Like any good fitness challenge, it starts with an Instagram post I saw and decided I was going to attempt to do 50 burpees every day for 30 days. It was inspired by a runner who noticed a vast improvement in her overall fitness after completing a similar challenge. Being the person I am, I can't quit anything and instantly knew I was going to be screwed if I didn't have the proper motivation, so I tagged my running partner in the comments. She volunteered to join the challenge as well because that's the kind of friends we are, and because I knew I needed the help with motivation. Here is what we learned.
- Maintaining proper form helps.
- Now I'm not claiming every burpee I did was picture-perfect, but 1,500 reps later, I learned two tricks that made the correct form slightly more convenient. The first is to avoid locking the elbows when you shoot back into and extend into the plank position; it is better if you keep your arms engaged; this way, you're already poised into push-up ready to go. The second is to be intentional about the abs during the squat-thrust, which not only protects the lower back but makes the entire repetition more powerful and controlled. My abs, arms, and calves were sore for a week, and These methods are likely to thank for that.
- It takes less time than you think.
- Most people's reaction when hearing that I was doing 50 burpees a day was something like, "That's too many! I could never do that!" it's not as bad as all that, and I always broke it down into five sets of ten repetitions, taking as much or as little rest between each set as I needed. Then I realized that even on my slowest, most lazy days, I could get it done in less than 10 minutes. I would also give myself pep talks. "It will be over in eight minutes, Just do it" was often the pep talk I gave myself when I was procrastinating. And when you think about it, ten minutes seems like a bargain.
- Accountability helps.
- I roped my running partner into this, and between us, we got a few more friends to join. And honestly, it was the group that motivated me the most; if I did not do my sets, I knew I would suffer, and the group as a whole would hold me accountable.
Fifty burpees a day for 30 days was harder mentally than I expected. Still, it was easier physically than I anticipated - I was genuinely amazed at how fast I could get it done every day and what an effective full-body workout it was. I was also startled at how much the challenge got in my head - I spent more time dreading it than it took me to complete. I beat myself up for falling behind, the mental workout of learning to get it done was probably just as valuable as the physical workout of completing the 1,500 burpees in a month. I love challenges like this: you never know what the result will be. I'm not sure what my next challenge is going to be. I think I am going to have more of these challenges in my future. Who's in it with me?