But What About Thirty?

“But what about 30?”

If you saw my video yesterday, you know that I’m chasing down some friends who can do 100 burpees in under 6 minutes, with a couple of them closing in on sub-five minutes.

I’m learning that, between the mind and the body, the mind is the bigger roadblock.

“You can’t do that,” it tells me.

In that video, I talked about bout breaking the 100 movements into sets of ten with a break after each, and how that’s causing problems.

If I pass ten, my mind gets confused.

“Wait,” it says, “what just happened?”

“You were supposed to stop!”

By number 13 or 14 it’s screaming at me, “STOP DAMMIT! STOP THIS INSTANT! IT’S BREAK TIME!”

As a consequence, I never make it much past 10. I believe 17 consecutive burpees has been my max, and I had accepted that I would never get very far past that.

“I’m the guy that needs a break every ten or so.”


Until this morning, in my StoryAthlete® group, when a challenge was issued: Initiate A Mental Test That You Doubt Is Possible.

Burpees seemed the logical choice.

At the Spartan Race, the penalty for missing an obstacle is 30 burpees, so that number holds some practical value for me. With the next race coming up in November, I figured I’d see if I could get thirty in a row, non-stop.

I set my timer.

3, 2, 1, GO.

Predictably, at about number 9, I started to feel the break coming on. Pushing past ten wasn’t terribly difficult, but by 19, my mind’s eye was looking at me sideways, like “WTH, dude?”

At 23, my quads were burning, and my heart rate was through the roof.

At 25, I didn’t think I could do it.

My brain is now howling at me, “Make it stop!”

26. (STOP!)





I collapsed on the floor.

Breathing heavy, but smiling despite having 70 burpees left.

Yesterday, Robert said he did the same thing with breaking big sets into smaller chunks. “Let me know if you find a hack to beat that,” he posted.

I’m not sure there is one.

Hard shit rarely comes with a shortcut.

But you don’t need one.

You just need to tune out the voice that says you can’t, and tune in the one that says you can.