workout

The Purpose Fulfilled Life

Hope you're enjoying the week looking at some of life's closers. First Mariano Rivera, and then of course Joseph. And while Joseph was unavoidable, the next two, I argue, are undeniable. If you've been with us for any stretch of time, you know they're a couple of my favorites.

"See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want  you to immediately remember this suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember that I know where I'm going." 

The man who said that is none other than Billy Graham. What a way to live and finish, amen? Sure sets the bar high, doesn't he? So does this next one.

There he was. Tied up. Who knows how long he'd been waiting? The most insignificant of animals with a seemingly inconsequential life. No thoroughbred blood running through his veins. His next meal was his only solace between chores. A helpless laborer, a meaningless creature. When, all of a sudden, Jesus asked for him specifically. In that day, donkeys were known to protect sheep, but that day he carried The Lamb. God chose him. Uniquely qualified, his purpose was to carry Jesus to His. He delivered. I suppose you could say he was born for this moment.

You may have heard me say it before, but I like to think that a donkey nobody had ever ridden knew exactly who he carried. And I bet he did his best to make Jesus proud. Of course, we don't know what the Lord said to him as He got off and walked away, maybe nothing. But this writer likes to think that as the crowd took Jesus the rest of the way, that little donkey stood taller than ever. The only one who noticed him and needed him was the One he just carried.

Let's make it our life's purpose to close-out life -- like Billy and the donkey -- and be remembered for where we're going, and who we carried along the way.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What a contrast in closers, don't you agree? Bill Graham and the donkey. One life spent evangelizing the world, filling years with special moments. The other called to be ready for just one. Man oh man. That's tough to type. You and I are no Billy Grahams, but I would have proudly been the donkey.

 

The Firefighter

"When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses his face was radiant..." --Exodus 34:30

Read: Exodus 34

Immediately after my walk on Saturday, I was standing outside the condo doing my prescribed stretching when a neighbor's visiting father offered me encouragement on his way to dinner; a tall man, sharp, very put-together and gray-haired. He'd obviously learned I was recovering and he simply told me that he understood what I was going through. As I asked him questions, there was something about his answers. Not so much in the content, but in his conduct. You know those kinds of people who immediately capture your attention? This guy was that kind of guy. A man's man and a gentle giant of sorts.

Long story short, as we spoke, I learned he was a firefighter. Those who know me don't even blink when I admit that I unashamedly interrupted him mid-sentence to shake his hand and thank him for his service. But then you guessed it, just as naturally as could be, he spoke of the Lord as if he had just hung up the phone with him. His thankfulness to God for his health and ability were written all over his face long before it came out of his mouth. It was neat. He didn't know me or Loretta or what we did. He was just walking by, shared the Lord and drove away.

In our passage today, when Moses came down to talk to Aaron and the Israelites, how does the bible describe his face? Radiant, right? You just know when someone has been with the Lord. And nothing, folks -- nothing -- prepares us to meet the world, strangers, neighbors, obstacles or triumphs better than our intimate time with Jesus. You want to honor God with your body? It starts by hitting your knees and spending time with Him. The stranger who strolled by me on Saturday sure does, and it shows on his face. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that before that man puts out any fires, he goes to the well.

--Jimmy Peña

A FIRE FIGHT: We all have fires that need extinguishing today. Jobs, health, healing, family matters, kids' summers, and the list goes on. Amidst it all, how do we expect to live a life God desires if we don't pick up His word and read it? This week, who will commit to spending five minutes alone with the Lord? Not checking the phone, not on the TV or computer -- but quiet time with God. I realize we talk to Him throughout the day, but who's going to find a way for a personal bible study and prayer time? Maybe start with today's chapter if you haven't already. Let's come down from the mountain with an unmistakable glow that only God can give. Let's let the people we encounter say to themselves, "There's something about this one." And then let's tell them Who that is.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: THE RUNNER'S CORE

In an effort to become more efficient runners, people will often train their legs harder. A few more miles per week, a few more lunges in the gym -- legs, legs, legs. But as any experienced runner will tell you, legs are only part of the equation. Core strength and stamina are incredibly important for maintaining proper mechanics, whether you're training for a 5K or running out a double in a softball game.

>> Click here for a running-focused core routine!

ultralite-hat-back-white>> SHOP: Looking for some awesome PrayFit gear to sport on your next run? Visit the PrayFit store today for hot deals on tees, hats, wristbands and more.

