walk

3000 Miles To Grace Land

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." --1 Peter 2:21

Read: 1 Peter 2

You can learn a lot on a walk. I've been so blessed this week by your comments and thoughts on our theme. On our walk that counts, we learned that when things get pruned, they bloom. We encouraged one another to take another step during dark times and wear the song out the door. And yesterday, we watched the gait of some of the Bible's most amazing characters as well as that of our life's main character, Christ. The only walk to follow.

We've said it before, but it's estimated that Jesus physically walked over 3,000 miles during His public ministry. Imagine, 3,000 miles in order that we could see grace land with one step.

Wow. What a good God we have. What a faithful God we serve. What a walk to follow.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Where did your walk take you this week? Hopefully in good health we pray. Hope to see you right back here Monday morning. Have a good weekend.

Jimmy Peña's message of "Life is not about the body, but health is a means of praise" is being well-received by congregations around the country. His story-telling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss. For speaking appearances, ministry assistance, media inquiries, write us at info@prayfit.com.

A Powerful Statement

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

Read: Isaiah 2

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

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

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

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

--Jimmy Peña

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

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

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

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

DID YOU KNOW?

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

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

Bring On The Crew

"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." --John 15:2

Read: John 15

IMG_8120Shall we? Let's go this way. I have a friend I'd like you to meet. See, just down this street -- not too far away from that palm we talked about recently -- is a row of trees. And for years I've watched pruning crews pull up and do their work. I admit, it's painful to watch. Cut, snip, snap, buzzzz. And just like that, the crew cleans up the rubble and off they go, leaving nothing but a seemingly empty, barren-looking tree. And here we are. A couple of weeks ago, I took the picture on the left. To the right: the same tree today.

Now, I'm not the first person to see Heaven in a pruning process, and I won't be the last, but I've learned a few simple things. 1) The pruning process helps keep trees healthy. 2) Trees will eventually bear more branches and fruit. 3) Pruning allows more light and oxygen to reach the center of the tree. And 4) pruning trains a tree to take the shape the owner desires.

I probably don't have to say another word, but as long as we're walking, it leaves me no choice. In the area of faith, health, fitness, food, what do we need to prune? Perhaps, for starters, instead of grabbing the cell phone or logging on each morning, we instead reach for God's word or Godly devotional (cut). We can rid the pantry of unhealthy food choices and fill it with natural, healthy alternatives (cut, snip). We can park away from the mall's entrance, take the stairs, walk the block with spouses, play outside with kids. (cut, snip, buzzzz, TIMBER!!).

And when the rubble at our feet is cleared away, we're left with more time for the Lord, healthier options to eat and better alternatives to spark metabolism. Yep, I'm not the first person to see Heaven in a pruning process, but if you and I can get healthy, bear more fruit, and allow His light to hit us deeply so that we take the shape spiritually and physically that He desires, I say, "Bring on the crew."

Thanks for the walk. This is my stop.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: BBQ Chicken Pizza

Forget delivery. Stay on track with this healthy alternative to a guilty favorite.

>> Click here for the recipe!

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Walking Joshua To Class

"So Joshua ordered the officers of the people." --Joshua 1:10

Read: Joshua 1 I used to dread 5th period math. Oh, I was fine with the subject matter, but it was the getting to my math class that had me shaking in my little boots. Each day that semester, a small group of bullies would hang out by my locker, calculating ways to torment me until one day, I got smart and asked my Bubba to walk me to class. Little did they know that the skinniest kid in school was the younger brother of the toughest. They did the math.

In our passage today, Moses has just died and the responsibility fell on Joshua. In preparing Joshua to address the people, you notice God say things like, "Nobody will be able to stand against you" (v. 5), "Be strong and courageous" (v. 6) "Be strong and very courageous" (v. 7) and then again God finishes his holy encouragement with, "Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (v. 9)

God walked Joshua to class.

You know, I don't remember ever being scared again on the way to math. Not because of who I was, but because of who walked with me that day. If you notice, God didn't tell Joshua, "Chin up, you have the power, trust your instincts, believe in yourself." No, God knew Joshua could stand tall because he wouldn't be alone. And what was Joshua's response? After nine verses of God's assurance, we learn Joshua didn't hesitate. That's right. He ordered. He commanded. He pushed forward in faith and trust. (Because that's how winning is done.)

