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On My Birthday There Is No Cake, Only Sweat

Today is my birthday.

Today also marks the yearly anniversary of FY!S — yay!

Today I celebrate my birthday in a rather unconventional manner: do a stupid workout that happens once per lifetime on my birthday.

It’s a tradition that I’ve followed for the last several years. With my friends and family spread all over and me never quite knowing where in the world I physically will be by the time my birthday rolls around, I’ve given up on trying to plan huge, lavash events years ago.

I don’t buy or request cake either because fuck cake. (I’m just more of a pie person, and I eat that pretty rarely, too.)

And I’m OK with it.

Nowadays I don’t see my birthday as a green light to shower myself with gifts or treat myself to something luxurious like a massage or surround myself with good friends and family — I do those anyway when it’s not my birthday.

This is the benefit of an abundance mindset that I’ve learned to develop, one where you don’t just “save” the things you love for a special occasion. I never understood this before because I had grown up learning that getting something like a regular massage or ordering appetizers seemed like things reserved for luxury and a truly special reason. But why!

If something makes you happy, or removes a negative in your life, you should always surround yourself with it. It’s something that I’ve learned from Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich.

In other words, I don’t wait around for my birthday to start doing the things I want to. I used to, but I try hard not to anymore.

What makes this day a “happy” birthday now is me doing stupid, fun, and challenging workouts that are based on my age.

For example, on the year of my 29th birthday I swam 29 laps. On my 30th birthday, I did one set of 30 squats with the equivalent of my body weight on the bar. The latter was fucking terrible. This year it’s:

  • 31 pull-ups
  • 31 squats
  • 31 push-ups
  • 31 lunges

I also promised my friends to do a 31-mile bike ride at some point during the weekend. Luckily, there will be a lot of food involved.

It’s not that I try to make myself puke or be miserable. There are reasons for my birthday workouts:

  1. Makes my birthdays more memorable in a different way.
  2. They’re a reminder that although I’m getting older and no matter where I am in life, that doesn’t mean I should always sit on my hiney and be comfortable.

So every year I use this as a chance to remind myself that I need to be pushed and be made uncomfortable. Plus, it’s a FUN way to break out of the normal workout mold.

In the spirit of Fuck Yes! Saturday, here are some ideas for your own workouts, where X is your age:

  • Sprinting 100 yards X times
  • Finishing a traditionally long run or workout in under X minutes
  • X bodyweight squats in X seconds/minutes
  • X number of burpees
  • Trying to maintain a crazy spinning pace in spin class for X seconds or minutes
  • Climb X feet in rope
  • Do walking lunges for X minutes straight

You get the idea. Be as creative as you can or want to be. Obviously, you don’t want to just overdo it for the sake of overdoing it and getting injured. But hey, I’m not your mom. You know your body best.

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