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I love a good theme workout, and there’s no theme I love more than my birthday. As I prepare to turn 40 on July 1, I thought I’d share my celebratory circuit in case you, dear reader, might like to join me — or bookmark it for your own solar return.

This workout is inspired by the number 40 and some of my favorite moves of the moment. It includes three sections (lower body, upper body, and core) featuring 40-second work intervals and totaling 40 minutes — plus one additional minute of star jumps for a heart-bursting measure of good luck in the coming year.

Now, not everyone in my life understands why I make a point of working out on my birthday. Some people believe it’s to “earn” (or burn off) a slice of birthday cake or some other decadent delight. Others assume it’s a test to prove to myself that I’m still young and fit, even as I get older. And many insist that a birthday is a great excuse to take the day “off” and luxuriate in rest.

None of these scenarios captures my birthday work­out wish. I don’t subscribe to the earn-and-burn mindset of offsetting my food intake with exercise. I have no desire to hold on to my youth or compete with a younger, though not necessarily fitter, version of myself. And I have no qualms about making time for both movement and relaxation in a single day.

No, I love birthday workouts because they combine two of my favorite things: celebrating my birthday and moving my body. These aren’t universally popular opinions; many of us have been conditioned to resist aging, to view exercise as punishment, to mistrust our bodies. I’ve made strides in my mindset over the years, but I still regularly remind myself: Growing older is the goal, and every day with my body is a gift. I treasure every opportunity to celebrate both with as much joy as possible.

Growing older is the goal, and every day with my body is a gift. I treasure every opportunity to celebrate both with as much joy as possible.

This isn’t a workout I plan to do regularly, or even annually. As I said, it’s not a test, but a collection of some of my favorite things — a snapshot of my current fitness moment.

Whether you join my party or feel inspired to design your own birthday workout (or both!), my birthday wish is for everyone to make space for joy in whatever movement practice you choose.

And if I get a second wish, it’s that we don’t forget our warm-ups and cool-downs. (My almost-40-year-old body thanks me every time I remember to stretch.)

My 40th Birthday Workout

After a dynamic warm-up, perform the following circuits. Finish with one full minute of star jumps (or another joyful movement of your choice), followed by a five- to 10-minute cool-down.

Lower-Body Circuit

4 rounds = 16 minutes

  1. Deadlift x 40 seconds
  2. Rest x 20 seconds
  3. Clean-and-squat x 40 seconds
  4. Rest x 20 seconds
  5. Reverse lunge x 40 seconds, alternating
  6. Rest x 80 seconds

Upper-Body Circuit

3 rounds = 12 minutes

  1. Gorilla row x 40 seconds, alternating
  2. Rest x 20 seconds
  3. Pushup x 40 seconds
  4. Rest x 20 seconds
  5. Plank-to-pike with reach x 40 seconds, alternating
  6. Rest x 80 seconds

Core Circuit

4 rounds = 12 minutes

  1. Single-leg V-up x 40 seconds, alternating
  2. Rest x 20 seconds
  3. Side-lying clamshell bridge (L) x 40 seconds (Explore these other variations of the clamshell to make it more or less challenging.)
  4. Rest x 20 seconds
  5. Side-lying clamshell bridge (R) x 40 seconds
  6. Rest x 20 seconds

Bonus Jump-for-Joy Round

1 round = 1 minute

  • Star jump x 60 seconds
Maggie
Maggie Fazeli Fard

Maggie Fazeli Fard, RKC, is an Experience Life senior editor.

Thoughts to share?

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I would appreciate seeing a demonstration (short video) of the mentioned circuit moves and actions.

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