A new way to view Lent, help yourself and others - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

A new way to view Lent, help yourself and others

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Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012 11:00 am

Getting the motivation to work out everyday is no easy feat. With work and other obligations, finding time to just relax seems to be a struggle. However, some people still find a fun, creative way to make it all work.

About five years ago, Lynn Beck, a local CPA and tax accountant, started exercising for 40 minutes a day during the 40 days of Lent. Beck, a Catholic, got her inspiration for this idea when she was wondering what to give up for Lent. Instead of giving up something, Beck decided to use these 40 days to keep herself grounded, balanced and relieve her stress. Beck’s main goal was not to lose weight, but to feel better on the inside.

Three years ago Beck shared her idea with Amy Maling, a close friend. The two supported each other during the program through emails and text messages.

“Originally, what I hoped to gain was the satisfaction of doing something for Lent and to also maybe shed a few pounds. However, I discovered that I actually gained a sense of wholeness, a sense of friendship, and a stronger sense of my own personal journey,” Maling said.

This year, Beck decided to share her message with others in the community and created a Facebook page on Feb. 21, the day before Lent. Beck named this year’s initiative the “40/40 Challenge 2012.” In a little over a week the page had more than 150 members. There are about 20 people who aren’t on Facebook who also participate in the challenge.

“The 40 for 40 Challenge Facebook page grew into a place where people can be supportive of one another,” Beck said.

Maling believes that the positive feedback, encouragement, and emotional support provided through the Facebook page creates a sense of unity that is indescribable.

Beck believes that this challenge creates a sense of support in the community.

The Facebook group connects not only participants in Ahwatukee, but also participants across the United States and in other countries. Everyday members in the group motivate one another to work out for 40 minutes (or even more) a day, and share tips.

“Whether you are Catholic or not, it’s important to take these 40 days as a time to think. It doesn’t matter what you do, it just matters that you get out and do something” Beck said. “It’s more of a journey. You grow and learn so much in just 40 days,”

In addition to the 40 for 40 Challenge, Beck also set a goal to collect 4,000 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls, a charitable shoe drive. Beck and the group decided to participate after everyone in the group changed their profile picture to their workout sneakers that they planned to get rid of after the challenge’s completion.

Beck never expected that her concept would have grown as fast as it did.

“It just spiraled out of control,” she said. “It’s amazing how the group grew overnight from three members to 100.”

Beck’s 17-year-old son, Ian, also has a great feeling about the program. He has seen how happy his mom has become just because of the 40 for 40 Challenge.

“The program has definitely made an impact and brought about a positive change that many people needed in their lives,” he said.

The 40 for 40 Challenge won’t stop in 2012. Beck is already trying to create a logo for the organization and get T-shirts for all the members.

For information on how to participate in the 40 for 40 Challenge, or how to donate shoes, contact Beck at 40for40Challenge2012@gmail.com.

• Arselia Gales is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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