team

Fit Together

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

Read: Matthew 18

Among the things I miss most about playing sports in high school and college are 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 his talk, 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 more important. I learned 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. I don't know, but when it was time to get everyone's attention, I like to think they brought it in real close like teams do. Don't you? After all, if our faith had a team, they were the first string. Wow. That's neat, huh? To think, what they said to each other before that first huddle broke, eventually got to you and me. Common purpose, serious plan. Powerful.

--Jimmy Peña

Group_Study_91START YOUR OWN PRAYFIT "TEAM": All across the country, members of the PrayFit Nation are coming together for their own weekly "huddles" using our books and DVDs as their curriculum. To find out how to start your own PrayFit-themed small group or bible study -- one that focuses on being good stewards of health -- write us today at info@prayfit.com!

FIT FACT: Research shows that one-limb (unilateral) training allows you to recruit more total muscle fibers, making you approximately 20% stronger on each rep. For example, if you were able to curl a 50-pound barbell for 10 reps, you could reasonably expect to curl 30-pound dumbbells (or 60 pounds total) for as many reps.

He's My Brother

"Then I sent Moses and Aaron..." --Joshua 24:5

Read: Joshua 24

A great friend and mogul said to me yesterday, "I believe God puts people in your life to help show you where you're going." His statement couldn't have been more true about the day nearly seven years ago when I met then writer extraordinaire and future PrayFit VP Eric Velazquez. Little did I know that when I shook Eric's hand in the offices of Muscle & Fitness Magazine, God was showing me where I was going.

In the context of PrayFit, if I could humbly assign Eric a biblical counterpart, it would probably be Aaron. If you're thinking, "Aaron! Yes, of course! Aaron...wait...who's Aaron?" well, that helps my point. Aaron was Moses' brother. Often overlooked, but when Moses was in need, God sent Aaron. Moses stuttered, so God delivered. Aaron 'spoke well' and they became a team.

So please allow me to use the comparison to publicly acknowledge Eric and his selfless, often invisible, critical and fantastic work he does day in and out. If it weren't for Eric, there would be no daily message. If he's not writing amazing articles for the biggest fitness magazines in the country, or inspiring people to grow closer to the Lord and healthier in the process, he's smoothing out my stutter. He's my brother, and we're a team.

If you've been following PrayFit for any length of time, please help me in publicly thanking Eric for who he is and what he means to us all.

--Jimmy Peña

HEALTH FACTS, BY THE NUMBERS The AHA's most recent report on obesity and its ties to heart disease

149,300,000 - Number of U.S. adults (age 20 and older) that are overweight or obese

33.7 - Percentage of U.S. adults (age 20 and older) that are obese

23,600,000 - Number of U.S. children (age 2 to 19) that are overweight or obese

16.9 - Percentage of U.S. children (age 2 to 19) that are obese

33 - Percentage of U.S. adults that report doing no aerobic leisure-time activity

71 - Percentage of U.S. adults with cardiovascular disease that were overweight or obese

1 in 3- Deaths attributable to cardiovascular disease in the U.S.

Source: American Heart Association Statistical Update on Heart Disease and Strokes (2012)

Who Wants the Ball?

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

Read: 2 Timothy 1

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

Not much confidence in those words, right? Aren't we glad that's not how God sends us off into the world to tackle our biggest foes -- foes of health issues, financial hardships, relationship battles and good old fear and doubt. On the contrary, if God had a blackboard, He'd outline our daily route...straight to the cross. His pre-game words would be the same today as they were yesterday: "Be strong and courageous, for I am with you wherever you go" (Josh 1:9) and "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Who wants the ball?

Question: The Bible is full of wonderful verses that remind us of God's strength, love and guidance. What is your favorite?

--Jimmy Peña

51 FAT-BURNING TIPS

You can find plenty of ways to fight bodyfat everyday here at PrayFit.com but this list, put out by Health.com and picked up by CNN, is easy one-stop shopping for those looking to get a little leaner in 2012. The full list, which includes tips on everything from rep pace to nutritional supplements, can be found by clicking here.

>> NEW! Have you visited the redesigned PrayFit Store? Click here to shop for books, DVDs, apparel and more with our retooled, user-friendly shopping cart.

>> GUEST SPEAKING: Want PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena to come to your church in 2012 to help lay the groundwork for your fitness ministry? E-mail us at info@prayfit.com for more details!

