Burpee on

I've spoken before about the first 50 burpees or so being sucky. That doesn't appear to be getting any better. But that's fine. In lieu of a warm-up what else can it be?

There are some nights where te biggest challenge (not necessarily the hardest physically) is the first burpee, possibly the first two. Just breaking the seal on the session seems to be an enormous hurdle. Doing them at home, it is remarkable just how many things can suddenly be both interesting and important!

Starting is key! Those extraneous things can (and do) still get done/moved/taken out of the fridge/washed up/folded during the rest intervals. But without starting, they will derail you as surely as a girder across a railway line.

Now I am not saying that it is all plain sailing from there on. That would be a lie! There are some nights where the burpees are laboured and sluggish. Nights where I feel every moment of my nearly 37 years plus another 50 of somebody else's! Mind you, there are other nights where the numbers slip past like driftwood in the current...or more appropriately, like a good whiskey- smooth and silky but with a bit of a burn!

It doesn't matter which cask the session is drawn from, you can't finish without actually starting. That sounds so obvious as to be daft, and yet it has come as something of a revelation to me. No session, good or bad, "easy" or laboured, has come even remotely close to being logged as DNF (did not finish). They may not have been the fastest or cheeriest but they got done and done to standard.

I'm not given to being dogmatic and yet there are some things with which I am like a terrier with a hare. I'll rag doll myself to get it done. But it isn't necessarily about wanting to. It's about needing to. About knowing what has to be done and setting to it. Undoubtedly, enjoying what you do helps. It is far easier to give your best when you want to be doing it. But it is not essential. The challenge, it would seem, is maintaining progress when you can't feel the driver.

I'm not a machine, I'm not superhuman and I am definitely not a saint! I have given in and given up on many things. I have a telephone directory sized list of people I have disappointed over time.all of which adds a certain piquancy to this lesson. There is a choice. There is always a choice. To get involved, or not. To start, or not. To continue, or not.

However choice is not always a good thing. It eats away at our mental RAM - notice how some otherwise rational seeming people can make some really block-headed calls, especially when they are also physically tired. Too much choice can be paralysing. As much as we crave freedom to choose, the myriad options with little between them can lead to their own tyrannous dissatisfaction.

I was asked the other day how I deal with the fatigue of doing the burpees every day. I replied with "mostly by trying not to give it permission to determine what I do" and then a bit about starting. Both of which answers I believe. I may have missed something out though. On reflection, those days when I don't feel like doing that day's quota and am wavering, I always seem to ask myself this question: "if you don't feel like doing 260[or whatever] today, what are the odds of you feeling inclined to do 520 [or whatever the two-day total would be] tomorrow?" That always seems to do the trick. I guess if I'm well enough to ask and answer the question then I am well enough to start the session. 

The question is not magic, although it does seem to have some restorative powers! It works in part because of the ground rules of the year, the framework within which it operates. But mostly it works because it takes the choice and makes it stark. It is less a question of missing the session - "it's only one" (and we all know how many ventures have been sunk by that phrase; or how many massive drinking sessions have begun with those words!). It gets under the skin of that and challenges my contemplation of, and involvement in the year itself. It takes an awareness of human frailty and reframes the night's disinclination as "I want to quit". And I don't! So, when put like that, the choice is almost entirely removed. Permission denied.

So, we burpee on!


  1. Keep pushing bud, everyday I question why I am so committed and then I realize I am invested and I am not going to quit.

  2. Thanks buddy. Not carrying on isn't an option, but man, some days it is hard to start!


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