soul

Agreement Isn't Enough

"But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'"  --Exodus 3:11

Read: Exodus 3

I wonder if Moses ever went back to the place of the burning bush. Oh, I know it's doubtful, but for one of the pillars of our faith, that spot was a pivotal point in his life (not to mention for yours and mine). But Moses didn't just agree there. He didn't concur with some sophisticated nod like he was looking at some priceless work of art. "Hmm, yes indeed." No, his body had to get him where his soul had to go. A simple agreement wasn't enough. And so with ash still on his sandals, he marched through Pharaoh's front door to prove it.

What about you? Do you remember when you were called to your task? For me, my soul was called in the eighth grade, then again in 2007 to create PrayFit. For you, maybe it was 10 years ago, or maybe even 10 minutes. But regardless, agreement isn't enough, especially when it comes to our health. Like it was for Moses, agreement is just the opportunity to prove it. So go back with him. Get close to the flame. Hear it crackle. Rub your hands together and get warm. You have your own Pharaohs to face. Obesity? Heart disease? A better example for your kids? Perhaps for your congregation? Pharaohs all. And as you march through those doors, let the ash on your sandals be a reminder that agreement isn't enough.

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION: The Perfect Breakfast

There are a lot of strong options for your breakfast table in the morning. But when it comes to starting your day, you don’t want to tinker with anything that is less-than-effective at fueling you up right.

>> Click here for the perfect morning combo!

Souls Aboard

"The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear?" --Proverbs 18:14

Read: Proverbs 18 Sea Plane"How many souls on board?" the voices over the radio would ask. For business this weekend, I boarded a few different vessels to get where I was going. I'm likely on one as you read this sentence. And as each craft approached its destination, that question would come up. Being privy to the communication between the captain and ground crew, I found myself anticipating both the question and the answer. (Too easy, right? I know, but I couldn't resist.)

Because while I know what it meant, they could have simply asked for a head count or even the number of seats that were filled. Call me sentimental, but their words made it clear that we were on a vessel full of vessels; souls aboard. Your body has one. Mine too. Say it out loud. It makes a difference when you say it from a literal sense: There's a soul on board.

As we begin a new week, tackling school lunches, deadlines, meetings and conference calls, let's whisper it often and with conviction. We're more soul than body, so whether yours is battling an infirmity you didn't see coming or you're trying to make up for years of neglect, let it be known. We protect our eyes from things we don't need to see, cover our ears, close our mouths, and humbly do our best to care for the body as we get where we need to go. Why?

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Knowing you're more soul than body, how does that change your thinking in terms of your health? Does it motivate you to care for it as long as it lasts? Does it help you walk into rooms with clarity of purpose? How does concentrating on your soul affect your body?

10-MINUTE WORKOUT: Triceps The triceps. This muscle group, critical for every upper body pushing movement, represents some two-thrids of the mass in your upper arm. Men who want bigger arms sometimes mistakenly overtrain their biceps but it's the out-of-sight, out-of-mind triceps that need the attention. For women, the back of the arm can be a "trouble" area -- a place where more bodyfat is stored and muscle tone can be tougher to hold on to. This short workout will help both genders provide this area with a mini-makeover worth its weight in tanktops.

>> Click here for the comprehensive routine.

Made In Heaven

"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

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? 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

NEW MERCH!!! >> Faithfully taking care of the body the Lord made for you is a daily pursuit. So why not dress the part? Visit our redesigned online store to browse our newest offerings and get a jump on your Christmas shopping! Our new, comfort-first apparel choices include thermals, tees and a selection of gym-ready, lightweight running/training hats. While you're there, you can also check out our print and DVD products, complete with workouts and meal plans, all designed to help you bolster your faith and fitness in 2013 and beyond.

Your gracious purchase will help us continue the mission of PrayFit.com. We are very much in your debt and thankful for all you do for us.

>> CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED!

In Loving Memory

I held his wrist. As an 8th grader, I walked the isle at Cielo Vista Baptist Church and committed my life to Christ. A week later, I waded into the water of the baptistry in front of my family and friends and listened as my Preacher asked me, "Jimmy, do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?" And then I held his wrist with one hand and pinched my nose with the other. I've never felt cleaner then the day I came out of that water.