Unearned Health

"Every good and perfect gift comes from above." --James 1:17

Read: James 1

You've likely seen someone boast that health is "Always earned, never given." Sounds reasonable, right? You put in the work, you get the reward. Sounds reasonable, but it's not true. Health is not earned. Granted, some people appropriately celebrate their health (and hopefully more and more of us each day), but even the byproducts of that discipline -- toned muscle, greater endurance, increased strength -- gift...gift...gift. Oh we don't like to admit it. We like to think we've earned the right to raise that banner and boast, "I EARNED THIS!" But in truth, it's when we realize we have undeserved and unearned health that we can make the greatest impact with it.

You might also consider the flip-side. There are those among us who are statistically apparently healthy, but who choose a sedentary lifestyle over an active one. Those who opt for poor food choices over balanced, sensible meals. Despite great genetics, honorable stewardship is the furthest thing from their minds. If you're like me, you may have people close to you who have absolutely no health issues, but have no issue with abusing it; alive but not living. Healthy vital signs? Sure. Earned? No. A gift. Unopened, but a gift nonetheless.

Whether they're opened or still neatly wrapped, the bible says that every single gift comes from above and that includes the body. So just remember, as you wake up with grace and mercy, check and see if your limbs work and if your heart's beating. If all systems are go, then celebrate! Treat life like a Christmas morning kind of present. Open it up! It's when you see what's inside that you can really see what's inside you! And you can't give God the glory and claim it at the same time. Christians have to choose. So choose to walk, train, run, swim, strive, push, claw, climb, and reach with every single, grateful, thankful, humble, undeserved, unearned gift of health you got.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: All you have to do is visit a children's cancer hospital and the idea that health is earned quickly evaporates. Are you a fitness person? A runner? A lifter? Is it difficult for you to accept the truth that you don't earn your health? 

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Complete Cardio

Try this workout to jump-start your week. Build muscle, burn calories…all at your own pace. Everyone has a “best.” What’s yours? That’s what your effort should be everyday.

>> Click here to start sweating!

Step Into Delight

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and enter his courts with praise; be thankful in your hearts to him and bless his holy name." --Psalm 100:4

Read: Psalm 100

During their years at Baylor University, Brooke and Mattie were like peas and carrots; always together. Not only were they roommates, they went to the same classes, same after-school activities. Together they volunteered, worked with charities, and counseled local school children. Suffice it to say, they were tight. Brooke, the musician of the two, loves to play the sax and she's played piano since she was four years old. She's so good at music, in fact, she has perfect pitch. In other words, she doesn't need to hear Middle C on the keyboard or need a guitar strum as a reference. She can identify between any two notes without help. Mattie on the other hand, although she never learned an instrument, was likely at every rehearsal and performance.

Being an old Baylor grad myself, their story caught my attention recently. See, after graduating in May, Brooke moved back home to pursue her Master's degree at Colorado State. And I'm guessing Mattie will be there too. I'm only guessing because Brooke was born blind, and Mattie is her 6-year old seeing-eye German Shepherd, who according to the story, slows down before steps, avoids obstacles and stops before drop-offs. That's some pedigree if you ask me.

It's Monday. Let's step into delight. No matter what your day or week has in store, let's turn our attention to the good Lord. Let's do like Brooke and find what's bright where there seems to be no light. Let's give thanks. And when it comes to health, please give me a show of hands for those thanking God for their health today. How about a show of hands of those asking God for health today. Curious, how 'bout a show of hands for those with both hands up. Oh friends. If you're raising yours, God can hear you. He hears your hurts and your joyous praise. He can hear both at the same time. And He has perfect pitch.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. There might be one walk Brooke takes without Mattie, and that's when she marries her fiance Dean Bisogno, whom she met while at Baylor. But I like to think that Mattie won't be too far away.

>> Enjoy Brooke's story in the WacoTrib.com: CLICK HERE

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Mastering the Push-Up

The push-up is a tough but fantastic exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, triceps and to a lesser extent your core musculature. So mastering it, even through the initial road bumps, is a good idea. This workout will get you on your way to push-up mastery!

>> Click here for the workout!

