The Burpee Challenge….

…..is done!!! Yippee ai-aaaaaa!

I finished my month of 748 Burpees on Tuesday. Our final day was 60 Burpees.  I am happy to report I did them in one set,  and they were surprisingly not difficult. I guess that means the long buildup  works! (Something to keep in mind with other goals.)

When I was doing my research into Burpees, I found that they were used in the 40s as an entrance test into our military.  If you could only do 27 in one minute, you were considered in poor shape. Excellent shape was being able to do up to 48 in the given minute.

You know I had to try that after my month, right? Apparently, I am in poor shape! I could only squeak out 26 in the minute. Of course, I suppose I shouldn’t have tried it after running 3.6 miles. But I felt fine–just slow, apparently. I guess I will just have to keep trying!

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A month of Burpees

Halfway through my 30 day Burpee challenge!

As with the last challenge, my shoulders started hurting from the push ups. I knew I hated push ups. I decided that since it was our challenge, I could change the definition of “burpee.” There are tons of variations of the burpees, and not all require push ups. I do feel like I am cheating though! So much easier without the push ups.

I thought I might repost  some of the information gathered during my first challenge two years ago:

1. Burpees are named after their creator–Royal H. Burpee, who was an employee at the Bronx YMCA in the 1930s.  He used the exercise in his doctoral thesis for Columbia University in the subject of applied physiology in 1940, while the Bronx YMCA introduced it to their members.

2. I hate Burpees

3. Burpees are used in Spartan races if a racer can’t complete an obstacle as a time penalty, 30 for an elite athlete and 10 for those running in the general population. Burpees are also often used in CrossFit classes as a penalty if a participant is late.

4. I hate Burpees.

5. Burpees were used by the US Armed Forces as a measurement of fitness for applicants during WWII. The exerise let them assess the strength, coordination and agility. Twenty-seven burpees in one minute was considered poor physical form, while forty-one was considered excellent. I believe that would be the original Burpee, not  with a push-up. (I haven’t tried, not sure I really want to know)

6. I hate Burpees.

7. There are dozens of variations. Royal’s original was a 4 beat:  squat with hands on floor, kick feet back to a push-up position, jump back to squat position, jump up. A newer version (the one I did) has a push-up and a higher jump added. Do a search, however, and you will find Burpees with weights, jumps onto steps, jumps over obstacles and many more additions to make a Burpee more difficult. Like it needs help!  Check out Lifting Revolution’s blog to see some variations.

8. I hate Burpees. And push-ups, I definitely hate push-ups.

9. “On May 17, 2014, in Greenwood, South Carolina,  a gentleman by the name of Cameron Dorn broke two burpee world records. He performed 5,657 within a 12-hour period. He also completed the most burpees in a 24-hour period, finishing with a whopping 10,105. Another world record was achieved on October 21, 2013, in Portland, Oregon, by Lloyd Weema. He broke the burpee world record for the most chest to ground burpees performed in 72 hours with 9,480.”*  Yeah, I am not trying that.

 

*Dr. Axe

Lesson….

…..not learned?

I mentioned to my co-worker Wendy the other day that I was thinking about doing a Burpee Challenge again, and was she interested? Ten minutes later we had this:

I did my 2 for today, ony 746 more to go!

Why, you ask? Spring is coming. While I don’t much care what my bathing suit looks like, I do want to be able to race up hills and ensure that my kayaking shorts still fit.

This is a good way to jumpstart my spring training and strengthen my core. I went for a run outside on Friday for the first time, in, well, a long time. And I immediately noticed the difference between the hilly terrain I live in and the treadmill. Outside is harder!

Taking advantage of the (almost) warmth, I put a sweater on Daisy and took her for a walk this morning too.

Isn’t she cute? And led me on a 17 minute mile. Not bad, what with the sniffing and the pictures!

While the temp was only in the 20s, the blue sky and sun more than made up for it.

So tired….

Here it is the new year, and we all have these fresh resolutions…..and we are so exhausted!

Or is that just me?

