My husband encouraged me to sign up for the 20K burpee challenge back in February, and I thought he was crazy…but I always know he believes in me and knows what I’m capable of even when I don’t, so I said “why not?” My only experience with burpees was doing them as a penalty in Spartan races and in training for the races, but I was in the Army and did my share of pushups and side straddle hops, so I figured I could do it!
I set a goal of doing 60 a day for 3-5 days a week, doing sets of 10 at a time. I wasn’t consistent by any means. After a few weeks, I challenged myself to doing 120 each time. Again, wasn’t consistent, but kept plugging away. After a while I found that I couldn’t do just burpees, and that I had to incorporate them with my other exercises to stay motivated. I started creating new variations, looking up videos to copy what others had already done, and just really started to have fun with them! Once I started doing that, I just did sets of 10-30 while doing other rounds of exercises or runs and found that breaking up the number made it so much easier to complete higher amounts in one day! I made it up to 300 several days and felt amazing! One by one the numbers added up, and in a little over 4 months I was at 10K!
Burpees make me feel miserable when I first started the set, and that doesn’t seem to go away, but as my body adapts, I start to feel amazing. I push through the feelings of inadequacy or feeling stupid or that my form is poor, and tell myself to just do what I committed to doing, regardless of whether I feel like it or not, and regardless of whether I am as good as I want to be, feel bad about being inconsistent, don’t have time to do as many as I want, etc.; I push past the excuses and just do them! Each time, I told myself not to wait until I “feel” like doing them, but to do them because I said I was going to. This made it so much easier! As I did them, I wanted to do them more and more. And as with any skillset, the more I did them the better at them I got.
After doing them for a few weeks, I had already noticed improvements in my mobility and flexibility. I could move more freely, didn’t feel so tight/arthritic, and just started feeling a lot better. As my confidence grew, I continued to do more and then started seeing gains in strength and definition, especially in my arms and my abs!
I wouldn’t call myself a big runner, and hadn’t ran in quite a few months, but once I started training again, I could tell a huge difference in my cardio endurance and the strength in my legs! I started running 6-8 miles without feeling tired at all, and the best thing is that when I woke up the next day, I felt no pain!
After 4 months, I have seen tremendous results, and am a huge advocate for doing them! If I don’t have time for any other exercise, I’ll choose to do burpees, the ultimate full body exercise! There really is no excuse for not doing them, as even on the days where I’m just tired and don’t feel good, I can still literally “go through the motions (slow mo)” and get them done and get the benefits!
Yes, they suck, and probably always will. but like all good things, if you stick to them you will see real, measurable, long term progress mentally and physically!