weight loss

But Even If He Doesn't

But even if he doesn't, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. --Daniel 3:18

Read: Daniel 3

Dr. Charles Stanley says, "Be obedient and leave the consequences to God." Kinda sums it up doesn't it? Go ahead and apply it to any circumstance you're facing. Trouble in a relationship? Making a decision about money? Need to trust God with a health issue? Be obedient and leave the consequences to God. Stands up, doesn't it?

Speaking of standing up, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego lived it. At the edge of a fiery furnace, they had a decision. Bow to an idol or be thrown in a furnace. They chose faith, believing that God would deliver them from the very fire that tested it. But then they said, "But even if He doesn't." That part of the verse has taken up residence inside my heart.

They didn't jump knowing they'd be delivered. They jumped knowing The Deliverer. I'm shaking my head as I type this sentence. I want an "Even if He doesn't" kind of faith. Save me, help me, heal me. But even if He doesn't...

--Jimmy Peña

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM! Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego taught us, grace doesn't make us soft. Click on the image or simply follow on Instagram. Thank you so much for supporting what we do.

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Final Prayfit Diet CoverHAVE YOU TRIED "THE PRAYFIT DIET?"

Spoiler alert: It's really not a diet at all. It's a biblical recalibration of your relationship with nutrition, complete with a waistline-friendly plan for eating healthier forever. If you haven't tried it yet...here's a bit more info that might sway you!

Jimmy Peña, one of the nation’s most sought-after fitness experts, has been trusted by the most prominent names in the entertainment industry, including Tyler Perry, Mario Lopez, and LL Cool J, to help them look and feel their best. His highest calling, however, is transforming the bodies and souls of people all over the country through his powerful combination of faith and fitness called PrayFit.

In The PrayFit Diet, Peña offers an easy, effective program-including shopping lists, daily menus, and simple, delicious recipes. A healthy body, he explains, is not about restriction of either calories or food groups. Instead, it’s all about eating in equilibrium -- a perfect 33% macronutrient balance of carbs, protein, and fat every day, which will allow you to make dramatic changes to your health and your waistline. The balanced approach of The PrayFit Diet is not only inspired by biblical principles, but it’s also supported by today’s cutting-edge science, and Peña gives you a plan to shed weight and the motivation to keep it off for a lifetime.

In The PrayFit Diet, Peña shows us how faith is the most powerful tool we have to conquer all of life’s obstacles, and that includes our health. More importantly, God wants you to be at your best, physically and spiritually. By combining perfectly proportioned meals with biblically based motivation, The PrayFit Diet will give you all the tools you need to live a life that will both inspire you and honor the Lord.

>> The PrayFit Diet can help you regain your health! Combine it with the workouts in our DVDs to see the best results! Pick up your book by clicking here TODAY!

>> We're getting GREAT feedback from reviewers on Amazon! Click here to read what others are saying about The PrayFit Diet.

Pick Up Your Bed

"I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." --Mark 2:11

Read: Mark 2

It took four men to get him near Jesus. Four men who wouldn't stop until they made a breakthrough, literally. The bible says that "when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying." Reading this story a few weeks ago, some things dawned on me. First, the breakthrough -- the realization that there was no other option; no Plan B. Jesus was in the healing business and their friend was buying.

Then, before Jesus does for the paralytic what the man thought he needed most, Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven you." (Wait, what? His sins? Why not first heal his legs?, I wondered.) Then Jesus answered my question when He asked the scribes, "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk?'"

In case there was any doubt of His ability to forgive sins, Jesus went ahead and said to the paralytic, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." A paralyzed man carrying his prison back home is enough to quiet the doubters. And here's my last thought...he carried his bed home. Jesus put him to work. He didn't say, "Tell others what I did for you," or "Show off your legs." No, carrying his bed said it all.

You'll forgive the long entry, but all I want to do is carry my bed. Our blessing of health is an opportunity to go to work; for family, friends, those less fortunate, our health is a means of praise. Someone you know needs a breakthrough. I did. And I'm betting the healed man in our story lifted other people's burdens from that day forward, wouldn't you agree? If you do, pick up your bed. Let's go to work.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Who are you in today's story? Are you in need of a breakthrough? Dealing with an illness, infirmity or other struggle? Perhaps you're a friend, helping someone through the roof by praying for them, listening to them? Maybe you feel like you're one of the crowd, the onlookers, not really engaged either way, be it with your health or the health of someone else. Well, we know who we are NOT in this story, so let's go. Who needs prayer? Let's lift someone through the roof. Let's place someone you know and love as close the healer as we know how to. As always, simply say "Unspoken" and the team and readers will pray for you.

WEIGHT LOSS X FACTOR: SLEEP

How did you sleep last night? While people desperate to lose a few pounds and inches like to focus on fitness and nutrition, there are a number of factors that can work for you -- or against you. One that is typically underrated is good, old fashioned shut-eye. Find out what the research says about how all those late nights can be moving the scale in the wrong direction.

>> Click here for the study from CNN Health.