Last week, various heroes of the faith remembered and honored the life of Reverend Henry Powell. From funny memories, to countless and blessed congregations from around the world, I sat and unsuccessfully fought back tears. And nothing I heard was as amazing as the eulogy written by his wife of 49 years, Sandie (my Sister Powell) which was read aloud by their son Tim. I'll never forget it. And while I know Brother Powell is with the Lord today, I couldn't help but think about his still, sweet body. If those feet weren't tip-toeing through the house to deliver Christmas gifts to grandkids, they were in the dangerous underground of China quietly delivering bibles and leading other pastors. If those hands weren't rooting for the Lobos, they were rooting for snotty-nosed kids just like me to live right. And if that heart wasn't beating in honor of his wife, it was breaking for the lost to know Christ as Lord.

You know, in ceremonies like these, we've all heard someone say that "It's not him" or "It's just a body." Well, I can't help but humbly and respectfully disagree. Especially when you consider that God made it, and all of the people who won't be reached without it. In fact, what did Jesus show Thomas in the upper room? And what didn't they find when the stone was rolled away? That's right. Not just a body. So you see, it's no wonder God said to honor that which carries and protects the soul. And that's why, when it was my turn to stand near and say goodbye to my sweet preacher who introduced me to Christ, I held his wrist...one more time.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Brother Powell would often urge us to "Do what you can. Do ALL that you can. And do it now." May that be an instrument you and I use today and each day to serve the Lord and others. I know I am. I know I will.

Should friend's desire, memorial contributions may be made to:

Outreach to Asia Nationals P.O. Box 2440 Winchester, VA 22604 or visit

www.outreachtoasianationals.org

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!

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

He Gets Us

"For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." --Psalm 103:14

Read: Psalm 103

If focusing on creation and how we were wonderfully made has taught me anything, it's that God gets us. He gets why we worry. Why else would He constantly encourage us to have faith? He gets why we suffer. Why else would He urge us not to lean on our own understanding? And yes, He also gets the body.

As He formed us, He set limits. As He encased our soul with flesh, He numbered our days on purpose. See, most sculptors never hope to reunite with their design, but God does. We're all He thinks about! Artists may pour heart and soul into their work, but our heart and soul is His work, and He wants us back. His biggest desire for our lives is that we meet the source of our lives. And if Jesus is in our hearts, He gets us.

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT: WEEK IN REVIEW Revisiting a week's worth of faith-building and healthy living

Faith

BE HEALTHY, QUIETLY: No need to brag...let's let the byproducts of our obedience do the talking

A TRAINING PRAYER: A prayer to take into your next training session...and the one after that

BE STILL AND RUN: Today, kneel, bow your head and run

STILL TIME TO DANCE: It's never too late to start moving more

Fitness

WORKOUT: An at-home workout for bolder shoulders in 10 minutes flat NUTRITION: How soy can help you recover faster, boost health

COOKING TIP: Learning how to make a healthier banana bread

FAT-BURNING TIP: How training hungry can burn more fat

"GO"

"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'"— Mark 16:15

"Tell me, Jimmy, can you talk about some before and after successes?"

Of all the questions about PrayFit I fielded on the radio this week, that was probably the toughest to answer. Not because we don't have powerful testimonies of physical change, but like I told the host, "It's too early for a victory lap." Because honestly, the day health won't be a necessary battle will be the day it's no longer our responsibility.

But right now, during this "before" called life, our souls want to go places our bodies simply can't go. And because of that, sadly, our minds don't let our hearts even dream of living abundantly. Serve on the mission field? Laugh. Participate in a charity walk? Chuckle. Make it to church? Sigh. Our physical troubles have become spiritual warfare. We're soldiers of the cross who can't reach the battlefield.

Sure, someday we'll be rescued from a body that doesn't work, but until then, let's see what it can do for the cause of Christ. After all, His great commission to us -- "Go" -- hasn't changed. It's still an action verb.

–Jimmy Peña

YOUTHFUL STRENGTH

In addition to the typical monkey bar romps and lunchtime hoops, dedicated muscle strengthening is a good idea for kids. Training for strength, contrary to a commonly-held belief, does not interfere with a child’s growth or promote excessive musculature. In fact, even a minimal amount of strength training can be beneficial for a child’s bone density, muscle growth, coordination and motor learning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least three days per week of activities that include strengthening moves such as gymnastics, push-ups or jumping rope.

>> STOCKING STUFFERS: Looking for a few gifts to hang from the chimney with care? Visit the PrayFit Store to do a little digital shopping for the faith-and-fitness devotees in your life.

