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Good Leaders: What benefits do you feel when your fitness improves?

This book has two effects on people: fear or inspiration. It took me three years to find the inspiration.

I’m feeling younger today. This past Saturday, my daughter Katie and I “graduated” from the ten-week fitness challenge at Farrell’s Extreme Body Shaping in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. You may recall, I blogged about my 55-year old insight that I need to learn better self-care on May 1st of this year. The punchline was how I was lured into the Farrell’s kickboxing based fitness program as Katie’s accountability partner. It was an easy decision for two reasons: 1) Katie is irresistible (always has been for me). And 2) the nagging sense that I was ignoring the advice from the book I really like called: Younger Next Year.

Katie and I found a way to enjoy the extreme body sculpting class at Farrell’s.

I wrote a blog about the book in 2015 – at the time I was fascinated with Hot Yoga. It was short lived, even though the Younger Next Year authors basically make the argument that part of our “job” when we live past 50 years old, is to invest one hour a day in vigorous fitness activity to slow the steady decline in muscle tone and cognitive ability. There’s no real proof this advice will help us live longer, but it’s easy to understand we can feel better, and feel younger into the future.

Looking forward to more

Now that the shock to my body from the kickboxing  is gone, I’ve moved past the chronic muscle soreness and fatigue to feeling much younger. I definitely sleep better, and my concentration is better as well. Even though I mostly ignored the nutrition component of the program, I lost 11 pounds (mostly around my belly) and my stamina during the day is much better. And Katie and I liked it so much we signed up to become “FIT” members for the next year. Wow.

Class photo on the final session in the ten-week challenge. That’s me, barefoot in the blue shorts with no glasses!

The main benefit is the confidence I feel knowing that I’m not ignoring the “fitness” part of my Seven Fs Wheel. This morning, I smiled as I gave myself an “8” on fitness!  That confidence has found it’s way into my daily leadership, and my golf game is as sharp as twenty years ago. And for the first time in my life, I’m not making jokes about fitness. That feels good.

Compassion for myself and others

Finally, the unexpected benefit of my newly-found fitness routine is a deep sense of compassion for the people I’ve met in the class whose commitment to the Farrell’s program has literally changed the trajectory of their life. Katie and I met people who learned new eating habits and fully embraced the program and lost 75+ pounds. When the program started, they had trouble getting up off the mat after the stretching.

The impact on me emotionally was significant!  I was positively charged by the stories of my classmates for why they joined, and how the program changed their life. And that’s when I made the connection that the benefits for me are far greater than a smaller waistline.

Good leaders are accountable for taking care of their fitness. And they learn to feel younger and more compassionate along the way.

Please share with me: What benefits do you feel when your fitness improves?

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