Folks, faith says that there aren't enough problems waiting around today's corner that can add up or stand up to the One you bring with you. Like we said yesterday, life hits hard. Life can bully. And if we rely on our "selves," we do have reason to fear. But like Joshua and that skinny fifth grader, you and I don't walk to class alone.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What are you facing that needs your absolute faith and trust that God is with you? Health, financial, relationships, hardships? What can we be praying with you about?

EXTREME MAKEOVER: FRIDGE EDITION Body makeovers start in the kitchen. So for 2013, it’s out with the old and in with the new for your fridge and freezer. We’ve got five things to scratch off your shopping list and five fresher, healthier, and more affordable things to put in their place.

>> Click here for tips on how to retrofit your fridge for year-round clean eating. Prayfit Stainless Steel Water BottleSHOP FIT: Looking for some new fitness swag to sweat up in your pursuit of a leaner, healthier body? We've got just the thing(s).

Click here to explore the newly updated PrayFit store!

The Safest Place

"Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before God our maker." --Psalm 95:6

Read: Psalm 95

Every once in a while, the world pulls the rug out from underneath us. The sand shifts. The ground shakes. Be it from a financial hardship or perhaps an unexpected diagnosis, keeping your balance is sometimes impossible. And it's not long before you literally -- and perhaps figuratively -- find yourself on the floor, waiting for the aftershocks to stop. But wouldn't you know it? Whether by irony or divinity, the safest place to be when things are unstable is low.

This last weekend we received some news that felt very much like that, and it shook the house of PrayFit. But Sunday night, as I was about to turn in, I found Loretta kneeling at my bedside; a daily habit of hers our entire life together. That night would be no different. As I made my way over to her, I stood there for a second as she prayed. But I knew where I needed to be. After all, that's how we've always kept our balance -- on our knees. So for the first time since my back surgery, I slowly made my way to mine.

Taking her hand wasn't something she expected; shocked might be a better way to put it. She raised her head so fast, and her eyes got huge! I simply nodded and smiled with pursed lips, and then she finished her prayer (Out loud and crying, of course. We're weepers, don't forget.) Oh folks, aren't we so blessed to know that all things work together for good for those who love Him? (Rom 8:28) Like many of you, I am so thankful.

I wonder, are you low today? Should you be? Maybe the job search is still a search. The painful illness still hurts. And although you're a day closer to the future, the ground you're standing on still shows the cracks of yesterday's quake. But trust me. Fill them with your knees. Wherever you are and whatever shakes your world, remember: The safest place to be when things are unstable is low.

--Jimmy Peña

HEALTH UPDATE FROM JIMMY: "I walked to Trader Joe's and back yesterday. That's almost a mile. For me, it may as well have been a marathon. Small steps are huge strides, amen?  I say, To Trader Joe's, and beyond! Thank you all for the faithful prayers."

THE COST OF CALORIES

You may not stop to think about how quickly calories can add up. And if you're not controlling your own food preparation, portions and ingredients can leave you with a waist-widening caloric excess. PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White offers some insight on the caloric "cost" of some common snacks, take-out dinners and desserts in this article.

>> Click here for the true cost of a calorie...

6210-CardinalGIFTS FOR DAD

If you're looking for thoughtful gifts for the health-minded dads in your life, make sure you stop at our newly-revamped online store. Here, you'll find long- and short-sleeve tees, hats and get-fit resources from PrayFit like books and DVDs...everything dads need to spread the concept of health as a means of praise. Want to place a group order? Contact us direct at sales@prayfit.com for special discounts!

>> Click here to start "window" shopping!

Walking Behind

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." --Philippians 4:12

Read: Philippians 4

Perhaps the young man meant to say it. More likely, he was simply searching for the right words to use in describing his decision to follow Jesus. Still, the simple words he eventually did choose spoke volumes. He didn’t say he’d decided “to become a Christian.” He didn’t even say he’d chosen “to follow Jesus.” He said he had decided “to become one who walks behind God.”

What a profound statement! Deciding “to follow” someone doesn’t mean you have to be close to them. You can be separated by time, space or both. I can “follow” the path taken by the explorers Lewis and Clark and eventually wind up in the same place they did — but to do so is purely an intellectual exercise, based on the writings they left behind. I don’t have to have a trust relationship with either of them.

But to choose to “become one who walks behind God” is a different thing altogether. It means making a deliberate choice not to be the one who is seen by other people, because the One who walks in front is so much greater than I am. And I have to stick close not to get lost, because the way is tricky. It means accepting that I am not in control, so I have to trust the One who is leading the way. But that also means I don’t have to spend my time trying to figure it all out myself. It means accepting that my view will be limited. But it also means my circumstances — whether good or bad — don’t impact me greatly. If my eyes are locked on Him, everything around me is perceived only peripherally. (Maybe that’s what Paul meant when he said he had found the secret to being content “in plenty or in lack.”)

