Inspect What He Expects

April 2, 2014

Years ago, while cutting my teeth in leadership and service, I learned how important it was to inspect what you expect. Daily checklists and standard operating procedures were the keys to the satisfaction of both the consumer and the team around you. Here’s a neat insight. In some of the finest hotels in the world, the housekeeping department employs a very simple strategy. In the back of the hotel — or the back of the “house,” as it’s called — they hang pictures of guest rooms. Within the frames are immaculate, impeccably clean, spotless rooms, with nothing out of place. Get this…they view them daily. That way, they know exactly how each room should appear, making it easier to create excellence. Each time a guest enters the room, it’s perfect. Those pictures hang there as reminders of the standard that must be kept.

When it comes to our lives as believers, Christian athletes or fitness-minded individuals, we too have checklists and standard operating procedures. We track our training and measure our meals, striving for a stewardship-savvy life. And by God’s Word, our thoughts, motives, actions…our hearts can be measured daily. But try as we might, we’re not always 5-Star. Some days we’re more like a flickering no vacancy sign; not today, can’t stay, go away. Isn’t it true? We inspect what He expects only to find that we don’t always think purely, speak kindly or act humbly.

Because of that, Jesus hung on the cross and paid for our sins, reminding us of the standard we couldn’t keep. We need to go there daily.

–Jimmy Peña

Inspection: When it comes to fitness, do you inspect what He expects? If Jesus were the standard that determined your outlook on your health, would that force you to train more or less?

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.

Shackles and Heavy Burdens

April 1, 2014

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place, where he prayed. –Mark 1:35

Read: Mark 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWay back in the day, I would often incorporate various tools and tactics into my training in order to become stronger, better. One of my favorites was the use of big, heavy-linked chains. Yes, chains. Boy how times have changed. Seen rarely, and often only in shipyards, these chains were massive. Popeye would be so proud. Well, depending on the exercise, you attach them to the ends of the bar (which already have free weights on them) and perform the exercise.

I got to thinking about those old chains recently. See, chains provide a unique value to training. As you raise the bar higher and higher, the bar actually gets heavier. Why? As you lift the bar up, more links of the chain leave the ground. As you lower the weight toward the floor, one-by-one, the links begin piling up and the load you’re carrying gets lighter. Simply put, the load is lightest the closer you get to the floor.

What are you lifting? What burden are you carrying? In many ways, our obligations and daily demands — linked together — create a pretty heavy load. Family, work, bills, deadlines, grades, health, illness, link, link…link. Even if you love the calling and the work, the occasional rest is necessary.

Friends, why do we stress quiet times? Because burdens get lighter the closer we get to the floor. If the day were a heavy set of deadlifts, then the quiet, prayerful rest periods do a soul good. Matter of fact, back in the weight room, it’s proven that short periods of rest help the lifter sustain the workload with greater success. Beat that with a stick. I just knew those old chains would come in handy someday.

–Jimmy Peña

P.S. For the old-school among us, sing with me some Gaither Music…

“Shackled by a heavy burden.
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame.
Then the hand of Jesus touched me.
And now, I am no longer the same.

He touched me. Oh, He touched me.
And oh the joy that floods my soul.
Something happened, and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.”

EATING IN BALANCE

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. Their research pointed out that this type of diet, where you get 33 percent of each day’s calories from these three sources, limited inflammation as well as certain type of cancers by acting favorably on key genes. In addition, this type of eating provides enough healthy dietary fat to support joint and heart function, enough protein to support muscle repair and metabolism and enough carbs to power your daily activities.

What else can this type of balance do for you? Find out here!

The Captain

March 31, 2014

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” –Romans 8:1

Read: Romans 8

Yep, I’m too predictable, aren’t I? As I do each year, I’m celebrating the beginning of the Major League Baseball season. Of course, many of you know we’re thrilled that the Boys of Summer have taken the field. In fact, I’m not kidding when I say I’ve been whistling “Take me out to the ballgame” a lot lately. (And maybe now so are you.)

But as I watch my beloved Yankees take the field today, it occurs to me that Opening Day can teach us a lot about grace. Reason being, right before player step into the batter’s box, each person’s average on the screen will be .000 — a clean slate. Reverend Scotty Smith says, “Jesus didn’t just die to give us a clean slate, but to give us His righteousness.” Take a swing at that for a second.

You know, each morning you and I step up to the plate ready to swing away at whatever the day throws at us. Thankfully, no matter how many strikeouts we had yesterday, God’s mercy is new with each plate appearance. And with Easter fast-approaching, it feels so appropriate, no? Jesus conquered death so we can have life; an abundant life with no record of wrongs. When Jesus rose from the grave, He gave us every reason we need to look alive. You know, I’m now whistling a medley. “Take me out to the ballgame“…because I know “He Lives”.

