purpose

A Powerful Statement

"Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." --Isaiah 2:5

Read: Isaiah 2

Walking is a powerful statement. We've spent a few days this week on the subject, but there are a few biblical faces I wish I could see as they put one foot in front of the other. Try to imagine Abraham's anguished face as he walked with Isaac toward the altar; a wide-eyed Moses when his feet touched the Red Sea's floor; a groggy Lazarus coming out of the tomb; a soon-to-be-blind Saul heading to Damascus. The visionary Paul pacing in prison writing, "We walk by faith". Picture the crippled boy carrying his bed through town, or a once-blind Bartimaeus -- now turned follower -- not letting Jesus out of his sight. I'd love to have seen Simone the Cyrene heading to Jerusalem, or Simon the Cyrene leaving Jerusalem. The two mourning disciples shuffling along the road to Emmaus just before their eyes were opened, or Peter's look of wonder as he strolled across the water.

Oh, we could go on and on, right? Some of the greatest moments of all-time occurred during one of life's most basic yet powerful actions. Whether they were called, healed, leading, following or reminiscing, we get to imagine their faces of faith as they walked. But I don't think the best evidence of its power is found on the floor of the Red Sea. It's not on the island of Patmos or somewhere along the road to Damascus.

How does the Bible describe the miracle moment of the Word becoming flesh? He walked among us. Of all the ways God chose to relate to us, making footprints was one of them. And those precious feet wouldn't stop until they were nailed to a Roman cross. The hill of Calvary didn't require Paul's brilliant mind, Job's resilience, Mary's innocence, Luke's precision, Joseph's persistence or the positive encouragement of Barnabas. No, Calvary required the perfect, spotless, blameless, loving, grace-giving walk of the Savior.

Evidence of faith, of agreement, of courage, of vision, of passion and purpose, of love and amazing grace. Walking is a powerful statement.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: We know the specialness of a walk, don't we? The bride in her aisle. The soldier exiting the plane home. The surgeon walking out to family with good news. What walk are you about to make? What steps of faith will you take to get your soul where it needs to go? Make no mistake, your walk is powerful statement. Say something with it today.

Sister Powell Update: Hey everyone, Sister Powell received the prayers and thoughts from everyone. She's traveling from the jungle of Cambodia en route home. Thank you guys for blessing her and me with your words. Here is her reply to you all:

"Jimmy, I am honored by your kindness and your generous spirit toward Henry and me. I praise the Lord that Henry lived long enough to see the Godly man you have become. I thank the Lord we both saw the stable marriage you and Loretta have. And, I thank the Lord for my PrayFit partners. I just received this e-mail and devotion. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support.

You are like the steel girders under the bridge, holding me up. I cannot even express the encouragement you deliver to me through your words and responses. Encourage means to put courage in another. Truly, you have and continue to do that for me. I am both humbled and grateful."

DID YOU KNOW?

High blood sugar can sour your mood. In a recent study, researchers found that people who drink two and a half cans of soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious than those drinking less pop. What's more, the depressed have a heightened risk for Type II diabetes. The reverse also holds true: Diabetics are twice as likely as others to suffer depression.

Source: Jeff O'Connell's "Sugar Nation"

The Purpose Fulfilled Life

Hope you're enjoying the week looking at some of life's closers. First Mariano Rivera, and then of course Joseph. And while Joseph was unavoidable, the next two, I argue, are undeniable. If you've been with us for any stretch of time, you know they're a couple of my favorites.

"See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want  you to immediately remember this suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember that I know where I'm going." 

The man who said that is none other than Billy Graham. What a way to live and finish, amen? Sure sets the bar high, doesn't he? So does this next one.

There he was. Tied up. Who knows how long he'd been waiting? The most insignificant of animals with a seemingly inconsequential life. No thoroughbred blood running through his veins. His next meal was his only solace between chores. A helpless laborer, a meaningless creature. When, all of a sudden, Jesus asked for him specifically. In that day, donkeys were known to protect sheep, but that day he carried The Lamb. God chose him. Uniquely qualified, his purpose was to carry Jesus to His. He delivered. I suppose you could say he was born for this moment.