PASSING THE FAITH ALONG

July 21, 2011Read: John 14

“You know the way to the place where I am going.” --John 14:4

Hope nobody’s tired of this week’s marathon theme, because I’m definitely not running out of topics (Ouch!). But I did see something at the race that made me tilt my head and squint my eyes just a bit; something that seemed out of place–a relay team.

I never thought of a marathon as a team sport, but as it turns out, you can run relay-style. Every few minutes or so, I’d see someone run by carrying a baton they’d received from their forerunner, and I realized they’re not in the race alone; for them to be running, there needed to be a hand off.

As believers, it’s neat to think that as we run, we’re collectively carrying a light that Jesus himself lit miles and miles ago. My forerunner was a sweet man named Henry Powell. Because of him, I’m in the race. And although I haven’t always kept pace, because of my ‘preacher man’, I know where I’ll be when I run out of road.

Who was your forerunner?

–J.P.

SO YOU WANNA RUN A MARATHON? (continued)

So if you have managed to stick to the site all week, you will have noticed a developing theme. First, we discussed how beginners should approach their training. Here, we'll speak to the intermediates and our more advanced runners who are looking to make a serious impression on the course.

INTERMEDIATE: If you regularly run 20 to 30 miles a week, and have done so for a year or more, you’re an intermediate. Intermediates also likely do a weekly long run of 8-10 miles and have some experience with tempo runs or intervals. They’ve run 10K races and maybe even finished a half marathon. The rare, elite category of intermediates may have already run a full marathon but are now ready to set more challenging goals for their race times.

>> The Plan: “Long runs are the basis of marathon training, but at this level it’s important to add some intensity to the program,” says anaerobic management coach John Sinclair (www.anaerobic.net). So, you’ll gradually increase the length of the weekly long run to adapt your mind and body to the rigors of running nonstop for several hours. But running 18 to 20 miles at a time isn’t all you need, so you’ll supplement these runs with some higher-effort running twice weekly, including sustained tempo runs at your half-marathon race pace. These promote aerobic strength and efficiency and will help you find that groove you’d like to be in when you run a longer race, according to Sinclair. You’ll also be doing a smattering of speed work. For more specific tips, visit www.runnersworld.com.

ADVANCED: Advanced runners are veterans — those who have been at it for at least three or four years that routinely log 35 to 40 miles a week, with a splash of interval training mixed in for good measure. Advanced runners have likely run the full gamut of races from the 5K up to the marathon. But even elite runners want to score that most prized runner’s achievement — the PR, the absolute fastest 26.2 miles you’re capable of. They may also have ideas of crossing the tape first in a given division.

>> The Plan: “You’ll have to be willing to hit 50 miles a week,” Sinclair says. “For an advanced marathon effort, inadequate miles just won’t cut it.” At this level, your goal is to learn how to maintain a strong, solid pace for several hours. So, along with the standard long runs, you’re going to spend two days a week developing stamina at half marathon, 10K, and 5K race paces. On Thursdays, you’ll be served a marathon goal pace/tempo/cruise combo platter — an extended effort that develops focus, strength, and the capacity to hold a strong pace as fatigue sets in. “Long runs and mileage get you to the finish line,” says Sinclair. “Intensity in your training will get you to the finish line faster.”

Source: Runner’s World

HEARD: “Not only is Jimmy Pena one of my best friends, but whenever I want to get dialed-in for a role or photo shoot, he’s my only call. And I love starting my day at PrayFit.com, building spiritual and physical muscle. A one-of-a-kind concept from the best in the business.”

Mario Lopez, host, EXTRA

>> To hear what others are saying about PrayFit, click here.

HE'S MY BROTHER

July 15, 2011Read: Joshua 24

"Then I sent Moses and Aaron..." --Joshua 24:5

This week, Prayfit VP Eric Velazquez has been out on assignment. The assignment? Vacation with family. Time away from being the glue for everything we do at PrayFit. If I could humbly assign Eric a biblical counterpart, it would probably be Aaron. If you're thinking, "Aaron! Of course! Aaron...who's Aaron?" Well, that helps my point.

Aaron was Moses' brother. Often overlooked, but when Moses was in need, God sent Aaron. Moses stuttered, so God delivered. Aaron 'spoke well' and they became a team.

So please allow me to use the comparison to publicly acknowledge Eric and his selfless, invisible, critical and fantastic work he does day in and out. If it weren't for Eric, there would be no message. If he's not writing amazing entries and inspiring people to grow closer to the Lord and healthier in the process, he's smoothing my stutter. He's my brother, and we're a team.

