than a group that rested.

>> Click here for the study abstract.

"Research shows that exercise can boost brain power over the long haul," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "However, the immediate effects of exercise may have detrimental effects on your brain function, as this new study shows. So for the students who train, either train after your tests or give yourself a few hours between your workout and your tests to prevent the fatigue of the workout from impairing your performance on the test."

Rescue. Shelter.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." --2 Corinthians 5:21

Read: 2 Corinthians 5

In case you missed this story, former New Jersey Governor Richard Codey went undercover last week as a homeless man. He was cold, hungry and plagued with hip problems in the middle of the night. Governor Codey noted that he thought the best way to relate to the homeless was to become homeless himself. In the end, he was rejected by 22 shelters. Imagine...a former governor leaving his mansion to spend a night among the paupers.

Isn't it easy to think of Jesus right about now? Sure it is. Although, Jesus didn't just stay the night did He? He could have, but He didn't. No, He spent a lifetime here. And because He did, we can relate to Him in so many ways. Are you ignored at work? He understands. Rejected by neighbors? So was He. Hurting physically? Jesus knows your pain. But Jesus did more than dress up like us. Note the verse: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us..." See, He does more than relate. He rescues.

Divine irony. He became we could follow Him home.

--Jimmy Peña


One of the key exercises in yesterday's workout of the week was the dumbbell upright row. This multi-joint movement effectively targets your middle deltoid head but it also engages your trapezius, rear delts and albeit to a much lesser degree your forearms and biceps. Because so many muscle groups are involved in this movement, you are able to use significantly more weight than you would be on isolation moves in the routine such as lateral raises. For an exercise demonstration and a deeper analysis of the physiology, click here.

>> COFFEE DRINKERS REJOICE: People give you grief for your insistence on a tall cup of java before you can chat in the morning? Tell them you're enhancing your DNA with each sip. Get the full story on coffee's new benefits by clicking here.


November 16, 2011 Read: Isaiah 43

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you." --Isaiah 43:1

Bib No. 18-164 wasn't tracking. Even though race officials, sponsors and loved ones knew bib No. 18-164 started the race, nobody knew where he was on the course. See, bib numbers have bar codes that tell everyone your pace, stage and whereabouts. Without a functioning bib, you might as well be invisible.

Can you relate? In the course of your day, have you ever felt as if nobody knows just exactly where you are? Oh sure, you're at your cubicle or at home with your kids. But is anyone really watching what you're going through, let alone loving you through it? Your hurt is real. Your pain is deep. And walking away would be much easier than running this rat race. But we're more than tracked, and our steps are better than traced. Hope isn't lost and neither are you. God finds us and loves us from start-to-finish.

And as far as bib No. 18-164, he officially finished in just over five hours. And while his time didn't warrant interviews or draw a crowd, he did receive his medal. But he wasn't alone in this achievement -- the prize went to anyone who accepted the invitation to finish the race. Friends, God invites us to accept Jesus into our hearts and lives. When we do, we join a race He's already won on our behalf. Our job is to trace His steps and help others do the same. See you at the finish.

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION TIP: Apples for Size

"I commonly advise people to eat an apple preworkout," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "Apples contain polyphenols that have been shown to increase muscle strength, endurance and fat loss."

A recent study affirms those benefits, showing that one of the polyphenols in apples, ursolic acid, also increases muscle growth and fat loss. For the scientific speak on the topic, click here.

>> PRAYFIT IN YOUR HOME: PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, comes to your living room this December with the release of the "PrayFit: 33-Day Total Body Challenge" DVD. Learn more and reserve your copy today by clicking here.



October 19, 2011Read: Revelation 21

God will take away all their tears. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All the old things have passed away.”  --Revelation 21:4

Recent business took my husband half way around the world to Hong Kong and Singapore, and after two weeks, my three young children missed their daddy. While he was gone, it was business as usual -- homework, projects, bath times and bedtimes -- but there was a huge part that felt empty. Though we were doing our best, I knew the kids missed those special moments that only a father can provide and I missed the comfort and security I feel when I lay in bed with him at my side. We had a few incidents including, but not limited to, rain storms, tornado warnings, power outages, falling from a tree and crashing a bicycle. Part of our well-oiled machine was missing, and we felt it.

