Danai Gurira makes no excuses when it comes to strengthening her body and her mind.
Whether it's her workout routine, drinking plenty of water, or eating the foods that nourish her body, the Black Panther star sets an inspiring example for anyone on the path towards a healthier life. So much so that Reebok recently named her one of the newest faces of the brand.
In conversation with Reebok, Gurira revealed her goals as the face of the brand, the importance of being each other's hero, and why listening to our bodies is the most nurturing thing we can do when it comes to fitness.
When I think of my own personal strength, I imagine myself a little toner and more active in the gym all while balancing my personal goals and reminding myself that everything I've been through is preparing me for the life I've always dreamed of. Gurira reminds us that while each of our definitions of strength will vary, true strength comes through a collective and collaborative effort in empowering those around us. The "cultural revolution" is being televised, and Gurira says that we need to be each other's hero:
"We all view strength differently: through physicality, through mental fortitude, through honesty and perhaps most importantly through community. My goal is to work with Reebok to galvanize women in all communities to find strength within themselves so that we may continue to lead this cultural revolution. Each one of us should be a hero to each other."
We are all on different journeys in life, and that includes our fitness journey, as well. Health and wellness are important ingredients in the recipe for self-care, but if we aren't in tune with what our bodies really need, we might miss the mark entirely. In yoga, for example, they say the pose you avoid is the one you need the most. Not only is this a metaphor for our fitness goals, it also speaks to our paths and the creation of our best lives.
Gurira points out that although jogging isn't her favorite form of exercise, she pushes herself to do it and encourages us all to listen to the needs of our bodies. She says:
"It's a journey to keep your body feeling healthy and strong. One of the key things is to listen to your body and challenge it at the same time. Jogging is not my favorite thing, but I know it's a very powerful form of exercise, so challenging myself to do it, or listening and going to do something more nurturing when my body feels like it needs a little break from the strenuous stuff. It's really about keeping the palate very variant for me."
In a letter to her younger self, Gurira emotes the essence of fierce determination towards pushing her physical limits all while making the connection that exterior strength transfers inward and increases mental fortitude. She also reminds herself that it's okay to let go of things that do not serve her well, but she also knows that she is indeed on the right track.
"You're on the right track. You really, really are. Trust that. Develop a rhythm to your life, rules of how you believe is the best to live with balance and well being. Make your rules then stick to them. Don't doubt that your journey is culminating into your purpose.
"Give yourself breaks, working hard but enjoying life just as much. Breathe, deeply, a lot. Find the joy in the sweat, in the burn, in the discomfort, it's there. Continue to trust yourself, develop that ability to hear your voice inside of you; your gut, listen to it. Ruminate less. Let go of things quickly: they may perturb you now, they will mean so much less tomorrow. Be courageous.
"Never doubt that your hard work, your pursuit of integrity and authenticity, your struggles to do what is right will not be in vain."
One of the best ways to see true growth in life is found in setting new challenges for ourselves. There is nothing like setting a goal, pursuing it, and then coming out on the other side victoriously. In the pursuit of our passion, sometimes we just have to stop and listen to what our inner self is trying to say. Gurira tells her younger self that making her own rules and goals is the key to being able to hear the voice within, and while it is important to always do what's right, it's also okay to take Sundays off.
"Continue to find new, healthy ways to challenge yourself, your body, your mind. Continue to make goals, big and small, and strive to meet them, because nothing beats that feeling of completion, of accomplishment, and no one can take that from you."
"Develop your musculature, not just physically but emotionally, musculature of compassion, kindness, gentleness, and generosity. Take Sundays off.
"Listen very carefully to your body, but push it to new places also try new ways of fitness and health, diversify your routines, break new barriers, demolish your limits. Your body will remember, and thank you for it."
When I grow up, I want to be more like Danai, and I'm already an actual adult, apparently. A letter to our younger selves is such a powerful exercise in that much of the time, we will find that we are actually doing much better than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. Her letter to herself is a powerful reminder to all of us that although we continue to forge along on this journey filled with ups and downs, we are not only on the right track, but we are also responsible for creating a life based on our passions and physical and emotional health.
To read more about the new campaign and to follow Danai on her Reebok journey, click here.
Have you ever written a letter to your younger self? What is the most life-changing thing you would have told yourself? Let us know.
Featured image by Reebok