JOIN THE "DAILY" CROWD

Thousands of people have chosen to receive the PrayFit Daily in their inboxes each morning. If you haven't signed up for this complimentary service already, simply click the links provided here. Click, type, send -- it could be the most rewarding 30 seconds you spend on the computer this morning! And if you want to help us continue our faith-and-fitness revival -- you can do so by sending friends this link or sharing it with your social networks!:

SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/cSd8tp

BRING PRAYFIT TO YOUR TOWN

Sometimes, it's just a family that needs recalibrating in the areas of faith and fitness. But sometimes, it's your church family that could use a little tune-up. Congregations across the country have welcomed Jimmy and his message of health as a means of praise, using it as a way to kick off a revival of sorts...and your town could be next. Contact us at info@prayfit.com to schedule a visit from the PrayFit team! As always, for churches and other non-profit events there is never a speaking fee. Talk to your pastors and leaders. Reach out to us and let's see health as a means of praise, together.

The Athlete

Where were we? Oh, yes. Under the light of the lamp; mid-letter. As we look over his shoulder, we find Paul telling the people of Corinth about the need for self-discipline. Not in order to earn salvation, but for the eternal rewards of reflecting the Lord in life. "I discipline my body like an athlete..."

In the book of Hebrews, Paul writes, "For they (earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness." Paul knew that God wants us to live holy lives, and because we fall and fail, we need to be disciplined like children. And here, what we find Paul proclaiming -- and eventually carving into our hearts -- is a preemptive strike upon his own. As the sports-minded or health-conscious person may appreciate, Paul uses the analogy of an athlete who perseveres through training. He allowed the athlete's life of sacrifice to describe how he lives the sacrificial life of a Christ-follower.

At first glance, it's an incredible parallel drawn by the most influential man the world has ever known this side of Christ. But even more amazing when you consider that the man who wrote these words would be given 39 lashes five times, beaten with rods five times, pelted with stones, shipwrecked three times, and who would go without sleep, food and clothing; all because of his heart for churches, people and the message of Jesus.

In sports or fitness, it's tough for an athlete to go without food or sleep, but this most amazing man of God didn't seek to look like, win medals like, or get adored like an athlete. No, the man we find under the lamp trained his life like one. And when he finishes this sentence, we'll find out why.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What is your definition of a Christian athlete?

____

Country Baked FrittataRECIPE OF THE WEEK: Country Baked Frittata

"I can't call this a true frittata or a true quiche," says PrayFit contributor Kimberly Fuller, NASM-CPT, CES. "It's a mish-mash of both -- the ingredients of a frittata, but baked like a quiche. You can call it whatever you want, I'll just call it good and healthy!"

>> Click here for the mouthwatering recipe!

The Gospel of Peace

"..and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." --Ephesians 6:15

Read: Ephesians 6

We've all been fitted for shoes at one time or another, and if you're flat-footed like me, you know immediately whether a shoe is gonna work or not. As kids, it was important for them to measure our feet with that little foot-measuring thing, remember? But it wasn't until your mom or dad found your big toe and you walked around a little that you and everyone else had a peace about them. A peace? Well, walk with me.

Consider the athlete. Most major sports -- from baseball, basketball to football -- have shoes that fit the game. It's simple, right? The athlete needs to be sure-footed for the surface. Sure-footed. At peace. Think of a golfer swinging a club on slick wet grass or a sprinter getting into the blocks. There's a peace in knowing you're firmly planted.

Consider Paul. When he described the full armor of God, he didn't forget the feet. In biblical times, Roman sandals had thick spikes on the soles to ensure that the warrior was grounded, anchored, and less likely to slip. It's no wonder Paul urged for our feet to be "fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."

Wow. Athletes wear the shoe that best meets the needs of their sport. Ancient warriors dressed for battle. Amazing to think that for every believer, one shoe fits. So let's just consider God fitting His children with the gospel of peace. Peace...from head to (big) toe.

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION OVERHAUL IN 8 EASY STEPS

Eight steps. Finding your body's ideal weight is that easy. No miracle pills, no back-breaking deprivation -- cleaner, more sensible eating can be boiled down to these easy strategies.

>> 8 WAYS TO EAT BETTER...FOREVER

6710-Grey>> SHOP: Looking for some awesome PrayFit gear to sport on your next run or trip to the gym? Visit the PrayFit store today for hot deals on tees, hats, wristbands and more. While you're there, pick up some resources to speed you on your way to a healthier body -- books and DVDs can help you get fit from home and come equipped with your usual helping of PrayFit-themed devotionals.

Pick Up Your Bed

"I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." --Mark 2:11

Read: Mark 2 It took four men to get him near Jesus. Four men who wouldn't stop until they made a breakthrough, literally. The bible says that "when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying." Reading this story a few weeks ago, some things dawned on me. First, the breakthrough -- the realization that there was no other option; no Plan B. Jesus was in the healing business and their friend was buying.

Then, before Jesus does for the paralytic what the man thought he needed most, Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven you." (Wait, what? His sins? Why not first heal his legs?, I wondered.) Then Jesus answered my question when He asked the scribes, "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk?'"

In case there was any doubt of His ability to forgive sins, Jesus went ahead and said to the paralytic, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." A paralyzed man carrying his prison back home is enough to quiet the doubters. And here's my last thought...he carried his bed home. Jesus put him to work. He didn't say, "Tell others what I did for you," or "Show off your legs." No, carrying his bed said it all.

