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Life Is Like A Bunch Of Burpees…

The other day I was doing a workout that included three sets of 20 burpees.  60 burpees in total.  If you’re familiar with CrossFit then you probably know what a burpee is.  If you’re not familiar with CrossFit let me explain the demon incarnate of a movement…

You begin in a standing position.  Then essentially get down into a push up position and take the chest all the way to the ground.  After that you push yourself up, jump to where your feet are back under you, stand all the way up and jump off the ground ending with a clap above your head.

Doesn’t sound too bad right?  Go ahead and do 5 and then come talk to me.

Anyhoo, back to the story at hand.  I was in the middle of a workout where 60 burpees were just part of it.  By the time I got to the burpees I was exhausted.  On a good day fresh I can do about 30 burpees non stop, but in this workout that wasn’t happening.  I began what I call mental gymnastics/ differential equations to figure out how many I was going to do before I stopped to break up the set.  I settled on three sets that consisted of 8, then 7, and then 5 reps respectively for the set of 20.  It was then in the middle of the first set that I had an epiphany about this blog.  I realized that life is like a bunch of burpees so let me explain.

Much like many things in life, the task at hand (20 continuos reps) was too much to do all at once.  I had to break it up into manageable chunks.  In life there are many times where the things you must accomplish are too great to do all at once and can become overwhelming.  You must break them down into manageable chunks in order to succeed.

We can take this analogy another step forward.  If you notice in my rep scheme breakdown I didn’t break up 20 evenly.  I broke it into 3 chunks with descending reps.  Why did I do this?  Because, it’s easier mentally.  When you begin an effort you are excited and fired up about it and you have energy to charge hard.  I knew I could do 8 reps well, and by forcing myself to rest there even when I didn’t necessarily need it yet, I knew I’d save enough to repeat a good effort with the 7.  I also knew that if I tried to break it up evenly, I’d be more tired as the sets progressed so the third set would be way more difficult then the first.  In this way, when I get more tired, I’ve already planned for that by having less reps to do.

See any similarities in life?  When you start a new thing do you charge ahead until you are exhausted, or do you set reasonable expectations?  Can you be disciplined enough to set up boundaries and check points to accomplish?  Do you set descending check points by doing the hard things first and then progressing to the easier things?  This can help you accomplish more in life.  Even in your day, if you set your hard tasks first you’ll have a better day.  Once you’ve accomplished them, the rest of the day is easy.  What do you do to set yourself up for success here?

While doing the burpees I started to think about how much this sucks.  As soon as I started to think that, I started to feel worse about what I was doing.  In the middle of the workout I had to shift my focus to only the facts, and in this case the facts were that I only had 8 reps left in this one set.  By managing the chunks and expectations I was able to shift my focus to something positive (only 8 reps left) as opposed to something negative (this really sucks).

It’s good to set up something like that in your daily tasks as well.  Figure out what your chunks are and try to change your focus into something positive and you’ll be much more successful.

Burpees also tend to be a grind.  It’s all mental but I’ve found that by charging ahead and going to the ground quickly I can accomplish more faster.  With the burpee the hardest part isn’t going to the ground it’s getting up off the ground, so instead of standing there breathing hard, I try to go to the ground quickly, then I can focus only on the hard task of getting up.

In life you’re going to get knocked down all the time.  It’s not really about how many times you get knocked down, it’s the focus it takes to get back up that’s the key.  Sometimes it’s a grind, but when you focus on the immediate task at hand it can certainly help you.

So the next time you’re doing a ton burpees try to equate it to your life maybe they won’t feel so bad….. haha who am I kidding burpees are always rough, but they’re a necessary part of fitness and will make you better at life.


when life knocks you down

7-21-14 WOD


Tall Cleans

Clean Pulls

Met Con:

Push Ups x 1 min

Sit ups x 1 min

Burpees x 1 min

Squats x 1 min

1 Min rest

3 rounds for total reps

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