The day finally came to pick up dad at the airport. Two full weeks of stumbles and bumbles and he was finally home to put us back together. The kids made signs saying, “Our Dad Rocks” to make sure anyone and everyone knew that our dad, in fact, rocks.  My daughter even had her favorite stuffed animals to help greet him as he arrived. I told them before we left, “Now, when you see your father, don’t drop everything and run. Give him a minute to get through the doors.”  But as we looked down the corridor and finally spied his blonde hair walking swiftly toward us, all three kids dropped everything and took off at lightening speed to tackle him. Home at last. Hugs, kisses and tears of celebration. In a moment, all was right again.

I wonder if that's how we'll be when we finally get to meet our Heavenly Father.  I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that we will drop all of the things we carry -- all the stuff that seemed so important -- in a millisecond and run with wild abandon to embrace Him. In that moment, all will be right (for good). After all, He not only keeps us from falling apart, but He's the only one who can put us back together. So, while we await His return, may our lives be a sign that says to anyone and everyone, "Our Dad (our Abba) Rocks."

--Allison King Earnst

PrayFit's newest executive team member 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."


A salad before dinner is a great way to fit one or more servings of vegetables into your day. Try using bagged coleslaw mix (it usually contains shredded green and red cabbage and carrots) or broccoli slaw as an alternative to bagged lettuces. Cabbage and broccoli are packed with nutrients, provide a satisfying crunchy texture and are almost always cheaper than the bagged lettuce mixes -- you can often get the same amount of coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw for half the price of the bagged lettuces! Some of my favorite add-ins are chopped tomatoes, a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette, which contains plenty of healthy fats.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.


October 14, 2011Read: Exodus 4

"The Lord said, 'Throw it on the ground." --Exodus 4:3

Moses was reluctant to part with his staff, but when he finally laid it down in obedience, it became the rod of God. Abraham was asked to lay down his own son upon the altar, and Peter was asked to lay down his nets after catching nothing all night. I'm sensing a theme.

You know, we talk a lot about picking up the weights or picking up the pace in our pursuit of a fitter lifestyle, but God is honored most by what we're willing to lay down. And if we're obedient in the most difficult times, He'll bless us beyond belief. What are you holding that's keeping you from living a more abundant life either spiritually or physically? Whatever it might be, just know that Moses, Abraham and Peter know first hand that it's okay to let go.


RECOVER FASTER WITH R.I.C.E. Learn the basics of injury management to get back to your exercise program sooner

When you roll an ankle playing basketball or feel a pull in your hamstring during a sprint, do you wrestle over what approach to take? Is it heat? Or does ice work best? Should you just wrap it up tight and call it a day? If you can remember the term "RICE," you'll never go wrong with treating acute, soft-tissue injuries like strains and sprains. RICE is an acronym that stands for "rest, ice, compression and elevation," a fundamental injury treatment technique used in training rooms everywhere.

R - REST Forget about making tomorrow's pick-up game. Your body needs time to heal and complete rest is the only way to ensure that the injured soft tissue remains immobile until the pain has subsided and the majority of function has returned.

I - ICE We love to hate the cold stuff. Applying an ice pack to the area, usually for 20 minutes of each hour as soon as possible after the injury, helps to alleviate pain and swelling to the area. Care should be taken not to over-ice, as the extended restriction of blood flow can limit the delivery of nutrients and the elimination of waste from the injured area.

C - COMPRESSION Keeping a good elastic bandage on hand is a good idea if you're active, as this simple implement can help to further reduce inflammation. Wrap the affected area firmly, but not so much so that it is overly restrictive and never sleep with it on -- doing either can unnecessarily or dangerously interrupt important blood flow.

E - ELEVATION Gravity is your friend. If possible, keep the affected limb above the heart in order to reduce swelling and to improve the removal of waste products from the point of injury.

What about heat? From the above, you have probably deduced that most of these steps are designed to limit swelling and blood flow to the injury. Since direct heat increases circulation to the point of application, applying heat before swelling subsides (usually 48-72 hours) can be counterproductive, even if it offers some temporary comfort. To these steps, you can also add a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) such as ibuprofen which will further aid in pain management and the reduction of swelling.

>> For more on RICE, visit WebMD.


August, 11, 2011Read: Isaiah 1

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow." --Isaiah 1:18

Walking Josey around the neighborhood this last weekend, I came across an open house sign. The arrow pointed us up the street, so...up we went. Interestingly, the closer we got to the house, the nicer things seemed. The manicured lawn looked like the greens of The Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta. Smiling neighbors waved at the milkman. Kids played hopscotch. Josey chased cartoon animals across the street while Mr. Bluebird rested upon my shoulder. After all, it was an open house. And everything seems perfect at an open house.