And if He fills my vision, that’s the most beautiful thing I could ever hope to see.

--Karla Dial

Karla Dial, a longtime PrayFit contributor, is the editor of CitizenLink and Citizen magazine at Focus on the Family. Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., she is a fitness enthusiast with over a decade of training experience.

SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PRAYFIT

The subject of physical stewardship is not a message you're likely to hear in this Sunday's sermon. But perhaps it should be. With an increasing number of our fellow congregants and family members struggling with obesity-related health issues, it's worth noting that the Lord desires abundant health for us and that even though He looks at the heart, failing to take care of the bodies He created in His image amounts to a heart issue. PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña has spoken at churches across the country, imparting the message of our health as a means of praise. Could your service be next? Check out the video below, share it with your church leaders then contact us to find out how you can bring this message to your congregation!

>> Can't wait for a church visit? Why not start a small group? Click here to get your hands on PrayFit DVDs and books and use them as your curriculum!

A Precarious Position

"For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." --Psalm 116:8

Read: Psalm 116

Today, on a short walk around our complex with my girls, my oldest daughter ran ahead a bit. When I finally caught up to her, she was halfway up a small embankment, princess dress, flats and all. This small hill is a familiar one to us -- we use it as a shortcut on our walks to the neighborhood play area -- but we usually hike it together because it's a bit too steep for 2- and 3-year-olds to manage on their own.

"Mya, stop right there," I said calmly as she struggled with the ascent. "Your shoes are very slippery, baby, let me help."

She turned to me and momentarily lost her footing. Once determined to proceed to the small summit on her own, Mya now looked to me in desperation, reaching out to me for help. While the climb to the top would certainly have been no picnic, coming back down had its own set of dangers -- if she were to do it alone. Taking her small hand in mine, we carefully negotiated the slope and continued on our walk together.

When we walk with God, we enjoy balance and security. When we trek ahead without Him, we often find ourselves in daunting, precarious positions. But no matter how steep the climb, no matter how dangerous the descent, when we get stuck He'll always be there to offer His hand to help us down so we can continue on our walk...together.

--Eric Velazquez

DID YOU KNOW: This summer, PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña was selected as the first advisory board member to Pastor Rick Warren's The Daniel Plan. This worldwide faith-and-fitness initiative by Warren's team at Saddleback Church, helped participants lose 260,000 pounds in 2011. For the full story and more on The Daniel Plan, click here.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BODY TONING SYSTEM You can always browse our fitness page for cool workout ideas to take into the week. But if you're looking for something more structured that can take your body on a journey, we've got just the thing for you. PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System (Lionsgate) is a more advanced system that toggles between targeted exercises that build lean muscle and high-intensity cardio to blast through body fat. By repeating these intervals, you’ll see results faster than you would by doing cardio alone. This DVD will help you improve steadily each day, building your fitness and your faith. This DVD incorporates toning exercises with “PrayFit Minutes” – encouraging, weekly devotionals aimed at helping you become healthy in body and strong in Spirit.

“If you thought the first DVD was fun, effective and challenging, you won’t believe our newest edition,” says Jimmy Pena. “Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the most respected names in Christian publishing, is exclusively releasing our second DVD through retailers everywhere. We hope you order it and are blessed by the message and workout. Get ready. You are going to love it!”

>> For other PrayFit products to help boost your faith and fitness, click here.

Dad In The Stands

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." --Hebrews 13:5

Read: Hebrews 13

If you've been on PrayFit for any stretch of time, you probably by now know that I'm a baseball fan. In fact, I believe Babe Ruth spoke wisdom when he said, "Baseball is the greatest game that God ever saw fit to let man invent." Years later, Joe DiMaggio said, "I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee." But I think my boy Derek Jeter (who last night reached 15th on the all-time hits list) said it best when he said, "My dad has been with me for every at-bat."

You know, for Jeter to reach milestones that few people have ever reached, not only means he's pretty talented, but it also means he knows how to handle defeat. To help put it in perspective, for every 10 at-bats over the course of his career, Jeter has failed seven times. And yet, day in and day out, he leans on his dad, steps in the box, and swings away.

