power

On My Knees

The wonderful and talented Christian artist Jaci Velasquez once sang:

"There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin. Then there are days that I feel I'm letting go and soaring on the wind. Cause I've learned in laughter or in pain how to survive...I get on my knees. There I am before the love that changes me. I don't know how, but there's power when I'm on my knees."

Where exactly am I going with this? Well, nowhere actually. We're not moving a muscle. You'll forgive the analogy, but of the three types of muscle contractions -- positive, negative and isometric -- the isometric contraction has the least amount of movement (zero movement actually) but packs the most punch. Let me explain.

Lifting a weight upward -- even the heaviest possible for just one repetition -- is a positive contraction. Lowering the same weight is called the negative. Now pick something too heavy to move. If nothing comes to mind, imagine trying to move a wall in your home. Got the visual? Well, it takes more force for you NOT to move the wall than it does for you to lift a super heavy weight even one time. (Let that bake your brain). To put it another way, you can generate more force within your muscle by trying to move an immovable object than you can when you are able to move anything else, no matter how heavy it is.

I thought of that yesterday when all the preparation we've put into a pitch/project for PrayFit came to a crossroads, with all roads needing to be traveled. One direction, positive, the other will generate a negative. But even though I'm able and obligated to do both, I did what many a better Christian has done before me and what many will do after me. I got on my knees. There is no greater force than going to the Lord and not moving a muscle. Fact is, I can't lift enough weight, run enough miles or swim enough laps to compare to what I get from spending time with my Savior. It changes me. I don't know how, but there's power when I'm on my knees.

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYER WARRIORS: Before your workout, whether you're a runner, lifter, swimmer, walker, please hit your knees today. I covet your hearts. Of all the names that come to mind, I beg you to let mine be one of them. Thanks guys.

DID YOU KNOW? Speaking of muscle contractions, you can withstand more weight negatively than you can positively. Meaning, you're stronger during a negative contraction than you are during a positive one. I think that deserves an entry. Anyone agree?

Be Friends, Not Enemies

"He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control." --Philippians 3:21

Read: Philippians 3:21

Before your very first day of school, or prior to getting your driver's license, and even before you began the family with which you spend your days...came your body. Not only did God inspire your soul's dream, but He gave you the body necessary to pursue the job. Since God will always equip us with what we need to accomplish His will, we know our bodies were His choice. Can you imagine the moment?

It was as if God said:

"Sweet soul, here is your body. I've carefully woven it together. It has what it takes for you to pursue me and tell others about me. And oh precious body, this is your soul. Of all the matter in the universe, this is what matters most. Carry it where it needs to go. Protect it. Honor it. Now, I want you two to be good to each other. Be friends, not enemies."

So, do me a favor and take a quick glance at your arm or hands. Think for a second that God himself has touched that skin. He was first. In fact, talk to your body. It's okay, go ahead. Maybe you need to thank it. Perhaps you need to assure it. Or like me recently, maybe during your dark hour, you need to apologize. Could be for something you've knowingly done or for something out of your control -- an ailment, an accident maybe, or even a disease. But much like any friend going through a tough time, just tell it you're so very sorry. After all, it was God who knitted it and then breathed life into it. Miraculously, He gave your heart a knowledge that there is something more to this life than life. And like it says in our verse, in order to pursue Him and then share Him, He gave you a weak and fragile body. Oh, it may not last this earth, but you can rest assured it was indeed a match made in Heaven.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: MIX & MATCH Your body was fitted for a particular soul and every body out there is different. Some folks may just need to get busy with some cardio to build that friendly soul-body rapport, while others may be interested in reshaping a particular bodypart. Whatever your need -- and wherever your soul leads -- we have a great selection of workouts for you to choose from. Pick one (or more) of the 10-minute workouts listed here, or click here to go straight to our fitness page. Be sure to share these on your Facebook pages to get others in your social circles moving this week!

>> LOW BACK & CORE

>> FULL BODY SESSION

>> GET LEAN

>> BODYWEIGHT ONLY

Not sure how to do an exercise? Click here to see many of these moves in action!

With Honors

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." -- Ephesians 2:8

Read: Ephesians 2

I'm not the first writer to see heaven in a graduation and I definitely won't be the last. But sitting in the bleachers this weekend, waiting for the love of my life to stroll across that stage, I just couldn't help it. As the band played a few sour notes and the crowd fanned their glistening brows, the keynote speaker talked about all the reasons the graduates deserved the stage. The homework, the term papers, the finals. All tough, all taken, all passed. Tired and weary, all that was left to do was receive their prize.