Press Play

"I will remember the works of the Lord." --Psalm 77:11

Read: Psalm 77 Ever notice that the first song you hear in the morning is the tune that somehow your brain plays all day? You don't even have to hear the whole thing -- just a few notes and you got yourself a theme song. Better make it a good one, amen? You know, it's neat how the Lord can show you something, be it a story in a book, a movie theme, or even the words of a song, and you don't realize why until -- well -- until you realize why.

Back in March, Loretta and I downloaded an album by JJ Weeks Band called All Over the World. At first, it was just an incredible CD that Loretta wouldn't leave the house without hearing. (I'm the resident DJ, of course.) And it's so good, I've even written devotions with their music playing in the background. But what I loved hearing in March, I needed to hear in June.

Can you relate? Ever gone through something, and you're immediately reminded of a lesson God taught you some time in your past? Books, conversations, music. I like to imagine God doing neat things like that. Since all things work together for my good, I like to think that the notes He puts in my head one day, He gracefully leads to my heart the next. After all, how many times in my life have I whispered, "So that's why."

What song do you have in your heart today? As we start a new week, are you battling fear or doubt? Facing financial pitfalls or health struggles? Whatever your day has in store, let's recall the lessons we've learned. Extend the grace. Pray for courage. Summon your song of praise. So that when the enemy begins to hum that unwelcome dissonance of failures and weaknesses that seek to rob you of joy...close your eyes and press play.

–Jimmy Peña

P.S. If you want to bless your life, go to iTunes and download "Is It Ever" and "Sunrise" by JJ Weeks Band. Listen to the words. Write them on your heart. And when you need them, you'll say to yourself, "So that's why."

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Abs & Calves

Today's workout will hit your midsection and your lower legs quickly and effectively. Even though you can't completely isolate any one portion of the abdominals, you can involve one section over another based on angles and which portion (upper or lower) of your body is moving at one time. As far as your calves, the standing calf raise targets the gastrocnemius, tthe larger, diamond-shaped muscle atop the smaller, deeper, soleus muscle.

>> Click here for the abs & calves workout!

A Holy Climb

"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea', and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them." --Mark 11:23

Read: Mark 11

Hey everyone. After a week off, PrayFit is back online. Honestly, I probably need to write more than you need to read, but nonetheless, here we are in Jesus' name. If you happen to be new to PrayFit, we have a couple of common mountains we climb -- two objectives as we make our way up some pretty steep hills. For some, PrayFit is a place of encouragement to begin or continue an exercise program or sensible eating plan. Others don't need such nudging on the health side but have come to enjoy the fact that we're nestled in God's word and steeped in grace.

It's a holy climb, really. That's what we chat about each day as we scale. As one hand digs for its stronghold, we remind each other of our need of greater health in order to live abundant lives, serving and doing. And as we secure our grip with the other, we echo the truth that no amount of health or fitness, muscle or endurance is worth anything if God isn't behind each motive.

So, maybe you're like me. Maybe it's easy to imagine yourself clinging to the side of this cliff. For whatever reason, either by neglect or something that blindsided you, you're stalled physically. Or perhaps your fitness is just fine, but you're so focused on reaching the summit of health or even body image that you're missing the purpose of it all. Well, wherever you are on this hillside, I hope and pray you spend some time with us each day. It's my experience that the more we focus on Christ, the stronger we are to get over hurdles or to get over ourselves.

Make it a holy climb -- one you make only by reaching for His hand.

--Jimmy Peña

>> WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: PrayFit has partnered with Lionsgate Entertainment to bring you two home-based workout DVDs -- the second more challenging than the first. Train along with founder Jimmy Peña as you work to become stronger, leaner and healthier, all from the comfort of your living room. Below is a sample of what you can expect with our newest video offering, the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System.

Miracle. Grow.

"'I tell you,' he replied, 'If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." --Luke 19:40

Read: Luke 19

I know I'm getting older and much more sentimental because few things in life nowadays are as great as overhearing my wife talking to her plants. Can you relate? Her voice changes in pitch as she compliments and encourages. She apologizes to those not getting enough sun and to those getting too much. Supplying all that love simply brings her pleasure.

I like to think about how sentimental God must be. He cares for us, talks to us, feeds us and protects us. We're alive simply for His pleasure, and He loves to watch us grow. But the cool thing is, we're the part of His creation designed to thank and praise Him in return. And friends, our approach to health is an act of stewardship, and our fragile bodies are a means to praise Him and serve others; music to His ears. With today's verse in mind, let this be another day we keep rocks quiet. After all, if we find fulfillment when the things we love respond, just imagine God, seeing His little miracles grow.

