Without fail, no matter where I teach or who is in class, as soon as I mention the word burpees, there is a symphony of moans and groans that takes over the room. The reason for this angst is because, well, no one really likes doing burpees. Even though they are good for you, they are very challenging—even for skilled and experienced fitness enthusiasts. But because they are so difficult, most people avoid doing them (except if you are in a class that incorporates them into the routine). However, when it comes to exercise, it is not about doing what you love, it is about doing what gets the job done—regardless of how difficult it might be to do.
Sure, there is not much fun in doing something you do not like. But exercise is a different beast. You know that comfort zone you always hear about? Well, if you want to see results, you need to step out of that comfort zone and challenge yourself which means doing exercises that you may not like. Truthfully, the only way to get better at them is by doing them—often. I know many women who are frustrated by the fact that they cannot do push-ups. I always tell them to just keep doing them. The more they practice, the stronger they will get and the easier they will be to do. Not many people can go right into doing a difficult move or exercise without some effort or difficulty. This is what keeps us going and gives us a goal to meet or a challenge to overcome.
This year, I have made pull-ups my goal. I can do them assisted, but struggle when it comes to doing them on my own. Well, after a few weeks of doing inverted pull-ups, assisted pull-ups and jumping pull-ups, I was able to get three regular pull-ups on my own. I was so happy I could not wait to brag about it to my husband. Yes, I struggled, sweated and said a few choice words while practicing them each week, but I got the job done and now my goal is to improve my number to five or six. This is a big part of what fitness and exercise is all about—finding and conquering your biggest challenge.
I will admit that burpees never get easier, even for an instructor, but they do become a lot more manageable. So instead of huffing and puffing after only ten of them, I can go at least a full minute before the heavy breathing begins to hit me. The women in my classes are also beginning to tolerate them a lot better too (even though they will never admit it in hopes I will one day stop using them). Of course, now that I see how far they have come, I have to challenge them by using variations of burpees (yes, there are dozens of unique ways to do this beloved exercise).
So whether it is burpees, push-ups, pull-ups or some other exercise that you absolutely dread, do them. The only way to break through a plateau, get stronger and see positive changes in the way you look and feel is to take the impossible and make it possible. Not only will you physically see a difference, but the psychological euphoria you will get from accomplishing something you never thought you could do is as good, if not better, than the adrenaline rush you will have after your workout. It is also a great example to set for our kids—showing them that hard work, perseverance and determination pays off in a big way.
Photo Credit: http://www.pullupsforwomen.com/