You'll forgive the long entry, but as I'm recovering this summer, all I want to do is carry my bed. Our blessing of health is an opportunity to go to work; for family, friends, those less fortunate, our health is a means of praise. Someone you know needs a breakthrough. I did. And I'm betting the healed man in our story lifted other people's burdens from that day forward, wouldn't you agree? If you do, pick up your bed. Let's go to work.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Who are you in today's story? Are you in need of a breakthrough? Dealing with an illness, infirmity or other struggle? Perhaps you're a friend, helping someone through the roof by praying for them, listening to them? Maybe you feel like you're one of the crowd, the onlookers, not really engaged either way, be it with your health or the health of someone else. Well, we know who we are NOT in this story, so let's go. Who needs prayer? Let's lift someone through the roof. Let's place someone you know and love as close the healer as we know how to. As always, simply say "Unspoken" and the team and readers will pray for you.

4 TIPS FOR BETTER MORNING CEREAL

Do you love to start off your morning with a bowl of cereal? That's not necessarily bad...if you're making the right choices. PrayFit contributing nutritionist Christie Menna, MS, RD helps us sort out the business of better breakfast.

>> Click here for the tips! SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY!

Nearly 10,000 people have chosen to receive the PrayFit Daily in their inboxes each morning. If you haven't signed up for this free service already, simply go to our homepage and look for the box pictured here. Click, type, send -- it could be the most rewarding 30 seconds you spend on the computer this morning! And if you want to help us go viral with this sign-up drive, you can do so by sending friends this link:

SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/cSd8tp

Strengthen Your Message

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." --2 Timothy 4:17

Read: 2 Timothy 4

Yesterday we touched on what's most important: our daily time with the good Lord. (How is everyone doing on their 5-minute commitment?) But you may already have that part down pat. While yesterday's entry was extremely well-written and uncommonly clever (this is where you just nod in agreement), it wasn't for you. Let's face it, you can set clocks by your prayer and reading rituals. You wrote the book on quiet times. And if so, we're glad you're back, because today we're talking about what fewer and fewer believers are doing once they get up off their knees.

Dr. Charles Stanley recently said that adversity can either be a burden or a bridge. When I look back at my year, I know beyond a doubt that when adversity weakened my muscle, God strengthened my message. What about you? Do you see health as a burden or a bridge? Perhaps you have self-inflicted infirmities or maybe you were blindsided. Distinguishing between the two isn't always easy, is it? But let me be as much of an encourager as I am a tough reminder that our bodies have so much to accomplish for the kingdom. Many of the things God calls us to do as believers require a stewardship-type outlook of the body. Not in vain, but practically speaking. If you're a believer who finds himself or herself unknowingly hiding behind the truth that God only sees the heart -- with all due respect -- a "willful" neglect of the body is a heart issue.

But trust me, I know the battle is tough. I know it's daily. And I know how despair feels. But ask the Lord for wisdom and strength on how to be a better steward in this area. Determine today that only the limits God sets for your life will slow you down. Not anything man-made or self-made. When you close that bible and rise to your feet, tell the Lord your body is at His service now. And if that means adversity, or healthier food choices and fitness-type activities, see it all as an opportunity to strengthen your message.

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT IN PREVENTION, ON MSN: After you've polished off that basket of fries, praying for skinniness may be futile. But across the country, weight loss programs are combining the typical tools of diet, exercise and community support with one more: The power of belief. "The Bible is full of stories of men and women who have conquered obstacles in their life through faith," says Jimmy Peña, who founded the Bible-based program PrayFit. [click here for more]

SODIUM: NOT TOO MUCH, NOT TOO LITTLE

Think you're consuming too much salt? A review published in the American Journal of Medicine found that people who consumed less than the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium per day actually had a 37% increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than those who ingested more. So trying to go cold turkey, or letting your spouse take that salt shaker away from you every night at dinner time may not be the best approach.

Still, there are some who need to be careful not to overdo the salt because they have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. To reduce your levels of sodium, try these simple tips from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD.

• Instead of a lot of salt, use herbs, spices, flavored vinegars, citrus juices, or wine to flavor food • Taste your food before salting it • Buy fresh, frozen, or canned "no salt added" veggies, and add a little salt at the table • Rinse canned beans and other canned veggies to remove sodium • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt • Read labels: look for "low-sodium," "reduced-sodium," "no salt added," and foods that have less than 200 mg per serving

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

You Know The Story, Part II

"So he got up and went to his father." --Luke 15:20

Read: Luke 15

We had a rule growing up. If my brother and I got in trouble for doing something wrong, we weren't allowed to keep pouting about it. No sir. Once it was done, and my brother got what he deserved, it was over. Finished. Like it never happened. Well okay, we suffered consequences, yes, but it wasn't held over our heads. In fact, if I was pouting about it later on, you guessed it, I got in trouble for pouting. You know what that taught me? Trust. I trusted my parents. I knew what to expect. Periodically reprimanded, constantly loved.

Although he came back with memories of deeds as stinky as his pig-slopped clothes, yesterday's prodigal couldn't stray beyond his father's love. Before he knew it, a robe replaced his rags, a ring dressed his hand and a feast filled his belly. And while you and I may not have mud on our shoes, there's not a person reading this sentence who doesn't need that kind of grace from a grace-giving God.

