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5 lessons I learned from fitness fanatics

IMG_4911 I love to exercise but today I just might have overdone it. I'm at the DCAC fitness conference in Northern Virginia this weekend and I feel like I just climbed a mountain. I participated in three INTENSE workout sessions that left me dripping with sweat, and walking out of the rooms with the unintentional swagger of a cowgirl in a sepia-toned Western movie.

And yet, somehow I don't feel drained, despite the intense activity and the many lectures I sat through. I feel energized. Inspired. Eager to make different choices in my own life and to influence the lives of others. I'll start by sharing the five lessons that I gleaned from today's physical and emotional boot camp:

  • Let them see you sweat! It's the opposite of the old moniker "Never let them see you sweat!" It's okay to be real, to be vulnerable, to work hard, and to let pride fall by the wayside. The best instructors today admitted their mistakes, got just as sweaty as we did (if not more so), and pushed themselves to their own limits. They smiled, because of the joy of dance and movement, but I never got the impression they were trying to pretend what they were doing was easy. They were not apparently self-conscious. Their freedom and fun in the moment encouraged me to dig a little deeper and let go of my concerns about what other people thought of me.
  • Seek out connection. Fitness professional Petra Kolber spoke about happiness. She told us that studies show that loneliness is an epidemic and it is more detrimental to our health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day! So, today, I smiled at strangers, struck up conversations, and reveled in being surrounded by gobs and gobs of people.
  • You can get around most any obstacle. There was a blind woman at the conference this weekend. She literally was dancing with a cane in her hand. I don't know her story, but I know this: if you want to do something in life, stop making excuses and get out there and do it. Excuses are just fear talking. Fear can talk but it doesn't need to stop you in your tracks. Move forward anyway.
  • Every body is different. There are guys who look like football players, women who look like grandmothers, and every age and stage in between at this conference. There is something beautiful about the array of beautiful people here. None of us look like the girl with the flat abs and stick straight hair on the DCAC poster, and that's awesome! Every body is unique and lovely, including our own!
  • Celebrate the gift of life we've been given. In one of the lectures, nutrition consultant Teri Gentes marveled at the intricate design of our bodies. (The verse "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" comes to mind.) It is something to celebrate and to be grateful for, indeed. Did you move from point A to point B today? Did your feet take you where you wanted to go? Were you able to speak when you wanted to? Pick up a glass of water? Is your heart beating? Be thankful. 

"Kenyans will want to hear about this. They will say, 'Tell me more.'"

What Kenyan proverbs can teach us about health