The new year is upon us and it’s time to reflect on how your 2016 year went for staying physically active. Did you accomplish the goals that you set for yourself back in January? Are you still keeping your resolutions going? For many of us the answer is no, but there are some of you out there that have a resounding, YES! I made it! I had the opportunity to do that last year with a challenge that had its beginning in the month of December 2015.
Why are we talking about a challenge that was completed over a year ago? Great question! To take on a challenge that is going to last a year requires some planning and a willingness to stick to it. The challenge that I took part in was called the 365 Burpee Challenge. It is straightforward and simple; do one burpee on January 1, 2017 and then rest. Do two burpees on January 2, 2017 and rest. Add one a day for 365 days so that you will do 365 burpees on December 31, 2017.
How to do a Burpee: Stand with your feet together. Squat down and put your hands in front of you on the ground, right in front of your feet. Then push your feet back so you are in a push up position. Hold that position, then push your feet back up to where your hands are and leap into the air. When you land, bend your legs slightly. Here is a video of me doing 8 burpees. Variation: You can add different variations to the burpee, such as doing one push up when you get to that position.
I decided to do this challenge after listening to a podcast interview with Joe DeSena, Founder of Spartan Races, in December of 2015. In the interview, he mentioned that he does 300 burpees a day. That is an impressive feat and I wondered how one might work up to that level.
My plan was to do something that would gradually get more difficult over time. Add one burpee a day for the entire year so that by the end I would be doing 300 burpees a day. I did a google search to see if anything was like this already out there. All I could find was a twitter hashtag #365burpeechallenge that someone had done in 2008, but that was it. Most of what I saw was just 30 day challenges. I began to throw the idea out there to family and friends. Some thought I was crazy, but most were very encouraging. I began to plan out how I wanted to keep track of this journey. I set up a google spreadsheet to record how I did the burpees, ie, sets, reps, all at one time, etc. My brother told me I should video the whole challenge so people would believe me, but thought to myself who wants to watch a guy just do burpees? So I only videoed a few of the first days and the final day for proof. I constructed a chart of how the challenge would play out month to month represented in the figure below.
It will look something like this:
Yes, you read correctly. 66,795 burpees in one year. Are you up for the challenge?
For me, it was an amazing exercise journey! Part way through the experience, I began to keep a journal on the side of how I felt on particular day, interesting places the I did my burpees, anyone who joined me for a workout, etc. I had so much support from friends on Twitter, FB, and at home. My journey even inspired a few to take on the challenge for 2016 and I’m hoping that they will finish strong.
So you have a few days left to start! Are you ready? Do you want to actually fulfill a year long plan? You can do it one day, one burpee at a time! If anyone has any questions or wants to reach out to me I’d be more than willing to help out. You can reach me on Twitter @erik_myer or by email at [email protected]
About the Author: Erik Myer is an elementary PE teacher at Warnsdorfer Elementary School in East Brunswick, NJ. He’s been teaching PE for 18 years.