Long before I noticed any fitness benefits of doing burpees every morning, I noticed something else: I really, really, did not want to get out of bed. Because once I got out of bed, I would have to do my burpees.
Photo: Andy Sternberg
But it's now the 22nd of the month and I've managed my burpees every day. Some days I really didn't want to, but every day I've been happy when I finished. Here are some of the tactics that got me this far:
Remove the Little Annoyances
The worst thing about morning burpees, I found, was not the exercise itself — that I can handle — but the fact that it gets you all sweaty and gross first thing in the morning. And if you do 30 burpees in your pyjamas, you'll end up with super sweaty pyjamas. Ew.
So I change from my pyjamas into workout clothes. If I'm going to work out more that morning, that system works just fine. And if I'm not, I sweat into a sports bra and a pair of shorts, then peel those off and take a quick shower before getting dressed for the day.
Another minor annoyance is that I really don't like exercising immediately after I wake up. But morning routines last minutes to hours, not seconds. I realised I felt a lot better about exercising if I did it maybe 20 minutes after waking up, after I'd had a chance to have some caffeine, feed my kids and maybe spend a few bleary-eyed minutes scrolling on my phone.
Make a Small Commitment
Maybe you can do a ton of burpees when you get really motivated, but you'll have to do your exercise every day, even on the days you feel really tired. Even on the days work is super busy. So I'm not doing 50 burpees a day; I told myself I would do a minimum of 10.
With all the burpee variations that are possible, chances are there's something you can do 10 of. (Or five! Or three!)
I have a bad habit of giving up on great ideas before I get a chance to see them through. But I really wanted to do burpees every day for a month, so I installed an iPhone app called Done to make sure I wouldn't forget. Every day it reminds me to do my burpees and every day I can enter the number I did.
Something about seeing my progress really motivated me. The app encourages you to keep a streak, which is great, but it also adds up how many times you did your habit (in my case, burpees). Once I found my rhythm, I realised I was on track to do a thousand burpees by the end of the month. Well, I'm sure not going to skip a day now, because it means I'll need to work in 30+ burpees somewhere else in the month.
Update: if you need to wake up at 3am, burpees will do it better than a cup of coffee pic.twitter.com/R0R7IS65P1
— Beth Skwarecki (@BethSkw) June 9, 2018
Have a Backup Plan
After a couple weeks, I started to get a nagging ache in my back. I've felt this before and I know it's not serious, but it does mean I should rest a bit. But how to rest without breaking my streak?
I returned to those modified burpees we mentioned before. I skipped the push-up, and stepped instead of jumped. This isn't nearly as vigorous an exercise, but it kept me in the habit and gave me time to heal. After two days of easy burpees I felt great going back to my regular ones.
If I weren't able to do burpees at all, I'd shift goals entirely: if I broke my leg, maybe I'd find an arm exercise I could do every morning instead. Remember, this isn't the Very Strict Burpee Competition; it's a fitness challenge where we're doing something to benefit ourselves.
It's fine if you haven't managed a perfect streak. Heck, this is our sixth fitness challenge and so far it's the only one that I've managed to do every single day. So how is the month going for you? Have you done your burpees more days than not? Are you keeping track of your total? Don't forget you can make a new goal for yourself as we head into the home stretch!