For seventeen days now, I have been doing 30 burpees a day. Although I don’t time them properly, I’m down to about two minutes when I’m feeling speedy, maybe three when I’m tired and take a decent breather in the middle. And you know what? I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but I kind of almost, like them now.
Like might be a little bit strong. I don’t really like them. But I do like the fact that in only 17 days, I have got faster and stronger at doing them. There have even been a few moments of Tigger like bounciness. Check this guy out: https://youtu.be/np2UpsPF9k8. I was overjoyed to get about three in a row like this, but he’s managed 100 in 3:23. I think the technical term for this is fit as fuck. Even if I keep going at 30 a day until the race in July, I will not be this awesome at burpees. However, it does make me wonder, what if I kept doing them every day, forever, until my bones start creaking and the men in white coats cart me off to the burpee recovery centre in a special van? Is there a possibility that a) I become one of those super fit people and b) that the exercise itself will stop my bones from creaking too much? Somewhere there is a tiny ray of hope.
So far, this is the longest that I have ever stuck at a daily challenge. Coincidentally, there’s an official Spartan challenge on just now, to do the 30 for 30 days at which they are only about eleven days in. I guess the reasoning behind it is firstly, to get us fitter and secondly, to help us get fast at the penalty for failed obstacles. As I’ve said before, this could be up to 300 for me if I can only complete half the obstacles.
The interesting thing is, that the more I do, the more positive I feel about the obstacles. Unless a miracle happens, there will certainly be several that I can’t do. However, with the daily challenge in full swing, this number is going down in my mind from about half, to maybe a third. Proof of the power of daily rituals and practice.
There are other ways that this challenge is changing the way I look at things. Although I was always a preferred early morning exerciser, the lack of the usual gym class structure has led me to workout at different times of the day. I still don’t really like anything later than straight after work, but I have been going to lunchtimes classes, or later in the morning when I am not working. Quite often I do my burpees barefoot in the kitchen while I am preparing my son’s tea. And if I can get away with doing them outside, so much the better. Like many things in life, such as eating, peeing and sex (not at the same time obviously), doing it outside is much more fun.
Over the last week or so, I have burpeed in some beautiful locations, and some less so. Last Thursday lunchtime, it was a sunny day and I was working in an office with an internal courtyard surrounded by the windows of other offices. A workmate and I went outside to eat our lunch, and while he sat on the bench, I went behind it and did my 30 before my sandwich. He had the good grace to look away, but he spent the first few minutes eating to the soundtrack of my grunting. Thankfully, we are good enough friends for this not to be too off putting.
At a family picnic during the week, I got down and did them before lunch in the ruins of a beautiful castle. Even though I undoubtedly looked like a complete arse, I just didn’t care. It was a gorgeous day, and doing this makes you feel like you deserve your lunch a little bit more. And if you can’t act like an idiot in front of your family, then when can you? Changes in my life are making me more confident about doing the things I want on my own, without embarrassment.
You may think all this devil-may-care burpeeing is a sign of my increasing crackerness. Perhaps it is, but science is on my side.
And while I am still fairly podgilicious, I have noticed a decrease in the flab around my middle, with very little other change in my lifestyle. I have heard tales of the Holy Grail of people who do little else but their daily 30 and the maintenance of a non-sedentary lifestyle and remain fit. Sitting at a desk most of the working day means I need more than that, but I am definitely getting fitter. I went to a bootcamp on Saturday with my sister in a local park, where there were various circuits, including running up a hill with a weight vest on, which I was shite at. At the end, we had to run up the hill in pairs without the vest and I am proud to say that I beat my younger, slimmer sibling on this challenge. Not that I’m competitive or anything like that…
Nowadays, instead of recommending Jillian and the 30 Day Shred, I am recommending the 30 burpee challenge. Yes, I am that annoying. For that reason alone, you may wish to avoid me for the foreseeable future. I am handing them out to folk like a priest giving sinners a penance at confession.
Think about it though. Yes, there is pain, and starting this challenge is daunting. Perhaps if you are reading this and feeling unfit, you could begin with 10 and work your way up. No-one actually loves burpees; they are deeply unpleasant and even now that I am getting better, I generally have to stagger to a chair and collapse the second they are done. BUT…they cost nothing, require no equipment, and take only minutes of your day. In return, the gains are big, not only for your physical strength but mentally for the downright achievement of sticking to it every day. I am not going to give up. And if a quitter like me can manage it, then so can you.
Until next time,