--J.P.

WEEK IN REVIEW Your weekly, one-stop shop for healthy living tips

>> HOW TO: Learn the basics of effective journaling for faster, more noticeable results

>> CHALLENGE: Are you up for making one small change each night in a single week?

>> DISCUSSION: How important is it to care for the bodies that He so carefully built?

>> STRATEGY: 6 ways to get more out of meals without expanding your waistline

HEARD: Peace Officers for Christ, International is committed to improving the mental, physical and spiritual health of police officers everywhere. PrayFit helps us do just that. If the police are to serve honorably we must be able to withstand spiritual attack every bit as much as physical assaults. This is more than a ‘pump you up’ book. It certainly does that but more importantly, it will pump up your spiritual fitness level as well. I look forward to sharing it with my colleagues across America and the world. But whatever your calling, this book is for you.”

–Rick Hicks, Chief of Police (retired) and Board Member, Peace Officers for Christ, International

>> Order your copy of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" at Amazon today by clicking here.

 

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

CARRY ME HOME

May 6, 2011 Read: Isaiah 46

"Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." --Isaiah 46:4

On a softball team, each player has her role to play. And in the highly competitive world of collegiate athletics, even more specialization occurs. In 2008, Western Oregon University right fielder Sara Tucholsky, a pesky contact hitter by trade, strode to the plate with two runners on base in a game against conference rival Central Washington.

Just looking to play her role -- perhaps to draw a walk, or poke a run-scoring single into the shallows of the outfield  -- Sara was just as surprised as the rest of the 300 spectators in attendance when she drove the ball over the left-center field wall. The three-run home run was the first of her waning softball career and, in her excitement, she missed first base. As she turned to run back to first, she felt a distinctive pop -- she had ruptured a major ligament in her right knee . Collapsing and crawling back to first base, Sara was met by her coach. The umpire informed them that no one could complete the home run trot but Sara, or else the home run would be ruled a single, negating this watershed moment for the ailing senior. If anyone from her team touched her, she would be called out.

Then, in a stunning act of sportsmanship, Central Washington's Mallory Holtman -- a senior on her club and owner of nearly every major offensive record in her school's history -- offered to carry Sara around the bases. Scratching his head at why the opponent would want to, in essence, give the team a run that they were about to lose, the umpire informed her that there was no rule against it. Mallory and teammate Liz Wallace then lifted Sara up and carried her around the bases, gingerly touching her foot to each base along the way.

Sara was in tears, in pain and out of options but in her wounded state, she was shown the way home by those willing to carry the burden, even at great cost to them. This simple act of sportsmanship beautifully illustrates the fact that when we feel too broken to carry on -- when we feel like we don't know the way or when the pain is too heavy to bear on our own -- we also have someone to pick us up and lead us home.

For ESPN's take on this inspirational story, click here.

--E.V.

ENGAGE, SHARE, SHOP

>> ENGAGE: One thing that PrayFit prides itself upon is fellowship. Bringing like-minded readers together to share struggles and successes, tips and tricks is fundamental to what we do here! Here are a few of the current topics going on our forums...

What's Your Testimony | 7 posts

Questions for the Trainer | 22 posts

Child Obesity | 15 posts

>> 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 Facebook, Twitter and YouTube icons at the bottom of each page.

>> SHOP: As we head into Mother's Day weekend, you can select a gift for mom that will keep on giving long after those flowers wilt. Visit our online store to pick up official PrayFit shirts, hats or wristbands or send her a copy of our print project, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." The book includes meal plans and easy-to-follow workout programs that can help keep mom fit and healthy.

FIT TOGETHER

January 18, 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, 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 more important. I learned then that powerful things happen when people come together with a common purpose and a serious plan.

I thought of those old memories today because a small group from El Paso formed a new PrayFit huddle this week. They're teaming together to share faith, fitness and accountability because they know our health is an obligation as well as a means of praise.

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. Powerful.

--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

>> SHOP: Looking for PrayFit in print? Read more on "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" by clicking here, or visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon today!

>> CALLING ALL KENTUCKIANS: If you're from the Louisville, Kentucky area and are following us here on PrayFit.com, reading our book or have rededicated yourself to faith and fitness in 2011, we want to hear from you! Contact us at info@prayfit.com for more details on an opportunity to share your story.

>> SUCCESS STORIES: Whether it's completing your first 5K, doing your first pull-up or getting your cholesterol down, we want to hear your success story. Share with the PrayFit community by clicking here.