At first it seems like a simple analogy. You did the work, you get the reward. But if Heaven were based on our ability to pass every test, there would be no thrilling cheers, no tossing tassels, no celebration. When Loretta fulfilled her course requirements last semester, she couldn't wait for the big day to arrive. Jesus fulfilled our course requirement when He walked the hill of Calvary and paid our sin debt. Now, we don't know when the day will come, but by His grace through faith alone, you and I will someday walk across the stage and receive a prize we didn't earn. With all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto -- tired and weary -- we'll graduate with honors...His.

P.S. As she promised, Loretta tried to walk slowly across the stage to soak it all in. She wanted it to last forever. Yeah, somehow I think God loves a good graduation. "Just wait," I bet He's saying. "Just wait."

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: PUSH-UPS Double your total on this foundation exercise in just a week

There's a reason that push-ups are included in fitness tests the world over: they work. Forcing your chest, shoulders and triceps to work in concert helps develop tremendous pushing strength, which translates over to a number of functions covering everything up to and including hand-to-hand combat (a handy skill for today's homeland defenders).

No matter how many push-ups you can complete, no matter your skill level, you can improve on that total drastically in a week's time by using this simple but effective workout. Try the following low-volume workout, each day, and track your progress online in your own PrayFit Workout Journal. Not yet a member? Click here to register.

>> Click here to learn how to increase your push-up max!

Pre-Game

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." --2 Timothy 1:7

Read: 2 Timothy 1

Imagine a coach before a big football game. The team has taken a knee and their helmets are off as they await the last few words of encouragement from their leader. The coach stands before them, clears his throat and says, "Now listen up, boys. We got here as a team and we'll finish as one. I believe in you. But...I gotta admit, I think the other coach is smarter than me, and the other kids? Well, they're a lot bigger than you. But hey, it was a fun season. Try not to get hurt. Now, let's go!"

Not much confidence in those words, right? Aren't we glad that's not how God sends us off into the world to tackle our biggest foes -- foes of financial hardships, health issues, relationship battles and good old fear and doubt? On the contrary, if God had a blackboard, He'd outline our daily route...straight to the cross on every play, every day. His pre-game speech might be brief: "Be strong and courageous, for I am with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). What else do we need to hear?

Question: The bible is full of wonderful, motivational verses that remind us of God's power and strength. What's your favorite? Tell us in the comments section below.

--Jimmy Peña

JIMMY PENA TO SPEAK AT MOM'S SQUAD MOTHER'S DAY CELEBRATION IN CLEVELAND

In less than two weeks (May 5), PrayFit Founder Jimmy Peña will join Grammy and Dove Award Winning sensation Point of Grace at the Mom's Squad Mother's Day Celebration in Ohio, hosted by Cleveland's 95.5 THE FISH.

"It's such a blessing to be included in such an important event, to be speaking to so many influential women and to be sharing the day with the amazing women of Point of Grace!" Peña says.

Do you want Jimmy and the PrayFit team to come to your church or business to share his motivational story of health as a means of praise? Using biblical characters and motivational scenarios, Jimmy will help motivate and inspire you and your congregation to view health differently than ever before. E-mail us at info@prayfit.com for more details!

Baggage Handler

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." --Matthew 6:34

Read: Matthew 6

We sure do like our baggage. Ever notice the reluctancy of airline passengers to part with their carry-ons? My chocolate lab Josey is more likely to give up a fresh t-bone. When it comes to personal property, we growl "mine", no matter how short the flight. Separate us from what's rightfully ours and somehow the sky is falling (even at 30,000 feet).

When you think about it, the purpose of the flight is not the flight, but a safe landing. The pilot doesn't need anything we lug on board to get us where we need to go. (You know where I'm going with this.)

If you're like me, you'd be better off to check some of life's luggage. Worry weighs us down and fear fogs our vision; good thing God doesn't need a co-pilot. In fact, I think I'll take my plastic pilot wings back to my seat. We still have a ways to go.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Isn't it amazing that the only One who is capable of handling our baggage is the one who navigates our destiny? What carry-ons do you need to leave behind this week? Could be in the area of finances, relationships, and of course, health.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: CALVES

One popular bodybuilder once quipped that the only people who train calves are people who already have them. However exaggerated the claim, there is some truth to the fact that calves are an oft-neglected bodypart in our training schedules. While so many are unlikely to skip workouts for their arms, you're not likely to find anyone rearranging their social schedules for calf day. We understand. Calves are a frustrating bodypart to train and even tougher to grow. These muscles are worked exhaustively over the course of a day and can become highly resistant to traditional training (unless you already have calves, that is!). And while there is no one routine to achieve stronger-looking calves, this basic, once-per-week, five-week cycle can provide just the type of challenging stimulus that can set you on the right path.

