The benefits of exercise go way beyond burning calories and looking fit. Besides helping your body move better, fitness can make you mentally stronger and happier — especially if you’re knocking down barriers and smashing personal records in the process. And that’s exactly what these 12 men and women did.
Inspired by Daily Burn’s new kickboxing program Undefeated — created to increase inner strength and personal empowerment — we asked Daily Burn users and staffers to share the moments they felt like they could take on anything. By squashing their fears, pushing past limits and scoring new victories, they each came out stronger than ever. Listen in on what physical feat helped them feel truly unstoppable, so you too can feel on top of the world.
The Fitness Feat That Made Me Feel Undefeated
1. Crushing 13.1
“I remember feeling undefeated after I crossed the finish line of my very first half-marathon in April 2016. I only had about three months to train and up until that point, and everyone was telling me that they didn’t think I could do it…They all figured I would just quit training and give up. I remember crossing the finish line and breaking down in tears. As the girl was putting the medal around my neck, she said with a huge smile on her face, ‘This must be your first race.’ All I could say was, ‘I did it! I really did it!’ I will never forget that feeling. I drove home that day feeling like I could take on anything! I still get chills thinking about it.” —Felicia Bua, Daily Burn user, North Carolina
2. Finding My Footing
“One of the times I felt most undefeated, coincidentally, was when I finally got the guts to go take my very first kickboxing class. I had just retired from gymnastics and was learning how to train on my own. I kept seeing this class at a local recreation center but was too scared to go in, afraid I would be terrible. After realizing no one was going to go with me and I needed to start living, not just dreaming, I went to my very first class. When I left I felt on top of the world. The literal thoughts in my head were ‘If everyone knew how fun this was, everyone would be working out and healthy and happy!’ And there, my journey began.” —Anja Garcia, trainer for Daily Burn’s Undefeated kickboxing program, California
3. Strengthening My Resolve
“Since April, [I’ve felt undefeated] twice. Once, when I stopped smoking. And the second was last Saturday, when I finished a 5K mud run obstacle course. Just having that much mental ability to not give up, even though I couldn’t breathe, [made me feel unstoppable].” —Tom Shidaker, Daily Burn user, Indiana
4. Climbing to the Top
“I commute most mornings, and there is a long set of stairs [I have to climb to get there]. I used to take the elevator, then the escalator. Now I take the stairs every morning. I take a second to look down — it is far down — just to have a moment of feeling amazing before I start my day at work.” —Jordan Berg Powers, Daily Burn user, Massachusetts
5. Conquering a Triathlon
“In 2014, I was training for a half-Ironman and terrified about going the distance. I knew including an Olympic-distance triathlon in my training would give me a much-needed boost of confidence, so I signed up for the NYC Triathlon. Yes, the same one where you swim in the Hudson River. I was understandably afraid to swim in what’s known as not-so-clean water. Plus, it started raining on the bike portion, creating pretty slippery conditions. But as I finished each leg, I gained a little more self-assurance, and by the time I set out on the run, I was glowing with happiness. I crossed that finish line and felt like I could do anything.” —Theodora Blanchfield, Daily Burn’s senior manager of social media and PR, New York
6. Breaking My Burpee PR
“Just last week, we had to do — I think it was 26 — burpees [on Daily Burn 365]. I actually completed all of them at once! Now you’re all probably thinking, ‘26 burpees, what’s the big deal?’ Well, it’s the first time I’ve done that many in a row without stopping, so yay! Go undefeated me!” —Karen Lindner Thompson, Daily Burn user, New York
7. Earning My Blue Belt
“I tore my ACL [for the second time] back in April….I was doing martial arts when I sustained the injury, but since it didn’t hurt like the first time I hadn’t realized I tore it again. I continued doing martial arts until my orthopedic specialist told me how bad I tore it. And he was shocked that I was still able to do martial arts. But he didn’t tell me to stop — he only warned me of the risks. I scheduled surgery for the Monday after I advanced in belt rank, and I passed the test. I made Blue belt with my torn ACL, then had surgery that Monday. I felt undefeated when I was handed that belt after working so hard for it. And I set personal bests during the test, too. Now, I am seven weeks post-op, and I just completed two basic workouts on Daily Burn (following my doctor’s rules on modifications!)” —Holly Ann Salerno, Daily Burn user, Rhode Island
8. Realizing My Own Strength
“I had very severe asthma when I was younger and people thought I would never be able to exercise. Not only did I exercise, but I have fought [in Muay Thai], competed and taught exercise to people all over the world. I didn’t let my illnesses defeat me.” —Phoenix Carnavale, trainer for Daily Burn’s Undefeated kickboxing program, New York
9. Never Giving In
“Back in 2000, I completed the Chicago Marathon. I did it as a fundraiser, and raised enough money to cover my trip, was no easy task. I had never been a runner or jogger, so I was in the slowest training group. I won’t even mention my time, because most people had gone home at that point…My knee started tweaking out at about mile 19 or 20. I limped the rest of the way, but still finished.” —Andrea de Lange, Daily Burn user, California
10. Mastering New Moves
“Just now, I finished Inner Strength for week four of [Daily Burn’s cardio and strength program] Power Cardio. I did all the balance challenges and all the core work on my toes, including the tricep push-up to cobra, which is a first!” —Amanda LaCroix, Daily Burn user, Idaho
11. Scaling Peaks
“When I was in New Zealand earlier this year I did the full Routeburn Track — a well-known hiking trail and Alpine crossing on the South Island. I’m terrified of heights and we were hiking to the very top of the mountain, so it was no easy feat. When I finished, I definitely felt like I could do anything.” —Amanda Anthony, Daily Burn’s customer success representative, New York
12. Getting Back Up
“My best successes have always come after failure… like the time I tried stand-up paddleboarding. I fell off the board after a few minutes. It was only after getting myself back up on the board that I felt strong and undefeated.” —Cindy Diehl, Daily Burn user, Virginia
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Need a solid workout that’ll help you feel unstoppable? Sign up now for Daily Burn’s Undefeated kickboxing program. Your first 30 days are free!