Now those of you who know me, know I love a good wellness challenge, in fact a few years ago a good friend and I created a couple of our own each month. And then as life goes……our challenges fell by the wayside, mind you even though I knew 100% how much I enjoyed them and more so, benefited from each. Fast forward to 2019, roughly about two months ago one evening as I was scrolling somewhere on line, (I actually don’t recall the website) although I am guessing it was health & fitness related; I came across an article about completing 50 burpees a day for a month?!?
Now, my immediate thought was…I LOVE LOVE LOVE coaching my clients and classes thru a burpee segment, HOWEVER I do NOT like burpees myself AT ALL (shocker right?!)….so what did I decide to do, TAKE ON the 50 burpees a day challenge for the entire month of March 2019, yes, some may say I am a little crazy but I wanted to not only see what my body & mind could accomplish but also what I would learn from the entire month. Since I know myself and I 110% need a little accountability (like many of us), the minute I finished reading I shared the article with a good friend and fellow fitness enthusiast with the comment, “ might have to try this” –as if I was daring her to call me out on it. Her response back was, “ I’m in if you are! We could do it for March” (I sent it her way on the very last day of February). Within less than 24 hours not only did she commit to the challenge, she rounded up her husband, sister, brother-in-law and another mutual friend of ours! We had a community and I for sure was all in! Sara, if you are reading this, THANK YOU for your support and inspiration. Side note: This may have been payback when I semi-dared her to sign up for a triathlon –which she did but then I signed up as well –hmmmm I think there is a theme here?!? However that story will have to wait as it’s not quite finished yet. Back to burpees…..you either love them or hate them right?! And as I mentioned, I was not a fan personally, however, this challenge taught me (as most have) much more than I expected, with my top 6 lessons as follows:
- Less is more, initially I attempted to get all 50 in as fast as possible rushing thru the movements, and trying to beat my personal best with less regard for the “journey” and form. I realized, I am not in competition with myself, and as I tell my classes, it does not have to be high intensity all the time every time, SLOWING down can be as difficult or even more intense. And FORM matters – what I came to enjoy was changing up the intensity and truly focusing on breaking the burpee into its parts: a squat, an extended arm plank, back to a squat- with each segment and each day I began to fall in LOVE with burpees! Yes, I actually LOVE them now!
Giving myself permission to listen to my body (& accepting what she says), I learned to listen to the quiet or sometimes loud voices within, dialing up the intensity or keeping it low depending on how my body and mind felt. I began to move with grace and love for myself versus –tension, anxiety and punishment. And I even took 1 day off as I knew I needed the rest, otherwise I would have been at risk for an injury or would have chosen to move in order to punish my body, (that is not why I workout and did not want to start that cycle). Rest & recovery are ALWAYS a part of the journey. (Yes, I still got in those 50 burpees just added them on to the next day☺-felt even more accomplished and found a “new edge” to this challenge on that date)
- This is MY own time….as a fitness professional it can be incredibly tough to get in my own workout, this challenge gave me the space and time for me, although a small time frame, it was still ALL ME time, rejuvenating my entire being and setting me up for a solid finish to each day!
- Doable but not physically sustainable – this is exactly how I feel about the challenge, with repetitive movement and continued impact on joints it is not sustainable at least in my body and I am guessing in others as well over time. However, in the short term, certainly extremely achievable! Now this doesn’t mean I all of a sudden stop doing burpees & lose my momentum, I just don’t do them everyday nor 50 at a time anymore.
- Gains in strength –this may not be a surprise for many, but this challenge not only chiseled my arms, shoulders and abdominals in such a short time with only my body weight, but I also gained noticeable strength in each area. Moreover, I was able to increase my weight when lifting during group fitness classes (amazing what the body can do, truly is a machine)!
- Team accountability & camaraderie: One of my favorite take a ways was the community within this group, we lifted each other up as needed and giggled the entire way, sometimes together, sometimes virtually, either way it was support, encouragement and camaraderie the whole way. Plus, we did our final 10 burpees (out of 50 for the day) together on the 31st –such a highlight of the challenge.
What may you ask is the next challenge?? Well, after a much-needed break, I created my own challenge for the next 30 days: 10-20 burpees, 50 mountain climbers and 10 squat jumps! 3-5x per week.
By no means am I saying that the 50 burpee challenge is for everyone, however, choose a challenge that meets your needs: maybe its complimenting yourself every morning and night, maybe its doing something kind for a stranger, maybe its taking 3 yoga classes a week, the list is truly endless. I’d love to hear your challenge, and cheer you on, please share it below!