100 Burpees A Day

Below is a video of a woman who performed 100 burpees a day for an entire year. The hard work performed by this 40 year old mother is not only inspiring, but certainly led to an impressive transformation as well. You can see the before and after pictures within the video. There is a side by side comparison at approximately the 4:55 mark.

I first shared this story on Facebook after seeing it on my news feed. Upon sharing the video, I was surprised to hear from both of the individuals seen within (see here). I was honored to hear that they are past customers of mine who have been influenced by material.

More importantly however, I am happy to see yet another example of a low-tech exercise routine that has produced such amazing results. The type of work that Nikki performed could be done almost anywhere. Her transformation is a product of hard work and consistency. She did not need anything fancy to completely change her life over the course of a year.

As for the specifics of her routine, here is what she had to say when asked about the burpees,

“For those of you asking how I did the burpees I will say I definitely had to get creative. If there were some in one of our Boot Camp workouts I could count those toward the 100. Most of the time they were done in addition to my workout. At the beginning I did 10 sets of 10. Sometimes 5 at a time with only a couple of breaths. You can spread them out throughout your day. Just make sure to keep track. I have done 100 straight. My best time was 6:30. I have done 100 burpees flipping a tire – 10 burpees – flip tire – jump in it – over it – 10 burpees other side – and repeat to 100. I have done 25 burpees with a 20lb weighted vest – run half mile – 4x. I have many creative ways to do them! So if you are up to the challenge I am more than willing to share the crazy!”

Nikki clearly kept things interesting by varying her burpees throughout the year. Yet when I look at the big picture, my eyes aren’t focused solely on the fact that she performed burpees each day. And I don’t say this to discredit the burpee. If you have followed me for any amount of time, there is a good chance you have seen me perform the movement at one point or another. Burpees are certainly a useful conditioning exercise.

No single exercise is as important as consistency and commitment however. Yes, burpees were an important part of her routine, but the fact that she was accountable for a certain amount of work each day is what ultimately triggered her success. Nikki woke up each day knowing that there was work to be done and she held herself accountable for it. She also mentions how if she missed a day, should would need to make up for it the next. That alone is incentive to get the work done now, rather than waiting for another day. Therefore, Nikki wasn’t just consistent, she focused on the present. In other words, don’t worry about tomorrow when there is still work to be done today.

Unfortunately, it is that type of commitment that does not get enough attention in the industry today. And the reason for the lack of attention shouldn’t come as a surprise. Intangibles cannot be packaged and sold. As a result, these important qualities will never receive widespread attention. The industry’s focus will always be on the exercise or routine, as opposed to the willingness to perform the exercise or routine. Yet it is the latter that is significantly more important.

If you look through this blog’s history, you will see countless weight loss stories which share very little in common from a training standpoint. For example, there was a man who lost over 100 pounds through running alone. Another man lost over 200 pounds by riding a bike. Others have lost weight through calisthenics and weight lifting. Each story highlights an entirely different approach to training. What they share in common is that the individuals finally decided to remain consistent. No longer were there periods of inactivity. It was a matter of waking up each day ready and willing to work. The cumulative effect of such hard work and consistency is what ultimately leads to success.  What you choose to do is of lesser importance than your willingness to keep at whatever you do as the days and weeks amass.

In summary, I am not sharing this story to suggest that everyone should perform burpees each day. Instead, look past the specifics and focus on what is truly important. Nikki is a tremendous example of hard work and commitment. Her willingness to consistently hold herself accountable is something that most could benefit from. Hopefully her example will inspire others to make similar changes if they have failed in previous attempts.

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  1. Ross, indeed consistency is among the top keys to success.

    However, how do you factor recovery into the above?

    True progress in fitness and health is the right amounts of stress and recovery and these are what bring about progress. For the average person 100 burpees a day (or any moderate to high intensity exercise) would result in overtraining or injury. I think activity daily is key but varying intensities between strength training / walking / agility is what brings about lifelong progress.

    Interested to read your thoughts on this.

  2. excellent!
    we are a month into our 100 burpee/day 100 day challenge.
    one of our all time favorite conditioning exercises.
    keep training HARD & training SMART!

  3. What happens when you hook up a 12 horsepower load to a 10 horsepower machine? It breaks.

    What happens when you hook up a 12 horsepower load to a human capable of putting out 10 horsepower? The human becomes capable of putting out 12 horsepower over time.