 

 

 

 

A FIGHTING SPIRIT

November 21, 2011Read: Matthew 26

"The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." --Matthew 26:41

In my second favorite movie of all-time (Rocky II), Rocky walks to his trainer's apartment in the middle of the night to ask for his locker back; he wants to fight again. Dismissive, Mickey delivers one of the most painful and sad lines I've ever heard: "You got the heart, but you ain't got the tools no more." In other words, the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. As an athlete, that phrase carries serious meaning. I know what it's like to be physically limited from doing what my heart is dying to do. But as a Christian, that line is more than a body blow.

As believers, our souls have work to do. In our passage, when Jesus said to His disciples to stay awake, He literally meant "physically." How many reading this page would agree that you'd would be so much more productive at work, alive with your spouse, able to keep up with the kids or even active in church, if you enjoyed better health? If so, maybe you need your locker back.

You may not want to admit it, but it's time to wake up; there's a fighter in you. If the spirit is willing, your body has no right to hold it back. And if you're reading this page, Mickey was wrong. If you've got the heart, you still got the tools. Your soul just needs a fighting chance.

--Jimmy Peña

WATCH | "You've got the heart but..."

THANKS: PrayFit wants to extend a very special thank you to the wonderful people at Planet Infinity and Breadoflife.org for inviting us to speak and share our mission of faith and fitness this past Saturday. You blessed us beyond belief.

 

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: THE GREAT INDOORS

Want a good dose of intense, indoor cardio to start the week? Here you go. Variety is not only advisable but required to keep your body changing. This workout forces you to adjust your speed, incline, duration and rest all in the same workout, keeping your lungs and limbs guessing. This interval-style scheme promotes speed, power and endurance, all while increasing your total work capacity. If you're looking for a brutal but effective way to shake up your current cardio routine (and burn a few extra calories), then this workout is for you.

SPEED             INCLINE             TIME          REST

5mph               5%                   2min             1min

6mph              6%                   1min                1min

7mph               7%                   1min              1min

8mph               8%                   45sec             1min

9mph               9%                   30sec             1min

10mph             10%                 20sec           1min

9mph               9%                   30sec             1min

8mph               8%                   45sec             1min

7mph               7%                   1min              1min

6mph               6%                   1min              1min

5mph               5%                   2min              1min

>> For more workouts and tips, visit our fitness page.

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

 

FOR A MOMENT

September 27, 2011 Read: James 4

"If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." --James 4:15

Way before you found your hobby, He gave you hands. And long before you walked into your first job, He gave you legs. Sure, we need money, but He didn't wrap our hearts with it. We need shelter, but a roof doesn't cover the soul. If anyone knows what we needed to get through this life, He does. And our body topped His list. How it got to the bottom of ours, is a mystery.

Folks, make no mistake -- God makes no mistakes. If, in all His wisdom, it was important for us to have a body on earth, how on earth could we diminish its importance? Sure, someday what we needed first in life -- and the common denominator and vehicle to all our other needs -- will ultimately breakdown and fade. But our flesh-and-blood lives are just a moment in eternity. While some see the brevity of life as an excuse to give in, it's really the reason to endure. He didn't build our bodies to last forever, and it's a good thing. But He knew you could do anything for a moment.

-J.P.

PRAYFIT TO RELEASE FIRST DVD

On December 6, Lionsgate Entertainment will release PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge to a global audience.  The DVD will feature a 33-minute, bodyweight-only program that boosts strength, stamina and flexibility. The program's 33-day length is a nod to proven habit-forming behavior as well as the length of Jesus's life. "He gave us 33 years," says PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS. "Let's give him 33 minutes for 33 days, honoring the one who made us."

>> For the full story on the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge, click here. Or, to preorder immediately, visit Amazon.

HE GETS US

September 15, 2011Read: Psalm 103

"For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." --Psalm 103:14

If focusing on creation and how we were wonderfully made has taught me anything this week, it's that God gets us. He gets why we worry. Why else would He constantly encourage us to have faith? He gets why we suffer. Why else would He urge us not to lean on our own understanding? And yes, He also gets the body.

As He formed us, He set limits. As He encased our soul with flesh, He numbered our days on purpose. See, most sculptors never hope to reunite with their design, but God does. We're all He thinks about! Artists may pour heart and soul into their work, but our heart and soul is His work. (And He wants us back). His biggest desire for our lives is that we meet the source of our lives. And if Jesus is in our hearts, He gets us.

--J.P.

