24th MEU Deployment 2012

I found God in the burpee.

What’s a burpee? It’s a full body exercise named after the American physiologist, Royal H. Burpee, that consists of several parts:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your body into a squat; place your hands on the floor directly in front of you and shift your weight onto your hands.
  3. Jump your feet back into a plank position and keep your arms extended.
  4. Do a push-up.
  5. Jump your feet forward, returning to the squat position.
  6. Lift your arms over your head while you jump into the air.
  7. Immediately lower your body again into a squat position and begin your next burpee.

I began doing burpees this summer as part of a kickboxing class I signed up for on a whim. I consider myself more of a lover than a fighter. Prior to signing up for the class, I’d never thrown a punch. But, my wife took a kickboxing class at a local gym, loved it and suggested I try it. It was totally outside of my comfort zone. But I gave it a shot and, despite the fact that the kickboxing workout pushed me beyond what I perceived to be my physical limits, I was immediately hooked and now make it a priority to attend a class at least twice a week.

In between the jabs, hooks, upper cuts and round kicks, my kickboxing trainer loves to toss in a few minutes of burpees. Just when I think my arms and legs can take no more, just as I’m about to collapse into an exhausted heap on the mats, to say that the trainer’s demand to do burpees seems absurd is an understatement.  My mind tells me “I can’t”. My muscles are in agreement. But my trainer disagrees. And, oddly enough, there’s a very small part of me – I must stress, very small – that wants me to keep going. An impulse that’s not willing to give up.

What’s even odder is that this impulse has the ability to shut down all the doubt and negativity that’s coursing through every fiber of my body. With sweat teeming out of all my pores, my heart pounding and odd grunts and groans emanating from deep within me, I do the burpees. Not perfectly – but I do them. That impulse continues to overcome my desire to give up. And, somehow, someway, I complete the burpee set.

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