–Jimmy Peña

The CaptainFAREWELL TO THE CAPTAIN
Today will be my favorite athlete of all-time, Derek Jeter’s, last first bat of the season. I won’t try to explain what it means to me (I’ll save that for the end of the year) but I will express this: Many of the things I’m doing at PrayFit may very well be my last. I see this latest book opportunity as 100 percent a gift — pure grace. Nothing of me, all of God. I’m not sure — and neither are you — of how many days of at-bats we have left. And much like Jeter demonstrates in this picture, I thank the Lord everyday for inspiring PrayFit. Maybe you’re saying the same thing about a dream you’re living. If so, here’s a virtual fist-bump from me to you. Here’s to a new day, a new season, a new opportunity to swing away.

BAT & BURN: A 160-lb. person who plays baseball for 30 minutes burns approximately 182 calories, according to HealthStatus. This, of course, doesn’t take in the potential for post-game calorie burn, triggered by the aggressive, sprint-based actions typically taken on the field.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Have you shared The PrayFit Diet link with your friends yet? We’re giving away a Jimmy Peña-autographed copy of one of our new books each day this week (Monday-Friday). All you have to do is share the following link via Facebook, or Tweet it out to your followers!

>> www.prayfit.com/book <<

We Want To See You

March 31, 2014

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you.

Some praise and worship songs just have their way with me. And yesterday, as a young 12-year old sang that song before the congregation, it took on new meaning. As far as the sermon, well, it was ideal for you and me. Pastor Shawn Thornton taught us that as Jesus was on the cross, even in his agony, He eased hurts while paying for our sins. As in the case of Mary needing the support of John, Jesus noticed the pain of others even while He was suffering.

Isn’t that the way to start our week? With a heart for the needs of others? Compassionate, helpful, service-minded, forgiving, graceful hearts. As we seek to battle the elements for greater health, may we have a constant reminder that our hearts matter most. Our health is simply a chance to exercise what’s inside. And as far as the song taking on new meaning? The little boy who sang in service was not only autistic…he was blind.

Interesting aside, but it turns out that the classrooms in the church have braille under the room number so the blind can find the right class. Well, the young visitor mentioned that the braille is actually incorrect. The congregation had a good laugh as pastor promised he’d see to the matter right away. As I chuckled along, it hit me. It took someone who couldn’t see to notice.

Lord, as we start the week, a week full of school, work, deadlines, health struggles, doctor’s offices, diagnoses and even our healthy goals, please help us notice. Close our eyes to what we can see and open the eyes of our hearts to the things we can’t. We want to see you. Amen.

–Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Arugula Pesto
Enliven your pasta repertoire with this healthier summer sauce from Food Network contributor and co-author of The PrayFit Diet, Dana Angelo White.

Final Prayfit Diet CoverPREORDER THE PRAYFIT DIET: Not only can you find out how to lose up to 20 pounds in 33 days but you learn the biblical principles and scientific truths that can help you keep it off for a lifetime. Take better care of the body that carries the soul without any crushing deprivation. “The PrayFit Diet,” hits bookstores everywhere on April 8 but when you pre-order your copy — or copies — you receive a pair of bonus, complimentary downloads:

The PrayFit Diet Starter’s Guide: Featuring a breakdown of the perfectly balanced 33-day PrayFit Diet, this guide also includes your first week’s shopping list and seven days of detailed meal plans.

The PrayFit Prayer: One of the most widely shared posts in PrayFit history is now available as a downloadable, high-res PDF poster. The PrayFit Prayer reminds us of our ultimate motivations for health.

Order your copy today and share the link with your social media networks!

FACEBOOK/TWITTER GIVEAWAY: Get your social circle in the know! Share the pre-order link (below) on Facebook or Twitter and you could win a free copy of The PrayFit Diet, autographed by Jimmy.

>> www.prayfitbook.com <<

We’ll pick one winner each day this week! Not following us on Facebook and Twitter yet? Click the icons at the top left of the page, or on one of the links below.

Facebook

Twitter

Grace Puts Faith To Work

March 28, 2014

What a week. Anybody care to sigh with me? Do me a favor as you read this sentence and join me in a big, deep breath. Inhale……exhale-uhhhh. How’s that? I can almost feel your collective participation. Thanks guys. Friday is always a good day for a recap, but if you’re like me, recaps are tough to jot down. Especially when there’s been any kind of loss, even in the midst of gain. But the fact that I’m typing and you’re reading means we owe it all to grace. Step by graceful step.