--Jimmy Peña

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.

>> Click here for a detailed explanation and the protocols for the workout.

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Stand Your Ground

"Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground." --Ephesians 6:13

Read: Ephesians 6

Looking at today's passage more closely, you'll notice something great. Of all the armor Paul talks about, not one item is mentioned to protect us from behind. From the breastplate of righteousness to the shield of faith, God teaches us that we're in for a frontal attack. We'll never be surprised or blindsided. In other words, He's got our backs.

When it comes to our crusade for greater health, most of our fights are frontal. The battle comes straight ahead. Whether it be with choices on the lunch menu, to setting the alarm early for a morning workout, the blows are before us and in plain sight. Today, decide that your health is worth protecting. If you can see it coming, pick a fight. When attacked, go to war. After all, it's not the health battles we lose that should bother us...it's those we don't suit up for.

--Jimmy Peña

STUDY: DIABETES ON THE RISE Deemed a “silent killer,” diabetes gaining foothold in heavier, older populations

The number of adults with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled since 1980, with almost 350 million now affected, according to a new study published in The Lancet medical journal. Scientists from Imperial College London and Harvard University analyzed the blood sugar of 2.7 million people aged 25 and over across the world and used the results to estimate diabetes prevalence. The number of adults with diabetes more than doubled from 153 million in 1980 to 347 million in 2008, according to the study.

Diabetes is caused by poor blood sugar control and can lead to heart disease and stroke and can damage the kidneys, nerves and eyes. High blood sugar levels and diabetes kill three million people across the world each year.

The researchers said two of the strongest factors in the rising diabetes rate were increasing life span and body weight, especially among women.

>> For an even more revealing look at the diabetes epidemic, pick up Sugar Nation by Jeff O'Connell. (click here)

BRING PRAYFIT TO YOUR CHURCH: Is your church in need of a faith and fitness revival? We can help. Watch the video below and contact us at info@prayfit.com for more information!

Honoring our Veterans

Today, we pause to humbly offer our gratitude to those who have served or are currently in uniform for the cause of freedom at home and abroad. The dangers you face and the sacrifices you and your families make are gestures that are not lost on us.

If you know a veteran, reach out to say thanks. If you see one, take the time to offer a word of encouragement. If you are one, then we hope that you are blessed today. Join us in prayers of protection for those who so dutifully protect us or leave a few words of affirmation in the comments section below.

Vets, today we honor you. But as far as we're concerned, each day we get to fly Old Glory is Veterans Day. Thank you for your service.

--Team PrayFit

>> MILITARY FORUM: If you are a member of our armed forces, we hope that you’ll share your thoughts on faith and fitness with the PrayFit family in our Homeland Defenders forum. If you know a faithful serviceman or woman, we hope that you’ll refer them there so that we can all benefit from their experiences.

Not registered for our forums yet? Click here to get started.

>> Need workout ideas for the week? Click here to visit our fitness page.

A Training Prayer

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." --1 Timothy 4:8

Read: 1 Timothy 4

Life is not about the body, but our health is a means of praise. So this week, before that first rep, regardless of what workout you are taking to the gym with you, take a few moments and whisper this prayer, quietly taking stock of the ultimate goal: to honor the One who created you.

Lord, please bless my workout. As I train my arms, let it remind me that I'm held tightly in Yours. As I work my legs, let it be only to follow you more closely. When I work my chest, may it be safely under a breastplate of righteousness. And when I hit my back, I'll recall that I'll never be attacked by surprise. And finally Lord, allow my beating heart to grow stronger, knowing that's exactly where You live. Yes Lord, please bless my workout. I'm a temple, here to worship.

In Jesus' name, I train, Amen.

--Jimmy Peña

THE JOYS OF SOY New research shows additional benefits to this maligned protein source

Soy protein, which is derived from soybeans, has been mischaracterized as a testosterone-blunting, inferior protein source that can do little to speed muscle recovery. But Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" says that soy is, in fact, has been proven an effective protein source by over a dozen studies.

"These previous studies also demonstrated that soy protein led to gains in muscle mass equivalent to whey protein," Stoppani adds.

And new research in the journal Nutrition showed soy to be effective at reducing stress, improving brain circulation and boosting immunity.

>> Try mixing in 10 grams of soy protein with your 10-20 grams of whey post-workout to start increasing muscle recovery and boosting brain health.

