Well the coronavirus has really thrown a monkey wrench into my fitness goals this year. But I’m looking on the bright side and setting new goals for this brief period of ‘house arrest’. 

Shameless plug for the CDC before we get too much further, please make sure you are staying indoors, staying safe and staying informed. We’re all in this together and can flatten the curve.

With all fitness facilities closed, many have resorted to online fitness classes. This is a great way to maintain a sense of community and keep to a routine. We especially like content from.

Yoga for BJJ

P90X

The Ready State

The Jiu-Jitsu Ronin

Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

I’ve also rediscovered running a bit as options are limited during the quarantine. If I can get a few miles in at a 10-minute mile pace, I’m generally satisfied and exhausted (this should serve as a preview for my general level of fitness). Unfortunately, you can’t always bet on Michigan weather to support consistent outdoor activity.

Thankfully, I do have some strength equipment in my basement. Just the basics… Dumbbells up to 50lbs, an old medicine ball, a punching bag, a jump rope, and a few exercise bands. For whatever reason, I just can’t seem to get the intensity up in my regular basement workout. It feels more like just going through the motions.

With that, I knew I’d need a clear defined fitness goal if I wanted to avoid the quarantine 15. 

quarantine 15

courtesy of dailymail.com

Given my general lack of equipment and workout space, just finding a fitness challenge that I could pursue would be a challenge. So I started to poke around and eventually found several others who have done a burpee challenge for 30 days. Given my familiarity with the exercise and desire for a challenge, I decided on 100 burpees for 30 days. By no means am I the first…check out these videos!

Chase Barron  

Runner’s World

Tyler Lloyd

This might seem a bit maniacal, but hey, I’m trapped at the house, what else do I have going on?

With that, here is more initial data as I kick off this journey…

I’d say that I am a stocky build, but generally athletic and strong. I train jiu-jitsu and workout regularly and live a fairly active lifestyle with the exception of time at work, which is pretty sedentary. I am about 5’7’’ and weigh around 205lbs at the start of this challenge. 

I’m not completing this challenge to lose weight or change my body in any specific way, but I am excited to see what, if anything, does change. I don’t plan on doing anything special on the diet front, but I will continue taking Onnit Total Human Vitamin Packs and Superberry Ultimate Shakes, which I usually have as a breakfast drink.

burpee challenge day 1 picture

Note: Check back here often to stay up to date on my progress, see if I make it all the way to day 30 and take pleasure from my pain!

Day 1: Let’s just see if I can do this

Well…let’s just see if I can do this. 100 burpees shouldn’t be so bad, I’ve done plenty of burpees in my day.

So, I get to work. I think that 5 sets of 20 seems like a good way to knock these out and get started with that as my plan. I’m about to #7 when I realize that will be a stretch for day 1. As my lungs start to seize and gasp around #15, I begin to think, maybe 30 days is aggressive. I take a knee after the first 20 to recover and plan on sets of 10 to finish it up.

Just Brutal. 80 more I think as I start my first set of 10. And set by set I work my way to completing the 100 burpees. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fast…there is a noticeable sweat angel where I was sitting and my heart is pounding. “Felt pretty good once it was over”, I thought to myself. Now I can go back to Netflix and countdown the time till my virtual coronavirus happy hour!

 Day 2: Well…that’s two in a row

Ok sports fans…I’m sure everyone is wondering if I even made it back for day 2? Well, I sure did. I felt pretty motivated by the challenge of the burpees yesterday and was eager to get back to work. This time, I thought I should get a stopwatch to measure how quickly I am getting these done.

I decided to measure just the amount of time doing the burpees. Stopping the clock for rests between sets. I noticed that my shoulders and lats were a bit sore from the day prior, but not overly sore to the point of discomfort.

Same idea with sets of 10-20 reps until reaching the 100 burpee mark. I managed to complete the final burpee at the 5 minute-20 second mark and was gassed! Again, that is just the ‘work’ time.