And I know…I could stop talking about grace as it relates to health, but nothing quite compares. The mirror fades, muscles atrophy, lungs weaken, bones break. But grace…grace does none of those things. Grace is the point of it all. It takes the credit for our highs and is the only way through the lows. It’s the purpose, the means and the reason we humbly claw, climb, sweat and strive. Truth is, grace is more than what we say before we eat. It’s the meal. And when you’re full of grace, you have everything you need to put faith to work. This point of the recap would be a good spot for an “Amen.”

So as we end the week, let me hope to be as much of an encouragement to you as you have been to me and mine. I’m praying for every reader, that your health affords you many more days’ worth of steps to showcase His grace. And like I wrote to friends and family recently, may each step — especially if it’s our last hurrah — sound an awful lot like “Hallelujah.”

–Jimmy Peña

STRENGTH SESSION: Spend a few minutes strengthening up this morning with this quickie workout, led by Jimmy. Click play below to get started!

BOOKS & BONUSES: As you read here on Monday, we’re excited to be rolling out our second book, “The PrayFit Diet,” on April 8. But for those that pick up a copy early, spoils await. Order here before the official release date and receive a pair of bonus downloads:

Starter’s Guide: Featuring a breakdown of the perfectly balanced 33-day PrayFit Diet, this guide also includes your first week’s shopping list and seven days of detailed meal plans.

The PrayFit Prayer: One of the most widely shared posts in PrayFit history is now available as a downloadable, high-res PDF poster. The PrayFit Prayer, seen here, reminds us of our ultimate motivations for health.

Order your copy today and share the link with your social media networks!

I Run…

March 27, 2014

We needed a little good news in the Peña home and last night we got some. Loretta, the runner in the family, got a much-anticipated e-mail from the New York City Marathon Organizing Committee. They wrote simply, “Congratulations, Loretta! You’re in.” Indeed, come November, my wife will be running the five boroughs. And I, of course, will be perched at my usual spot, the finish line.

Neat thing, along with her email, she was given the chance to claim her “I Run” badge. Some of the options are:

I Run…For Life.
I Run…Because I can.
I Run…For the love of it.
I Run…For the race of a lifetime.
I Run…For everyone who can’t.

If there were a badge for all of the above, I think she’d wear it.

Well if you’re like me, you may not be planning on running the NYC Marathon, but you walk your block, you lift weights, or maybe you swim laps, all in order to keep yourself in the race — a race that Paul urged us to run with persistence and endurance. Guys, the Biblical truth is that you can do everything God wants you to do. I wonder if they could fit that on a badge.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Whether you’re an avid runner or not, what does your badge say? Talk to me. And if you can guess what my badge would say, I’ll send you a complimentary signed copy of my new book.

PRAYFIT PRAYER JpegBOOKS & BONUSES: As you read here on Monday, we’re excited to be rolling out our second book, “The PrayFit Diet,” on April 8. But for those that pick up a copy early, spoils await. Order here before the official release date and receive a pair of bonus downloads:

Starter’s Guide: Featuring a breakdown of the perfectly balanced 33-day PrayFit Diet, this guide also includes your first week’s shopping list and seven days of detailed meal plans.

The PrayFit Prayer: One of the most widely shared posts in PrayFit history is now available as a downloadable, high-res PDF poster. The PrayFit Prayer, seen here, reminds us of our ultimate motivations for health.

Order your copy today and share the link with your social media networks!

Adopted, Home

March 25, 2014

“And since we are his heirs, we are his children.” –Romans 8:17

Read: Romans 8

She didn’t know what was happening. After only a few weeks, her original owner wanted nothing to do with her and somehow that message reached my wife at work. Free to whoever wants her. Next thing I knew, a stranger was coming to our house with a puppy. That was a little over 15 years ago.

I have to tell you, when she arrived she was so scared. In fact, she wouldn’t come out of the little kennel, so her owner proceeded to tip it over so she would fall out. Enter…me. At the time I weighed about 215 and could deadlift a truck, so I gently grabbed the guy’s arm and told him that I would get her out. He didn’t object. I gently set the kennel down and unscrewed every little knob and slowly opened the top. The moment she looked up at me, I adopted her. The very second she was set free, she was home.

Adoption. Isn’t it something to think that the Bible says you and I are adopted? Orphans in need of rescue, God chose to adopt us as His. You know, life often drops us in places we didn’t ask to be in. Unfamiliar surroundings, no place to call our home, no one to call our own. But God does what nobody else can. Our big, strong Savior, He gently opens our hearts — and when we look up — He welcomes us home.

–Jimmy Peña

Maddy in living roomMaddy Girl
Friends, she died Monday. Many of you are well acquainted with my big chocolate lab, Ms. Josey Wales, but Maddy kept a low profile. Folks, she stayed up many a late night writing devotions with me. She was a good girl — never hurt a soul, made no enemies. We miss her so much. (And if dogs go to Heaven, the Lord knows she likes a treat right before bed.) Love you my Maddy girl.

