Burpees for Boobies

Let’s take a moment to flashback to the whole burpee for boobies movement – do you guys remember that? Some of you might be learning about it for the first time, and let me tell you this is what started my cancer journey on the right foot. Who knew it was even possible to start a cancer journey on the right foot – I know – but it turns out you can.


The day after my bilateral mastectomy my girlfriend, and partner in crime – Ms. Jenn Brennan – came to me with an idea to put together a Facebook group where people could share their support all in one place. Since we both have a personal training and bootcamp business background, it only made sense to build some kind of fitness challenge around it.


Alas, Burpees for Boobies was created.


Now, truthfully at first I had a hard time with this whole concept. I know that people were trying to donate money to my family and I, and this is something that didn’t feel right to me. I felt like there were so many other people who needed it more, or that I didn’t deserve it, we’d be fine… it just overall all felt kind of icky. BUT, it was just a story I was creating in my own head and with lot’s of discussion I had to just let it happen – because if this situation was happening to anyone in my life I’d tell them to shut up and just let people do what they want to do!


Plus I was on a lot of painkillers… like a lot. So I didn’t have a whole lot of strong ground to stand on. In fact, this whole conversation isn’t something I remember – I was told a couple days later how it all came about when I started explaining it to people. Turns out I didn’t have the story right!


Anyways, where was I? Painkillers…. Oh yes. Thank goodness for painkillers.


I think I’m off topic.




30 Burpees for 30 days. Post the video on the Facebook group. That’s it!


We chose burpees because they happen to be my favourite exercise. Seriously. When I was training to do my Spartan Races (obstacle course race) I had to really focus on burpees. For every obstacle you can’t complete you need to do 30 chest-to-ground burpees, and let me tell you – they add up! I was so terrified going into my first race that I’d be doing hundreds of burpees that I really focused on not dying from them. They got easier, I got better at them and this is when my personal fitness took a massive turn. My body had never been so fit, and I had never been able to do so much.


All because of burpees. So, that was the inspiration and the reason why we chose 30.


PLUS – this surgery meant I could no longer do burpees. I’d be able to do them one day again, after I’ve fully recovered from multiple surgeries over the course of a year or longer… but until then, it’s something I can’t do anymore.


One of the greatest parts of this group was that anyone could be a part of it. You could donate your time, energy, funds, message, support – whatever felt right to you. There was no pressure, just a whole lot of encouragement!


We had no idea what it would turn in to. I couldn’t believe all the people who were participating, posting vulnerable videos, trying burpees for the first time, sticking to it every single day, getting creative with locations, costumes, music and style! It was incredible. In a few days the group grew as big as 1700 people and hundreds of videos were being posted everyday.


I know, because I watched every single one. Literally.


I really wanted to watch every video, and comment on them, because I wanted everyone to know how much it meant to me that they were taking the time to support me in some way.


After my surgery I expected to be binge watching Netflix, movies, etc. But NO! I was binge watching these burpee videos. It made such a difference in my recovery to be in contact with so many people rooting for me. I felt like I was still working in some way, motivating people to get moving, and to do something good for themselves!


I was touched that entire families were getting involved, kids, grandparents, parents… Entire companies were getting involved, soccer teams, dance studios, play groups… My daughters school had a Burpee day where the whole school did them in their gymnasium, and my son’s daycare had their whole class of crazy toddlers and brave teachers do them as well!


GUYS – THERE WAS A BURPEE FLASH MOB! In Newmarket, a ton of people showed up on a particularly dreary day just to do burpees in public. It was incredible. Did you know that being a part of a flash mob was something on my list of things to do in life? Well it was, and now it’s checked off. (Featured image is from that day!)


These burpees were coming from everywhere around me, and it was honestly the most touching experience of my entire life. I am so grateful. It was impossible to be in a bad mood, feel sorry for myself or be super negative when I had all this positivity and support coming at me from so many different angles.


So, this group still lives on Facebook if you want to check it out. I do still, and I hope to one day resurrect it! Perhaps around the time I need to have my next major surgery once chemo and radiation is complete….muah hahahaha…


Consider yourselves warned.


It’s not like looking in the mirror

I have had more hairstyles in the last 10 days then I have had in the last 7 years. The whole hair loss thing is one of the hardest parts of this ‘journey’, and not because all that matters is how you look – but because your look is a part of your identity, it is a way you express who you are. So when that look starts to change, and not by choice, it’s a hard thing to accept.


First, I cut the long hair into a bob – my mom bob! You see, the hair started to feel pretty annoying because it was falling out everywhere. Like, it was everywhere. Quickly, I realized that it wasn’t short enough, the inconvenience of it all was too much for me. So the next step naturally, is to cut it shorter, so I went for the pixie cut just 48 hours ago. I thought that haircut would be a tough one, but truthfully since I had absolutely zero emotional attachment to the outcome, it felt pretty casual, and actually very easy.


The poor hairstylist though, looked absolutely horrified when he combed my hair and a ton of hair came with it. My friend had called in advance, and warned him what was happening and why we were there – but I think until you actually experience it, it’s hard to prepare yourself. So, naturally, I told him ‘it’s all good bro keep going’! Haha… That happened.


I keep seeing glances of myself in window reflections, mirrors, etc. And it’s the weirdest thing. It’s me, but it’s not me. How does it actually feel to have shorter hair?  It feels ok – it feels like my hair is in a ponytail. But when I see it, I look like someone else.


I plan to shave my head tomorrow, because even though it is super short, it is still EVERYWHERE. It is still too long to just fall out at random. So it’s time I just take complete control of the situation and shave it off. I’m not going to look like myself, and I am probably not going to ever quite feel like myself again – so it’s time to be a different me. With a wig! Or two. They’re all lined up, ready to be worn, so let’s have some fun with it.


What do you want for yourself?

Just do it. Today. Don’t hesitate.

Hesitation holds us back from so much. We didn’t speak up in a meeting, we don’t ask our partners for what we want, we don’t decide on that gym membership, we’ll get to grocery shopping another day… It is seriously a major issue when it comes to making change – and that is because change is uncomfortable, and our brain and body hates being uncomfortable! So, we hesitate. I’ll worry about it later, next time, tomorrow… and another year passes and you’re right where you don’t want to be… still.

It’s time for you to realize that all you need to do is make the decision to make a change. DECIDE that what you have always wanted is important enough that you won’t hesitate anymore and you’ll begin to take action in order to make it happen.

Here, I’ll tell you exactly what to do RIGHT NOW. It’s not hard.

THROW away all the junk food in your house. Today.

Join the gym, Bootcamp, Yoga studio, get a personal trainer. Jump online right after you read this. Do your research, don’t stop until you figure out how you want to do it. Then do it. Seriously. Or go for a run, immediately. Follow it up with push ups and squats – exercise is technically free if you want it to be.

Go grocery shopping. Don’t go hungry, and bring a list for the meals you want to prepare in the next few days. Throw away nothing, you can’t eat out if you have food at home that will go to waste. Eat at home as much as you can.

Find motivation. A support group online (Facebook, blogs, communities…), your friends, colleagues, anyone. Or hop onto Pinterest, all those motivational quotes can really help sometimes. Choose your favorites and put them somewhere you’ll see them all the time.

Pick a goal. A vacation, an outfit, an event – a hard deadline, and objective will make it much easier to reach. Don’t pick something too far away, make it in the near future and important enough that you’ll really care.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Close your eyes and imagine it, really imagine it.

THERE IS NOTHING STOPPING YOU, but you. Don’t get in your way. Change is what makes life exciting. Just decide.