I’ve learned how to LOVE my BODY in a totally new kind of way.
This past Saturday I celebrated another birthday, but this time in a totally new way – with 4 hours of endurance (running, lunges, burpees, army crawls, hill climbing and sand bag carries).
Sounds crazy right? Well my birthdays, like yours I’m sure, have always been celebrations- of course there was cake (and presents) then as I got older there was a dinner out, cake or desserts, and then drinks.
But at the end of last year I was presented with an opportunity to join an exclusive endurance program led by a guy named Jesse Itzler – that name probably doesn’t sound familiar, but he’s an incredibly successful athlete and billionaire entrepreneur- (NY Times bestelling author, co-founder of Marquis Jet, ZICO coconut water and co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, and oh yea he’s also married to Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx)!
I remember standing there last year, watching Jesse on stage, speaking about the mental grit required for endurance races and how this was instrumental in his journey to billionaire status. I was thinking to myself, do I really want to spend my next birthday sweating and pushing myself doing an endurance challenge?
Actually yes! That’s exactly what I wanted to do on my next birthday, and here’s why: I want to be happy on my birthday, I want to celebrate on my birthday and the times I have been happiest with myself + my body have always been after accomplishing something tough, something that other people weren’t willing to do!
My decision isn’t as crazy as it sounds when you’re able to flip how you think – instead of viewing exercising and movement as work, I have come to think of it as a way to celebrate what my body can do. So if moving my body = celebrating my body, what better day to celebrate it than my birthday?!
I didn’t always think this way, I used to view working out as a punishment or an attempt to “undo” all the crappy food and calories I’d eaten. And on birthdays in the past, I’d eat as many cookies / cupcakes / cake as I wanted to “celebrate” and then spent the night uncomfortably full and bloated the next day. But for the last 90 days, I have been mentally and physically preparing for this past weekend and I viewed the entire process as a way to show my body love – take care of it, exercise it, and give it a spotlight to shine.
So I did it! I flew out to LA, caravanned 2 hours to a camp in the Angeles National Forest and arrived for this surprise endurance challenge (did I forget to mention Jesse kept the activities and what we would actually be doing a secret?!). I was up for it! On Saturday, April 7th I woke up with some butterflies, but when I got to the starting line I was nothing but excited to celebrate my body and spend the next 4 hours on a 1.25 mile course, where I ultimately completed 220 lunges, 110 burpees, and 11 rounds of hill climbs, army crawls and sand bag carries. It took 240 minutes and 16.5 miles but I did it and I was ecstatic with my body and how I chose to spend my birthday!
I love my body (cellulite and all) for being able to do this. I couldn’t possibly be anything but proud after seeing how I performed and pushed and dug deep, with a brand new idea of what I was capable of doing!
So I want to make one thing really clear, I don’t expect any of you to turn around and go out for a 4-hour run tomorrow, BUT I do want to urge you to think of your body in a different way, and think about using it in a different way. I have been on this journey for years, and spent the last 90 days training for this endurance challenge both physically and mentally. I learned to fully embrace my body, stop my inner critic from impacting my thoughts and acknowledge the privilege of making it to another year on this earth, with my body being the vehicle that allowed that to happen.
It was a birthday for the record books- hanging out with billionaires and doing more burpees than I wanted to, but I know my biggest lesson – showing my body love in a brand new way!
So tell me what is something YOU can do to celebrate your body?