I gather my breath and wipe my brow…day 2 is in the books!

Work Time: 5:20

Day 3: Define Success

I woke up this morning thinking of one thing…burpees. I was really excited to get them out of the way and see if I could improve on my time and form. I thought back to the day prior and the way that I was measuring my time. Just measuring the ‘work time’ seemed a bit unfair to me.

What if I took a 20-minute break between each set? Sure my ‘work time’ would probably go down, but a more direct measure of fitness, in my opinion, is strictly…how long did it take to do the 100 burpees, rest, water and distractions included. 3 days in and I now have a plan to get better. 

Measure my overall time and aim to reduce that over the next 27 days. For all of you at home yelling at me to measure it both ways… watch the end of this short video.

The burpees today felt about the same. I used this topical CBD on my lats last night and noticed considerably less soreness during the first few sets.

Total Time: 13:14I wasn’t flying through these and took some 1-2 minute breaks. This will be my benchmark time going forward.

Day 4: I wonder how much better I could get?

Another day another round of 100 burpees. This time my aim is to smash the 13:14 I recorded yesterday. I haven’t noticed any visual changes to my body (and am not really expecting any), but I can say my shoulders feel very strong and stable. I’ve had some shoulder issues in the past and they feel very “set”….maybe all of the jumping down into a plank position is helping the shoulder find its best spot in the rotator cuff… I don’t know, I’m not a doctor! 

The soreness in the lats seems to be moving towards my lower outer chest. Again, nothing uncomfortable that would jeopardize today’s activities. It will be interesting to see how my body responds to a smaller volume of work, as compared to a regular week of weightlifting, etc. done more regularly. 

With a benchmark time from yesterday’s workout set to beat. I kicked off with a big set of 20 to start off today’s burpees, but boy this is still exhausting.

Total time: 9:32

Day 5: How Fast Can it be Done?

I woke up eager to get into the burpees today and ended up doing them around mid-day. I had a rare break in the day and the kids were asleep, so you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot. The recovery methods, stretching and supplements have kept the soreness at bay. Given the full-body nature of the burpee, I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel too sore, which is a good thing! 

I got to thinking…how fast can burpees be done? Which led me down an internet rabbit hole. Check out these amazing people, right in my backyard repping the Third Coast too! 

Ready to get into the set, I went no music and set the timer on the mat in clear view. I was intent on breaking yesterday’s time and I went to work. I had finished my first 50 in about 4 minutes but was feeling cooked. The remaining 50 were a grind, but I got them all done just past the 9 minute mark. 

The serious question I have been grappling with is, does the 100 burpees, done as quickly as possible count as a full workout? Especially given they’ll be done daily.  Shoot us your thoughts in the comments below!

Total time: 9:08

Day 6: Keep it Movin’

I have to admit, I’m moving slow today. Eager to get into the burpees and beat my prior time, but seemed like a longshot. I wasn’t able to get into the workout until much later in the evening, once the kids were in bed and all that. Looking for some sympathy here people!

I hit failure around rep #70 in the burpees today and finished the 100 in sets of 5, that looked and felt pretty miserable. Maybe this is the prior 5 days of punishment finally taking its toll? I mentioned before that I hadn’t really felt super sore. I’ve maintained some post-workout recovery and relatively good nutrition and hydration. 

Even still my legs are lead. Chest is tight. Gas is gone. 

I finish them up just past the 11 minute mark. Getting a better time on burpees will have to be a marathon, not a sprint if I’m going to make it through another 2400 reps!

Postworkout, I did some foam rolling, drank water with some Himialayan sea salt and lemon and jumped in an Epsom salt bath. I prefer Dr. Teals products – they have a variety of scents including a hemp seed oil blend (remember hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD, but still has health benefits). After the soak, I took my favorite Gold Concentrate sublingually to ensure maximum relaxation and recovery. 

