Peace of the Puzzle

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." --1 Corinthians 14:33

Read: 1 Corinthians 14

I've never been very good at riddles. My brain just doesn't work like that. Crosswords? Forget 'em. For the life of me, I can't keep from looking up the answers in the back of the book. But puzzles? Well, that's a different story. Loretta and I enjoy a good puzzle. Shopping for one is easy too. You just find a cool picture, and that's it. You bring it home, spread the puzzle out on the table, prop up the photo and get to work. It's not long before what used to be in pieces begins to take the shape of the goal.

But how easy would it be if you took away the box with the picture on it? Tough, right? Or what if you turned off the lights, what then? How easy would it be to put that puzzle together?

For those without Christ, that's life. They piece together hours, days and weeks, assembling their lives -- on feel alone -- without Christ. As Christians, our lives are not easily assembled either. (If you're with me, say 'amen'.) Though we have Christ as our picture of perfection and more than enough light for a million-piece-life, we still stumble and struggle to put it together. Yet deep inside, we have that missing 'peace', don't we?

You know, Loretta and I can both be looking for the same piece of our little puzzle and when one of us finds it, what's the first thing we do? We show it to each other. We share it. Then we watch how it fills the empty space. And it's not long before what used to be in pieces begins to take the shape of the goal. You and I have the missing peace, and someone we know is searching for it. Let's show it. Let's share it.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Whether at work, school, gym or even socially, where can we share Christ more unashamedly? Will you commit to sharing Christ with someone today? Use this (stole it from my grandmother): When you encounter someone who acts like a Christian, ask them, "Are you a Christian?" If they say, "Yes", say, "I thought so." If they say, "No", just tell them, "Oh, you'd make a great Christian." And then take it from there...


Find out how this collegiate athlete has made relationship with the Lord his focus and what he has done on the field to build closing speed and game-changing stamina in this exclusive Q&A.

>> Q&A with Louie DeDonatis

Soreness in a Sermon

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 3:14

Read: Philippians 3

Yesterday's sermon reminded me of Saturday's workout. The guest speaker said to us, "I know who I am, and I know what I must do." He was referring to his thoughts the moment he came to know Christ 15 years ago. He then listed a handful of biblical examples who met that same conclusion once they met Jesus.

Saturday, I took my training outdoors. Over the last few months, I've had to modify my workouts and I decided to hit the local high school football field for some shuttle runs, snake intervals, and bear crawls. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that my 40-year-old body is reminding me today why I'm not in high school anymore. I even had to use my cap as a yard marker. I'd place it just ahead of the next goal line to help me keep track of where it was I was running on each interval.

Soreness, in a sermon. Seems it's a good reminder of Paul's urgency in Philippians. Our daily objectives of better health, stronger families and daily excellence are all yard markers to help us keep track of where it is we're running. And here we are at an interval -- an up and back sprint through yet another day. Off to work, school, the gym. Line, by line, by line; to and fro we go. But if we remember who we are in Christ, then we know what we must do for Him. Everything we strive for should point toward the goal that lies just ahead. Kinda neat, but each time I reached for my cap, I read what describes our prize of heaven--"Glory."

--Jimmy Peña

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE PRAYFIT 33 One year ago today (August 27), we filmed our first DVD, the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge with Lionsgate Entertainment in order to provide you with a fabulous, in-home resource to getting healthier for all the right reasons.

With 33 days of bodyweight-driven workouts and inspiring messages from founder Jimmy Peña, this DVD has been the bedrock of change for many who have chosen to believe one fundamental truth: that it is important to care for the body that carries the soul.

>> To view the trailer or to order, click here.

Have a PrayFit 33 success story? Send it to us today at info@prayfit.com!

Runners On Your Mark

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." --Hebrews 12:1

Read: Hebrews 12

Even though we were in a different city with an unfamiliar course, I found my favorite and familiar spot, the finish line. See, long before the runners ever cross the tape and well before the crowds, you can always find me there early to survey the land, to test the angles and find the best views. So just before sunrise, I did my thing, because I didn't want to miss my babe complete a test that began 16 weeks earlier.

Sure, while the official clock started that early morning, anyone who's ever run a marathon knows the big race is run in the small, unseen moments of preparation. Like the other runners on the mark, Loretta started that clock when she accepted the invitation. Everything she did after that was a direct reflection of that commitment. Like I've said before, it's easy to see God in a marathon.

So with my stake claimed and seeing as she wasn't due for a few hours, I got comfortable. And over the next few days, I'll share some of the notes I scribbled as I hunkered down with my heart's eyes open. I hope you'll join us as the runners come in.

--Jimmy Peña

RUN LONGER BY RUNNING FASTER Think the only way to become a better distance runner is to run for distance? Think again. While the importance of event-specific training can not be marginalized, there is a growing body of research to suggest that interval training may have value as well.

Scientists at the University of Western Ontario (London) found that subjects who performed 4-6, 30-second sprints three times per week (with 3-4 minutes of rest between sprints) 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. But 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.

So while intervals are highly touted for their ability to burn fat, they are also a solid option for decreasing your times on your long runs. Intervals boost your heart’s stroke volume, or total blood pumped per beat. That means longer times to fatigue, which is critical for distance runners. So don’t feel guilty if you can’t make it out for your five-miler today — 15 minutes worth of high-intensity intervals will provide you with plenty of benefits to take on your next run.


For more info, write us at info@prayfit.com.


July 14, 2011Read: John 18

"Peter again denied it, and at once the rooster crowed." -- John 18:27

I can relate to Peter. In one moment, he declares adamantly he would never deny he knew who Jesus was; the next, he does it not once...not twice...but thrice. But still, what motivates me about Peter was that while he wasn't perfect, he was the one who stepped up. He may not have always been right, but he was never in doubt. First to reach for his sword to defend the Lord (only to be taught a quick lesson in self-control), and first to get out of the boat (only to be the example of how we sink without faith). But if you notice a common thread in the stories of Peter, the more he was first to fall, the more he learned to stand.

In our pursuit of a stronger faith, as well as to better health, we often make bold declarations that we will pray more, train more, and eat better...only to do the exact opposite the next moment. But friends, take courage. Keep being first. Set the pace with your family and friends. Remember, Peter knows what it's like to declare and fail, and to step out and sink. Pursuing obedience is a staggering undertaking. Fortunately, like Peter the pacesetter, we have a Savior who reaches further than the fall.



For as often as we espouse the virtues of high-intensity training, some may find our fitness tips to be a bit intimidating. After all, working harder than you're accustomed to never sounds like a fun undertaking. And while there are some actual, defining guidelines for intensity -- i.e. working to 95% of your max effort on an interval run -- you can take heart knowing that it is also relative.

One example is interval walking. If you're not up to performing sprints, you can simply speed up the pace of your walks. Try walking at a faster clip for 30 seconds, then falling back into your normal pace for 1-4 minutes. As you progress, speed up the pace -- it may not be long before you're into a slow jog -- and/or shorten rest periods. Ideally, you want to work toward 30-second "sprints" followed by one-minute "walks." One study showed that subjects who performed 4-6, 30-second sprints three times per week burned more bodyfat than those who did traditional steady-state cardio. But the term "sprint" is a measure of effort, rather than speed.

You don't have to be a sprinter to get the fat-burning, heart-healthy benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). By applying the basic tenets of  HIIT to your cardio and implementing concept of progression, you can start right where you are -- today.

>> GIFT SHOPPING FOR DAD: Looking for a good Father’s Day gift? Visit PrayFit’s online store to pick up a hat, shirt, wristband or book for the dads in your life!



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.)



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