You may have heard me say it before, but I like to think that a donkey nobody had ever ridden knew exactly who he carried. And I bet he did his best to make Jesus proud. Of course, we don't know what the Lord said to him as He got off and walked away, maybe nothing. But this writer likes to think that as the crowd took Jesus the rest of the way, that little donkey stood taller than ever. The only one who noticed him and needed him was the One he just carried.

Let's make it our life's purpose to close-out life -- like Billy and the donkey -- and be remembered for where we're going, and who we carried along the way.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What a contrast in closers, don't you agree? Bill Graham and the donkey. One life spent evangelizing the world, filling years with special moments. The other called to be ready for just one. Man oh man. That's tough to type. You and I are no Billy Grahams, but I would have proudly been the donkey.

 

A Rhyme & Reason

“Life is not about bodyfat and muscle tone.It’s about where our hearts are at and His grace alone.

It’s not about the mirror or any other measurement. It’s in our service to others, reflecting the Son He sent.

We’re called to honor the body, but not for our praise or reward. We're just simple, humble stewards, on a mission for the Lord.

So eat right, train hard, but don’t forget your purpose, God sees your heart and not what’s on the surface.”

--Jimmy Peña

PrayFit-Cover NEWEXPLORING FAITH & FITNESS

For many of you, the PrayFit Daily is your entry point to our ministry. But how many of you have really taken the time to explore the rest of what our site has to offer? Take a minute and hit up these key links and be sure to bookmark your favorites!

FITNESS: Here, you'll find all you need to start putting your body in motion for whatever it is called to do. From workouts to exercise demos, we provide you a wide variety of ways to start reshaping your body and boosting your health. NUTRITION: Recipes. Research. Dietary tips. It's no wonder that this is one of the most popular pages on our site. To start eating in balance, click here.

LISTEN: For those looking for more nutrition for their souls, PrayFit offers a selection of audio devotionals, read by founder Jimmy Peña. Click, listen, share. RESOURCES: Our book and DVDs form the backbone of our ministry. All of these products offer readers life-changing guidance on honoring the bodies that carry their souls. You can check them out here, or browse the rest of our branded gear.

FELLOWSHIP: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

Carry Your Purpose

"'Go into that village over there,'" he told them. 'As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.'" --Luke 19:30

Read: Luke 19

There he was. Tied up. Who knows how long he'd been waiting? The most insignificant of animals with an inconsequential life. No thoroughbred blood running through his veins. His next meal was his only solace between chores. A helpless laborer, a meaningless creature. When, all of a sudden...

If you're like me, you've questioned your significance. Is this really what I was meant to do? Well, the next time you ponder your purpose, think of that donkey. Jesus asked for him specifically. Sure, the Lord could have chosen any method of transportation, but He chose him. Uniquely qualified, his purpose was to carry Jesus to His.

Forgive my imagination, but I like to think that a donkey nobody had ever ridden knew exactly who he carried. I bet he did his best to make Jesus proud. Of course we don't know what the Lord said to him as He got off and walked away, maybe nothing. But this writer likes to think that as the crowd took Jesus the rest of the way, that little donkey stood taller than ever. After all, Jesus, the Maker, needed a ride.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Have you ever pondered your purpose? Ever wondered what Jesus could use you for? No matter what your life's calling or trade, there is someone you know or someone you don't who is empty and lost. You're hand-picked. Like the donkey in our story, you may be the carrier of their only hope. So, deliver.

PRAYFIT NUTRITION: MILK There’s a good alternative for those sensitive to cow’s milk

If you’re sensitive to cow’s milk, you might try the goat variety. Did you know that goat’s milk has more essential amino acids and more omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium than cow’s milk? With all that said, its protein is easier to digest than cow’s milk and has less lactose. Wondering about the taste? It’s a bit on the sweeter side.