You and I might not be in the big leagues, but we do have a Dad in the stands. And when it comes to our faith and health, even though we swing and miss daily, we're part of His line-up. Of course, a perfect average isn't possible, but He's with us for every at-bat, so why not make each day we swing count? After all, living abundantly is all He wants us to do before we head for home.

--Jimmy Peña

FIT Q & A Where do you find yourself striking out? Poor plate appearances and food choices? No time to have fun exercising? What is your toughest pitch to hit in becoming a healthier you?

ALSO What's your routine after work? Do you come home and sit on the couch or chair? Do you jump straight on the computer or in front of the television?

CHALLENGE: Will you commit to walking the bases (around the block) daily with your spouse or friend for one week before you turn on the television each night? We realize that such specifics may not apply to you, but it's the small hits that add up to big change. Find the ones that will make a difference in your life and choose.

FEEDBACK: We want to know what changes you're making that are promoting health in your home so that others can be encouraged. Please share your comments below. Be blessed.

>> Does God call us to be fit? Get in on the discussion here.

Here I Am To Worship

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart." --Psalm 138:1

Read: Psalm 138

Here I am to worship. If it's been a while since you've been to the gym, whisper it to the Lord as you open that door. If you're starting to walk after work with your spouse, pray it together as you take that step. Here I am to worship.

Whatever you do, it's not about the mirror, or lower bodyfat, or the muscle. Those things may happen, they may not. If they do, consider them gifts of obedience and blessings of diligence. But we believe it warms God's heart when we take care of ours. So go ahead. Lift, run, walk, swim, stretch. Have church. After all, you are a temple.

--Jimmy Peña

MENU MAKEOVER: Bread Pudding By Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC

Soaked in sugar, eggs and half-and-half, bread pudding is decadent to say the least. Good news – it’s possible to cozy up with a tasty version of this comfort food for less calories.

Nutrition Facts Classic bread pudding recipes can have over 600 calories and 30 grams of fat per serving. If you’re using doughnuts and buttery croissants instead of bread, you’d be lucky to keep things under 1000 calories.

The basic recipe is simple, combine bread with custard and bake. To lighten things up, you can use smarter ingredients at each stage of the recipe and keep portions to about ½ cup per person.

Bread Dense or sweetened breads will undoubtedly have more calories and monster portions just aren’t necessary. Consider using whole-grain bread for tummy-filling fiber and figure on 4 to 5 cups of cubed bread for 8 servings.

Custard Replacing half-and-half with low fat milk saves 200 calories and 25 grams of fat per cup. Don’t worry about the thinner consistency of the milk -- eggs help thicken the mixture and allow it to bake without separating. For every 2 cups of liquid, add 2 eggs and ½ to ¾ cup of sugar.

Extras Boost flavor (sensibly) with any of these embellishments: • Add 2 cups of fresh fruit or ½ cup of dried fruit • Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar before baking • Mix in ¼ cup dark chocolate chips • Add 2 tablespoons of rum or orange liqueur to the custard

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

CHRISTMAS PRESENCE

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger."&mdas; Luke 2:16

"What do you give to someone who has everything?" That's a common question asked year after year by a countless number of people.  But what do you give someone who is everything? Well, that original question was uttered only once by a small group of eyewitnesses. Maybe the Shepherds asked each other that very thing as "they hurried off "(v. 16).

Wait, did you notice that? Long before Jesus gave the lame the strength to walk, He had shepherds running. After the angel told them the news, I doubt they hung around the fields, or grabbed a bite to catch up on the latest herder's gossip. No, the news of Jesus had these shepherds high-stepping with hearts pumping. Were they unsure of what to give God? Perhaps. But they were ironclad-certain about doing their best just to get there. Showing up out of love, out of excuses and out of breath. What they lacked in presents, they made up with their presence.

–Jimmy Peña

ACTION! Yesterday, we reminded each other that "go" is still an action verb. Here are six more that will continue to help us build the PrayFit Nation

>> WATCH: To start PrayFit's new at-home DVD, click here. (Click here for the trailer)

>> JOIN: To hop in our now 7,000-strong community on Facebook, click here.

>> READ: To order PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days, click here.

>> WEAR: To set yourself or a friend up with some cool PrayFit gear, click here.

>> TWEET: To follow us on Twitter, click here.

>> PRAY: To pray with other members of the PrayFit community, click here.

Please also be sure to use our social networking features — Recommend, Tweet, Share and E-Mail — at the top of each page if you see something you like or want to share with others.