For more from Jim Stoppani, PhD, visit his website at www.jimstoppani.com.

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 one last 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

THE POWER OF THE JOURNAL

Keeping a consistent workout journal is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable. Here are some of the key things to note in your daily journal:

1 Exercises, sets and reps: Consider this the workout blueprint. Jotting all this down is a good way to ensure that your workouts have structure and that you have a clear plan of what work there is to get done each day.

2 Weight used: Whether it's your own bodyweight or a heavy barbell, keeping track of the resistance you're using serves as a mental note to consistently add more. Whether your trying to add muscle or just get stronger, gradual increases in weight are crucial.

3 Rest periods: How long did you take between sets? The shorter the rest periods, the more intense the workout. If you are lifting heavier, then longer rest periods may be helpful. In either case, keep a careful eye on the clock between sets.

4 Intensity techniques: Did you use drop sets today? Did you have your spotter help you through a few forced reps? Knowing which intensity techniques you're using to make your workouts more challenging will help you continue making gains. Knowing when and how often you're pushing it will also help you keep from overtraining.

>> What else do you keep track of in your journal? Let us know in the comments below, or on the PrayFit forums today.

>> Start a journal - Click Here

>> Got a journal already? Update it today, view other PrayFit workout journals, by clicking here!

PRAYFIT NEWS: PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña will be appearing on FOX's Good Day Atlanta this Wednesday, February 8, between 9:00 am and 9:45 am EST. For the full story, click here.

You, He Knitted

"You knit me together in my mother’s womb." --Psalm 139:13

Read: Psalm 139

God spoke, and there was light. He breathed the stars in space and put the moon in place. But you? You, He knitted. Imagine, the God who filled the oceans with water made your eyes to blink. After spraying the cosmos with trillions of galaxies, He gave you goosebumps. (And then you did the same to Him.)

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Build, Burn

Try the following workout to jump-start your week. Build muscle, burn calories...all at your own pace. Everyone has a "best." What's yours? That's what your effort should be everyday. Walk in place with high knees - 1 min. Jog in place - 1 min. Jumping jacks - 1 min. Jog with high knees - 1 min. Rest 30 sec. Push-ups - 30 sec. Straight-arm plank - 30 sec. Standard plank - 30 sec. Push-ups - 30 sec. Rest 30 sec.

Repeat the entire sequence 2-3 times. Perform this workout up to three times per week, allowing 24-48 hours between sessions. For your push-ups, regardless of what type you are doing, count your reps and strive to increase that number from workout to workout.

DVD: Looking for a new program to speed your gains along in 2012? Try the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge DVD by Lionsgate.

READING LIPS

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”— Matthew 5:16

To a lot of people, the cliche "Actions speak louder than words" means something. But if you can't hear, it means everything. I thought of that the other night while sitting outside of Trader Joe's grocery store with my lab Josey. She and I have become somewhat of regulars outside of the exit door. Well, at this particular Trader Joe's, there's a very nice man (we'll call him Matt) whose worked there for years. He mans the cash register, stocks shelves, and is often outside helping organize shopping carts. I've never seen Matt without a smile on his face. Seeing Josey, he walked over to us, knelt down and began to give her love as he often does. I grinned in appreciation, then noticed a mother and her small boy holding hands walking up behind him. Cue the lesson.

"Excuse me...why is the light off?" I looked up at them before glancing back to Matt. Speaking a little louder she said, "Excuse me, sir..." Now, at this point, Matt was getting Josey good behind the ears (and she's milking it of course) until the woman tapped Matt on the shoulder. He turned as he stood up, and she repeated herself, "I'm sorry to bother you, but my son is curious why the light is off on the side of the building." The two simultaneously pointed up to the marquee, which by that time of night should already be on. Matt looked up, nodded in recognition and then enunciated as deliberately as he could, "Light. Off."...then the three of them walked inside together.

Please forgive all the detail, but that night I was at a loss for words. See, like Matt (deaf since birth) the world can't hear us. And like the little boy and his mom, you and I have to show them the light. Our actions mean everything. We can say what we want, but unlike Matt, people don't read lips. (Thank you Lord for putting us on that bench).

Well, a block away from the store, I turned back. The light was on. Only because someone who could see decided to show someone who couldn't hear.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: How will we shine light in a dark world this week? How can our attempt to care for our health be one small way we do that? Please share your comments below.