>> DAILY FEED: Wanna get PrayFit sent to your inbox on a daily basis? Sign up here, and tell your friends and family to do the same!

The Water's Edge

"One day Jesus was walking along the shore..." --Matthew 4:18

Read: Matthew 4

Although the weather was gloomy last weekend, Loretta and I decided to drive to the coast to relax. As we walked onto the sand, we immediately noticed a sea lion laying on the beach. When the wildlife rescue team arrived, they said it was probably sick and needed to rest, which is why it came ashore. Had it not, those able to save it said it would have surely died at sea.

Now, if you've been on PrayFit for any length of time, you know by now that I'm a little sentimental, so you'll forgive the analogy. But some of the greatest men and women have been rescued near the water. Moses needed courage on the banks of the Red Sea. David needed wisdom as he chose five stones. And on the beach in Galilee, Andrew and Peter met their Purpose face-to-face. Courage, wisdom, a Savior.

Are you facing some heavy work issues? Are you or someone you love in dire need of physical healing? Or maybe you just need a little rest. No matter your needs as we start a new week, His favorite place to run is to our rescue. Let's remember that our only hope in the world is waiting for us at the water's edge.

--Jimmy Peña

10-MINUTE WORKOUT: LEGS

Wanna change your entire body? Start at the bottom and work your way up. By training the large muscles of your lower body with greater intensity, you stand to burn more calories and raise your metabolism. This 10-minute training plan, which attacks your legs with bodyweight exercises only, is designed to set your whole body on a path to transformation. Click below to get started.

>> POWER LEGS

In The Temple

"The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them." --Matthew 21:14

Read: Matthew 21

When Jesus entered the temple, what He found didn't resemble its purpose. It didn't take Him long to overturn some tables and drive out those who mistreated His holy place. Interestingly, the very next verse says, "The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them."

Friends, the enemy wants us to abuse the temple, this body. He wants us to either neglect it so we can't live an abundant life, or he wants us to lose perspective with vain eyes. If you can't see beyond the physical, or if you haven't given your health enough attention, ask Jesus to overturn some tables. He can rebuild what we've destroyed. After all, it's His temple. And that's where He heals the blind and the lame.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 24-MINUTE COMPLEX

After a five-minute warm-up, you'll dive right in to the lower body complex. Move from exercise to exercise without rest. Once you have completed the leg complex, you'll move directly into the upper body complex. Keep the same cadence, moving quickly between exercises -- minimizing rest will help you keep to the 24-minute mark we've assigned here. If you adhere to the "rest minimal" policy, the 24-minute mark should get you through the lower body and upper body complexes four times each.

The pace provides a powerful fat-burning punch and the multi-joint nature of the exercises creates a powerful metabolic effect, which extends your calorie burn long past your final rep. This workout can also produce measurable gains in strength and endurance fairly quickly. To start, try this workout 2-3 times per week, always on non-consecutive days to maximize recovery between sessions.

LOWER BODY Static Wall Squat (hold a 90-degree squat against the wall for 1 minute) Jump Squat (1 minute) Static Wall Squat (1 minute)

--Hold your wall squat in a position that puts your thighs parallel to the floor. If you can't hold this position, you can increase the angle at your knees so that you are standing slightly taller. But try to start as low as you comfortably can, moving up the wall only as you fail at the lower position.

UPPER BODY Push-Up (complete as many push-ups as possible for 1 minute) Plank (hold the plank for 1 minute) Push-Up (complete as many push-ups as possible for 1 minute)

--If you need to modify and do your push-ups from the knees, please do so. Ideally, you should resort to the knees version only once you have failed the standard version -- even if it's only a few. This will ensure that you progress toward being able to complete more standard push-ups in the long run.

>> For more exercise descriptions and videos, click here.

