song

Wear The Song Out

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and the light unto my path." --Psalm 119:105

Read: Psalm 119

I'm gonna wear this song out. Seems I can't get over a new ditty by Steven Curtis Chapman. Play, repeat, play, repeat. Thing is, I want to wear this song out; out on my walk, out to my therapy, out to the store. Well, you'll be glad that I have a new song for our stroll together today. Let's walk and talk.

My eyes had not yet adjusted. After turning out the lights last night, I stood in pitch blackness. You know the feeling. Though your eyes are wide open, you can't see the end of your nose. So I did what you do. I didn't budge. I reasoned that in my condition the last thing I need to do is trip and fall. But Loretta's eyes had already adjusted to the dark. "You're fine, take another step." And there it is. What had to happen for me to move? I needed to have faith that Loretta could see in the dark.

We encourage babies to do it. Patients that surround me at rehab need to hear it. From someone discouraged because they haven't lost a pound, to someone trying to overcome the loss of a loved one, it's the most basic, difficult and necessary action any of us have to do to get through.

Are you in the dark today, unable to budge? Fearful about something? Timid or unsure? The light of your circumstances has gone out and you're standing there blind with your eyes wide open. Friend, He knows how you feel. But He sees in the dark. After all, He is the light. Just close your eyes, hold on to Him and take another step. And another step. And another step. And another step. Before you know it, you're wearing the song out.

--Jimmy Peña

 

For Discussion: As you step out the door, is putting one foot in front of the other as tough literally as it is theoretically? I hope we can be an encouragement to you to keep going. Praying for you, hoping for you, helping shine His light so you can find your way. If you'd like us to help you pray about something, let us know. We're right here.

(Again I encourage you to go to iTunes and download the new CD by Steven Curtis Chapman called, "A Glorious Unfolding." When you get to "Take Another Step" turn it up for me.)

GET FIT WITH JIMMY PEÑA

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

Press Play

"I will remember the works of the Lord." --Psalm 77:11

Read: Psalm 77 Ever notice that the first song you hear in the morning is the tune that somehow your brain plays all day? You don't even have to hear the whole thing -- just a few notes and you got yourself a theme song. Better make it a good one, amen? You know, it's neat how the Lord can show you something, be it a story in a book, a movie theme, or even the words of a song, and you don't realize why until -- well -- until you realize why.

Back in March, Loretta and I downloaded an album by JJ Weeks Band called All Over the World. At first, it was just an incredible CD that Loretta wouldn't leave the house without hearing. (I'm the resident DJ, of course.) And it's so good, I've even written devotions with their music playing in the background. But what I loved hearing in March, I needed to hear in June.

Can you relate? Ever gone through something, and you're immediately reminded of a lesson God taught you some time in your past? Books, conversations, music. I like to imagine God doing neat things like that. Since all things work together for my good, I like to think that the notes He puts in my head one day, He gracefully leads to my heart the next. After all, how many times in my life have I whispered, "So that's why."

What song do you have in your heart today? As we start a new week, are you battling fear or doubt? Facing financial pitfalls or health struggles? Whatever your day has in store, let's recall the lessons we've learned. Extend the grace. Pray for courage. Summon your song of praise. So that when the enemy begins to hum that unwelcome dissonance of failures and weaknesses that seek to rob you of joy...close your eyes and press play.

–Jimmy Peña

P.S. If you want to bless your life, go to iTunes and download "Is It Ever" and "Sunrise" by JJ Weeks Band. Listen to the words. Write them on your heart. And when you need them, you'll say to yourself, "So that's why."

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Abs & Calves

Today's workout will hit your midsection and your lower legs quickly and effectively. Even though you can't completely isolate any one portion of the abdominals, you can involve one section over another based on angles and which portion (upper or lower) of your body is moving at one time. As far as your calves, the standing calf raise targets the gastrocnemius, tthe larger, diamond-shaped muscle atop the smaller, deeper, soleus muscle.

>> Click here for the abs & calves workout!

Teach The World To Sing

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." --Romans 10:9

Read: Romans 10

Yesterday at the gym I was listening to a great new soundtrack filled with well-known classics in my headphones. The voices on this one song and the catchy chorus were just too good not to join in. So without hesitation, I began to add a harmony line; something I learned from countless days singing with Mom.

Well, as I got off the machine to start lifting, one of the employees nearby raised his eyebrows and looked at me as if to say, "Don't quit your day job, pal." I grinned and chuckled to myself. But it dawned on me. He didn't know I was singing the harmony. See, even if you're in tune, any harmony line doesn't sound right to others if they can't hear the melody.

Folks, our lives, the daily routines and these bodies are merely harmonies. Let's remember that we're out of tune if we're too focused on our minor line, never letting others hear who we're listening to. You know, "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony," but that can only happen if I'm in unison with God's favorite song of all -- and the only one He lifts His Holy hand for silence to hear -- the song of Jesus.

--Jimmy Peña

TURN UP THE VOLUME

A few years ago, PrayFit co-founder Eric Velazquez, Dr. Jim Stoppani and I formed the Weider Research Group when we worked together at Muscle & Fitness Magazine. One month in particular, we performed a study to determine how music affects strength.

