This post could be titled “Burpee challenge, modified” and is inspired — like the whole burpee challenge thing, by a post on lifehacker. In this case, it was a post about getting a hundred burpees done.
How things are now
I still do burpees most days. Following my initial math, I worked up to sets of ten, by managing to get twenty done in two minutes.
The thing is, it’s not as fun as it once was, and I’m not seeing improvement. I get at least one burpee done (the old minimum) at least six days a week. And on one day, I managed seven sets of nine — in competition with my daughter who takes some liberties with form.
Still, I’m feeling more and more like I’m plateauing. The number of burpees I can do is not going up. I’m not getting more pull-ups done in a single set. And, adding burpees to my runs (the kill-two-birds-with-one-trip-outside strategy) means that I seldom run much more than a kilometer without a ‘break.’ (To be honest, the running feels like a break.)
How I want things to be
I don’t have a clear answer. I want to get back to feeling like I’m getting stronger, to being proud of my workouts, rather than just getting them out of the way.
I genuinely want to feel stronger.
A good fitness memory
Here’s a thing we did not long ago that made all of this seem a little more worthwhile: getting the kids outside (one of my biggest summer priorities) we found an oak tree that had a lot of branches that we could reach. Of course, we climbed it.
I haven’t spent much time in a tree in a while — though that is a long-term goal — and was surprised to see how effortless it seemed to about using my arms and shoulders to support a lot of my weight. I wasn’t doing insane rock-climbing stuff, and there was still a lot of weight on my legs.
None of those caveats, though, takes away from the feeling I had — not much more than two meters in the air — of being somehow stronger than I was used to being. And being strong enough to help my kids climb.
I loved that.
You can bet we’ve been back to that tree — and others, though that’s the one that seems to need my arms the most — often, as much for my benefit as for theirs.
So, here’s what I guess I want: to continue doing workouts that impress me (without injury, I might add!) and to have more of those moments of relative strength.
The way forward
I don’t know what the way forward is. Often, I make these posts after I’ve come up with an idea I want to try. Instead, I wanted to make a record of how things stand right now.
There is one change I’m making now, as I look at how to continue this fitness adventure. And, unfortunately, it revolves around an experience I had in which I felt less strong: headstands.
There was a time when my sister and I had a competition to see who could do the longest headstands. I could count to twelve and back down while standing pretty reliably on my head (not, I should add, my hands). It was one of those things that made me feel strong.
And then back hurt and I got into planks, and from planks into burpees.
Then, recently, my daughter has become interested in headstands, handstands, cartwheels, the like. And she asked me if I could still do a headstand (she’d seen them)… and it was hard. I got my legs in the air, but not with the confidence I’d had before.
So, I guess I’m going back to doing headstands. And that’s okay. I’ve just rationalized that I’ll try to substitute headstands for burpees on those days when I’ve realized I haven’t done enough burpees.
Maybe I’ll join my daughter in her handstand/cartwheel goals.