Carry Your Purpose

"'Go into that village over there,'" he told them. 'As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.'" --Luke 19:30

Read: Luke 19

Earlier this year, I happened to mention the donkey that Jesus rode on Palm Sunday. I know for certain I'm not the first person to talk about that donkey, but I may be the latest to find this story so amazing.

There he was. Tied up. Who knows how long he'd been waiting? The most insignificant of animals with an inconsequential life. No thoroughbred blood running through his veins. His next meal was his only solace between chores. A helpless laborer, a meaningless creature. When...all of a sudden...

If you're like me, you've questioned your significance. Is this really what I was meant to do? Well, the next time you ponder your purpose, think of that donkey. Jesus asked for him specifically. Sure, the Lord could have chosen any method of transportation, but He chose him. Uniquely qualified, his purpose was to carry Jesus to His.

Forgive my imagination, but I like to think that a donkey nobody had ever ridden knew exactly who he carried. I bet he did his best to make Jesus proud. Of course we don't know what the Lord said to him as He got off and walked away, maybe nothing. But this writer likes to think that as the crowd took Jesus the rest of the way, that little donkey stood taller than ever. After all, Jesus, the Maker, needed a ride.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Have you ever pondered your purpose? Ever wondered what Jesus could use you for? No matter what your life's calling or trade, there is someone you know or someone you don't who is empty and lost. You're hand-picked. Like the donkey in our story, you may be the carrier of their only hope. So, deliver.

PRAYFIT NUTRITION: MILK There’s a good alternative for those sensitive to cow’s milk

If you’re sensitive to cow’s milk, you might try the goat variety. Did you know that goat’s milk has more essential amino acids and more omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium than cow’s milk? With all that said, its protein is easier to digest than cow’s milk and has less lactose. Wondering about the taste? It’s a bit on the sweeter side.

>> DAILY FEED: Wanna get PrayFit sent to your inbox on a daily basis? Sign up here, and tell your friends and family to do the same!

High Gear

"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

On a recent Saturday afternoon, my husband came home beaming with excitement. He had the rare opportunity to view a friend’s personal collection of 50 vintage cars. Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Model T’s, some first editions and even one-of-a-kind vehicles -- it was a car lover's dream. He went on and on about this car and that car and the rarity and value of some in the collection and I finally had to ask, “How in the world does he have time to drive them all?” I mean, 50? Really?!

“Oh, he never drives them,” my husband said, “They’re in storage, he doesn’t use them anymore.”

He doesn’t use them anymore?

My mind immediately went to the Faithful; countless believers, each one a unique, priceless, first edition that is now sidelined, unable to be used by God due to health issues. Like these cars, we were designed for high performance; our bodies are complex vehicles that carry our souls, minds...and potential. As the verse above states, each of us has good works that God prepared in advance for us to accomplish. It’s our purpose and why we were born. With our different upbringings, gifts, talents and personalities, there are things that only we can do. But we can’t do the things we are designed to do, nor be used by God to our fullest potential if we are sidelined by fatigue, addiction, and disease.

As PrayFit founder, Jimmy Pena says, “The goal is not a better pair of biceps, but a pursuit of the healthiest possible version of the body He gave us so that we can better fulfill our purpose, whatever the calling might be.” Friends, we have work to do, and we "live" in a showroom of divine craftsmanship. Let’s never again be content to sit idle.

--Catrina Vargas-Cormell

An entrepreneur, Catrina Vargas-Cormell, was one of the first five members of the PrayFit community. Catrina is now a PrayFit contributing writer and Prayfit group leader in El Paso, Texas. You can visit her at www.catrinaishungry.com, join the hundreds of others that are following her on her Facebook page HUNGRY! and check out her PrayFit workout journal by clicking here. You can also check her out on Pinterest and Twitter.

TRAINING SESSION: REP MAX

Many of the weight-based programs you read here at PrayFit are based upon your ability to estimate your one-rep max, or 1RM, the amount of weight you can lift on an exercise one time.