After these five weeks, you can move your calf training into the gym where machines and additional equipment can provide a new spark for progress. We'll take your before and after pics at info@prayfit.com but you're on your own for finding a reliable masseuse!

Week 1: Standing calf raise No fancy physiology. From a standing position anywhere, simply press up onto the balls of your feet and return your heels to the floor. Repeat this for 5 sets of 20 reps.

Week 2: Standing calf raise Same as week one, only change the pace slightly. "Power" up onto the balls of your feet, hold the contraction for two seconds, and take 2-3 seconds to lower your heels back to the floor. Repeat for 5 sets of 12-15 reps.

Week 3: Single-leg calf raise Repeat your Week 1 protocols, only doing one leg at a time.

Week 4: Single-leg calf raise Repeat your Week 2 protocols, only doing one leg at a time.

Week 5: Single-leg calf raise (on step) Place the ball of one foot on the edge of an elevated surface like a step or the curb. This allows your heel to fall below the level of your toes, placing an additional stretch on the calves. Perform five sets on each leg to failure, or the point at which you can no longer complete reps without bouncing.

--Perform these workouts on "off" days or on your regularly scheduled leg day, after your other exercises. More advanced trainers can try doing these routines twice per week. >> FITNESS: Click here for more workouts, fitness tips and exercise descriptions!

POWER & STRENGTH

June 6, 2011 QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength."

--Dr. Charles Stanley

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Strength & Cardio

Changing your body for the long term is due in large part to exercise selection and workout intensity. And if you're looking to strengthen, tone and build your heart health, this workout gives you a full dose of training for the week.

We're going to hit your upper and lower body using just your bodyweight in just a few minutes. We'll also work some high intensity cardio in the same spot to get the blood pumping and heart stronger. Once you go through the sequence, feel free to go through the exercises a second time. Remember to take each exercise to exhaustion unless otherwise noted and perform the workout 2-3 times per week for maximum results.

Walk in place - 1 minute Bodyweight squat - 1 minute Jump squat - to failure Stationary (isometric) wall squat - to failure Push-up - to failure Plyometric push-up - to failure High knee running in place - to failure Jumping jacks- 1 minute Walk in place - 1 minute

>> For details on how to perform many of PrayFit's core exercises, click here.

POWER AND STRENGTH

January 26, 2011 "We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength." --Dr. Charles Stanley

In "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," we advocate spending a few minutes each day working on faith and fitness. No matter what time of day you choose to do this, life can make it difficult to muster the motivation to work on either. Long work days, kids running you ragged, all-night study sessions, brutal commutes, bad sleep -- even amidst the status of a life lived well, cracking open your bible and then working up a sweat may seem such an extraneous and wholly dispensable chore. But by making that time and keeping that morning meeting with the Lord, you will be amazed at what you are able to accomplish, not just for the workout that follows, but for the day ahead. Energy, power and strength -- byproducts of a commitment to faith and fitness. Dr. Stanley was on to something.

WE'RE PACKED AND READY

During a recent interview about the book, we were asked if we traveled to churches and groups to discuss faith and fitness. And our answer was a resounding "Yes." And so we'd like to share the same with you. Please talk to your Pastor or church leaders. Give them a book and reach out to us to discuss the Prayfit Team visiting your community. We're packed and ready to help you and yours take back your health for the Lord. Remember, something so fearfully made deserves more attention and upkeep than what we as a nation of believers are giving. And we want to help.

>> PRAYFIT JETSETTERS: To invite PrayFit to your church, or for help setting up your own PrayFit ministry, contact us at info@prayfit.com.

BY THE NUMBERS

215: Number of calories burned in 30 minutes of rigorous weight training.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

THE CROWD IS...US

November 23, 2010Read: Mark 10

“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

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 the pause, the 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?

–J.P.

FUN FACT: THE INCREDIBLE EGG

Many of you may think that eggs are just a simple breakfast food -- something that's been on your plate every morning since you can remember. But it is so much more, particularly if you're looking to gain muscle, says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" (Regal Books). Researchers found that subjects who ate three whole eggs per day gained twice as much muscle in 12 weeks as those who only had one egg per day.

EGG FACTS: One whole egg contains 72 calories, 6 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrate and 5 grams of fat. But don't worry -- about 80% of that fat is monounsaturated and saturated fat, which actually aids in the muscle-building process.

Source: www.jimstoppani.com