INTERVALS: METABOLISM BOOSTER

We'll say it again: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best method of cardio for maximizing fat and weight loss. Interspersing max- or near-max efforts with less intense bouts of recovery simply challenges your body in a way that traditional, steady-state training does not.

A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology sheds some light on another way that HIIT burns more body fat.

"Researchers reported that six weeks of HIIT increased the amount of special proteins in muscle that are responsible for carrying fat into the mitochondria (where fat is burned away for fuel) by up to 50 percent," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "Having more of these proteins in muscle means that more fat can be burned up for fuel during workouts and when resting."

Try these PrayFit-crafted HIIT workouts to start building a stronger, more efficient body. And remember -- intensity is relative. Just give your best effort during the intervals. Everyone has a best -- this type of workout has you seek it repeatedly. And while most think "running" when it comes to cardio, you can perform your favorite aerobic activity in its place. Speedwalking, heavy bag work, jump rope or cycling are all perfectly acceptable substitutes for any HIIT running program you encounter. Simply apply the same training protocols to get greater benefits.

TREADMILL HIIT

HIIT PARADE

 

I AM, YOUR SOLUTION

August 22, 2011Read: 1 Thessalonians 5

"In all things, give thanks." --1 Thessalonians 5:18 Some leaders say, 'Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions.' God says, 'Bring me your problems, I AM your solution.

Let that be our first thought as we begin the week. In our pursuit of abundant health, there's not a weight problem, epidemic or fitness goal He can't help us cure or conquer. He's our solution. It's not about the body, it's not about me, it's not about you, and it's definitely, not about now.

--J.P.

Workout of the Week: Build & Burn

This start-of-the-week workout will have you building strength and burning fat in only a few intense minutes per session. Grab some open space and some dumbbells or heavy soup cans if you have them. After a 5-minute warm-up, you'll get to work with this total-body blast, starting with legs. You then move to back, shoulders and arms and finish the circuit on the floor with push-ups and planks to failure. If you have time or the energy, take a couple minutes to rest and repeat the cycle. The jump squats will be brutal but you should expect to achieve around 15-20 reps each round. Rest only as long as necessary before beginning the next exercise.

Welcome to Monday!

Bodyweight Squats for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Deadlifts for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Bent-Over Row for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Dumbbell Overhead Press for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Biceps Curl for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Triceps Kickbacks for 1 min. Jump Squats to failure Bodyweight Push-Up to failure Jump Squats to failure Plank to failure Repeat the cycle

--Between exercises, rest only as long as necessary.

>> For demonstrations and descriptions of many of the exercises included here, click here.

>> START A WORKOUT JOURNAL: Increase workout accountability and productivity by starting your own online workout journal right here on PrayFit.com!

 

 

TO THE PRAYFIT 3,000

June 30, 2011 Yesterday, Prayfit reached a milestone. What started as a daily blog being sent to a handful of friends, now reaches over 3,000 like-minded people every morning. And we can say with the utmost certainty, it's an honor we take seriously. Steeped in prayer, and surrounded by walls of perspective, our fitness devotions are meant solely to help all of us heighten our regard for health as a means of praise. Many of you participate in various kinds of fitness activities, share meal plans and philosophies, all while giving Jesus the glory. By doing so, you energize the Prayfit philosophy: healthy in body, strong in spirit.

It's our sincere hope that you continue to read and share our site with loved ones. But most importantly, continue to pray for PrayFit. When we write our entries, you're on our minds and in our prayers. Thank you in advance for doing the same for us.

You know, when C.S. Lewis said, "You don't have souls, you are souls. You have bodies," little did he know he was weaving the very fabric of our purpose. Today, let that be our mantra. In how we work, move, eat and play, let's take care of the body that carries the soul.

In Jesus' name , we train.

Team PrayFit

>> MEET THE FOUNDER: Get a welcome message from PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena and learn five ways you can get started on a healthier lifestyle today!

>> 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 FacebookTwitterand YouTube icons at the bottom of each page.

>> EXERCISE CENTRAL: Learn how to correctly perform many of the core exercises we use in our weekly workouts by clicking here.

KEEPING HOUSE

May 3, 2011 Read: Mark 13

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back." --Mark 13:35

My wife Wendy and I live in a house of toddlers which means that at any given moment, our little home can look like hurricane-force winds blew through, tossing about everything that isn't nailed down. Toys are scattered, clothes are strewn over the furniture and...is that string cheese ground into our rug? We try, sometimes to no avail, to keep up with the cyclical mess.