You know, many of us have treated our bodies -- our inherited health -- much like the prodigal treated his promised pay. We've over spent and wasted it. But something tells me the prodigal son took better care of the things he was given after he got home. And so can we. For some, there's a family waiting for you, too; waiting for you to start eating better, to stop smoking, to start exercising. They're waiting to celebrate you. Who's coming home, been home, staying home? You're the life of their party. It doesn't begin without you.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Knowing that God sees our hearts, not our waistline, should invigorate and empower us to be better stewards of health. We're constantly loved. Doesn't that fire you up to live your entire life to its fullest? Let's see a few "YES" comments. We ask again: Who's coming home, been home, staying home?

NUTRITION TIP: Eat in Balance for Sustained Health

With all the fad diets out there that promise to help you lose weight for good, the best one may have been under your nose this whole time. Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that the body responded best to a diet that was split equally among the three macronutrients — carbs, protein and fat.

>> Click here for more on the study!

Hearts That Hustle

"Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might." --Ecclesiastes 9:10

Read: Ecclesiastes 9 It's interesting that of the blessings, trophies and awards I've been humbled to receive throughout my life, one stands out as my most cherished. When I was a kid, my coaches gave me the "Hustle" award. Ironically, it was for a sport that I wasn't particularly great at. Try and imagine running the 100 meter hurdles wearing swim fins. Got the visual? That's me playing basketball. And even that might be gracious. But while I didn't run the offense very well, or lead the team in rebounds, and although I was never the game's high scorer, I was never out-hustled. For whatever reason -- whether it be practice or a game -- something inside my heart just would not let me be out-worked.

You know, they don't give hustle awards when you grow up. But think about it. When you're the only one in the office unwilling to gossip? That's hustle. When you get up extra early each day to make sure your kids eat a balanced breakfast, that's hustle. And when you lace up those running shoes minutes after taking off the work ones, that's hustle.

As believers, we have faith in Christ. And that faith is not only the greatest tool God gave us to tackle the issues of life, it's also the reason to tackle the issues of life. Regardless of the situation, let's not be out-worked. When someone wonders what makes the difference in us, why we're not like the crowd at school or going with the flow at work, it's because Jesus is in our hearts. Hearts that beat. Hearts that hustle.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What will you hustle for today? You may not be diving for loose basketballs, but the game of life is calling you. Share your game plan with us.

Josh-snowTHE BEST WAY TO BURN EXCESS BODYFAT

If your primary training goal is to lose a few inches or pounds, you may want to give more consideration to your preferred training method to maximize results. There's an overwhelming amount of research pointing to this can't-miss fat-burning protocol.

>> Click here for the secret.

It's No Wonder

"Know that the Lord is our God. It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture." --Psalm 100:3

Read: Psalm 100

toolsShe should have been a carpenter. If it had been a priceless work of art, she wouldn't have put any more effort into it. Sitting on the kitchen floor, Loretta (who is the handyman in the family), measured, marked and re-measured to make sure the new kitchen hardware was going to be centered perfectly. Of course, I "eyeballed it" and knew everything would be even, but that wasn't good enough. No sir. She even made me hold the tools as she steadied the level. But you can't blame her. After all, these were her cabinets for a room where we spend the most time and have have so much fun.

Putting my arm around her, I kissed the side of her head as we surveyed her work. In that moment, I wondered if this is how we should be treating our time, resources and our health. Our gifts deserve more than an "eyeballing" but rather a genuine care and concern, amen? Of course, not to boast in our possessions or to gloat about how "fit" we are, but all because of the One who made us.

"Fearfully." "Wonderfully." "Knit together." "Formed." "Created". These are just a few of the ways the bible describes how God lovingly built us. Just imagine Him with a level as He designed our souls with integrity. Picture it as He wipes the dust from our rough edges, smoothing tempers and molding character. It's no wonder He chose to be a carpenter. We're a masterpiece that He signed with His blood and framed with a body; what a privilege He's given us to care for His work.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Push-Ups & Planks If you’re short on time, but long on enthusiasm, today’s workout will meet both needs. No equipment required — all you need is some open space, your own bodyweight and 5-10 minutes. Even if you had other plans for the day’s workout, indulge us and give it a try anyway.

>> Click here for the workout!

Higher Ways

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways  higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." --Isaiah 55:9

Read: Isaiah 55

You've more than likely heard the story about the eagle and the chicken where an eagle, equipped with an eagle's heart, body and wingspan lived and ate with chickens. Because he lived with chickens, he believed he was one. The eagle looked up and saw another eagle flying, but didn't realize that's where he belonged. Versions of the story vary, but the message is clear: an eagle can't fly if he lives like a chicken.

I thought of that story when I had a workout session inside an altitude chamber. As you may or not know, training at altitude helps you better perform at sea level. The more time you spend up high, the better you perform down low. As a physiologist, that makes good sense to me, but as a Christian, it points me in the right direction: higher.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

Let that be our faith perspective this week. Train high, live low. Look up and do more than believe.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: When we take time out of our busy days to read God's Word and pray, we are more equipped to handle our busy days. What is your plan to make sure that each day you prioritize quiet moments with the Lord?

