Burpees are Hard! (Birthday Burpees Update, Part 1)

My lesson of the week: When I ask all of you to challenge me on my birthday, you guys deliver! I posted photos on social media on Thursday, and said that I’d do burpees for every Like, Share and Retweet. The Likes, Shares and Retweets began immediately… and continued… and continued. 24 hours later, you guys had assigned me 932 burpees. 932! It makes me wince just thinking about it – you know, in a good way.

But a challenge, by definition, isn’t easy, so I’m glad you stepped up to the plate and pushed me. Burpees are difficult, and I don’t like them, but I gotta keep up my end of the deal.

So, this past weekend, I was a burpees machine. I wanted to start off strong and make a big dent in that total. Here’s how it went.

Day One. I dedicated my entire workout to burpees. I did sets of 10, with a 60-second break between each set. I actually set up my video camera and recorded the first 100, but the footage was so boring that I won’t subject any of you to it. I did grab a couple stills, from it, though. I did a lot of jumping…


…and a lot of push-ups.


After the first 100, I took a 5-minute break, was feeling good, and decided to go for another 100. I wasn’t feeling so good after 40 more burpees, though. I was hurting. After those 40, I took another extended break (maybe 3 or 4 minutes), and then struggled to get through the final 60.

I did get through them, though, and I called it a day. It was nearly 50 minutes of burpees, and I was exhausted.


I managed a smile when I realized that 200 burpees is a considerable dent in the grand total!


I decided to track my progress the old-fashioned way: paper, Sharpie, and hash marks. 200 burpees…DONE!


Day Two. I woke up feeling sore. I was also excited about the progress I made yesterday, and set a goal to duplicate it. I pushed myself more by deciding to do sets of 15, instead of 10, in an attempt to get through them faster.

Four sets of 15 was all I could muster. The fatigue set in waaaay earlier today, so I switched back to sets of 10, and pushed through to a hundred. I actually ended up counting wrong, and did 110, so I was happy about that.

I had the thought that maybe if I walked away from the burpees for a little while and did something else, I’d be able to come back stronger and knock out another 100. So I hopped on my Bowflex MAX Trainer and did 20 minutes, at a moderate pace.

I did feel better when I returned to the burpees, but it lasted momentarily. I struggled through four more sets of 10, couldn’t do any more, and laid on the floor right there for a few minutes to rest. Luna, the dog I’ve been dog-sitting, jumped at the chance to come over and lick the sweat off my arms. She had been watching me diligently the whole time, waiting for her chance.


I got to add 150 new hash marks… not too shabby!


With 350 burpees under my belt, I was officially over 1/3 of the way through the challenge!

Later that night, I went back and checked my social media pages again, to see if there were any stragglers late to the party and still assigning me burpees. And guess what? There were. I had to amend my goal upwards, by nearly 5%!


Day Three. When I woke up and shifted towards the edge of my bed, my entire body, from neck to ankles, ached. I hadn’t been this sore in a long time. It was awful. Now I know what 350 burpees in two days will do to me.

But I was making good progress on the challenge, so I decided to do at least some burpees. I stalled out after 50. They were the hardest burpees I’ve ever done. I went downstairs to the little gym in my building and finished my workout on the recumbent bike, just to get my legs moving in a different way than they had been all weekend long, and came back up to update my hash marks.


Moving forward, I realize I need to be more strategic with my burpees execution. As much as I would like to plow through and reach my goal as soon as possible, it’s not going to happen. I’m afraid if I keep going at this pace I could injure myself. Burpees aren’t exactly low-impact, and I don’t want to sprain or twist an ankle because of sloppiness due to fatigue.

Plus, I have a race on Sunday. I’ll be climbing over 100 stories in Phoenix, and I can’t do my best unless I’m fresh and limber. And with all this burpee-induced soreness, I feel neither of those things at the moment. Which means I’ll need to cool it this week, leading up to the race.

I’m not bowing out of this challenge. I will do all 970 burpees, even if it takes me a little longer than I would like. I figure if I do a few every day, even if it’s just 20 or 40, I can chip away at that total and get myself a little closer. Every little bit counts, right?

And in the meantime, I’m celebrating that I’m already over 40% done.

400 burpees done. 570 to go.

Keep it up, David!


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11 Responses to Burpees are Hard! (Birthday Burpees Update, Part 1)

  1. Great job. The only way to get anything done in life is to keep chiseling away at it till it’s done.

    And just think at the increase in your physical condition you can make when you keep Burpee’s in your daily or every other day workout routine

    • David says:

      GRACIAS KAREN! Gosh I hope I can keep burpees in the regular routine… but after this challenge I may take a tiny itsy-bitsy burpee break. We’ll see!

  2. Lisa Long says:

    You rock. I cannot do one. I am NOT JOKING.  

  3. Deb says:

    Great job! And Luna is a SWEETIE!

  4. Helen says:

    Doing great David! Do your best and stay healthy and injury free!

  5. Mom says:

    Luna has an underbite, I think.

  6. Dana says:

    Great job! Love your cheerleader Luna!

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