August 5, 2011Read: Exodus 14

"It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” --Exodus 14:12

Before the Israelites crossed into the promised land, they found themselves in no man's land. They were in the middle of the harshest desert in the world, after all. They had long since left the paradoxical security of pharoah's bondage where, despite being in captivity, they were provided food, water and accommodations at night. Their GPS? The footsteps of a stuttering man and his brother.

Walking aimlessly day after day under the punishing African sun, survival instinct began to wash over them. Hunger, thirst, frustration and fear had started to erode the already tenuous faith that they had placed in Moses and Aaron. But they were stuck. Both before them and behind them lie vast, hopeless stretches of scorching hot sand, with nary a nibble of food or a drop of water in sight. What to do?

Then Moses laid it out: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

When we find ourselves wandering in the desert, we'd be well served by continuing boldly on the course that He's set for us. If we do, thirsting only for the water that gives life, reaching the sand's horizon will be eternally more rewarding. Moses assured the Israelites that even though fear lies ahead, God lives above. How's that for a compass?



Q: How can drinks be zero calorie? Doesn't everything take energy to be digested by your body and wouldn't that make these beverages inherently caloric?

A: Since these types of beverages are mostly water (plus artificial sweeteners, which are chemicals), they contain virtually no calories. Water is absorbed by most cells by simple diffusion and similar pathways that do not require energy so the calorie expediture is considered negligible. The effects that the chemicals may have will vary depending on the type, but do not have much to do with caloric intake or expenditure.

>> DID YOU KNOW? Research shows that people may over-rely on diet drinks, consuming more calories than usual because of the perceived caloric deficit. Temper your consumption of these beverages, instead getting the bulk of your fluid from water. Aim to consume about half of your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. A 160-pound person should aim for around 80 ounces from sun-up to lights out.

PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.



June 27, 2011Read: Acts 2

"You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence." --Acts 2:27-28

Yesterday, in our tiny cul-de-sac, I spent some time trying to teach my youngest daughter how to ride a tricycle. After helping her place her feet on the pedals, I gave the back of her seat a gentle but sustained nudge to show her how pedaling should feel. For Ella, watching her tiny, sandaled feet make their revolutions was more exciting than monitoring the road ahead. We had to stop several times because she'd start an inadvertent turn into the curb or gutter, only to have me pull her back at the last second. As we went on, she got more comfortable. She seemed to catch on quickly to the fact that we'd only go as fast as I was willing to push and that if danger loomed, I'd be there to help her right her course.

Our Father guides us through life in similar fashion. Only by walking (or riding) with Him do we sustain a safe pace and a steady course. And when we do veer off the path, He's always there to pull us back to safety to continue the journey...together.


WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Static Strength

In breaking from the more dynamic, high-energy workouts that usually appear here on Mondays, this week's workout is a bit static...literally. We're going to take one exercise which doesn't allow you to move whatsoever. The stationary wall squat is an isometric (or static) exercise that works to strengthen your entire lower body (quads, glutes, hamstrings), all without movement.

The execution is simple: lean against the wall with your legs bent at 90-degree angles (or close to it) for as long as possible. Be sure to time yourself so the next time you try this move you can beat your time to failure. The thing about isometric exercises is that they're angle-specific, meaning you gain strength at only the angle you're working. So for that reason, when you reach fatigue at one angle, and after a brief rest period, you change the angle.

Try this: Place your feet 2-3 feet from a stable wall and lean your back against it. Make sure you back is fully supported from your hips to your head. Gently slide down the wall until your legs are bent at 90-degree angles. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, hold that position for as long as possible and note the time. Rest about 30 seconds and repeat. As you find you can't hold the low position for quite as long, straighten your legs to raise your body up the wall a few inches and repeat the hold. Continue to work your way up the wall until you're almost to a standing position. The key is to work as many different angles as possible so you gain strength throughout the sitting-standing range of motion

>> BOOKS & GEAR: Structured workouts, detailed meal plans and 56 daily devotionals highlight our book “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days.” Order yours at our online store today, or pick up a hat, shirt or wristband for your faith-and-fitness minded loved ones.