Total time 11:15 – overall feeling good despite the amount of time required to get these done

Day 7 Mixing it up

Alright! I thought to myself as I got out of bed. Today is the 1 week mark and yesterday’s workout recovery techniques have got me feeling better. After a full day of working from home, with kids banging down my office and the dog giving me a ruff time (punny dad joke – heyyo!) I needed to get the quarantine crazies out badly. After yesterday’s rocky performance, I decided to mix it up today and incorporate the burpees into a mixed martial arts style workout.

That’s a pretty broad concept, so here are a few links to MMA style functional fitness to read up on.

MMA Effective Circuit Training

MMA Training Circuits

MMA Workouts

We’ve talked about some of our favorite moves in other posts as well.

I’d love to have a kettlebell set in my basement gym aka “the Tiger Den” if you’ve watched Tiger King, but I don’t, so I used bands, the punching bag, and dumbbells along with burpees to put a really high-intensity workout together.

I spend probably 40 minutes rotating between workouts with only enough rest to catch my breath and perform a new movement. The ground and pound bag work is my favorite. It’s a great way to unleash the beast in a small space, to relieve stress and to get the burpees out of the way! 

Day 8 Sand in the gears

Feeling strong after a full week of burpees under my belt. I had mixed in some other mobility, active recovery, HIIT and yoga along with the burpees, but I’d say that the bulk of my physical fitness last week came from the burpees.

I’m still struggling to determine if the 100 reps, performed with intention is enough to call it a workout. It’s a beautiful day here on the Third Coast, so I decided to toss one of my humans in the running stroller and take full advantage. I run regularly, but as mentioned above in Day 1, I’m no David Goggins. 

I threw on my Vibram five fingers, which I love. In fact, I think they are the best all-around fitness shoe on the market. Might not want to run a marathon in them, but they do a heck of a job strengthing your feet, ankles and lower legs. 

A smooth easy pace, loosening up and enjoying the sunshine….About 20 minutes in I turn back for home and on my way, hit a piece of uneven pavement and bit it…hard.

I thankfully had the sense to hang on to the running stroller, but that unfortunately left me without hands to brace my fall and I landed directly on my knees. I immediately became worried that I had a serious injury, given the times with COVID-19 I DID NOT want to have to go to the emergency room. Thankfully just badly scrapped up and I walked it off. When I returned, my loving wife added some salt to the wounds by saying “I hope your little boo-boos don’t mess up your burpees”.

With that, I grabbed some gauze then knocked out my 100 reps.

I performed 10×10 untimed.

Day 9 Fiesta

Another beautiful day outside, and inside the quarantine is really getting to us. Isolation is tough and even tougher when you need to cook, clean & entertain your kids! Thankfully everyone was in good spirits. We ended up with Margaritas on the deck and the burpees in the back of my mind. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy and I knew mid-marg that those burpees were not going to happen today. 

Cut my losses and determined to roll them into the next day and do 200 reps.

Sometimes a mental break is needed and that’s what I’m using this backyard fiesta for!

0 reps for day 9.

Day 10 Pay the Tab

Woke up feeling sub-optimal and about 3 pounds below my starting weight. Thanks, Dehydration!  Disrupted sleep and a mild hangover has me wondering if rolling the burpees into the next day was the right thing to do. I knew that if I was going to get these reps in I’d need to two things:

  • Quickly get over my pity party and institute my hangover recovery methods
  • Chunk out the reps throughout the day

Excited about the challenge, but looking forward to it being over, I performed 50 reps over 4 sessions in my basement gym… Let’s just say that the last 50 were not pretty. 

Tired and bored with the exercise, I don’t intend to skip any more days. There seems to be a mental limit on the reps I can perform. I think I’d need to really work on my mental discipline like David Goggins or Cameron Hanes to get much beyond 200 reps for a day and to be clear there are burpee lunatics out there yelling at me that 200 isn’t a lot… I get it… but it is to me.