The reason is because certain muscle fibers respond to a certain rep range. Fast-twitch muscle fibers, the ones most responsible for tone and speed respond to a certain weight or percentage of rep max (RM), while the fibers most responsible for endurance (slow-twitch) respond to another percentage of one’s RM. It’s important for people to know what weight causes failure from 1-20 reps so that they can gauge what weight to choose for a particular exercise as they pursue a specific goal.

Someone who is wanting to gain strength wouldn’t necessarily reach for weight that would allow them to do 20 reps when they should be concentrating on sticking with weight that causes them to reach failure -- the point at which you can no longer complete reps with good form -- around six reps, since the strength fibers respond to weight that causes failure from 1-6. Here's the quick guide:

Strength: 1-6 reps Size: 6-12 reps Endurance: 12-20 reps

But research shows that if you don’t know your 1RM, you can still estimate it with accuracy as long as you can determine at least your 5RM. So we’ve provided an equation of determining your 1RM through your 5RM. Since many of you might train alone, and the ability to test your 1RM might prove difficult, this could be your best way to go. To test yourself, choose a weight with which you can do five reps to failure. Then plug that 5RM weight (in pounds) into the following equations.

Upper body: (5RM x 1.1307) 0.6998 = 1RM

Lower body: (5RM x 1.0970) 14.2546 = 1RM

Carry Your Purpose

"'Go into that village over there,'" he told them. 'As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.'" --Luke 19:30

Read: Luke 19

Earlier this week, in my message about Billy Graham, I happened to mention the donkey that Jesus rode on Palm Sunday. I know for certain I'm not the first person to teach this, but I may be the latest to find this story so amazing.

There he was. Tied up. Who knows how long he'd been waiting? The most insignificant of animals with an inconsequential life. No thoroughbred blood running through his veins. His next meal was his only solace between chores. A helpless laborer, a meaningless creature. When all of a sudden...

If you're like me, you've questioned your significance. Is this really what I was meant to do? Well, the next time you ponder your purpose, think of that donkey. Jesus asked for him specifically. Sure, the Lord could have chosen any method of transportation, but He chose him. Uniquely qualified, his purpose was to carry Jesus to His.

Forgive my imagination, but I like to think that a donkey nobody had ever ridden knew exactly who he carried. I figure he did his best to make Jesus proud. We don't know what Jesus said to him as He got off and walked away, maybe nothing. But this writer likes to think that as the crowd took Jesus the rest of the way, that little donkey stood taller than ever. After all, Jesus, the Maker, needed a ride.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Have you ever pondered your purpose? Ever wondered what Jesus could use you for? No matter what your life's calling or trade, there is someone you know or someone you don't who is empty and lost. You're hand-picked. You may be the carrier of their only hope. So, deliver.

PRAYFIT NUTRITION: MILK There’s a good alternative for those sensitive to cow’s milk

If you’re sensitive to cow’s milk, you might try the goat variety. Did you know that goat’s milk has more essential amino acids and more omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium than cow’s milk? With all that said, its protein is easier to digest than cow’s milk and has less lactose. Wondering about the taste? It’s a bit on the sweeter side.

>> DAILY FEED: Wanna get PrayFit sent to your inbox on a daily basis? Sign up here, and tell your friends and family to do the same!

Suit for the Soul

"See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey." --Matthew 21:5

Read: Matthew 21

A few years ago, Billy Graham said to an eager audience:

"See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want  you to immediately remember this suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember that I know where I'm going."

Friends, this holy week, let's renew our perspective of these bodies. These suits for the soul have a purpose in life. They aren't the purpose of life. Let's not be remembered for them.

Funny, it makes me think of the donkey on Palm Sunday. In that day, donkeys were known to protect sheep. Well, that day he carried The Lamb; an unspeakable honor. I don't doubt for a second he knew it. And neither should we.