I had a wonderful holiday season. We did something almost every weekend, which was rather unusual for us. But we kept busy from Thanksgiving to Christmas and even beyond, visiting the Garden’s Aglow on New Year’s weekend.

It was fantastic, and if you are ever near Boothbay in the month of December, I highly recommend it. We have been trying to go for a number of years, and this is the first time we got there.

      

Meanwhile, between the family get togethers, friends, dinners and actual holiday celebrations, I seem to be a bit weary. So I gave myself permission to slack off a bit this week.

I mean, I took two whole days off. And just did a bit of yoga stretching on some of the other days.

Why do I mention this? For two reasons.

One, it is quite important to listen to your body and not push when you are worn out. Even if you have a new program that demands it of you. Two, it is also important to be flexible. We all know what happens to the best laid plans. If you can be flexible about which day you are taking off, how many days a week you take off as well as what day you are doing which exercise routine, I can guarantee you will be a happier exercise-er (is that a word? Did I just make it up? 😛 )

Now, that doesn’t mean you give yourself permission to take the majority of days off each week, or do the “easy” workout every day. It just means you cut yourself a break once in a while and listen to your body.

Weekly Rundown….

…..kinda

I haven’t been putting out my weekly posts, and not only because I have been busy with my husband’s health issues. I also changed my work schedule  and, of course, the first week of the new schedule was the week after my husband’s heart attack, so getting used to that during stress was, um, fun.

I am more used to it now, and have less stress. I was offered four ten-hour days with Fridays off, so of course I took it! The beauty is I get three days off in a row…..the downside is that I work 6:15 to 4:45, which means it is hard to get in a decent amount of time before or after work for exercise.

Also, I have been doing pretty much the same thing for the last few weeks, which makes it hard to think of new ways to write about it.  Basically treadmill running interspersed with yoga. I haven’t even been doing weights as I have been cleaning the horse barnyard every other night as each layer of ice lets go of muck. I  figure the heavy wet mess is a good substitute for weights, plus my shoulders and arms hurt enough. Good for my core too, as I have to stabilize before slinging the pitchfork load onto the manure pile.

I did start running the three days in a row, which was pretty exciting that I could do that weekly without my knee giving out. It has been six weeks so far, and I even added a short run before work once a week for the last two weeks. The first run on Friday always seems hard, but by Sunday I am loving it.

The weather has been slowly turning (after three snow laden Nor’Easters in three weeks), and it feels fresh and almost warm out there.  I am really excited to start running outside now. If only Mother Nature will cooperate! The good thing is that it is light until after 7pm now, so once I can get outside I can do a quick 2 mile run after work once or twice a week.

An Oasis of Calm

So people who don’t exercise always look at me and say “why?!”

There are a ton of reasons. I like pizza, and yet I still like to fit in my clothes the next day. Being healthy (not withstanding the pizza) is important to me. I think exercise is important in one’s life, and while I certainly won’t look down on someone who doesn’t exerise, I will always encourage someone to try a new activity and see if it speaks to them.

But the biggest reason I exercise is that it keeps me sane.

Three weeks ago my husband had a heart attack. He’s only 43, but had smoked for 24 years. This is my PSA to say, please don’t smoke. He had one artery–the one that delivers 70% of your body’s blood–blocked at 100%. And another artery blocked at 90%.  His job is quite active, and he eats fairly well, so again, a PSA for not smoking.

My second PSA is to say, if you think you might need to go to the ER, go! We spent quite a bit of Thursday night discussing what might be wrong, before we decided  he’d be fine. No one wanted to be the one to say “we ought to go!”  The next morning he went to work, then decided to come to the ER because of shoulder pain–he thought he might have torn his rotator cuff. Come to find out he was having a serious heart attack. Clearly, we weren’t smart enough to make the decision to go to the ER.

Fortunately for me, from the time they decided to move him from the hospital where I work to the hospital an hour south where  the cardiac specialists are, to when I went home, fed the horses, let the dogs out, met the person driving me south and actually arrived at the hospital, they had already put his first stent in. I didn’t know just how bad it was until they had started to fix it. Thank goodness. He spent the next four days in the hospital, having his second stent put in on Monday and coming home on Tuesday.