National Measures

March 25, 2014

One common way that national viability is measured is through gross national product, or GDP — the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year, or other given period of time. In the United States, as of 2011, health spending in this country was at 18 percent of GDP, or about $2.6 trillion per year. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illnesses such as hypertension, Type II diabetes and arthritis are a staggering $190.2 billion, or nearly 21% of annual medical spending. Hardly stats worth bragging about.

Still, the debate on health coverage in the country rages on, leaving us fractured, polarized and still overweight. As the federal government works to find solutions, even within the framework of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the church is beginning to coalesce around a simple truth: that we can collectively drive down medical costs — even if it takes a generation — by becoming better stewards of our health.

“The things God calls us to do as believers require a stewardship-type outlook of the body,” says PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. “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.”

Enter the soon-to-be released PrayFit Diet by Jimmy Peña, which goes beyond its own detailed meal plans and macronutrient counts and digs into the biblical motivations — and mandates — for taking better care of “the bodies that carry the soul.”

This message, which has been well-received in churches across the country since the advent of PrayFit in 2009, has made its way to Washington. Congressman Aaron Schock, who has received plenty of attention for his personal dedication to healthy living, had this to say about The PrayFit Diet:

“Jimmy Peña’s The PrayFit Diet provides the moral case for why every human being should be living with food discipline — for their benefit and for the glory of God.”

Schock put his belief in personal responsibility into legislative language with HR 2649, which would have provided a tax reimbursement for qualified physical activity, “in order to incentivize more Americans to take better care of themselves,” he said on his website.

This is precisely where Schock’s philosophy dovetails with Peña’s.

“God equipped us for a unique purpose and to accomplish it, He gave us these bodies,” Peña says. “What an awesome honor to be responsible for their care.”

While the costs of health care continue to spiral out of control, we can rest easy knowing that we are not powerless in this fight. Can faith fight obesity and other related health maladies? We believe it can. And like Rep. Schock says, it’s for our benefit…but His glory.

Final Prayfit Diet CoverThe 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 fast and the motivation to keep it off for a lifetime. 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 is available for pre-order everywhere books are sold.

>> Click here to subscribe to our daily messages for updates and a healthy dose of inspiration each morning.

A PrayFit Special Announcement

March 23, 2014

Hey everyone. We missed you! A couple weeks ago, we signed off so we could do a little housekeeping on the site to get ready for a special announcement. Well, if PrayFit.com were a newly renovated home, please think of me as the one with the special honor of opening the front door. It’s a special day. Here’s a short video we made to help mark the occasion.

I can’t tell you how excited we are to offer you this book. And I’m so honored by the early feedback we’ve received. Take a look.

“Practically everyone I know wants to lose weight and get more fit—myself included. This battle is as much spiritual as it is physical, and most exercise and diet specialists miss this, but not Jimmy Peña and his PrayFit Diet plan. Getting fit God’s way ensures you have the proper perspective on how and who God made you to be. When you have this foundation firmly in place, you will not be motivated to get fit to prove you are a somebody, but to express the somebody you are in Christ.” –Randy Frazee, pastor, Oak Hills Church/author, The Heart of the Story

“Jimmy Peña has been doing his thing in fitness for decades, but with PrayFit, he’s taken things to a whole new level. If you’re looking to build a stronger faith while also getting healthier, then The PrayFit Diet is the resource for you.” –Terry Crews, actor

“Jimmy Peña’s The PrayFit Diet provides the moral case for why every human being should be living with food discipline — for their benefit and for the glory of God.” –U.S. Congressman Aaron Schock, Illinois

Final Prayfit Diet CoverWell, welcome back home. Like with any renovation, we’re still walking around wiping away dust and smoothing rough edges but, as ever, thank you for being our guest. We wrote this for you. If you would, please share the news with your friends, family, your pastor, church leader or Bible study group. And, more than anything, we ask that you pray for us as we bring this new resource to this country and the church. Check out our home page and you’ll see that we’re so blessed that it’s available everywhere books are sold, and we’re praying for His renown as we unveil it.

Much more to come this week, with some neat giveaways, announcements and new partnerships, but for now, thanks everyone. I missed you. We’ve missed you. Please, make yourself at home.

–Jimmy Peña

Carry Me, Daddy

March 7, 2014

Carry me, Daddy, she says with outstretched and exhausted toddler arms. Oh just carry me Daddy. Reaching down to pick her up, her Papa knows whose arms she needs. So sweet. And while I may never hear those words, I’ve said them. Wait — no — I’m saying them.

Continue Reading »