So, my birthday was a couple weeks ago. It was no big deal, because I’ve reached the age where birthdays aren’t something I celebrate all that heartily. 

I mean, I don’t necessarily dread them, but I’m clearly in the, “WTF? I’m that old? How did that happen?” range.

It’s kind of like I’m not yet old enough to just be happy to have the privilege of being “old,” but I am old enough to worry whether I’m going to be among that crew. (Clearly, I’ve given this a lot of thought, right?)

Anyway, every year I try to do a birthday workout – usually it’s a toughie. But this year, my birthday fell on a day when I normally teach a cardio class (Country Heat Live, which is a blast, even if you don’t like country music <raise your hand if you’re with me on that!>).

And I really didn’t want to put myself through a big workout on a day I had to teach.

So I thought: meh. I don’t need a birthday workout this year. Seriously, it’s just another day, right?

But then the next day rolled around, and I was feeling a little depressed and maybe even slightly sorry for myself. (It happens, and I am going to blame the excess birthday cake I might have eaten.)

Which led me to decide to do a workout. And I came up with one I could do at home, with equipment I had on-hand – a kettlebell, a kitchen chair, and a resistance tube. It was a pretty good one, so I posted it in a Facebook group I belong to with a few of my long-time friends.

And one of my friends coughMariecough posted something along the lines of: “I notice there are no burpees in there.” She was just giving me a hard time, because that’s what we do … but still.


And Then the Peer Pressure Set In

It was true. There weren’t any burpees in the workout. Over the past few years, I’ve battled a shoulder injury that was so bad at times I couldn’t sleep or even put on/take off a T-shirt without cringing in pain. Like, I have literally changed my wardrobe because of it. And also my workouts.

In fact, a lot of times I didn’t want to work out because it hurt … a lot. But because I’m a personal trainer I didn’t want to admit I was in pain, you know?

But you know what? Over the past few months my shoulder has gradually gotten better. A few weeks earlier, I’d tested the waters by doing 5 burpees and it wasn’t bad. And I had tried doing some pushups (from my knees, yes, but still …).

And so I wondered if maybe I was just babying myself by not including burpees.

Or, I thought, maybe I was being smart.

I wasn’t going to let that burpee thing get into my head, was I?

Of Course I Was

So I turned on the TV – E!’s Red Carpet to the Grammys – and started the workout, which featured 3 sets of 18 reps of a bunch of exercises (the whole thing is below if you want to do it – it’s a good one!).

And honestly, it wasn’t what I would call a killer workout. I mean, I felt like I had done something, but was it birthday-worthy?

Not really. Because a birthday workout should be something momentous, something to mark an occasion.

And I kept thinking about what my friend had written. Halfway through the second set, I wondered: should I tack on a burpee finisher?

No, I thought. No I shouldn’t. Don’t be silly.

But as I began the final circuit of the workout, I realized that I kind of had to do the burpees. Because the thought was there, and if I didn’t do them, I’d feel like I’d wussed out.

So after I finished the 540 reps (actually more than that, if you count the “each side” reps), I decided to end the workout with a “one to grow on” set.

And that set consisted of …

54 burpees.

Considering I’ve not done 54 burpees in total since May 2015, when my shoulder injury occurred .. well, this decision might have been labeled crazy.

But it wasn’t.

It actually was really awesome.

With my dog and two cats looking on, I counted out all 54 burpees (the no-pushup variety, because I do value the progress my shoulder has made).

I don’t know how long it took me, but it was less than one segment of the E! show I had on in the background.

Happy Birthday to Me

These burpees were a huge birthday gift for myself.

Because I could do them – and honestly, they weren’t that hard. 

They was a gift because the last year has been rough. Not to belabor a point, but splitting from my business partnership was a heart-wrenching decision as it meant walking out on a decade’s worth of hard work with very little to show for it. I lost friends, people questioned my motives (and my character) without asking me, and I heard so much gossip.

When you add that on top of the injured shoulder and some other stuff, I had lost my “strong” feeling.

And all of that made me question myself – which I think ultimately is a valuable experience. Because in the words of Dr. Phil, it makes you “get real.”

And you know what? I’ve come out of all of it even stronger … and I’m really excited to see what’s next because I know I’m ready for it.

Happy Frickin’ Birthday! Yay! #notironic

Are You Ready for a Challenge?

The burpees are optional … (click and save this image to your phone for easy access)

Try it and let me know how it goes!

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