Let's make it our life's purpose -- like Billy and the donkey -- to be remembered for where we're going, and who we carried along the way.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Are you focusing too much on your physical appearance that you've neglected your true purpose? Who do you know that needs you to deliver Jesus to them? You too have an eager audience. What does it mean to you when you realize your health is not about your body?

Please share you thoughts here with us in the comments section or email us at info@prayfit.com, and have a blessed and renewed Easter week.

"We don't strive to be healthy in order to be loved by God. We strive to be healthy because we are." --Jimmy Peña

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.

What Do You See, Lord?

"You saw me before I was born." --Psalm 139:16

Read: Psalm 139

Awaiting my turn on a recent TV broadcast, I sat in the green room watching the first hour's guest. A woman -- maybe in her late 50's -- was there sharing her fundraising efforts for the homeless and orphaned. Her reply to the host's last question caught my attention. He asked her why she thought God placed this burden on her heart. Through a flood of tears she said, "I just think God saw something in me I never could have seen for myself."

Wow. It felt like she was accepting an award; honored beyond words. Believe me folks, a child is going to find a home, a meal, or both because of this woman. Her words resonated in my head (and heart) as I took my place on the couch. It was my turn. But honestly, I don't remember the host's first question. I struggled to concentrate. "We're back in 5, 4, 3, 2..."

Sarah, David, Mary Magdalene, Peter. To the rest of the world, outcasts and misfits. Too little, too late. But that's not what God saw.

Is this your prayer? Mine too:

"What do you see Lord? What you can see means more to me than what I can't. So show me. My back is strong. My shoulders are steady. I don't want to be empty-handed. Give me the burden that you see me carrying."

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What has God called you to do? What burden has He laid on your heart? What can we help you pray about today?

FAITH & FELLOWSHIP

You don't have to be in the same room (or gym) with other PrayFit members to meet them. Join in on these discussions, offer encouragement to someone, or start your own thread today!

Certifications - which one is best?

How many calories should I eat each day?

Detox: Worth the hassle?

Questions for the trainer

Fitness helps faith make sense

>> Not yet registered? Sign-up here today.

NO HILL FOR A CLIMBER

October 6, 2011Read: John 6

Then Jesus climbed a mountain…” –John 6:3

A friend of mine, Betty Gutierrez of Fitness on Fire Ministries in Grapevine, Texas, can often be heard telling her class that “Jesus would climb mountains to pray, so we know He was healthy.” Her message makes me think…Jesus wasn’t healthy for health’s sake, but for Heaven’s. In order to pray, he climbed. In order to worship, he walked. His body simply got His soul where it needed to go. His health on earth was in direct response to His purpose.

At PrayFit, we believe that our health is not so much about how we want to look, but more about what we need to do. The more fit we are, the better we live, move and serve. Our health should enable our purpose, not get in the way. To think, Jesus was often out of breath for us…when was the last time we were out of breath for Him? But then again…we don’t have to climb mountains to pray.

--J.P.

MASTERING THE PUSH-UP

Those new to exercise or returning from a long break may find push-ups difficult. Nonetheless, the push-up is a 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.

>> 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 time. Since it's a bodyweight move -- no additional weight is used -- your body can recover much faster, meaning you are capable of multiple sessions in a single week.

>> VIDEO: Standard Push-Up

>> VIDEO: Incline Push-Up

 

MEANINGLESS

September 8, 2011Read: Matthew 6

But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven.” – Matthew 6:20

Have you ever chased the wind? I know I have. Kind of leaves you empty-handed doesn't it? Funny, we pursue a lot of things that won’t satisfy or sustain, yet we hunt them down as if our life depended on them. Appropriately, coming back from vacation, we promised that we'd focus on our focus. Therefore, yesterday we reached out to those in dire need of a reminder of why the hills we have to climb are worth the effort, regardless of whether or not it comes naturally.