 

RATE OF FAILURE

"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"— Galatians 2:21

Much is made of the failure rate in baseball.  A successful hitter, it is said, fails to get a hit seven out of every 10 trips to the plate. Despite this otherwise abysmal statistic, those who perform up to such a strict standard are held in high regard. The familiar sound of bat meeting ball is met by a chorus of applause, the hitter greeted by high fives and offered hands of affirmation by teammates upon his return to the dugout. The spoils of a job well done.

In our walks with God, the only measure of success -- the perfection of Christ -- makes failure a certainty. More often than not, despite our best efforts, we will swing and miss at opportunities to glorify God in how we live, work and play. Still, despite no quantifiable measure of achievement and no earthly rewards to be won, we test ourselves, training for a contest in which the outcome has already been determined. Because we know that someday, no matter our rate of failure, we too will be greeted -- not by the roar of the crowd but by choirs of angels. The spoils of a life redeemed by grace.

--Eric Velazquez

LIFE AND TIMES OF AN AGING ATHLETE What does science have to say about your ability to train into your 40s?

Aching backs, ailing knees and rapidly-declining energy levels. Once you hit your 40s, these may be a few of your least favorite things, perhaps even to the point of discouragement. Why train if I can't do it the way I did 20 years ago? Well, science has plenty to say about that. According to Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," some of your best years may be ahead of you yet.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida (Orlando) placed untrained men and women between the ages of 18 and 40 on a 12-week periodized, twice-per-week, strength-training program for their non-dominant arm (the opposite arm served as a control). All three groups gained about 20% more muscle on their arms. The only benefit of being younger was the ability to gain slightly more one-rep max strength on the preacher curl. The older the subjects were, the more strength and muscle size they had when they started the 12-week program. Typically, the more strength you have, the less strength you can gain.

"There really is no difference in the ability to gain muscle size as you age, at least up to 40 years old," Stoppani says. "You may find it tougher to increase one-rep strength but you are likely stronger at the beginning of a program than younger trainers are. It really is never too late to start lifting weights."

>> Why not get a head start on banking some of that strength now? Try this at-home bodyweight program for starters, or visit JimStoppani.com for detailed, member-exclusive workout plans.

STANDING UP STRAIGHT

November 28, 2011 Read: Psalm 84

"No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." --Psalm 84:11

Isn't it interesting that at the mere mention of the words 'good posture', we automatically pull our shoulders back? (Admit it, you just sat up a little taller in your chair as you read that sentence.) Well, if it helps, I sat up as I wrote it. Many of you don't know, but a little over a year ago, I had spine surgery; a couple of fusions and an artificial disk were all my neck needed. Okay, basically I have a brand new neck. And of the many rehab mandatories, a lifetime of maintaining good posture is at the top of the list. That's why I'm constantly asking my wife to remind me of it.

Good posture. Physically and spiritually. Isn't that the goal each day? Am I eating right? Am I reading my Bible? Am I walking uprightly in my pursuit of abundant living? When it comes to my very small, brief life, there's a lot I think I need, but I want nothing more than a backbone for Christ, while protecting the frame He designed around it.

I just want to stand up straight.

Have a good week everyone. In Jesus' name, we train.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BACK ISSUES

Speaking of good posture, a strong back can help. Next time you're at your gym, try this workout. It'll help target all the major muscles of your back.

Lat Pulldown: 3 sets x 10-15 The lat pulldown is great as a warm-up as well as the start of your working sets. Do a few light warm-up sets with very light weight before reaching failure at the designated rep range. The lat pulldown targets the upper part of the lats, the wide, wing-shaped muscles that extend from your armpit down to your lower back.

Wide-Grip Seated Row: 3 sets of 8-12 Close-Grip Seated Row: 3 sets x 8-12 The wide-grip seated row will zero-in on your upper lats, while also hitting your middle back (rhomboids, middle traps). When you switch to the narrow grip, you shift the focus to the lower lats.

Pull-Up: 4 sets x To Failure Close-Grip Pull-Up: 4 sets x To Failure Finish your quick yet effective back workout with pull-ups and chin-ups, to failure, four sets each. Do as many wide-grip pull-ups as possible then finish with the underhand chin. Your biceps, which come into play more with this grip, will help you tax every remaining fiber in your back.

--Rest 60-90 seconds between sets and exercises. --Perform this workout once per week, preferably as one of the first in your schedule of workouts. --Do 5-10 minutes of general warm-up work, such as jogging or jumping jacks, in order to increase blood flow and elevate your core temperature. Follow each workout with a few minutes of back stretches to maintain flexibility in these crucial postural muscles.