Day 11 Family Fun

Even my spouse and kids are sick of the burpees. They hear me huffing and puffing in the basement with the occasional ‘thud’. With the COVID-19 quarantine, they can’t even escape it. This morning we actually had a family exercise day and my wife and kids joined in on the fun. It was a totally different experience having a tribe to grind through it with me. Not sure if I prefer it or not to suffering in solace, but it was a nice change of pace, especially after yesterday.

My wife and I mixed sets of 10 burpees in with other core, plyometric and mobility workouts. It turned out to be a great workout and a fun way to hang out with the family. 

What fitness-based activities do you and your tribe perform?

Who else gains motivation from mixing it up with a group workout?

Hit our comments to share your story.

Day 12 Overachiever

Felt very fresh today after yesterday’s family burpee challenge and decided to knock these out early in the morning. Nothing fancy today, just 10 sets of 10. I will say with this functional fitness and post-workout recovery I have been doing, my shoulder and neck tension is all but gone. I’ve incorporated some foam rolling and physioball soft tissue work into my routine and feeling pretty good. The soreness has largely subsided as my body now realizes we’ll be doin’ burpees for a while now.

12 days in and 1200 burpees down. The body is feeling good – it seems like there is something to working out every day at a lower intensity. The burpees are intense, but the whole thing takes about 10 minutes. That’s very different than my regular non-quarantine routine which is generally 3-5 days per week with heavy lifts, kettlebells, jiu-jitsu, boxing, etc. 

If you follow Pavel Tsatsouline, one of the original kettlebell enthusiasts. For building endurance,  he recommends performing less intensity at a more regular cadence. Here he is on our favorite program JRE explaining a bit more.

Day 13 Stuck

Well, I sure felt good yesterday and today, I’m wiped. Just don’t feel great. A full day of work with hours of conference calls and new issues thrown my way has me feeling a bit stressed. I used my CBD vape cartridge here and there to get through the day, calm my mind’s eye and grind through. I don’t necessarily feel sore, but boy do I feel stuck and sick of burpees today. Too much of one flavor perhaps? Needless to say, I skipped the workout today and will eventually pay the tab over the next couple of sessions. Not ideal, but hey…that’s life. Got to keep moving.

Anyone else need to mix it up to keep it interesting? Some times you have to. That’s what the Third Coast is all about, needing an alternate option in your life sometimes. 

Day 14 & 15 – The Halfway Point

 

Nothing fancy here, just 10 sets of 10 for the past two days, Focused on just getting them in and not missing another session for fear that I won’t be able to catch up. To be fair, it is also a bit different than the intention of performing the workout every day.

How do you deal with failure? I’m going to focus on the positives and will revise my goal to perform the 3,000 total reps (100reps X 30days) regardless of misses. 

Overall, my body feels great. Body composition appears to be pretty similar but bodyweight is a bit lower. My core feels tight and chest is solid. Same recovery methods overall. Excited to be halfway through the challenge!

Day 16 – Another skip

Not the day I planned on…..just one of those days when seemingly everything goes wrong. Stubbed your toe, spilled your coffee, cat got caught in a tree… all before 9 am. You know what I’m talking about. The universe just throwing fastballs at you. Well, that’s the day I had.

Normally, I’d try and really conqueror my inner bitch (ala Joe Rogan). But not today. The day’s fastballs got the best of me and I enjoyed a beverage, a few puffs on my mint CBD vape, and an early bedtime. Skipping the burpees for now and will be back at it double-time tomorrow.

Day 17 – Digging myself out

I felt mad at myself for the skip yesterday, so I’m aiming for 200 today, performed intermittently throughout the day. It’s the easiest way to ensure I get them in with everything else going on…and not going on all at the same time.

