I Asked Spartans If They Wanted To Do Some Burpees. Then This Happened.

I Asked Spartans If They Wanted To Do Some Burpees. Then This Happened.
Presented by Spartan Training®

A quick report from halfway through the 30-day Spartan Burpee Challenge.

Back in June I joined in with the Burpees for Vets project being led by SEALFit's Mark Divine. Essentially committing doing burpees for the rest of the year to help raise funds for Mark's efforts to help combat veterans work through post-traumatic stress. (Please accept my deepest gratitude if you pitch in some dollars to help with the cause. As I've written previously, the suicide rate for our veterans has been reported to be more than 20 per day. Mark Divine and his team are taking on a battle where they will need all the help they can get.)

Then around July 4th I wrote that I was going to set a burpee goal for 30 days. One I wasn't sure I could do. In the article, I asked if anyone wanted to join me in the effort and to drop me an email if they did.

When I was writing this sentence I was imagining I might hear from a few others out there that, like me, had fallen out of shape and wanted to jumpstart some training. Or others who wanted to join Burpees for Vets.

I was also thinking about how a burpee challenge would push me to figure out how to get in some solid exercise every day, despite how busy things were (both my wife and I work. We have a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old. Commutes. Chores. Scattershot sleep. That kind of thing. I got in the habit of letting exercise slide to "maybe tomorrow.").

We published the article and I immediately moved on to other tasks, forgetting about the invite.

Until the next day, when I received about 200 emails from folks who wanted to join in. Then another 100 the day after that. And it kept going.

I wasn't close to being prepared to stage something of this magnitude. I had pictured there would be maybe five of us and we'd email each other, "Hey! Did my 100 today. How about you?"

By July 9, we had whipped together a Facebook group and got started on a 30 day challenge. There are more than 500 in the group. It's an amazing bunch. All ages, some are Spartan racers, some are training for their first race, but most I sense are like me, wanting to wrangle their seemingly barely-in-control lives with a daily dose of hardnosed discipline. For fitness, sure, but also something to keep grounded with.

So here's the thing: Like with all hard physical things, like Spartan racing and CrossFit, this attracts a positive and supportive cohort. It's been remarkable being a part of this diverse and supportive group. No complaints. Everyone positive. Everyone with some humility and a sense of humor. A testament to what we have in common: A fear-respect-love thing for a 6-count bodyweight exercise invented decades ago by a YMCA fitness nut.

Here are some photos from within the challenge. We wrap up in August and I'll do my best to report on what happened: Successes, failures, stories, videos, and also talk about when we might put together another one for anyone interested in..well, in doing a lot of burpees.

Spartan racer Valerie Goodwin.
Trish Corbett's buddy joined her on this day. Not a bad setting to offset the tedium a big set of burpees can bring.
The hard-boiled truth shared by Tramayne Young-Minor.
Toni does stuff like race a Spartan Super and then follows it with hundreds of burpees and is still smiling. One of our fearless leaders.
Stacy Rock is one of our consistency All-Stars.
Shelby Ruud Cosgrove. A hard surface to do burpees on and a heavy tire to flip. What else does one need?
Scott Lockhart was cruising toward his first 1000 in this pic. He said, "Still representing the AARP contingent without a trip to the ER." Scott (not to mention me) will be glad to know that longevity research strongly suggests that when it comes to the value of burpees (power, mobility, body comp) the older you are the more of them you should do. I'm working on an article on this topic. So way to get after it Scott!
Kim Riech has been one of the Challenge's most inspiring members. Her photos have captured how forcing the issue with discipline and resolve is how to not let life and raising kids and doing "Laundry load 5,890,092/infinity done," stop her from her 100 burpees a day.
Spartans Ryan and Lorraine.
Peter Burnham shared this pic. No explanation needed when he mentioned he tacked on an additional 30 burpees for the day. True purpose. One common discovery being made in the Burpee Challenge is that one good example seems to draw entire families into the action.
Peter Burnham's Log
Orlando Blanco's whiteboard.
Missy Bailey Goolesby
Ly Py Spartaning Up. I think Ly has got the optimal gear on. Including what I believe are wrestling shoes. And so now I want a pair of wrestling shoes for burpees.
Liza Cason has shared some great reports and insight into how to get the workout done even on the hard days life can throw at you.
Another of the great family shots. Liz Willard Seaborg is one of the team who has brought their own little tribe into the challenge.
Liz  shows a solution on how to keep count of one's daily total.
Lara De Carvalho leading a burpee war cry.
Kyle McCabe's burndown chart. I particularly like the no-bullshit flat-out honesty. "Traveling; too weak for airport burpees." "Argued with self; won."
Kyle McCabe's motivational poster.
Kenishia Perry and friend's take on the optimal post-burpee-workout-and-or-Spartan Race recovery drink. It's cold. It's light. It has a lion on it.
Shared by Karen Geniatti, who started her burpee challenge in something like 2012. No kidding. And she's still fired up. And passing it all to the next generation.
Jonathan De La Torre--Consistency All-Star. This is a lot of damn  burpees. It's an interesting thing cognitively-speaking. When you're doing them you can only really think about the next 5 or 10. Or when tired, the next one. And the world collapses down to the increment. But after a week or two you look back and it's amazing how it adds up.
John Belli's path to burpee master, in color coding.
Another great crew. Joe Pacheco's burpee team getting the job done.
This may be my personal favorite of the photos. Jamie Eck making a worthwhile comment about the power of the force when it comes to the last 5 burpees of a workout. Sometimes you just have to be a little angry.
Jame's Pride's incredible burpee journey.
Elizabeth Hyam Bell. Sweat, smile and a sunrise. Nice to have them over early!
Debbie Byrd McMahan steadfast in her reliance on getting after it.
David showing the look of determination that says "Burpees. Check. What's next?"
Darron Meares sent me an email about a day he had to get in 300 to make up some lost burpees do to travel. "Tough," was how he described it.
Crystal Currie in action.
Craig Weiner's report suggesting he's not going to let a little thing like a Weather Channel Warning Heat Wave get between him and his burpees. Although he should probably steer clear of trees and other potential lightning rods.
Chris Boyd threw on a 30-lb weight vest for one of his sessions. To which I say: Go Chris! Let me know what that was like so I don't have to do it.
In this post Chelsea Holt noted that burpees crank up the inferno within in such a way that being drenched is part of the daily deal. My experience concurs. If I go to a grocery store after a burpee workout, it seems that my peak sweat rate hits right about the time I'm in the checkout line.
Chelsea Holt makes a great point.
The log of Catherine Cates.
Andy McDonnell and training partner.
There can be a kind of dread before burpees. But as Amanda Mueller suggests, it all changes when they're over.
Amanda Brogna also experimented with using a weight vest to take things from 10 to 11.
The unstoppable Alphretta Erdman in action.
Daya Garcia, right after 300 burpees. Ka-bam!