I traveled back and forth for the five days. I was fortunate enough to  have drivers over the weekend, and then drove myself on Monday and Tuesday. Since we have the animals, it wasn’t practical to go down and stay.

Not that our neighbors weren’t willing to help. I came home on Saturday to find out that someone had plowed our driveway, clearing the four inches of snow received overnight. Other offers were pouring to help, for which I will be forever grateful. But I don’t trust the horses around people who just aren’t used to horses. Sometimes the beasts move unexpectedly, although not maliciously, and they are a bit heavier than the dogs when they step on you. And so I traveled.

And each morning before I went down I got on the treadmill. That little bit of normalcy gave me the opportunity to run out my anxiety and worry and stress.  For those thirty minutes, my legs pumped, my breath was a struggle to get even and full and my brain was focused on running smoothly. When I got off and showered, I was calm and ready to face the day.

I have always felt better after exercising, for a lot of reasons. There is the “hey, I did it, even when I really didn’t want to.” And the “geez, my body is getting strong, I can’t believe I finished that workout” feeling.  My mood improves (those endorphins are wonderful things), and I can deal with problems better after even a 15 minute walk. I have always realized that nature and exercise make me happy, so of course it was my go-to during such a difficult time.

And I sincerely believe it made it easier to bear. So if anyone is looking for a reason to start an exercise program, I think that is a pretty good one!

PS – it was Saturday afternoon before I got around to asking if they had checked out his shoulder. There was nothing wrong with it, the pain was due his shoulder and arm being starved of blood. Also, he hasn’t had a cigarette since he walked into the emergency room 🙂

 

Weekly Rundown x 2

I didn’t do a Rundown post last week, not because I didn’t have time, but because it seemed like the same thing over and over again.

Am I in an exercise rut?

 Nah, I just wasn’t sure I had anything new to say about the same exercises. I still love my exercise and have no desire to change it, although I am always willing to try something new.

My weeks seem to be a combination of treadmill running (three or four times), weights (once) and yoga (once). I have to work hard each day to make the time to fit my exercise in, but that isn’t that new either.Although it does seem worse recently.  There are always errands to do that get in the way. Which is why I also seem to be taking two days off during the week rather than one.

I was excited that not only did  I manage to run longer than I thought I could on the treadmill  Saturday, I followed it up by a 30 minute run on Sunday. I have been  trying to run every other day to give my leg a break, unless I was doing just a mile or so before yoga or weights. It was nice to see that my leg was strong enough to do two long (comparatively) runs in a row. (It was a bit sore for the next run, but it just needs to suck it up and strengthen, already)

And I added Burpees back into rotation. They really made a difference to my shape and strength when I did the Burpee challenge in June, so I thought I should do them a couple of times a week. That hasn’t happened, as I am only doing weights once a week at the moment and that’s where I added the Burpees. I am doing 5 Burpees in-between my arm sets. I do three sets, so I am currently doing  15 Burpees, and definitely need to increase them each week.  I ought to work in my weights more than once a week too, but it’s just more fun to run or have a yoga session.

I did have a fun excursion planned for this previous Sunday, but Mother Nature, once more, stepped in to change that.

We had received more  snow than normal at this time of year, which is great for snowmobiling. Not a lot of trails around here, so we had planned a trip a few hours north on Sunday.

My husband had bought a new–to him–sled in December and he was aching to get on it. Since he had a new sled, I got his. My sled was a similar model several years older than his, and since it currently goes into reverse and won’t come out of it, I was happy with the change. We had gotten to play around our back field, but were really looking forward to a long day out.

Then it rained for 18 hours. All that snow melted, and flooded.

And I do mean flood. We live near the Kennebec river, and the fact that we no longer had anything to snowmobile on was not the worst thing to happen in the area:

Image result for hallowell flooded cars   Image result for hallowell flooded cars Cars parked along the river behind local businesses. Many of the businesses flooded too.

We did get some more snow this week (big surprise!), so my husband is headed up North this weekend for snowmobiling. Not sure those cars are out yet. Or will be anytime soon.

