Andrea: Burpees Challenge

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Andrea Selfie

I jumped into a personal challenge recently- the 30 burpees a day for 30 days challenge that I accepted while on Twitter one day. If you’ve never done a “burpee” each one includes a series of movements (jump, squats, and a push up). The thing about burpees is that they take effort. They are not a mindless set of exercises you can do with your eyes closed. You can’t ignore or forget any one movement.

During each one, I played a little mind game… “only a few more, only a few more!” Somehow I got through 30 every day.

I had personal reasons for joining the burpee challenge. At fifty-one years old I wanted to push myself to see if I could do it and to be a role model for other fifty-somethings. Call me crazy or competitive or both. After the first day of 30 burpees I realized that I got myself into something really tough. The motto of “no pain no gain” was paying off though. I started to notice some muscle definition in my arms and I was getting stronger! In the past, ten pushups were my limit, but I was starting to be able to do more with less effort. Physically, the challenge paid off.

The more important results, however, had nothing to do with strength, or even proving something to other fifty-one year olds. In fact, this became secondary to the series of friendships that spawned from this small group of complete strangers. We all live in different parts of the world- Singapore, England, and the U.S. and yet we connected on so many levels. In the first fifteen days of the burpee challenge we learned more about each other than any of us has probably learned about anyone else in such a short time. The endurance, commitment, and desire to succeed were the quintessential bonds that we all intimately shared.

The relationships have been creative and genuine. When Julie unexpectedly had a death in the family, I found myself reaching out to her in hopes that I could cheer her just a little during this very difficult time. Karma and I jumped ship from twitter to find a better place to chat and we ended up sharing wonderful personal stories about family and about martial arts. I persuaded Logen into a video chat one day so I could let him know how much I appreciated his efforts and how his “challenge” brought us all together. Kevin supported my burpee challenge and my blogging! Finally, I met Ando who became my soul-friend. He guided me to create my own website and encouraged me to follow my writing path. I rely on a few minutes of contact with him almost every day to keep me focused and encouraged.

What can I say? The burpee challenge was little of what I expected. Yes, it was difficult and required commitment and hard work. But, had I not tried, I would have missed out on four real friendships that surprisingly became the championship prize of the challenge.