Workout of the Week: Push-Ups and 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 and 5-10 minutes. Even if you had other plans for the day's workout, indulge us and give it a try anyway.

Plyo Push-Up: Akin to a normal push-up, this version requires you to have your hands leave the ground on each rep. The plyo push-up stimulates and innervates the fast-twitch fibers (the ones most responsible for tight, toned muscles). Upon failure -- the point at which you can no longer continue with good form -- go right into the...

Standard Push-Up: Do as many as you can. The push-up works the chest, front shoulders and triceps, not to mention your core musculature. Upon failure move right into a...

Straight-arm Plank: Basically, you're in the start of a push-up position with your arms straight, palms pressing into the floor, back straight and abs tight. Hold that position for as long as possible. When your arms begin to shake and fail, lower yourself to your elbows and begin the...

Standard Plank: Hold that position above the floor until failure. Like the straight-arm version, the plank works the innermost core muscles (transverse abdominis), the muscles that support your spine and ultimately your entire body.

After a brief rest, repeat that sequence. Chart your reps (or total time) for each exercise and strive to do better the next time you try this workout.

COMING SOON!: This week marks the official release of PrayFit’s first DVD, now available for pre-order on Amazon and other retail websites. Reserve yours by clicking here or shop for friends.

SHOP: Looking for the best in non-DVD PrayFit products for the health-minded believers in your life? Click here to visit the PrayFit store.

 

 

MAKE BELIEVE

October 21, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 9

"So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing." --1 Corinthians 9:26

As I was leaving Gio's Boxing Gym in Burbank (Calif.) yesterday, amid the familiar cadence of speed bags and jump ropes, something a cornerman yelled to his boxer caught my attention. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter!" he said. I literally stopped in my tracks. What a powerful statement. Just how powerful, I'd realize moments later.

Walking toward my truck, I came upon a film crew about to shoot a documentary -- a boxing documentary, no doubt. Lights, cameras and make-up. I stood for what seemed like years and watched a make-up artist applying shades of purple, black and blue to an actor's face and under his eyes. Boxing gloves? Check. Legitimate shorts? He had those too. But he wasn't dressed for, nor returning from, a real battle. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter," ironically echoed in my head.

I wonder about my faith. And maybe you wonder about yours. Am I a make-believer in life? Or do I help make believers with my life? Like the verse above, I don't want to shadowbox. I want purpose. Give me somethin' to hit.

--J.P.

Question: In what area of your life, spiritually or physically, do you need to stand to fight? How can the Prayfit community pray for you? List your battles below or simply list them as "unspoken request(s)".

PRAYFIT TO RELEASE FIRST DVD

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

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

A PROVERBS WOMAN

October 14, 2011Read Proverbs 31

“She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.” --Proverbs 31:17

For many women in the church today, reading about the woman in Proverbs 31 can be a little intimidating. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking one of two things.  One, Wow, now that is an amazing woman and two, I hope my husband never sees this chapter! I mean, goodnight, is she human? This is quite a list: she’s a credit to her husband, she’s wise, she cooks, she sews, she shops, she’s a business woman, she’s charitable, she stays very busy, she works out, she—wait, she works out? Really?

Verse 17 says: “She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.” To “gird” means to surround, equip or to prepare oneself for action.

In all my years of being in church and hearing about the ‘virtuous woman,’ I can’t remember this verse ever being highlighted. We hear about her honor, her selflessness and her business savvy, and these are all great qualities but why have we skipped over what is clearly a key to how and why she can accomplish so much?

I don’t know about you, but when I work out consistently I have more energy to tackle everything that’s on my plate. I’m less stressed, I’m even tempered (read: less cranky) and I’m better prepared for life’s challenges. I don’t have time to be lethargic, moody or ‘out of it.’ Does anyone? So, I’m thinking, if this woman had time to work out, surely we can fit it in. Now, I’m not suggesting she was doing push-ups on the side of a well and doing walking lunges to and from, but she was doing something, right?

One of the great benefits of working out (along with a sensible diet) is being healthy, strong and available for service when God calls us onto the field.  Being sidelined by health-related issues was never part of God’s plan of an abundant life for us. So, we need not be intimidated by our Proverbs 31 woman. After all, we’ve found her secret. Now it’s time to see her as a whole, understand that she was indeed human and in the midst of her busy life, still found time to “gird herself with strength.”