Anyone else get that feeling with quarantine? Especially quarantining with kids. Trying to ensure everyone eats, sleeps, uses the bathroom (in the appropriate place), is happy, is wearing their coat, has shoes on….you get it. Add 200 burpees and that’s a full day. One thing I have been trying to better understand is the difference in physical benefit to doing the reps at once versus say 10 sets of 10 (or 20 sets of 10 for my day today.).

Certainly doing them all at once will provide a massive advantage in terms of cardio, but I’ve got much better form when I perform them 10 at a time, so maybe they give a slight strength training advantage?

So 20 sets of 10 in the books, throughout the day for me. During nap time, while the grilled cheeses melt, before the shower, the entire house practically got a set of 10! After today, let me tell you… I think the answer to my previous question of “is 100 burpees per day enough to be considered a workout or stay in shape” is yes. I feel good, I look slightly better maybe, I weigh less, I seem to have less shoulder and neck pain and in all honesty, it is fairly easy to get in either throughout the day or all at once.

A little one-flavor and a bit annoying that it’s an everyday requirement, but so far, the burpees have been generally easy to get done and effective in creating results.

Day 18 – Keep Diggin’

A full day of parenting and work around the house after the 200 burpees and I’m dragging hard. Fatigue has settled in, my big toes are shredded and I’m generally sore everywhere, albeit not that intensely, which has been a common theme throughout this challenge. This topical CBD salve or whichever your favorite is and an Epsom salt bath will help my toes not feel so sore and enhance recovery nicely. 

Did today seem to crawl along.. or was that me? Feeling beatdown and hungry! Again, I’m just trying to get the burpees in today doing 10 sets of 10 whenever I have a minute or two. I found myself grinding it out again. Literal grunts coming from the basement as I struggle through. I end up only completing 7 sets of 10 before calling it and aim for a better performance tomorrow.

Day 19-23 Nothin’ Fancy

This challenge overall is going great. After 2+ weeks of pretty consistent (with a few exceptions, noted in the days above effort, I feel like I have found my groove. The burpees are getting easier and dare I say more enjoyable? I can now really focus my form within each repetition. With intention, as the yogi’s say… anyway, to increase my motivation through the sets, it’s been a steady diet of old school Pride and UFC fights.

I’m talking about @fedoremilienekoofficial, @chuckliddell, Mirko @crocop1009, @markdcoleman, etc. Some of the sport’s pioneers in the early days. I’ve been trying to perform burpees as long as a round goes before taking a break. It’s a fun way to mix it up a bit.

It’s really been nothing too fancy, just 10 sets of 10 for the past five days. Untimed and whenever I can get them in during the day. 

I think the concept of hitting a plateau has really come into play over the past couple of days. I suppose it means that I’m getting stronger and maybe have improved my cardio slightly. I’ll take it. Bodyweight has also dropped considerably over the past week. I’m down in the 195-pound range which is very low for me personally.

Having previously competed at light-heavyweight in Gi Jiu-Jitsu which is 207.5 pounds, including the gi which weighs about 5 pounds itself. Visual progress is maybe slightly improved as well.

john burpee challenge

I’ve also been debating how to increase my at-home fitness during this quarantine. I’m in need of some more equipment as this seems to be a prolonged event. I have dumbbells, but I think either a weighted vest, a kettlebell, or a pull-up bar. I’m thinking pull-up bar as I really view the pull-up as a true test of fitness and a great functional full-body workout.

What’s your vote? Hit the comments and let me know.

Day 24 – Draggin’

24 days of quarantine and it’s seeming like there is no end in sight. Offices, professional sports & travel are all shut down for the foreseeable future….thankfully burpees are still open for business! The mental battle of the quarantine has been harder than I expected. Even for a semi-home body like myself, the feeling of being trapped in a repetitive cycle has been a challenge. Today I was not feeling great – battling myself mentally to do this or that lasted almost into the afternoon before I realized that I hadn’t done a rep yet. 

I ran down to the basement to get a few in before the day got away from me (like some other days above). I did a quick 20 and went on about my day, mopping around with not much of a plan to attack the day. 

