When the email came in, it was quite intriguing. Here’s a guy that says he completed hundreds and hundreds of burpees every day in order to lose nearly 100 pounds. That guy is Andrew Castellanos, a 32-year-old line cook from Newark, Calif., who, in January 2020, decided that he was taking back control of his life.
“I was in denial for a long time,” he says. “I made myself believe that I was buff, but in reality I was obese and had zero energy to play with my girls."
It started with 50 burpees, and then it slowly grew to 500, 700, and upwards of 1,000 per day. Out of all of the ways to pursue a weight loss transformation, he chose the burpee. That’s a lot of burpees, and that’s a lot of weight to lose. Many more questions ensued.
Related: 5 Ways to Build Muscle Without Weights
Here’s what we learned from the 1,000-burpee guy — whose achievement is so important to him that he’s even got a Spartan helmet tattoo on the side of his face — about crushing burpees and embracing tough stuff. Plus, how Spartan CEO Joe De Sena inspired him with one simple line.
Losing Weight by Doing Only Burpees
Spartan Race: Why burpees?
Andrew Castellanos: I was intrigued how prisoners were so lean with no weights or machines, and I discovered that many did burpees, so that sparked my interest.
SR: Why was January 2020 your tipping point to take back control?
AC: I was in denial for a long time. I made myself believe that I was buff, but in reality I was obese and had zero energy to play with my girls. I needed to start setting a positive example.
SR: That’s a lot of burpees. Did you ever get injured?
AC: I never got injured. I always focus on form above everything else, and ease my way into the high numbers.
SR: How did you break up all of those burpees throughout the day?
AC: When I first started I was hitting 50 a day in one training session.
SR: How else did you train, if at all?
AC: Burpees were the only thing that I was doing.
SR: What does your Spartan tattoo mean to you? Do people ask you about it?
AC: My Spartan tattoo means many things to me, but mainly that I overcame obstacles and conquered them. People do ask me about it and I get excited to show them my before and after pictures and why it means so much to me.
SR: What foods are the staple of your nutrition now?
AC: I love to eat eggs, fish, ground turkey, chicken and rice — all of the good stuff. I eat to fuel my body and perform at a high level.
S: What did your meals used to look like?
AC: I ate anything and everything with no tracking whatsoever. I started my mornings with three cups of coffee with more creamer than coffee. I basically ate way too much and moved very little.
SR: You mentioned that Joe inspired you. Could you share one thing that sticks in your mind the most?
AC: “Do something that sucks everyday.” For some reason this stuck with me. It changed my mindset completely — I now find comfort in being uncomfortable.
SR: Do you still do hundreds of burpees everyday?
AC: Absolutely, I still do 500 to 700 a day — no less than 500. Every now and then I'll throw in a 1,000-burpee session. I average 4,000 plus burpees a week.
SR: What’s your best advice for someone else trying to do tough stuff in their life?
AC: Just get up and do it. Don’t overthink it, and when it gets hard, push back harder. This will harden your mindset.
SR: What is the Burpee Gang?
AC: The Burpee Gang is a group that I created on Facebook that anyone can join.