Okay, maybe the cartoon animals were a little much, but as I stood watching the people going in and out, I could relate to the owner who had clearly taken great pains in preparing the house to make a good first impression. Before we let anyone in our lives, we hide the dirt. We sweep regrets under the rug, polish the pain and spit-shine the shame. We don't want anyone to see the proof under the roof.

Isn't it comforting to know that we don't need to clean ourselves up before we let Jesus in? We can stop scrubbing failures from the floor and just open the door. Besides, the asking price for our heart's home is way too high for anyone but Him, and He paid it in full.



Like most Americans, you probably paid somewhere near $4.00 a gallon at the pump this week. But before you go and blame Middle East unrest, market instability or rapid inflation, you might want to consider the following statistic.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine,  nearly one billion gallons of additional fuel per year can be attributed to the average weight gain between 1960 and 2002 of people living in the United States. This represents nearly three times the total amount of fuel consumed by all passenger vehicles each day based on current driving habits, or approximately 0.7% of the total amount of fuel consumed by passenger vehicles annually. Moreover, it is estimated that over 39 million gallons of fuel are consumed annually for every one pound increase in average passenger weight.

In other words, the heavier we get, the harder our cars, trucks, trains and planes have to work to transport us from A to B.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine


July 5, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 11

"Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." --1 Corinthians 11:1

Quote of the Week

"Good or bad, may we never let our fitness be a distraction from our witness."


What are your faith and fitness goals for the second half of the year? Let us know in our comments section below.


A few days ago, we got a question about the push-ups in Week 2 of our book, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." Whether you're new to the exercise or you're a seasoned athlete, the push-up is a tough but fantastic exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, triceps and to a lesser extent your core musculature. So mastering it, even through the initial road bumps, is a good idea.

(NOTE: If you have pre-existing limitations or joint issues that prevent you from performing the push-up or even the less difficult incline push-up, modify the activity however necessary. And remember, always consult your physician before attempting a new exercise routine.)

>> Try this. Begin your push-ups in standard position and perform as many as you can -- even if it's just a few. Then, when you can no longer do push-ups in this position, move to the modified version, where you let you knees rest on the floor. When you fatigue at the modified version, you can continue with incline push-ups, where your hands rest on an elevated surface such as a table, chair or low wall.

Rest only as long as it takes to get into position for the next move. After complete failure, rest 1-2 minutes and then repeat the sequence or move to your abs or even additional cardio. Be sure to record your effort, then beat that performance the next day and for the rest of the week.

>> VIDEO: Standard Push-Up

>> VIDEO: Incline Push-Up


July 1, 2011 Read: 1 Peter 3

"So he went and preached to the spirits in prison." --1 Peter 3:19

This weekend we celebrate freedom. As a nation, we proudly hail the day we loosened the chains of tyranny from Great Britain. At PrayFit we want to salute the men and women who never lived to enjoy the freedom they fought to protect. Their memory is a reminder both in celebration and memoriam, that freedom is never free.

As believers, we too celebrate freedom; from our past, today's worry and fear of tomorrow. Those prisons have no key, but the cross stamps pardon on our hearts and the doors open. We're meant to live free indeed.

Friends, when it comes to our health, many of us have a burning desire to be free; from guilt, from diets, and from sedentary lifestyles. But no "how-to" guide or fitness guru is more able to help you achieve abundant health than the one who breathed it into our lungs in the first place. Because of His broad stripes, He's the only one we'll need when our health loses its final perilous fight with pain. Surely, we can trust Him with it in the meantime.



Your heart is a muscle. And just like the rest of the muscles in your body, it responds positively to exercise. So it should come as no surprise that doctors are starting to turn away from long-held "rest and relaxation" approaches to heart health and rehabilitation, instead urging patients to train harder than ever. A more efficient heart, they rationalize, is better at delivering blood and oxygen to working muscles for everything from a walk to your car after work to a no-holds barred weight workout. This can fortify you against cardiovascular disease, help you recover from a heart incident and maintain a healthier overall weight.

>> ABC News delivers the details here.

>> RELATED: An introduction to high-intensity interval cardio

>> SHOP: Be sure to check out our newly-upgraded tees for men and women and take advantage of our clearance sale on selected apparel at the PrayFit store!


May 6, 2011 Read: Isaiah 46

"Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." --Isaiah 46:4

On a softball team, each player has her role to play. And in the highly competitive world of collegiate athletics, even more specialization occurs. In 2008, Western Oregon University right fielder Sara Tucholsky, a pesky contact hitter by trade, strode to the plate with two runners on base in a game against conference rival Central Washington.