After dinner, that was it for me. I was draggin’. Tired & undecided I spent the rest of the day wasting time… anyone else have a day like this where they are just stuck in the mud?

Day 25 – Early Worm

They say the early worm gets the worm…which doesn’t sound that great to us night owls. I seem to go back and forth about whether I should be doing these burpees at night or in the morning.

While I have regularly worked out in the mornings in years past, it’s frankly not my preferred time, but there are a lot of positives…

  • You get it out of the way before anything can derail your workout
  • Working out on an empty stomach with limited water makes things much harder
  • It sure wakes you up and usually makes you feel great for the rest of the day

The early morning routine does have some challenges

  • It’s hard to attain a really intense workout after just rolling out of bed
  • Sometimes it’s even hard to put a workout together with a fuzzy brain
  • It often requires a bit of prep the night before (clothes, food, gym back, etc…..you know back when we used to work in offices and go to them after our morning workouts)

Thankfully, all of the challenges have been eliminated during the quarantine burpee routine. We know how intense it’s going to be, no exercise planning required and I’ve been working in sweatpants for almost a month!

The concept of time is an interesting one…it can be your best friend (free time), it can be your worst nightmare (workout timer) and everything in between. Jocko Willink who we’ve talked about in the past knows all about time. He frequently posts a punishingly early screenshot of his watch noting the time he’s at the gym gettin’ it done. So simple, but very inspirational. If you want to contend with monsters like him, you better get out of bed and get to it! 


Blasted the 100 burpees out today in 8:38 – which is cookin’ for me! Time!

Day 26 – 4:20….Man…..

Today is 4/20. After taking my CBD tincture shot in the morning to “celebrate” the fact Hemp is legal in America, I was ready to get to it. But not before some slight procrastination as I was curious about the meaning behind 4/20, but after that, I thought it appropriate to make up some of the lost ground from past days and aim for 420 burpees.

I saw on Instagram the aforementioned Jocko did it while I was still sleeping, so how hard could it be, right?

This was going to be a marathon to get it in. And I really was just trying to get in as much volume as possible as we head into the final days of the challenge. I worked sets from 10-25 reps and ultimately called it off at 225 reps of burpees.

Sore, tired, and sick of the workout, there was no way I was going to do 200 more. I decided to celebrate the “Holiday” by eating a few CBD gummies and relaxing.

It’s been a great challenge and I’m looking forward to the home stretch!

Days 27-30 Moments of Glory

The last 4 days of the challenge felt very different. The workout was much easier, the tightness in my hips and shoulders is gone and I’m feeling pretty loose and durable. I’ve continued to watch old school MMA and boxing Matches for inspiration. Watching these incredible athletes put it all on the line for a moment of glory, is inspiring and just what I need to push me through.

Fair to say after 3000 burpees, I’ll be done with this exercise for a while…. 

Overall, I would say this challenge taught me many things.

1. Write it down, hold yourself accountable and do the work 

Had I not committed to this challenge there is no way that I would have completed all those burpees in my dark dingy basement. Also note taking has helped me focus my next sessions whether it be for form, reps, time, etc.

2. There may be something to this everyday workout routine thing.

My body composition has changed and I’m feeling great. A ~10-minute workout is fairly easy to incorporate every day. My body started to crave them towards the end

3. Rest when you need to (listen to your body)

As bad as I felt taking some days off or not performing every rep per day (where noted above) it helped me have the strength and drive for the next day. Whatever you do to recover from workouts, do that. If you haven’t tried cold therapy yet, that maybe something to look into as well. And of course, at Third Coast, we created a curated collection of our favorite CBD products for recovery. 

4. Mix it up

Find creative ways to hit your goals bc they won’t always be easy to reach (or fun). I used music, videos and different set counts to get me through

 

We hope you can use this journal as inspiration for your next challenge. Please tag us on social media or add your story to our comments below.

Thanks for following along!