--Catrina Vargas-Cormell

An entrepreneur, Catrina Vargas-Cormell was one of the first members of the PrayFit community. Catrina is now a PrayFit executive committee member and PrayFit Group leader in El Paso, Texas. For more from Catrina, join her group, “Hungry!,” on Facebook or visit her PrayFit workout journal.

P-31: THE BOOK If today's entry piqued your interest on the Proverbs woman, read "P-31: Proverbs Women in Rush Hour Traffic, Navigating Serenity in a World of Chaos," by one of our best friends and most faithful PrayFit supporters, Sandie Powell. For more information on her book and its must-know concepts, e-mail Sandie at p31book@yahoo.com. All of the proceeds will be invested in the support and training of national pastors, bible and Christian literature distribution, church planting, and other support ministries in Southeast Asia.

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.

 

 

HIS IDEA

September 26, 2011Read: Psalm 124

God’s strong name is our help.”  Psalm 124:8

Forget the idea that when we're healthy, we're better at work. Try to ignore the fact that when we take care of ourselves, we're better for our families, kids and spouses. Block all that out for a second. Focus on this short and simple command: "Honor God with your body." Vain, you say? Petty? Too temporary? It would be if it were my idea. But it isn't. It's His.

Yesterday at church, we sang praises. We listened to a sermon about the importance of praise. Then we offered Him praise through the giving of our tithes and offerings. All good. All expected. All right. But then the Pastor returned to the podium, rubbed his oversized stomach and jokingly bragged about the oversized meal and game he was about to enjoy.

Now, maybe I'm sensitive. I admit, perhaps my feelings are exposed because my life's work revolves around health as a way to praise God. But friends, listen up. Our best effort at health is not a good idea because of the benefits it brings, it's a good idea because God said it. In the end, we're not loved because we succeed at it, nor because we plead forgiveness if we fail at it. He loves us regardless. But shouldn't we be doing one or the other?

Join us this week as we put our health in perspective; a heavenly perspective.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: TOTAL BODY 10 Train most major muscle groups in less time with this bodyweight-driven workout

Recently, a well-respected fitness coach said that losing weight may not be as simple as "move more, eat less." Rather, he says, we should "train harder, eat smarter." While it's true that attention to energy balance -- the old "move more, eat less" mantra -- has some value and can be effective, it is entirely more productive to simply give your best effort day in and day out while continuing to eat a balanced diet that will support your training.

One way to constantly challenge yourself, and therefore effect change in your body, is to outdo your previous performance. And to do that doesn't require a gym -- just the willingness to push. It should be noted that training at higher intensity is relative -- your max effort is entirely unique to your body -- but this workout allows novices as well as experienced trainers to draw equal benefit, training your upper body, abs and legs in 10 minutes flat.

5 push-ups

10 crunches

15 squats

--Set a timer for 10 minutes. Perform these exercises consecutively with no rest in between moves. Do as many rounds as possible of these exercises in the prescribed order in the set 10 minute period. The total number of rounds you complete is your "score" for the day. Partial rounds may count as thirds -- i.e. if you only get through five rounds and then only complete the five push-ups on the sixth round, you've done 5 1/3 rounds. Rest at least 24 hours between workouts. To allow for better recovery, perform this workout no more than three times in a seven-day period.

Advanced Training: If you can complete 10 rounds in 10 minutes, increase the workout length by one minute. Add a minute to the workout each time your number of completed rounds equals the number of minutes trained for sustained progression.

MEANINGLESS

September 8, 2011Read: Matthew 6

But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven.” – Matthew 6:20

Have you ever chased the wind? I know I have. Kind of leaves you empty-handed doesn't it? Funny, we pursue a lot of things that won’t satisfy or sustain, yet we hunt them down as if our life depended on them. Appropriately, coming back from vacation, we promised that we'd focus on our focus. Therefore, yesterday we reached out to those in dire need of a reminder of why the hills we have to climb are worth the effort, regardless of whether or not it comes naturally.

Today our sights shift to those who have those habits of training and eating down pat. Perhaps that's you? Maybe being health conscious comes as naturally as breathing in and out. After all, you wouldn't dare think about eating that, and as far as me suggesting you not go to the gym? Bite my tongue, right? But perhaps if you're like me, at times what's missing in your mirror is the one you're meant to mirror. Perhaps you've been so caught up in the process of being healthy, that you forgot about the purpose of it.

