Last month when discussing my Goals/ Resolutions for 2014, I vowed that I would post a new 30 Day Fitness Challenge every month for all of us to do together because misery loves company, right? Just kidding, but research does show enlisting friends holds us more accountable and more likely to complete what we started. So, clearly fitness challenges can be a fun, little way to knock out mini workouts with your friends and families across the country. It is also a great excuse for bragging rights if you do better than them because a little healthy competition didn’t hurt anyone.
If this is the first time you have heard of my 30 Day Fitness Challenges, click on the above link for details. In January, we planked. Our challenge started with holding a plank for 20 seconds and quickly worked its way to 5 minutes by the end of the month! I can assure you no one who signed up thought they would ever be able to hold a plank for 5 minutes. It was a lot of
torture fun. My favorite part of last month’s challenge, in addition to waking up my six pack from hibernation, was taking pictures of me planking in weird places like the Chicago O’Hare airport, on the balcony of my Chicago skyscraper hotel, with my 78 year old father, with my high school friends with a glass of wine in front of us, etc. For more real time updates and motivation, be sure to check out and follow on me on Instagram.
So on the heels of finishing our first month’s fitness challenge, I am introducing February’s challenge of BURPEES. I was originally going to do squats, but I want to hold off for a later time since I saw FitFluential was challenging it’s followers with completing 1,000 burpees by February 28th. I thought this would be a great opportunity to not only tag team with them and help them advertise their challenge, but to also pick a movement that builds on the skill we learned from the previous month’s challenge. I am confident that January’s planking and extensive core workout will help us get through this burpee challenge. I know 1,000 burpees seems like a lot, but if you break them up over the course of this very short month of February it is only 36 burpees a day (1,000/ 28 for those challenged by math like I am). There is a great 7+ minute video on the FitFluential link provided above that explains three levels of intensity to do burpees. So don’t be scared if you have never done a burpee. You can still do this challenge and excel!
So why burpees? The burpee is the ultimate full body exercise that simultaneously works many muscles in your body like your chest, arms, front deltoids, thighs, hamstrings, and abs. It also provides your body with an intense aerobic workout without any equipment. I love burpees because not only can you do them anywhere (so the weather is no excuse), but it’s FREE; no gym membership required! I know many people think burpees are only for CrossFitters, but they are wrong. Burpees also help improve runners endurance and helps strengthen the muscles in their torso and improve their upright running position. Again, everyone can improve their fitness with burpees because it develops conditioning and stamina. And best of all, they get your heart rate up! What’s not to love about that?!?!?
Do you want to know another great advantage to doing burpees? As if you need more. Because you are using your entire body, the burpee is also one of the best exercises to burn fat. Studies have shown that high intensity exercises, like burpees, burn up to 50% more fat than conventional strength training exercises. They’ve also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. If you’re looking to get rid of that spare tire, step off the elliptical machine and start doing burpees.
Below I talk you through the 3 points of performance for a standard burpee.
Three things you want to see are:
1. “Chest to deck” meaning you want your chest to touch the ground every time.
2. When you explode up, you want to make sure you have full extension of your hips, keeping them wide open.
3. Your jump should be 6-8 inches high when you clap your hands. No baby seal claps!
Here is a cute video of my 3 year old son, Julian, doing a burpee and he is a great example of what NOT to do. Clearly, Julian’s not scared of the Our Full Plate Burpee Challenge! What he lacks in form, he makes up with enthusiasm.
Here is my quick 1 minute instructional video of what to do demonstrated by yours truly:
Notice any differences? Hopefully you will say yes; you should see more controlled movements with my demonstration. Do you notice that I try to keep my core tight and my lower back engaged the entire time? There is one myth with burpees and it is that you HAVE to do a push up every time. That is not true. If you want to try to do advanced burpees than go for it and do a push up when you come off the ground. Your shoulders will be smoked so be prepared! But if you are doing the standard moderate burpee, you will see the best way to string a few burpees together is to extend your front torso (like the cobra pose in yoga) and then shoot up with your legs. Don’t worry you will still be smoked after doing 35 standard/ intermediate burpees….TRUST ME!
Ok so that’s it. Accept the challenge and encourage your friends and family to do it with you as well. Even kids can do burpees, as demonstrated by my 3 year old son, so no excuses. Make sure to hashtag your workouts on Twitter and Instrgram with #ourfullplate30 because I love to see you guys work up a sweat. Throughout the month, I will be reposting your shots to encourage people along the way. Also tag your pictures and tweets with #ffburpee if you want to be entered to win an Under Armor outfit.
When in doubt, don’t forget to….
Who’s ready to get their burpees on? Who else are you
forcing encouraging to join you this month for this challenge? Let’s do this. 3,2,1 Goooooooooo……