However, once I get word that my mother-in-law is coming to visit, a new side of me emerges -- an unrelenting, super-cleaning alter ego that is intent on spot-shining the house into model-home glory. You see, not only did her and my father-in-law help us buy this place, but Ethelmarie keeps a pretty tidy household. And while she may not be bothered by the mountainous pile of juice cups in my sink, I still don't want her to see it. But my inner Mr. Clean -- the one that speedily washes fingerprints from windows and mops floors -- really only comes out when I know she's stopping by. And while her visits are usually announced, we love that she will occasionally just stop by. As a result, Wendy and I are now doing our best to keep the house Ethel-ready (as much as Mya and Ella will allow, that is) at all times.

We all have houses to keep -- both brick-and-mortar and flesh-and-blood. And you never really know when company's coming.

Lord, we are so grateful for the bodies that house our souls and do not take lightly that we were made in your image. Please help us find the daily motivation to be faithful stewards of the physical gifts we've been given. Amen.

--E.V.

ON TARGET: LUNGES FOR HAMSTRINGS The workout of the week may not target the muscle groups you think it is

When most people think of lunges, they think of sore quads. Sure, lunges work your quadriceps -- the large muscles that cover the front of your thighs -- but new research indicates that this functional exercise may primarily target their antagonist (opposite) muscle group.

Swedish researchers had competitive soccer players perform four sets of 12 reps of the walking lunge twice a week for six weeks. And when they tested the subjects at the end of the study, they found that the athletes had gained a 35% increase in hamstrings strength. Their average increase in quad strength, meanwhile, was zero which indicates that the lunge may be more of a hammie move than you thought.

The catch is that the study included walking lunges. This week's workout included the stationary version of the lunge. Both varieties are effective for targeting hamstrings, although the stationary lunge may provide a small amount of additional work for the quads because of the step back to the start position.

Source: Jim Stoppani, PhD

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BE HEALTHY, QUIETLY

March 8, 2011Read: Matthew 6

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." --Matthew 6:1

We've been talking a lot lately about the importance of our physical health as a means of praise, and if that has reached your heart, we're so blessed. If the mere prospect of a new day is reason enough to praise God with smarter choices at the dinner table, then great. Because you're right...it's not about the body.

With that said, perhaps the challenge is to be healthy, quietly. In truth, if our health is praise, there's no need for a declaration of independence from a sedentary lifestyle, and no need to sound the alarm against a less-than-stellar diet. No speeches, no"look at what I'm doing for God" announcements. We're called to take care of the body that carries the soul, period. So let's allow the byproducts of our obedience do the talking.

Push away from the table sooner, quietly. Turn the TV off earlier to go outside, quietly. Praise God with your health, quietly.

--J.P.

STUDY: A SWEET RISK

One of the most common obstacles that people cite in their quest for healthier living is an inability to shake their soda habit. While it's pretty widely known that having these sugar-laden drinks on a regular basis can lead to excess calorie consumption, huge swings in energy and cavities, new research is suggesting that such beverages can also be a danger to your heart health.

Professor Paul Elliott, senior author of the study, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: "It's widely known that if you have too much salt in your diet, you're more likely to develop high blood pressure. The results of this study suggest that people should be careful about how much sugar they consume as well."

His study, published in the journal Hypertension, did not examine the mechanism that might link sugary drinks with blood pressure. However, the researchers suggest that raised uric acid, which has been linked to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, might raise blood pressure by reducing the levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes the lining of the blood vessels.

Want an easier way to reduce your risk of hypertension and to keep your waistline in check? Drink more water and limit your soda consumption to special occasions.

Source: Imperial College London

Related Story: High blood pressure linked to high-sugar diets

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AT THE CARWASH

January 5, 2011Read: Proverbs 26

"Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot." --Proverbs 26:23

If you've ever taken your car to the car wash, what's the first thing they clean? Do they start with a fresh coat of wax? Clean the windows? Polish the tires? No, before the body gets buffed, they head straight for the interior. And if you're like me, you actually help them by finding the hidden papers that have slipped through the cracks (or maybe had been shoved there on purpose...umm, hypothetically).

What we don't say is, "You know, go ahead and ignore the interior. Please leave the dirt and mess. Just clean the outside." That would be silly.

Imagine? Taking care of the body but ignoring what's inside? Wait, what are we talking about?

(Let's work together to tidy both in 2011.)

--J.P.