Just looking to play her role -- perhaps to draw a walk, or poke a run-scoring single into the shallows of the outfield  -- Sara was just as surprised as the rest of the 300 spectators in attendance when she drove the ball over the left-center field wall. The three-run home run was the first of her waning softball career and, in her excitement, she missed first base. As she turned to run back to first, she felt a distinctive pop -- she had ruptured a major ligament in her right knee . Collapsing and crawling back to first base, Sara was met by her coach. The umpire informed them that no one could complete the home run trot but Sara, or else the home run would be ruled a single, negating this watershed moment for the ailing senior. If anyone from her team touched her, she would be called out.

Then, in a stunning act of sportsmanship, Central Washington's Mallory Holtman -- a senior on her club and owner of nearly every major offensive record in her school's history -- offered to carry Sara around the bases. Scratching his head at why the opponent would want to, in essence, give the team a run that they were about to lose, the umpire informed her that there was no rule against it. Mallory and teammate Liz Wallace then lifted Sara up and carried her around the bases, gingerly touching her foot to each base along the way.

Sara was in tears, in pain and out of options but in her wounded state, she was shown the way home by those willing to carry the burden, even at great cost to them. This simple act of sportsmanship beautifully illustrates the fact that when we feel too broken to carry on -- when we feel like we don't know the way or when the pain is too heavy to bear on our own -- we also have someone to pick us up and lead us home.

For ESPN's take on this inspirational story, click here.



>> ENGAGE: One thing that PrayFit prides itself upon is fellowship. Bringing like-minded readers together to share struggles and successes, tips and tricks is fundamental to what we do here! Here are a few of the current topics going on our forums...

What's Your Testimony | 7 posts

Questions for the Trainer | 22 posts

Child Obesity | 15 posts

>> SHARE: Help us get others on board with this whole "faith and fitness" thing. Use the "Recommend," "Tweet," "E-Mail" and "Share" buttons at the top of each day's entry to get your social network in the know about PrayFit. Also, you can "like" us, "follow" us or "watch" us by clicking the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube icons at the bottom of each page.

>> SHOP: As we head into Mother's Day weekend, you can select a gift for mom that will keep on giving long after those flowers wilt. Visit our online store to pick up official PrayFit shirts, hats or wristbands or send her a copy of our print project, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." The book includes meal plans and easy-to-follow workout programs that can help keep mom fit and healthy.


September 17, 2010Read: 1 John 1

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." --1 John 1:9

When doctors say, “You’ll be good as new,” we know what they mean. They’re taking all their knowledge and expertise and, based on their best efforts, will try and restore us to optimum health. What they don’t mean is that we’ll be as healthy as we were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. We explain to physicians what the symptoms are and where it hurts. Why do we give all that information? Well, simple…so they can know how to treat us and make us aaaaall better. And while we’re so thankful for our doctors, when they say “good as new,” deep inside we know what they mean.

Let’s imagine we’ve made an appointment with Jesus, the great physician. You’re sitting in the exam room, waiting for Him to walk in. You’re hurting. On the wall are no diplomas, no certifications — just framed pictures of the faces of others who have been there to see Him. And now you’re here. For some, this is your first time in His office. And you’re here because life has been painful. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Maybe your marriage didn’t last, retirement was put on hold, or your health was taken away far too soon. And now you need someone to not only take away the pain, but to remove the hurt.

A light knock at the door and it’s Him. You don’t know whether to fall on your face or hug Him, so you manage to do both. He sits down next to you, and even though He knows the answer to His next question, he asks you where it hurts, and pointing at your heart, you tell Him. In your anguish, He holds your hand, and you notice the nail scars in His.

He stands and grabs His prescription pad, and you watch as He scribbles. He hands it to you and walks you to the door. You look into His eyes, and you thank Him. And with tears still in His, He says goodbye.

As you go to pay the bill, the people behind the desk tell you that there’s no charge, that your physician has paid the price in full; you’re free to go. All you have to do is fill the prescription and you’ll be good as new. And somehow deep inside, you know what they mean.


PRAYFIT WEEK IN REVIEW A look back at a week of healthy living solutions

PrayFit Workout of the Week: More Defined Shoulders

Stats: The ever-expanding reach of the obesity epidemic

Video: Time in the kitchen with nutritionist Dana Angelo White

Q&A: The benefits and drawbacks of using training straps

It was a great week. We're so thankful you joined us and we hope it's been an encouragement. Enjoy the weekend and we'll see you Monday. In Jesus' name, we train.

--Team PrayFit