Today our sights shift to those who have those habits of training and eating down pat. Perhaps that's you? Maybe being health conscious comes as naturally as breathing in and out. After all, you wouldn't dare think about eating that, and as far as me suggesting you not go to the gym? Bite my tongue, right? But perhaps if you're like me, at times what's missing in your mirror is the one you're meant to mirror. Perhaps you've been so caught up in the process of being healthy, that you forgot about the purpose of it.

If so, let's remind each other that chasing healthy dreams is fine, but only if we're running after God along the way. That keeps everything we need in front of us. You know, I've referenced it before, but last night the song “Meaningless” by Anthony Evans happened to be playing as I sat at my computer. I’ve attached a YouTube version of it, and I hope you’ll take a listen. Such a great visual message for our week of perspective. It blessed me, and I hope it helps you see your reflection in a brand new way.

>> MEANINGLESS – by Anthony Evans

--J.P.

 

WATER: THE ULTIMATE FAT BURNER: How much water do you drink? You may want to start keeping track. New research is pointing to the clear stuff's ability to help us lose weight and keep it off for good. Get the full story by clicking here.

EXERCISE CENTRAL: Learn how to do basic moves right to start building a stronger, healthier body.

EVERYBODY IN

July 7, 2011Read: Matthew 18

"For where two or more gather in my name, there I am with them." --Matthew 18:20

Among the things I miss most about playing sports in high school and college, would be those times when coach would huddle us up to give us words of motivation. We'd all take a knee, and at the end of speech he'd say, "Everybody in." He'd put out his hand, and we'd stand to put ours atop his. At that very moment, there was nothing that could stop us. I learned way back then that powerful things happen when people come together with a common purpose and a serious plan.

Speaking of small groups, we don't know what all was said among the disciples in the upper room, on shorelines, or on hillsides, but something tells me they huddled. When it was time to get everyone's attention, I like to think they brought it in real close like teams do. After all, if our faith had a team, they were the first string. And to think, what they said to each other before that first huddle broke, eventually got to you and me. Common purpose, serious plan.

Are you in a huddle for a stronger faith and better health? Maybe you have a group from church or your neighborhood? A couple of friends who hold each other accountable? Maybe it's you and your spouse. Whoever you are and however you meet, we take a knee with you and yours. We applaud your common purpose and serious plan. And when you stand, our hand reaches to the middle with yours. When teams huddle, nothing is impossible. Everybody in?

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

In this country, there are just as many people who exercise regularly as those that don't. In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009, 35% of adults 18 years and older were found to engage in regular physical activity. The same study showed that a full 33% engaged in zero leisure time activity at all.

So if you're part of the 35%, then bravo. But this shows that some 65% of Americans do not exercise regularly.

Care for another stat? According to the CDC, 34% of Americans 20 and over are obese.

The message is clear: it's time for us to get moving.

Source: CDC

PREGNANT WITH PURPOSE

February 16, 2011Read: Luke 1

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb." --Luke 1:41

Though he couldn't yet see, he was already focused. And though he couldn't yet walk, he jumped. You see, Jesus was in the room, and John knew it. So, let's face it: Elizabeth was pregnant with purpose.

It's true...Jesus in a room makes all the difference. When it comes to our jobs, school and even our health, when our purpose walks in, we know it. Sure, someday we'll all bow, but until then, let's jump.

--J.P.

NUTRITION: STIR-FRY BASICS "Wok" this way for healthy, easy-to-prepare meals

Stir-fry is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. They make a well-balanced meal with a bit of protein, tons of veggies and healthy carbs from rice. We’ll run you through the basic steps to get you started, then share a few ideas to liven things up.

A basic stir-fry is made from a protein and veggies. The slicing and dicing takes a little time; you can do it either the night before or in the morning work to save some time in the evening. In a pinch, look for pre-sliced veggies in your grocery store’s produce section.

Once the ingredients are prepped, here are your basic steps:

Heat oil: Heat up your wok with a touch of oil. Use a flavorless oil with a high smoke point, like canola or grapeseed. This is what makes or breaks the calories of your stir-fry.  Remember, every tablespoon of any oil contains 120 calories, so use it sparingly!