COMING SOON!: December 6 marks the official release of PrayFit's first DVD, now available for pre-order on Amazon and other retail websites.

 

"SAVED. ALONE."

November 23, 2011Read: 1 Thessalonians 5

"In all things give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." --1 Thessalonians 5:18 Over 100 years ago, a very successful lawyer and real estate mogul, Horatio Spafford, lost a lot in the great Chicago fire of 1870, but years later he lost much, much more. The fire left thousands homeless, and Horatio and his family spent years helping those less fortunate. Exhausted, Horatio and his wife, along with their four daughters planned a cruise to Europe. But just prior to pushing off, Horatio was called upon to stay for business. Still, he sent his family on their much-needed vacation.

Their ship however, the Ville du Havre, didn’t make it to England. Horatio learned of the tragedy through the now famous and urgent telegram from his wife. It read simply, "Saved. Alone."

I'm probably not the first person to do a poor job of summarizing the story of Horatio Spafford, but I was reminded of it yesterday while on a walk with my dog, Josey. As I turned a corner, talking to the Lord about my needs and concerns of our new website, I came across a homeless woman; mid-thirties, sunburned, sitting next to what looked like years of life in a shopping cart. I smiled, and she called Josey "perty." As I continued to walk, I thought to myself, "I'm worried about web traffic. She lives in traffic."

This week is a good reminder to hug those close to us, and to help those less fortunate. And 130 years later, Horatio can help us do just that. You may not recognize his name, but you know his famous hymn. As he boarded a ship to find his wife, he wrote these words; good words for us to remember and repeat as we give thanks, if for no other reason than being saved alone.

"It is well with my soul. When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul!”

So from our families to yours, have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend.

--Team PrayFit

>> The PrayFit Daily will continue on Monday, November 28. Until then, you can continue to interact with the PrayFit Nation via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or visit our forums.

PRECARIOUS POSITIONS

November 9, 2011Read: Psalm 116

"For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." --Psalm 116:8

Today, on a short walk around our complex with my girls, my oldest daughter ran ahead a bit. When I finally caught up to her, she was halfway up a small embankment, princess dress, flats and all. This small hill is a familiar one to us -- we use it as a shortcut on our walks to the neighborhood play area -- but we usually hike it together because it's a bit too steep for 2- and 3-year-olds to manage on their own.

"Mya, stop right there," I said calmly as she struggled with the ascent. "Your shoes are very slippery, baby, let me help."

She turned to me and momentarily lost her footing. Once determined to proceed to the small summit on her own, Mya now looked to me in desperation, reaching out to me for help. While the climb to the top would certainly have been no picnic, coming back down had its own set of dangers -- if she were to do it alone. Taking her small hand in mine, we carefully negotiated the slope and continued on our walk together.

When we walk with God, we enjoy balance and security. When we trek ahead without Him, we often find ourselves in daunting, precarious positions. But no matter how steep the climb, no matter how dangerous the descent, when we get stuck He'll always be there to offer His hand to help us down so we can continue on our walk...together.

--Eric Velazquez

REST NOT, WANT NOT How to use rest to your advantage when training with weights

If you train with weights, you likely do so with an eye toward being stronger and leaner. And while a great many exercisers will set their programs with precision — dutifully planning exercises sets and reps for each workout — very few are as diligent when it comes to rest periods. Instead, some people will choose to rest until it “feels right” to get into the next set.

But if you’re trying to burn more fat, you may want to start watching the clock.

“Studies find that those who rested 30 seconds between sets during weight training workouts burned 50% more calories than those who rested three minutes,” says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days.”

For more information like this from the Doc, visit www.jimstoppani.com or join his Facebook fan page.

 

 

THE REASON FOR THE CALL

November 2, 2011 Read: Matthew 28

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." --Matthew 28:19

Yesterday's conference call took an interesting turn. See, I was blessed to be the link between my friend (the reason for the call) and a potential group of investors. Compared to the names on the line, I was definitely the little man.

Well, things seemed to be going just fine, but as the meeting was coming to a close, my friend did the unexpected. In his closing remarks to everyone he said, "Jimmy speaks for me." And then he hung up. (Cue the crickets) In one sentence, my role changed. Four little words converted me from little man to middle man. The reason for the call was gone, but I was his voice. Eyes wide, heart pumping. "Say something" I thought to myself. (Cue the life lesson)

Friends, you and I represent the Reason for our call; in how we speak, work, live...and move...