PRAYFIT WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: RIGHT TO THE CORE Get abs that are strong to the core with this focused workout

Exercise  | Sets x Reps Reverse Crunch | 4 x To failure Standard Crunch | 3 x 15 Double Crunch | 3 x To failure Plank | 3 x To failure To failure: The point at which you can no longer complete reps safely on your own.

>> EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS - CLICK HERE

We begin the workout session with a lower abs move. Let me first say that it is impossible to completely isolate any one portion of the abs, but you can emphasize a particular section over another through exercise selection. We begin with reverse crunches because for most of us, the lower abs are our weakest section, and it's a good idea to begin a session with your weak link when you're the freshest.

We then move to standard crunches, double crunches and end with a core-specific move, the plank. The plank helps work not only all the outer muscles, but more importantly works the innermost musculature of the abs (transverse abdominis), while also strengthening your low back. Hold the plank position as long as possible, record your time in the log and repeat after a brief rest.

SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY! Nearly 10,000 people have chosen to receive the PrayFit Daily in their inboxes each morning. If you haven't signed up for this free service already, simply go to our homepage and look for the box pictured here. Click, type, send -- it could be the most rewarding 30 seconds you spend on the computer this morning! And if you want to help us go viral with this sign-up drive, you can do so by sending friends this link:

SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/cSd8tp

Run With Me

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." --Hebrews 12:1

Read: Hebrews 12

As you may have read on some of the posts, I love to run. And while I’m no elite runner, I simply enjoy competing against myself and always try to beat my best times. Before my last race (a half marathon), I told Jimmy, “Even if I beat it by one second I’ll be happy.” Well, on mile No. 9, I began to fatigue and I knew by my watch that I was at risk of not running my best race. At that moment, someone ran up beside me and asked me what time I was shooting for. I told him I wanted to beat 1:57. He said “Okay let’s do it. That's the pace I want to keep."

We pushed each other through miles 10, 11 and 12. At mile 13, I yelled to my new friend “Let’s go, we’re almost there!” As I crossed the finish, I heard Jimmy call my name and first thing I asked him was, “What was my time?” Jimmy was set up to receive texts alerts so he knew right away. He looked up at me and said with a smile, "1:56!" I was so happy. I beat my time, and yes, it was by one second! At that very moment, my new friend and running partner ran up to me and gave me a big, sweaty hug. He told me this was his first race ever, and he simply wanted to get under the two-hour mark. He was ecstatic that he was able to do it.

You know, I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. He picked me (of all the other runners) to help him in his first race. And in doing so, he helped me with mine. Maybe it's Jimmy rubbing off on me, but it was neat for a "run" to remind me of my "walk." In today’s verse it reads, “and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Well that’s my heart's desire. I hope in everything I say and do I’m running in such a way as to be like Christ, just in case someone wants to run with me.

–-Loretta Peña

Loretta is a graduate of California Lutheran University and lives in Woodland Hills with her husband -- PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña -- and their two pups, The Outlaw Ms. Josey Whales and Queen Madeline. She loves the Lord, enjoys running, watching her beloved New York Yankees, all things Disney and sings a mean karaoke. 

Josh-snow3 TIPS TO A BETTER STRIDE

Looking for a more efficient, pain-free stride as you pursue your own running goals in 2013? Run down this no-nonsense checklist to start logging better runs today and feel free to share your own running tips in the comments section below.

RELATED: PrayFit endorser and American 50k record holder Josh Cox talks about life, running and faith. Click here for more.

He Moves In

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come." --2 Corinthians 5:17

Read: 2 Corinthians 5

Last year, I had the privilege of spending a week on the set of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. When it aired, I remembered the feeling I had when that family first answered the knock at the door, then came back a week later to a brand new house. Talk about gut-wrenching! Someone they never expected came into their world and freely gave them something they couldn't afford on their own. He saw where they lived and said you don't have to live here anymore.

As I stood and watched the process, I couldn't help but think of Jesus. Just like we did for that family, He knocks gently, anxiously awaiting our answer. But rather than calling for a wrecking ball, He does the unthinkable: He moves in. Instead of a hammer, He carries a suitcase. He gives us something we could never afford on our own -- Himself -- saying we don't have to live here anymore, alone.

–-Jimmy Peña

TRIVIA RESPONSE

Yesterday we had a question for runners: What burns a greater percentage of fat calories? High-intensity intervals or low-intensity/long runs? Today, we answer.

At a low intensity, the body will burn more fat relative to the total number of calories burned, so percentage-wise, low-intensity activity burns a higher percentage of fat calories. But take that same person and have him/her train at a high intensity, and they'll burn more total fat calories, even though as a percentage of the total, it's less.

And so it was Kelly who said it first and best when she commented, "I am a runner and the low-intensity, long runs are the fat burners as far as greater % of fat burned. However, at higher intensities you burn more total calories -- and more fat calories overall -- than you do at lower intensities."

Congrats, Kelly. Go ahead and email sales@prayfit.com and let us know what store item you'd like. Be sure to please indicate RUNNING TRIVIA in the subject line. And thank you to everyone for being on PrayFit each day and week. You bless us.