We had a group of trained athletes complete a shoulder workout on two separate occasions. Both sessions consisted of three sets of dumbbell overhead presses, three sets of Smith machine upright rows, and three sets of dumbbell side laterals, all done using their 10-rep max and taking each set to failure. They did one workout while listening to their choice of music on headphones and during the other workout they listened to no music.

We reported at the 2008 annual meeting of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) that the subjects were able to do an average of one more rep per set when they listened to music as compared to when they did not.

The take-home message from this study is obvious: listen to your preferred music when you train (or during whatever activity you enjoy). Being able to complete one more rep with the same weight, or going that extra 1/4 mile, is what can make all the difference in your physical progression.

>> PRAYFIT DAILY: Over 8,000 members receive this faith-and-fitness devotional in their inbox each morning. Are you one of them? If not, click here to sign-up for the PrayFit Daily and then share the link with your friends. We're building a PrayFit Nation, one inspirational message at a time, and you're part of it!

Me and My Drum

Turns out PrayFit has a theme song -- a song that sums up PrayFit perfectly. My wife and friends might guess it's a Rocky montage or the Gladiator theme song but alas, no. I have one better. The Little Drummer Boy. (Pa rum pum pum pum) That's right. Yesterday with my iTunes on shuffle, it played. Christmas in March? Why not? I hope you won't mind either.

"Come they told me, a newborn King to see.  Our finest gifts we bring, to set before the King. Little baby, I am a poor boy too. I have no gift to bring, that's fit to give a King. Shall I play for you on my drum? Then He nodded... I played my drum for Him. I played my best for Him.  Then He smiled at me. Me and my drum."

It might be odd talking Christmas gifts in March, but health isn't seasonal and neither is the news of His birth. What's more, You and I are poor. Like the little boy, we have nothing to bring that's fit to give the King. But He's delighted when we come to Him. And it's music to His ears when we play our life to its fullest. And that's the basis of PrayFit. Giving our best effort to let health be a means of praise. I want to bring a smile to His face, don't you? The very idea of doing so brings one to mine; to me and my drum. Pa rum pum pum...pum.

--Jimmy Peña

STAY LEAN WITH PROTEIN

Carbs taste good. No…they taste great. But it’s the main course on your plate –- that chicken breast, fish cutlet or steak –- that may be doing your body composition the most good. As you work out your family’s menu for the week, make sure that you choose a quality, lean protein as the foundation of each meal. Research published in the journal Physiology & Behavior showed that subjects who consumed a diet rich in protein burned significantly more fat than a control group. What’s more is that they did so without regard to total caloric intake.

Minimum recommended daily allowances for children range between 16-28 grams of protein per day. Healthy male adults should aim for 45-63 grams per day, while females should strive for 46-50 grams. Pregnant? You may need 60 grams per day for your growing baby. Protein requirements vary, of course –- if you workout regularly or at higher intensities, you may need more protein to help rebuild muscle and keep your lean body mass in healthy ranges.

(Sources: Physiology & Behavior, FamilyEducation.com)

26 Grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving of sirloin steak

7 Grams of protein in a 1-ounce serving of peanuts (Source: FamilyEducation.com)

Moved to Move

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever." --Psalm 30:10-12

Read: Psalm 30

This morning, during worship service at church, I fell victim to the rhythm. Without making a conscious decision to do so, I found myself air-drumming the bench in front of me, tapping my foot to the beat and gently bobbing my head as I sang along with the choir. Sometimes, a song -- whether by melody, message or miracle -- just takes hold of your body and compels you to move. Isn't it as amazing that something as simple as a song can inspire you to the point where God's love within you is left with no choice but to expressed through movement?

But long after we're dismissed from service, our bodies are still crying out to move for the Lord -- to run, jump, lift, climb and ride in perfect step to a song that He so meticulously composed on our hearts so long ago. All we have to do is tune in and listen and let the music do its work. This Master's magnum opus was written to evoke a particular response -- to move you to move.

--Eric Velazquez

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Arms This week's workout focuses on your biceps and triceps. Contrary to what some may think, training your arms is not simply a matter of vanity. Strong bi's aid on all pulling activities and well-trained triceps generate more force on all your pushes. Though smaller by comparison, these muscles play a crucial role in how much weight you can lift on other exercises such as bench presses and rows. So training them regularly does more than just help you look better in sleeveless tees. This routine requires the use of dumbbells and can be done at home or the gym.

This is a form of training known as German Volume Training, or GVT, and simply calls you on you to perform 10 sets of a single exercise in order to fully and effectively target the muscles. The quick-training wrinkle? You'll be supersetting, or alternating between biceps and triceps exercises. And because you'll be targeting arms, you can keep rest periods short -- biceps and triceps recover fairly quickly -- to keep the intensity level high. Choose a weight that you can safely complete 20 reps with but perform only 10. Continue alternating exercises until you have performed 10 sets of each exercise.

