They're All Mental

“They're Mental”

From a challenge thrown down a few weeks ago, a crazy bunch of my friends are doing 100 burpees every day this month.

I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, but with old bike injuries to both shoulders and an upcoming Spartan race, I didn’t want to risk it. (That might be an excuse, I’m honestly not sure, but that’s another story)

Either way, I’m not doing the challenge, but 100 burpees make a regular appearance in the Crossfit WOD bible that guides my workouts.


The first time I did it last summer, it took me somewhere around 30 minutes.

By January of this year, I had it down to 19:42.

A couple of weeks ago, I finished in 14:32, which I thought was pretty dang fast.

Then John Savage posted a time of 5:42 on day 17 of the burpee challenge.

100 burpees in 5 minutes and 42 seconds.

I don’t know for sure, but that has to be approaching the fastest speed at which a human is capable of going through that range of motion 100 times.

John says it’s all mental.

“Your body can do it,” he says, “it’s just your mind telling you that you can’t.”

I thought that was total bullshit.

But then Mark Broady talked about how, when he started on the first day of September, he could barely do 20 without stopping for a break. Two weeks later, he decided that he was just going to do all 100 without stopping.

Like Nike, he said, just do it.

And he did.

Now if you click on those guy’s names and stalk them, you’ll quickly see they're both super fit, six-minute mile type dudes. And you might think to yourself, “well, I mean, obviously those guys can do it - they’re freakin’ athletes!”

That’s true, they are.

But most in the group would not describe themselves as athletes, and still, they are making incredible gains in a short amount of time.

30 minutes down to 20.

20 minutes down to 15

60 minutes down to 35.

Huge improvements, short time.

I don’t know that I’m ready to agree with John and Mark that it’s 100% mental, but looking at these numbers, there’s no denying that the mental is a huge part of it.

Fifteen days isn’t enough time for physiology alone to explain going from less than 20 burpees non-stop to 100 burpees non-stop, nor is it enough time to solely explain cutting the time it takes in half.

I kinda hate that I’m not doing this challenge, but watching it is a damn good reminder that we’re all capable of much more than our minds tell us we are.