Say something.

--J.P.

FAST FACT

47 Percentage reduction in symptoms of depression for those who walked 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week.

Source: MedicineNet.com

EASY TO MISS

September 30, 2011Read: Luke 24

"He asked them, 'What are you discussing together as you walk along?'"  --Luke 24:17

I can just imagine those two disciples walking toward Emmaus together.  It was late in the day, their heads hung low as they kicked up dust with each reminiscent step. After minutes of silence, one would remember something Jesus said, bringing a grin to both their faces. After all, these two heard and saw things not written in the bible.

After another quiet mile or so, the other would bring up "that time when," and the two would smile, shake their heads, laugh and cry. Who would blame them? They missed their friend. Not the miracle maker or the water-walker, but just Jesus. The same Jesus who would tell a good joke at night, sending all the guys to bed laughing. And the same Jesus that listened to their stories with the anticipation of one who didn't already know the ending. Jesus was easy to miss.

Even when He was walking right next to you.

--J.P.

Question for Friday: Did you see Jesus this week? Maybe in the Doctor that gave you the news of your blood sugar? Perhaps it was the homeless man who wanted nothing more than for you to look him in the eye? Friends, Jesus may not walk beside us like He did on the road to Emmaus, but He walks among us. Whether in school, work or the gym, let's remind each other not to miss Him, because it's easy to do.

Thankful to all of you for your faithfulness to Prayfit. You bless us. In Jesus' name, we train. Have a good weekend.

PRAYFIT TO RELEASE FIRST DVD New 33-day program available through Lionsgate Entertainment Dec. 6

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.

UPHILL BATTLES

September 23, 2011Read: Galatians 6

"Carry each other's burdens." --Galations 6:2

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Simon did. Simon of Cyrene was of course the man who helped Jesus carry the cross up the hill toward Calvary. In one moment, a bystander. The next, a cross bearer. He did literally what you and I are called to do figuratively. Little did he know the example he was setting. I wonder if he knew his sin would soon be nailed to the tree he carried.

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Jesus did. Yet Jesus knew that what He faced, He had to face alone. Nobody on earth, above or below, could take His place as He took ours. But the thought of you and me facing our days without hope was enough to kill Him. The weight of the cross and our helplessness were more than He could bear.

Simon, Jesus. Two men, one cross and an uphill battle.

-J.P.

Are you facing an uphill battle as we end the week? Perhaps at work? Out of work? Physically? Spiritually? We want to pray for you so leave your comment here. If you'd prefer, simply list your prayer request as: "unspoken request" and we'll be sure and lift you up.

PRAYFIT: A WEEK IN REVIEW

Faith

DEVOTION COSTS: God is pleased with what we are willing to surrender for Him

DIAGNOSIS: MIRACLE: The Great Healer does some of His best work when  you least expect it

WHAT CAN I BRING?: Give Jesus all you have and watch Him make miracles of it

DON'T MISS THIS BOAT: Tired and frustrated, Peter trusted Jesus, and cast his nets yet again.

Fitness

WORKOUT: Scramble your legs with this lower-body routine

33-33-33: How these percentages could help you live a healthier lifestyle

GREAT STARTS: Two great-tasting breakfast recipes that provide long-lasting fuel

COMMUNITY: A healthier soul, and a stronger body to carry it, awaits at the hands of like-minded believers

OPEN HOUSE

August, 11, 2011Read: Isaiah 1

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow." --Isaiah 1:18

Walking Josey around the neighborhood this last weekend, I came across an open house sign. The arrow pointed us up the street, so...up we went. Interestingly, the closer we got to the house, the nicer things seemed. The manicured lawn looked like the greens of The Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta. Smiling neighbors waved at the milkman. Kids played hopscotch. Josey chased cartoon animals across the street while Mr. Bluebird rested upon my shoulder. After all, it was an open house. And everything seems perfect at an open house.

Okay, maybe the cartoon animals were a little much, but as I stood watching the people going in and out, I could relate to the owner who had clearly taken great pains in preparing the house to make a good first impression. Before we let anyone in our lives, we hide the dirt. We sweep regrets under the rug, polish the pain and spit-shine the shame. We don't want anyone to see the proof under the roof.

Isn't it comforting to know that we don't need to clean ourselves up before we let Jesus in? We can stop scrubbing failures from the floor and just open the door. Besides, the asking price for our heart's home is way too high for anyone but Him, and He paid it in full.

--J.P.