Add protein: Raw foods like beef, pork, fish, shrimp, tofu and chicken should be cooked first. Don’t forget to brown all sides of the food to create flavor.

Add veggies: Add veggies and cook them until just tender — overcooking will destroy important vitamins, not to mention flavor. Whatever mixture you choose, cut veggies in so they’ll all finish cooking at the same time. For instance, carrots take longer to cook than snow peas, so they should be cut smaller.

Add  flavor: A touch of soy sauce or spices to finish it off.

Serve over carbs: Cook up some healthy carbs like brown rice or rice noodles to serve your stir-fry with.

The Protein If you’re used to using chicken, shake it up by using beef or pork. Or try shrimp, which is ridiculously low in calories. If you’re looking for a Meatless Monday dish, try a using extra-firm tofu.  It contains the same amount of protein as chicken or beef, but without the cholesterol.

The Veggies Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, snap peas, bell peppers, water chestnuts, baby corn or peas…the possibilities are endless! Use as many or as few veggies as you want. If you’re cooking for kids, you may want to choose only a few veggies (younger kids especially like simpler dishes). Remember, the more colors you have, the more vitamins and minerals you’re taking in.

Flavor Some simple flavor enhancers include garlic, ginger, chili sauce, chicken stock, rice vinegar, dry sherry, scallions and hoisin sauce. Dana’s stir-fry secret is to use a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and let it melt in with soy sauce – delicious!

The Carb Choose brown rice for some extra whole grain goodness. Remember to read the cooking instructions as it takes a bit longer to cook up than white rice. For a change of pace, try serving over whole grain pasta or rice noodles. Keep portions to no more than 1 cup per person of whichever cooked carb you choose.

--Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC

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.
>> Visit our newly updated fitness and nutrition pages for even more workouts, exercise tips, and recipes!

PURPOSE OVER PROCESS

September 20, 2010Read: 2 Corinthians 4

"What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever." --2 Corinthians 4:18

There’s an old story about a pharaoh whose young wife died far too soon. In his grief, he ordered his wife’s tomb to be built lavishly. No expense was too great for the monument. Each time he’d survey the construction site, he’d order more jewels and more gold - - Bigger! Higher! His wife’s tomb became his obsession.

One day, as he proudly surveyed his masterpiece, the pharaoh tripped over a box along the perimeter. Embarrassed, he ordered the removal of all the trash. What he didn’t realize was that along with all the rubbish, he’d ordered the removal of his wife’s coffin. See, he was so caught up in the process that he forgot about the purpose.

I was reminded of that story while watching the movie “Up in the Air.” George Clooney played a man whose life was all about the journey. He lived for the process. Flight status boards, frequent flyer miles and hotel key cards were the trophies of his trade. Link enough of yesterday’s trips together with tomorrow’s, and sooner or later, you’ve got yourself a life.

But this week, let’s focus less on our man-made monuments and more on the one who matters. Like John the Baptist, leaping in his mother's womb, to Paul on the road to Damascus, our lives gain meaning when our purpose is revealed. Remember, Jesus is our destination. Everything else is just a first-class ticket to nowhere.

–J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Legs

Of all of the training days you can spend in the gym, leg day may be the most important. Whether or not you "need" better, stronger legs, training them -- again, think purpose -- on a regular basis can help you change your body, all over, for the better.

If you're a beginner or you're coming back from an injury or layoff, this workout is for you. As your muscles strengthen and get accustomed to weight training, you can move on to more challenging free weight moves and intermediate-level workouts, but it’s important to build a solid base first to optimize success later.

Exercise                                              Sets     Reps Horizontal Leg-Press Machine            2          12, 15 Leg Extension                                         2          12, 15 Lying Leg Curl                                         2          12, 15 Standing Calf Raise                               2          To failure

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