A Line In the Sand

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3 My recent trip to the water reminded me just how much my wife and I love turtles, especially those sea turtles. My dad used to say to me, “Jimmy, turtles are great because to get anywhere they gotta stick their necks out.” Well, in case you don’t share our enthusiasm, let me share some turtle trivia.

First, they’re born on the beach, even though they were never meant for the sand. And once they hatch, they don’t stick around to watch the grass grow. No sir! No sightseeing for these guys. In order to avoid the predators like birds and crabs, they run to the water as fast as they can. They might be young, but they know enough to know they’re neither safe nor at home.

And neither are we. We’re born on foreign soil and all we need to do is make our way to safety. The good news? Jesus has already defeated our predator, and He drew a line in the sand for us to follow. All we have to do is stick our necks out and run.

–Jimmy Peña

Question: What lines in the sand have you drawn for yourself, physically and spiritually? Are you committed to being obedient in quiet times as well as honoring the body through better choices of food and activity? If you want to share, please do so in the comment section. Let us celebrate and pray with you.

Bonus Trivia Question for Runners: What burns a greater percentage of fat calories? High-intensity intervals or low-intensity/long runs? Think you know? Give us your answer and justification and we may send you some PrayFit gear!

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Cinnamon rolls. Oatmeal. Two breakfast faves that sit on opposite ends of the healthy-living spectrum -- unless you combine the best of both worlds. This recipe gives you the rich flavor of a cinnamon roll with the craving-killing fiber of oatmeal, all in one perfect breakfast bowl.

>> Click here for the recipe!

I'm His Resume

"By this all men will know that you're my disciples, that you have love for one another." --John 13:35

Read: John 13

Yesterday I worked on a resume. Some of you may know, but trying to put a life of work on a sheet of paper is no easy task. The objective, the history, the qualifications, all to make sure your best foot is forward and in view. Here I am! This is what I've done! But as I was working on it, I knew it didn't even come close to capturing his worth. See, it wasn't my resume, it was my Dad's.

And while his job history in the Navy and then in private business is impressive, I'm his resume. My brother is his resume. My mom, his wife of almost 50 years is his resume. I wish I could call prospective employers and tell them that we are who we are today because of who he is and what he's done. What a conviction to try and convince someone to give your sweet Dad a chance.

You know, our lives say a lot to the world about our Father. I know you feel the same, but I want nothing more than to be a living resume for my Jesus. You and I may be the only Jesus someone ever sees; the only believers someone will ever come into contact with. They may be famous, popular or simply a next door neighbor, searching for the truth. The truth is, Jesus died and rose again so that you and I may have an abundant life and eternity with Him. Because of that, I want the way I talk, think, act and live to be such a strong testimony to those around me that they have no other choice than to take a good, long look at this Jesus we call the Savior. And when they see us, hear us, and watch us, may they pause long enough to give Him a chance.

--Jimmy Peña

TRAINING TIP: Compound Moves

The three most popular, widely-used lifts in the gym are the bench press, deadlift and squat. Referred to as “The Big Three,” these moves fall into a category of exercises called compound, or multi-joint, lifts. These exercises require movement at more than one joint, which means that more total muscles have to get involved to complete each rep. And the more muscle you work, the more muscle and strength you stand to gain. As a bonus, the more muscle you recruit on a given exercise, the more calories you burn. Finally, any measure of muscle gain will improve your metabolism since muscle is calorie-eating tissue.

>> Learn how compound moves can be your ticket to a healthier body.

Uphill Battles

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

Read: Galatians 6

>> AUDIO: Click here to listen to this entry, as read by Jimmy Peña. [audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/PrayfitAudio/Uphill+Battles.mp3]

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.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Build & Burn Getting leaner isn't just about burning more calories. How much weight you can lose is determined in large part by how much muscle you are able to build or maintain. The best body-changing type of workout helps you to use up calories while also challenging your muscles to rise to the occasion. This workout does just that, working all of your major muscles groups with a quick, at-home, equipment-minimal scheme that's sure to leave you better for the effort.

>> Click here for the workout! For additional exercise tips and routines, visit our fitness page.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

Off You Go

"God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." I have always loved that saying. Story of my life. But what does it mean? Well, for me it means that God often calls us to do something that we may not feel equipped to do. Sometimes I think, "Who me? But Lord, that isn't what I am best at." Or so I think. I'm reminded of a few biblical examples of those who understood what it meant to be outside their comfort zones. (Moses, Peter, Mary Magdalene...) But when we're obedient, I believe those are the times we grow and are really used by Him.

Reminds me of my recent trip to Allaso Ranch, my amazing church's kids camp where I was a counselor. So many adventures and fun things to do, one of which was the zip line. As I stood in line with my 9-year-old daughter to fly high above the camp and across the lake, she was all smiles. I was smiling too but beneath my smile and sunglasses, I was scared. How is it that my 9-year-old daughter has no fear but me, a grown woman, is apprehensive?

So the guy tells us, "Just sit on the edge, let your legs dangle, lean over and off you go." I literally asked him, "Can you just push me?" (It seemed easier if the choice wasn't mine, but his) "No, you have to do it," he replied. "Ugh," I growled under my breath. I looked over at my daughter beaming at me from the other zip line, she was seated, feet dangling, just waiting for me. I flashed her a big grin, took a deep breath and off we went.