If so, let's remind each other that chasing healthy dreams is fine, but only if we're running after God along the way. That keeps everything we need in front of us. You know, I've referenced it before, but last night the song “Meaningless” by Anthony Evans happened to be playing as I sat at my computer. I’ve attached a YouTube version of it, and I hope you’ll take a listen. Such a great visual message for our week of perspective. It blessed me, and I hope it helps you see your reflection in a brand new way.

>> MEANINGLESS – by Anthony Evans

--J.P.

 

WATER: THE ULTIMATE FAT BURNER: How much water do you drink? You may want to start keeping track. New research is pointing to the clear stuff's ability to help us lose weight and keep it off for good. Get the full story by clicking here.

EXERCISE CENTRAL: Learn how to do basic moves right to start building a stronger, healthier body.

LION AND THE LAMB

March 24, 2011Read: Psalm 122

"I was so glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'" --Psalm 122:1

Today, Team PrayFit begins work on its first line of DVDs with Lionsgate Entertainment. We're so excited, blessed and thankful to have been invited to partner with such an incredible company and to be able to share health as a means of praise in a whole new way.

If you're new to PrayFit or you've been with us from the beginning, we first ask that you would remember us in prayer. Nothing is more important. Secondly, we hope you'll stop here often, and if it's easier for us to come to you via e-mail, please sign up for our PrayFit Daily, your morning dose of delivered faith and fitness. And third, we hope you'll encourage others to follow us on Facebook or Twitter. We love our life's work -- helping you and your family get closer to Jesus and each other, while living abundant, healthy lives; exactly how we were designed to live.

In Jesus' name, we train.

Team PrayFit

>> 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.

>> 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.

BY THE SUN

April 15, 2011 "I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

--C.S Lewis

PRAYFIT: WEEK IN REVIEW Absorb a week's worth of healthy living tips in just three clicks

>> WORKOUT: A 10-minute solution for lagging legs, triceps and abs

>> NEWS: What does it mean, exactly, to be "Army Strong?"

>> RECIPE: Looking for a no-guilt way to enjoy banana bread? Check Dana Angelo White's recipe.

TRIVIA ANSWERS from yesterday's trivia question... 1. The safest time to eat a cheat meal is actually right after a blistering workout. You are more likely to utilize the cheat meal for fuel and not store it as bodyfat right after a training session. The second best time for such a meal is first thing in the morning after an overnight fast.

2. The wide-grip seated row is a fantastic back exercises, and because of the wide grip which forces your elbows to raise  and arms to become parallel with the floor, it is an excellent way to target the upper lats, rhomboids and middle traps.

So, Phil...congratulations. You are this week's trivia winner. Let us know where to send your PrayFit gear by emailing us at info@prayfit.com

PRAY BIG

March 21, 2011 "Pray big and give God the ball. He can make our impossible shots with our eyes closed."

--Jimmy Pena

Workout of the Week: Push/Pull

Workouts come in many shapes, sizes and styles. But if you're a traditional weight training kind of gym-goer, you may want to try this 20-minute upper body workout. By training opposing muscle groups in succession, you'll be able to condense your workout while maintaining higher levels of strength from your first rep to last.

What works best for you in this case is the fact that a muscle will be stronger if its antagonist, or opposing muscle group, is contracted immediately before it. Not many techniques in the gym allow for a particular muscle to be able to make a gain in strength by indirect means like the push-pull routine. So if you do a bench press followed by a bent-over row, you’ll be stronger on the bent-over row and vice versa. The reason behind the increase in strength of the second muscle group is because there is an innate limitation of an agonist by its antagonist.

When training opposing muscle groups in this fashion it’s important to not take the first exercise to failure. Doing so will not allow you to benefit from the technique with as much success. Rather, the first exercise in the superset should be done with lighter weight with 3-4 reps. Then you rest about a minute before beginning the next exercise, increasing the weight for a heavy set (4-6 reps for example).

Exercise Incline Bench Press and High Row Barbell Overhead Press and Lat Pulldown Decline Bench Press with Low Row Triceps Pressdown and Cable Curl

Note: Do four sets of each superset, performing 3-4 reps of the first exercise and 6-8 reps of the second exercise.

Please email us questions at info@prayfit.com or make your comments here! For more workouts, visit our FITNESS page.