 

 

Happy Surprises

I love it when I realize I am  in better shape than I thought!

I’ve been playing around with the pre-set workouts on  my treadmill, and today I decided to try the forty minute intensity session. I haven’t run for more than thirty minutes since I started running on the treadmill. And my last runs on the road weren’t that long either, since I was running out of time and daylight. So I really didn’t think I was going to finish the forty minutes.

I’d done four of the six workouts, but I hadn’t done the final two, which are each forty minutes. Mostly that was a lack of time. Most of my workouts are done after work, and I am limited by both my energy and all the other things I need to get done at night (feeding the horses, feeding the husband, laundry, errands, etc).

I’m happy when I get any exercise in, and thirty minutes seems to be the most I can devote to my workouts at night recently.  The holidays are over and life should return to normal, but my new normal seems to be sitting down between 6:30 and 7:00 at night–and I get out of work at 2:45!

But I had nothing going on today.  Since we were supposed to have an ice event today (it didn’t show, but absolutely no complaints), we got all our errands tucked away yesterday and today I planned on laundry, napping and movies.

Eventually this afternoon I convinced myself I really should get on the treadmill. I was dithering whether I would walk, run or do a preset. I decided to do the forty minute #6 preset workout, but I convinced myself I didn’t have to do all of it. Of course, once I hit twenty-five minutes, I figured I could finish it.

That carrot trick works every time. I’m so easy to fool.

The workout starts with two minutes of walking at 3.4 MPH, then hops to 5.3 MPH and alternates that with 6.5 MPH, then alternates 5.3 MPH intervals with 6.8 MPH intervals. I think the intervals are a minute each, but I try not to pay too much attention to time because if I watch the clock, then it feels like the workout is taking forever. I do know that there were three of the 6.5 intervals and thirteen of the 6.8. The final three minutes are walking as well, at 3.1 MPH.

When I finished the forty minutes, I decided to do a cool down of walking at 2.5 MPH for ten minutes. Followed by eleven more minutes of yoga stretches. So, in all, sixty-one minutes of exercise!

And I didn’t die. I felt awesome 🙂

A New Year of Exercise

A lot of exercise resolutions are being made this month. And, sadly, many will be broken next month. So here is my little bit of advice to keep you going on those resolutions.

First, make sure your resolution is what you want, not just because everyone around you is making their resolutions and you think you should as well.

Then, figure out what works for YOU.

I did a lot of aerobics in the ’90s as they were the “in” thing. Here’s what I learned–I hate aerobics. I would start an exercise program, then quit in a month. Then I felt bad, so I  would start again and then quit again,  and  keep going through that cycle. Not surprisingly, I neither got in shape nor lost weight.

When Billy Blanks started his Kickboxing revolution, I tried that too. I found I liked kickboxing, but more as the sport itself than speeding up the moves to make an aerobic  (there’s that word again) exercise as Billy did. I did get myself a freestanding punching bag with a book and kept up the kickboxing, with the emphasis  on form rather than speed. Hmmm, maybe I need to add that back into rotation….

The first time I actually enjoyed exercise was when I got my Springer pup and I had to walk her energy off several times a week. Then I decided walking took too long (I am basically an impatient person), so I began running. Ah, that fit!!

Once you decide what works for you, there are still more pieces to nail down. When you have the time to exercise is a big one. Be flexible.

I used to exercise in the afternoon, because I was not a morning person. But I have changed over the years, and I found it nice to get it done before heading off for my day. Then I started working at 6:30 in the morning and I shifted back to the afternoon sessions. I miss my morning workouts, but not enough to get up at 3:30!

I do try to plan out my week–I’m kinda OCD that way. I figure out what exercise I am going to do each day, and what day I plan to take off. But I let my week dictate what I can do and if I really don’t want to run a certain day, then I weight-lift instead and run on the weight day. If something major comes up, I switch my day off and workout on my planned day off.

Be open to new forms of exercise, you never know what might surprise you. My friend  recently took up kayaking. That is not terribly surprising, except that she can’t swim and has avoided water-based activities for a long time. But she loves it! Whatever it is your friends talk you into may not be your go-to exercise, but you could enjoy it and add in occasionally. If not, then you know not to try it again!