Exercise Sets/Reps Dumbbell Curl 10/10 -superset with- Lying Dumbbell Extension --Rest only 30-60 seconds between supersets. --Perform this routine at least once per week and no more than twice. If you train arms twice, allow at least 3-4 days between sessions for recovery. --Perform a few light sets of curls and extensions before beginning your 10 working sets.

NEWS: PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena spent some time this weekend meeting with fans and signing DVDs in Southern California. Check out the pics here!

Still Time To Dance

I will be your God throughout your lifetime -- until your hair is white with age." --Isaiah 46:4

Read: Isaiah 46

You remember 8th grade dances, right? I sure do. I was the king of holding up the wall. Turn down the lights on a basketball court, add some streamers, some 80's music, and you had yourself a dance. Just...without the dancing. (No way I was crossing the outer marker.)

I thought of those dances this week while on a television interview in the Midwest. Referring to the senior citizens watching her show, the host asked me if it was ever too late to start an exercise program or to improve your health. Instantly I was transported to those last ten minutes of my 8th grade dance. Knowing my dad would be pulling up any minute to get me, I knew I didn't have another minute to spare. So I took a deep breath, swallowed any last drop of moisture left in my throat (gulp), and I defied 8th grade logic. I walked across the three-point line and asked the first girl I saw to dance. Best 10 minutes of the year for me.

And that's my answer to the host's question. Our life and our health are precious at any age. So if it's been a while since you've exercised or even if you've never crossed the outer marker, consider each sunrise the upbeat He's playing for you. So get crazy. Defy logic and move those arms and legs. Even if Daddy (Abba) says it's almost time to go, it's not too late to ask, "Can I have this dance, for the rest of my life?"

--Jimmy Peña

FAT-BURNING TIP: Train Hungry

Regardless of how long you've been exercising you have probably heard about the concept of "empty-stomach cardio." But it's not just lip service. Training while hungry -- ideally before breakfast -- can help you lose more fat when training. Researchers at Kansas State University found that exercisers who fasted before a low-intensity workout oxidized 94.3 more calories from fat, on average, than groups who had a meal 30, 60 or 90 minutes before exercise.

As you sleep, your body uses stored carbs (glycogen) to run your brain's motor, so in the morning, your body is in a carb-deprived state. This means that fat will be burned for fuel sooner during a workout.

As the study suggests, this approach is best done before low-intensity training because high-intensity training, such as sprinting, requires more carbohydrate for performance. What's "low" intensity? The most universal and leisurely low-intensity exercise is walking. So if losing bodyfat is one of your training goals, try putting your feet to the pavement before you put fork to mouth each morning.

BONUS TIP: The same logic applies to doing cardio after weights. Since weight training uses stored carbs for fuel, doing cardio after will help decrease the time it takes to start burning calories from fat.

DVD: Click here to get started on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge.

RIGHT ON CUE

September 27, 2010Read: Philippians 1

"Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you, will carry it on until completion to the day of Jesus Christ." --Philippians 1:6

Last night, my nephew Casey called us to play a song he'd been practicing for an upcoming piano recital. Casey, 16, is an aspiring songwriter and musician, and as he thundered away at his keyboard, my wife and I put him on speaker. A few seconds into his masterpiece, Loretta and I were in awe. We couldn't believe his talent. "That's my nephew!" I boasted. And then right on cue, Casey's perfection got pitchy. What should have been sharp went south, and what flowed went flat.

"It needs work," Casey explained with a giggle as he got back on the phone. But of course, despite a few hiccups, we thought it was awesome. "Keep working, Case. It'll come," we encouraged with applause.

You know, Casey's call gave me encouragement for the upcoming week. Each of us has a song to live. A beautiful melody that God loves to hear us play. After all, He conducts our lifesong. And while we might hit a sour note from time to time, like Casey's riff, God the conductor is still at work and loving us through our low notes.

And as it so happens, a few minutes after the call, I sent Casey a text asking him what the name of the tune was. He sent back, "Who I am hates who I've been." (Wow, right on cue.)

--J.P.

PRAYFIT WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 10-Minute Full-Body Blast

Contrary to what most "hour per session" trainers will tell you, there's a fantastic level of fitness to be had by investing 10 minutes per day in exercise. The following quickie routine is a perfect day-starter for those looking to hit all their major muscle groups without an exhausting trip to the gym. After a few minutes of warm-up -- think 2-5 minutes worth of jumping jacks, running in place and arm swings -- perform each exercise listed, in order, to failure. Move from exercise to exercise without rest, save for the time it takes to list how many reps you performed on each. When you complete the last set of double crunches, rest 1-2 minutes, then perform the entire circuit once more, again listing your total number of reps.

Try this workout 2-3 times this week -- or for several weeks -- and, with proper nutrition, we guarantee you'll be looking and feeling stronger and leaner.

Exercise                                Sets        Reps Jump squats                           2              to failure Stationary Wall Squat            2              to failure Power Push-Up                      2             to failure Standard Push-Up                 2              to failure Double Crunch                       2              t0 failure

>> WORKOUT JOURNALS: Chronicle your successes and shortcomings of your experiences with this workout and others in a PrayFit Workout Journal by clicking here.