FUEL AND FAT

Like most Americans, you probably paid somewhere near $4.00 a gallon at the pump this week. But before you go and blame Middle East unrest, market instability or rapid inflation, you might want to consider the following statistic.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine,  nearly one billion gallons of additional fuel per year can be attributed to the average weight gain between 1960 and 2002 of people living in the United States. This represents nearly three times the total amount of fuel consumed by all passenger vehicles each day based on current driving habits, or approximately 0.7% of the total amount of fuel consumed by passenger vehicles annually. Moreover, it is estimated that over 39 million gallons of fuel are consumed annually for every one pound increase in average passenger weight.

In other words, the heavier we get, the harder our cars, trucks, trains and planes have to work to transport us from A to B.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

A SEA OF OBSTACLES

August 10, 2011Read: Exodus 14

"But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left." --Exodus 14: 29

If you've been following us on PrayFit, I know it seems we can't get out of the desert, but let's rewind the tape. Moses was reluctant, but he led the Israelites out of bondage, motivated and on their way. Then came the Red Sea. Uh...Moses?

The reason we're stopping here at the banks is because we received countless e-mails on Monday expressing gratitude for the motivation, but that the workout of the week wasn't feasible and in some cases it was too difficult for valid reasons. Felt like you received encouragement yet immediately faced an impasse? Well, with water up to his knees, and Pharaoh breathing down his back, Moses could relate to you and me. We've got health issues chasing us but seemingly impossible challenges blocking our escape.

Friends, we have to remember that it's not about a particular workout or routine, but rather it's whatever you can do, enjoy doing, and can strive to improve upon from one day to the next. For some, that means a brisk walk around the block, for others it's pumping iron at the local gym. Truth is, we all have our own personal seas to cross, so stay encouraged. God is able, so stay available. No matter how you got to the water or how you plan to get to the other side, it's not impossible...the sea is crossable.

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

"Researchers find that even a relatively small loss of weight can have a significant benefit in blood sugar control, regardless of how you lose the weight."

--Andrew J. Ahmann, M.D., medical director of the Oregon Health and Science University Diabetics Center

Source: "Sugar Nation" by Jeff O'Connell

RIGHTING LESSONS

June 27, 2011Read: Acts 2

"You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence." --Acts 2:27-28

Yesterday, in our tiny cul-de-sac, I spent some time trying to teach my youngest daughter how to ride a tricycle. After helping her place her feet on the pedals, I gave the back of her seat a gentle but sustained nudge to show her how pedaling should feel. For Ella, watching her tiny, sandaled feet make their revolutions was more exciting than monitoring the road ahead. We had to stop several times because she'd start an inadvertent turn into the curb or gutter, only to have me pull her back at the last second. As we went on, she got more comfortable. She seemed to catch on quickly to the fact that we'd only go as fast as I was willing to push and that if danger loomed, I'd be there to help her right her course.

Our Father guides us through life in similar fashion. Only by walking (or riding) with Him do we sustain a safe pace and a steady course. And when we do veer off the path, He's always there to pull us back to safety to continue the journey...together.

--E.V.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Static Strength

In breaking from the more dynamic, high-energy workouts that usually appear here on Mondays, this week's workout is a bit static...literally. We're going to take one exercise which doesn't allow you to move whatsoever. The stationary wall squat is an isometric (or static) exercise that works to strengthen your entire lower body (quads, glutes, hamstrings), all without movement.

The execution is simple: lean against the wall with your legs bent at 90-degree angles (or close to it) for as long as possible. Be sure to time yourself so the next time you try this move you can beat your time to failure. The thing about isometric exercises is that they're angle-specific, meaning you gain strength at only the angle you're working. So for that reason, when you reach fatigue at one angle, and after a brief rest period, you change the angle.

Try this: Place your feet 2-3 feet from a stable wall and lean your back against it. Make sure you back is fully supported from your hips to your head. Gently slide down the wall until your legs are bent at 90-degree angles. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, hold that position for as long as possible and note the time. Rest about 30 seconds and repeat. As you find you can't hold the low position for quite as long, straighten your legs to raise your body up the wall a few inches and repeat the hold. Continue to work your way up the wall until you're almost to a standing position. The key is to work as many different angles as possible so you gain strength throughout the sitting-standing range of motion

>> BOOKS & GEAR: Structured workouts, detailed meal plans and 56 daily devotionals highlight our book “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days.” Order yours at our online store today, or pick up a hat, shirt or wristband for your faith-and-fitness minded loved ones.