You might have noticed that I use the word flexible quite a bit. Nothing should be written in stone except your intention to exercise in some form and in some consistent fashion.

Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t dread your chosen exercise, and there are  certainly enough out there to try a new one if you find yourself skipping workouts.

I love running, yoga and riding my horses. I tolerate the weight-lifting because I know I need it to do my loves to the best of my ability. I know not everyone will love, or like, running. Or yoga. You might even hate them. So go find your love.

 

A month of Burpees

I had been toying with the idea of creating/doing a Burpee challenge for a while now. So last month I did.

I gathered a few friends too, but some dropped out due to injury (not from the Burpees!) while others popped in and out. I felt that doing a lot one day to catch up wasn’t the goal of the challenge, the goal was to do them every day–which was harder than just “catching up.” I didn’t say anything though, I was just happy they tried. I did have one coworker who made it through the whole month with me 🙂

I started May 31 with 5 Burpees, then added one each day during the month of June. I was supposed to end with 35, but somewhere between 10 and 14 I miscounted and realized I was doing 15 on the day I should be doing 14. But I kept the extra, and ended on June 30th with 36.

I did some research while coming up with the challenge, and here’s what I learned:

1. Burpees are named after their creator–Royal H. Burpee, who was an employee at the Bronx YMCA in the 1930s.  He used the exercise in his doctoral thesis for Columbia University in the subject of applied physiology in 1940, while the Bronx YMCA introduced it to their members.

2. I hate Burpees

3. Burpees are used in Spartan races if a racer can’t complete an obstacle as a time penalty, 30 for an elite athlete and 10 for those running in the general population. Burpees are also often used in CrossFit classes as a penalty if a participant is late.

4. I hate Burpees.

5. Burpees were used by the US Armed Forces as a measurement of fitness for applicants during WWII. The exerise let them assess the strength, coordination and agility. Twenty-seven burpees in one minute was considered poor physical form, while forty-one was considered excellent. I believe that would be the original Burpee, not  with a push-up. (I haven’t tried, not sure I really want to know)

6. I hate Burpees.

7. There are dozens of variations. Royal’s original was a 4 beat:  squat with hands on floor, kick feet back to a push-up position, jump back to squat position, jump up. A newer version (the one I did) has a push-up and a higher jump added. Do a search, however, and you will find Burpees with weights, jumps onto steps, jumps over obstacles and many more additions to make a Burpee more difficult. Like it needs help!  Check out Lifting Revolution’s blog to see some variations.

8. I hate Burpees. And push-ups, I definitely hate push-ups.

9. “On May 17, 2014, in Greenwood, South Carolina,  a gentleman by the name of Cameron Dorn broke two burpee world records. He performed 5,657 within a 12-hour period. He also completed the most burpees in a 24-hour period, finishing with a whopping 10,105. Another world record was achieved on October 21, 2013, in Portland, Oregon, by Lloyd Weema. He broke the burpee world record for the most chest to ground burpees performed in 72 hours with 9,480.”*  Yeah, I am not trying that.

10. I am in much better shape after my month of Burpees. They helped my core and arms tremendously. Although I have avoided push-ups since grade school, I can do them now–and they aren’t scary anymore.

I will keep Burpees in my rotation from now on, as I definitely don’t want to lose the fitness I gained.  Straight up push ups will also be thrown in. My core is solid after all the push ups, and my knee bends more after all those squats, as well as bending the leg while jumping in and out of the push-up position. I am glad….glad that I did it, and glad that it is over!

Added up, I did 628 Burpees over the course of the month, which was both a surprise and made me feel incredibly good! And I just saw an email from Shape with a Burpee challenge, so apparently I am right on trend. Who knew?

Shape got creative with the variations, giving you 7 different types of Burpees. The challenge is to do 10 reps of 1 variation each day of the week, with an increase of reps by 10 each week. So, 700 Burpees over the four-week period. Wanna try? Here’s the link: Shape Mag

*Dr. Axe