SPRINTING THE FAT OFF

Yesterday, we presented a basic introduction to HIIT -- high-intensity interval training. This cardio method alternates all-out bouts of sprinting with slower bouts of recovery, pushing your metabolism higher and for longer than traditional training. While there is still some value in your long, steady-paced runs -- namely in overall endurance -- HIIT may actually be your best choice for fat-burning, according to new research.

Scientists at the University of Western Ontario (London) found that subjects who performed 4-6, 30-second sprints three times per week burned twice as much fat as those who jogged for 30-60 minutes at a steady pace. Both groups gained an average of 1% lean mass. What's even more interesting is that the endurance markers -- time trials in 2000-meter run and VO2 max performance -- were similar with both groups.

The take home message is that high-intensity intervals can help you burn more fat, build more lean muscle and increase endurance -- usually in 1/3 or 1/2 of the time of your normal cardio session.

>> WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: An introduction to high-intensity interval training

Source: PubMed.gov

WHAT PLAN B?

December 3, 2010Read: Joshua 1

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." --Joshua 1:9

Chances are good that you've heard the expression, "Burn the boats!" They say Cortez was the first to make that announcement when he arrived in the new world. Upon reaching land, setting the ships ablaze sent a message to his men and his enemies that retreat never was an option -- that whatever the odds, a fight was coming.

Do you believe Christians should be the example of honesty in the workplace? Of course. Would you also agree that Christians should be best at showing love to neighbors? Without a doubt. So why are we so reluctant to take a stand on the subject of better health? Shouldn't Christians strive to be some of the most health conscious people on earth? Some might argue, "Well, Jimmy, the Lord looks at the heart." True, but doesn't that mean it's the effort that matters? And to be honest, not caring for the body that carries the soul just might be a heart issue after all.

So if this is an uncomfortable subject, mark it down. Because this will become an increasingly sensitive topic the bigger and bigger we get. But I believe it's the church's responsibility to lead the fight. A fight that we are losing. Where's Cortez when you need him?

Lord, we love you. Help us as believers become better stewards of our bodies. Help us learn to make better choices in what we eat and what we do. Help us commit to taking care of ourselves, not only so we can serve you better, but to be examples for the rest of the world. Amen.

--J.P.

FIT IT IN A few things to ask yourself as you work toward a healthier you

In what ways are you making positive change in the area of food choices? How have you been able to modify your meals to accommodate your goals? What are some ways that you're not winning the battle? Any specific struggles? What time of day is the most convenient for you to train? Are you making it a habit to fill that time with exercise? What's most important to you, eating right or exercising? If you could only do one, which would you do?

DID YOU KNOW? Eating late at night won't automatically make you gain weight. If you have not exceeded your recommended daily caloric intake and you've kept your daily expenditure high, eating right before bed will not cause weight gain.

>> NEW! Check out our new fitness and nutrition pages, then be on the lookout for more updates to our homepage this weekend.

ALL TO HIM WE OWE

August 3, 2010Read: Mark 12 "Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more to the treasury than all the others." --Mark 12:43

Clive didn't really start living until he gave his heart to Jesus. Nine days after he and a writing buddy went for a long walk, Clive -- a known agnostic -- accepted God's grace and used the rest of his life as an offering to the Lord. Two thousand years earlier, Jesus watched a poor widow offer her life's savings -- two copper coins (worth about half a penny) -- into the church plate.

Two people that changed our world with one offering. Their offering of all.

Who's world would change if you asked God to help you give your best to your health? Your spouse? Kids? Remember, it's not about perfection, but diligence.  We're called to care for the body that carries the soul.  After all, "We don't have souls, we are souls. We have bodies." Clive said that. But you know him better as C.S Lewis.

--J.P.

OBESITY BY THE NUMBERS

In a 2007 study cited by The Obesity Society, the alarming trend of weight gain was made clear. Of the respondents in a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) analysis...

--25.6% were obese.

--26.4% of men and 24.8% of women were obese.

--the obesity prevalence ranged from 19.1% for men and women aged 18--29 years to 31.7% and 30.2%, respectively, for men and women aged 50--59 years.

--by race/ethnicity and sex the obesity prevalence was highest for non-Hispanic black women (39.0%) followed by non-Hispanic black men (32.1%).

--The obesity prevalence was higher in the South (27.3%) and Midwest (26.5%) and lower in the Northeast (24.4%) and West (23.1%).

A separate but related survey showed that approximately 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christian.

Sources: ReligiousTolerance.org, The Obesity Society