  4. What a great blog post! And you hit the nail on the head! It’s about the willingness to do work!
    Nikki is my wife and we choose burpees because they are as intense as you can get and full body. We thought if you could put your body through this kind of intensity everyday, then that intensity then becomes normal. And anything less than that seems easy.
    A normal 100 burpee day for Nikki, is probably a “workout of a lifetime” for some. And it was for her too, at the beginning. And she kept going, and going, and going. Now a 100 burpee is a “mini workout” that she does on top of her regular workout.
    To some (most) 100 burpees seems extreme and might be too much. But remember, Nikki is an average person (look at the before picture). She did it for herself and it was hard and there was hardly any rest or recovery. If she did rest, she had to make up for it. But her body adapted to the demand and changed.
    A boxer or a wrestler conditions themselves daily, not taking every other day off and they are in great shape. Conditioning can be done daily! It doesn’t have to be 100 burpees a day, it can be anything.
    People have no idea of their capabilities!
    It at first took Nikki 45 minutes to do 100 burpees, now it takes her under 7 minutes.
    She did it quietly, she a lot of times did it alone, and most of all…she did for herself.
    Proud of you babe!

  5. Great post! Simple consistency is often underappreciated. I recently hit a personal goal of 30 unbroken chin-ups, and it was a result of making the conscious effort to do chin-ups each and every day (low volume) on top of whatever else I was doing. I set up a reminder in my email inbox at work to tell myself to get up from my desk and do one set each of chin-ups and handstand push-ups to failure. Takes virtually no time and, in a month of doing this I made more progress on each than in probably a year of inconsistantly trying to improve each exercise. http://www.hobofit.blogspot.ca/2014/01/errrday.html
    I need to try the 100 burpee/day thing! At 6’6″, I suck at burpees ;-)

  6. I noticed she would do ten sets of ten reps at first. One could even spread out the burpees for twenty sets of five throughout the day if they weren’t in good shape. Pavel Tsatsouline called this “greasing the groove,” by performing a given exercise throughout the day but only perform each set at about 50% or so of your max reps. This can work on bodyweight exercise or even weight training. Bulgarian weightlifters have multiple daily training sessions that last between 30-45 minutes each. I read of a powerlifter who used this method with the bench press. He made great improvements and was bench pressing 5-6 days a week. Think I will try the 100 burpee a day challenge. Great idea.

  7. Thanx for this Ross. Feeling slow today. Gotta get my rear in gear. This did the trick. Off to the garage. My ab wheel is taunting me! Just got it and am learning how to use it. Used your tutorial. You are a good teacher.

  8. Hi everyone! If anyone is thinking about doing this challenge we have a Facebook page for it. 10,000 Burpee Challenge Davis Training Bootcamp. You can get ideas and support and share how you are getting them done. Also it is a great way to be held accountable. Who is up for the challenge?

  9. This really is an awesome story. I love the transformation. And of course her dedication. Motivates me to do something similar. Thanks for the post.

  10. I love this post!

    “What you choose to do is of lesser importance than your willingness to keep at whatever you do as the days and weeks amass.”

    This sentence really hits home for me because it is so true. If we apply this principle through the lens of the 80/20 rule, I would say that 80% of the challenge when someone wants to make a transformation is staying consistent. And 20% is their workout or what they choose to do.

    Thanks for the great post!

  11. the women that i have been working out with for the past 2 1/2 years started out being unable to perform even 5 decent top of picnic table pushups with the feet on the ground and hands on the table top, she could not swing a 20 lb kettlebell 20 reps or last thru a 15-20 minute entry level workout. her spirit is amazing and after 2 years or so has lost over 150 lbs. can swing a 40 -50lb. kettlebell for 100 continuous reps and finished the 10,000 kb challenge with a time under 18 minutes for 500 swings with ex thrown in. she has walked the 13.1 mile marathon twice in two years and bested her time ,in addition she participated in a stair climb of 40 flights and finished in a respectable 11 minutes and some change!! she routinely drags over 500 pounds in doors on the sled and just posted a video on facebook of a 600 lb pull!! all this at over 50plus years of age with no previous exercise history ..just inactivity!! she has truly made an amazing change!!!!

  12. Hi there, how did u get started I have been doing the 30 day burpee challenge for 8 days but my wrist hurt but I can see a differance in ky endurance do I dont want to stop. I also have to do beginner moves in between because of it. Thanks

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