You know what? Experience of a lifetime. In my comfort zone? No. Worth the risk? Yes.

Outside of my comfort zone, I struggle. I sway back and forth between what is comfortable and what is good. It's a tug of war between my mind and my heart. Thankfully, God knows my heart, and He knows yours. He created us to be anything but mediocre, and He cares about the details of our lives. So today, I am going to move forward outside of my comfort zone, in obedience and in faith that the God of the universe has great things in store for me. He has them for you too. It’s His promise. So go ahead, sit on the edge, let your legs dangle and...off you go.

--Allison Earnst

PrayFit's contributing writer, Allison Earnst, is a fitness expert, motivator, competitor and mother of three. She's been featured in numerous magazines including FitParent, Natural Muscle and Oxygen magazine. She has shared her fitness story on Good Morning America, Extra TV and Lifetime's "The Balancing Act." You can visit her blog by clicking here.

3 WAYS TO CLEAN UP YOUR DIET With the abundance of nutrition information out there, it can be difficult to figure out where to start making changes. Too many steps explored, unfortunately, can sometimes lead to none taken. Here, we've boiled it down to three easy things you can start doing today to clean up your diet.

>> Dietary Do-Overs: 3 Steps You Can Take NOW

Misfits Seldom Do

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." --1 Corinthians 1:27

Read: 1 Corinthians 1

If he were your neighbor, you'd move. If choosing teams, he'd be the last one picked. Without a doubt, on the island of misfits he'd be king. But he didn't care. More bold than beautiful, John knew the act to follow was really the act to follow. So he used whatever God gave him to get his message across to a world in need.

Friends, our bodies are merely tools. In the end, they simply get us from life's A to B. But our short trip was so important that Jesus made His. So this week, let's add how we eat and exercise to the list of strange ways God makes Himself known to those around us. Will you be popular? Maybe not. Regarded or rewarded? It's doubtful. But then again, the only attention that's really important is the attention you're paying to the body God designed for you. So go ahead. Be the last one standing. In a world that disregards the body as a means of praise, you'll be in good company when you don't fit in. Misfits seldom do.

--Jimmy Peña

TRAINING TIP: Rest Right, Blast Fat

If you're spending time in the gym and your goal is to get a little bit leaner, don't just go through the motions. The time you are taking between sets of exercise may be limiting how much fat you can burn. Here's how to use rest to lean up faster!

>> Click here to start burning more bodyfat today!

>> READ: For quick-hit, healthy living resources, visit our dedicated fitness and nutrition pages, which are updated with new content each week.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

If You're Thirsty

"But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again." --John 4:14

Read: John 4

Over the long weekend, Loretta and I had the chance to explore some new trails. Just minutes from our condo are some of the most amazing hills in the country. One path in particular is an awesome nine-mile trek to the ocean. So with a new lease on life and health, I set out to lead my wife and our chocolate lab Ms. Josey along this vast expanse. Backpack? Check. Map? Sort of. Clue? Um...no.

Seven miles later, Josey was limping, I was hungry and Loretta was worried. How much farther? Must those birds fly in circles? Fortunately however, in the distance I could see a guy who looked like he knew where I was going. As he approached us on his all-terrain bike, I asked him how long until we reached the water. Turns out the trail I was on would only get me so far. So I thanked him, and he rode off. Wouldn't you know it? Two minutes later he rode up beside us again and asked, "I have water if you're thirsty." I looked at Loretta with a grin as I declined his kind gesture. (She knew I had just mentally written this entry.)

The story surrounding our verse is about a woman who met Jesus at the well. She was looking for one kind of water but her Savior knew she needed another. Her life was in shambles and she was thirsty. Had she continued along the path she was on, she'd be lost forever. But the bible says Jesus told her of her sin, and that if she drank living water, she'd never thirst again.

Folks, just like water is critical for our physical thirst, the thirst of the spirit is unquenchable without Jesus. We can't lift enough weights, run enough miles or drop enough pounds to fulfill our direst need. That's why we never place too much emphasis on the physical. Like her well, the mirror will never quench you of anything, no matter how many times you look. So today, go to the well. If it's the first time -- or the first time in a long time -- He has water if you're thirsty.

--Jimmy Peña

WATER: HYDRATE TO GET LEAN

Speaking of water, how much water did you drink yesterday? For most of you, the answer will fall under the category "not enough." Don't underestimate the wet stuff? It's not just good for keeping you hydrated. Water may be the most powerful, affordable fat-fighting ally you have.

>> Click here for the full story!

ALSO: PrayFit: 33-Day Body Toning System continues to do well on Amazon's list of hot new releases in faith! We're so humbled at your support and overjoyed at the reviews and reports we are getting on how this at-home workout is blessing you, your friends and your family! Haven't gotten yours yet? Click here to pick one up!

Are They Here Yet?

"They went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was." — Matthew 2:9

Read: Matthew 9

This week, many of you will arrive at the home of family and friends to celebrate Christmas. Do you have "going home" traditions? We do too. One tradition my parents actually started during my college years was hanging a "Welcome Home, Jimmy!" sign at the house. When I got married, they added "& Loretta". But if you happened to read yesterday's post, you know by now that my parents are coming to our home for Christmas for the first time; our turn to hold up the sign.

