Interview: Jimmy Peña talks about PrayFit
By: Markos Papadatos
Markos Papadatos chatted via telephone with Jimmy Peña, a best-selling author, exercise physiologist and founder of PrayFit. Jimmy has co-authored books with Mario Lopez (from “Extra”) and he contributed to those of LL Cool J. He also served as the exercise physiologist to Tyler Perry. “We are so excited and blessed about the great feedback for PrayFit. It has just been incredible,” he said. “A big reason as to why it is doing so well is that you are competing against yourself. Yesterday’s best is today’s quest. You target your own ability as your goal and that’s very encouraging. If you change your heart, you can change the body.”
Particularly impressive about Jimmy is that he has had an article published on the newsstand every month since he left graduate school in 1999. “I believe that all of the articles and books that I’ve been honored to work on only serve to prepare me for what we are doing at PrayFit,” the Texas native said.
“After graduate school, I got into writing and editing magazines. I was honored and blessed to help some great people write their books like LL Cool J and Mario Lopez; To both men I will forever be indebted. All the while, there was a definite hollowness in my career and as a child I knew that life was not about the body. I wanted to help people with their heart and their soul and their spiritual life in general. We were blessed to publish our first book and Tyler Perry was gracious to mention my book on the ‘Tonight Show.’ Two weeks later we were in discussions with Lionsgate Entertainment about fitness DVDs which we wanted to do and they became our distributor. That’s how the DVDs began,” he recalled.
His first “PrayFit” DVD stayed at No. 1 on Amazon’s list for 53 days in their Faith and Spirituality section. “That was surreal. I still cannot believe it. PrayFit isn’t about the mirror. We are not about vanity, but we focus on modesty. What’s incredible is that more and more churches are calling on me as a guest speaker and they are using the DVD as a resource, along with our book, to honor God with their bodies. They’re seeing health as a means of praise,” he said. “Of course, we don’t strive to be healthy to be loved by God, we strive to be healthy because we already are. We are so grateful to all of the invitations that we have been receiving.”
In March of 2013, the ever-modest and gracious Jimmy Peña will be receiving the Distinguished Alumni award from his alma mater, the University of Texas at Tyler, where he attended graduate school, which is quite flattering for him. “I am just blown away and so humbled with what is going on,” he acknowledged.
Although his schedule is quite busy (between fitness, writing and publishing), Peña noted that he spends quiet time with God each day. “I really try and spend time and I get on my knees and pray to the good Lord each and every day. That’s very important. It keeps me grounded. I keep accountability with my wife and we stay focused on the priorities of life.”
For more information on Jimmy Peña and his PrayFit DVD, visit their official website www.prayfit.com.
photo credit: bodybuilding.com