Beyond a doubt right now, celebration plans are almost ready in homes such as yours and of those you love. All the decorations have been hung, everyone's favorite dishes are being prepared and front room curtains are being impatiently pulled back to see if "they're here yet."

You know, I've often wondered if the star in the east was as much God's way to honor His son, as it was our way to find Him. Even though Jesus' time on earth was short, God knew how He'd be rejected, and of the cross that awaited him. So perhaps it was God's way to say, "I love you, Son" and in doing so said to us, "Here He is."

He loves us that much. And if we look forward to seeing loved ones, how much more does He? Because you see, someday God will send for us. And I like to think that after spreading the table for the great celebration and hanging the welcome-home banner across the door, the angels will pull back the curtain, peeking to see...are they here yet?

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT NUTRITION: PREP FOR THE FEAST Knowing what to do before the first course is served can keep you from overindulging

A few people on our boards have expressed concern at the nutritional temptation that comes along with holidays like Christmas. After all, no one wants to completely erase the hard work they've been putting in at the gym, or to slide deeper into a quagmire of bad health. Here are four simple steps you can take to ensure that your feast is truly "fit" for a King.

1 Exercise early Before people start dishing up the ham, eggs and roast beast (thank you, Dr. Seuss), you can minimize the damage of the caloric tsunami by grabbing a quick workout. One of the best ways to do that is to sneak in a power workout. This will create a caloric deficit and a great window for muscle repair. This way, most of the calories to come are used to your benefit. Since travel time is usually a concern today, we suggest a quick bodyweight workout and a high-intensity interval cardio session. Try doing one round of bodyweight squats, push-ups and sit-ups, doing each exercise to failure (the point at which you can no longer complete any more reps). Then, immediately head into your interval workout, sprinting 20 seconds and walking or jogging for a minute, for a total of 10-15 minutes -- after a 1-2 minute speed walk. (Or try our new DVD).

2 Fill up on fiber & protein There's a lot to be said for satiety during the holidays. It can literally make or break you before the big get-together. Before the family meal, try filling up on high-fiber, calorie-friendly fruits and veggies and take in 20-40 grams of protein from a high-quality source like turkey breast or a whey protein shake. This will keep you fuller longer, helping you to avoid a second -- or third or fourth -- trip back to the dessert table.

3 Hydrate Drinking water -- lots of it -- will help you get a head start on leveling out your sodium levels. Most holiday food -- from the glazed ham to the turkey gravy -- are loaded with sodium. This can force you to retain water and add pounds to the scale that will cause alarm with some people. Strangely, one of the best ways to avoid water retention from sodium is to drink water. Try to get about 1/3 to 1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces per day to keep your body in balance.

Me and My Drum...

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, working as unto the Lord, not for men." --Colossians 3:23

Read: Colossians 3 Turns out PrayFit has a theme song -- a song that sums up PrayFit perfectly. My wife and friends might guess it's a Rocky montage or the Gladiator theme song but alas, no. I have one better. The Little Drummer Boy. (Pa rum pum pum pum)...

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

You and I are poor. Like the little boy, we have nothing to bring that's fit to give the King. But He's delighted when we come to Him. And it's music to His ears when we play our life to its fullest. And that's the basis of PrayFit. Giving our best effort to let health be a means of praise. I want to bring a smile to His face, don't you? The very idea of doing so brings one to mine; to me and my drum. Pa rum pum pum...pum.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What is your offering today? P.S. This entry was written while listening to "Little Drummer Boy" by The Vocal Majority on The Twelve Days of Christmas album; just in case you're inspired. I highly recommend it with closed eyes.

PRAYFIT POLL: Over the next few weeks, we want to conduct a series of polls to help our team serve you better. If you wouldn't mind, taking a second today or anytime you see this poll to give us your feedback. We'd be in your debt. Please leave your responses to this informal survey in the comments section below.

1. Are you able to enjoy the Prayfit Daily each weekday? Would it be more convenient if the devotion(s), tips and recipes came to you only once per week, or once per month? 2. What sort of information do you find most useful? The devotions? Workouts? Fitness tips? 3. What would you like to see more of in our health-related items? More workouts? More recipes? More stats and research? 4. Is there anything specific about our website that you would want us to improve upon in 2013?

WORKOUT OF THE MONTH: As you work to keep winter weight gain at bay -- the average is about 0.8 pounds per holiday season -- we suggest the PrayFit: 33-Day Body Toning System. This highly-challenging workout can be done at home with some dumbbells and a workout mat and is guaranteed to provide a powerful stimulus for change. Whether you're looking to lose a few inches around the waist or simply shape-up specific bodyparts, this is the DVD for you. Click here to read more or to purchase one for yourself or a friend! (NOTE: As a reminder, once we reach 25 reviews on Amazon, we're offering one random reviewer a gift from the new PrayFit online store!)

In its first week of release, it has been in the Top 25 of Amazon's hot new releases in fitness & exercise. A quick click of the play button below will give you a glimpse at what this workout has to offer. The best part? It's just 33 minutes a day, honoring the One who gave us 33 years.