MMB – Are You a Mindless Eating Machine?

Hi Everyone,

Happy Monday to you!  I hope you are all doing well and have been moving and eating clean out there!  Excellent effort by everyone who made it out to classes this past week.  Keep up the great work guys and you will see the fruit of your labor in every day life as you get stronger and more capable! 

MMB – A Way to Help Out Fire Victims

Good morning everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and have been staying active out there.  Because of the the poor air quality in the bay area, I know we’ve had to come up with more creative ways to get our work outs in.  The winds should be changing this week and will hopefully clear out the smoke so we can safely exercise outside.  In regard to the Sonoma and Napa fires, I heard a news report say that the firefighters are hopeful the fires should be mostly contained by this Friday.  Wouldn’t that be marvelous?! 

Praying for Safety During Fire Evacuations

Hi Everyone,

Now that it’s daylight and if you’ve smelled the air, you know there is something wrong because of all of the smoke.  I’ve been very preoccupied this morning with the news of the fires in Santa Rosa and Napa and can’t believe all of the devastation that’s going on right now!

I would like to ask for prayers for my cousin Jessica, who lives in Santa Rosa.  I just found out that she had to evacuate her home and all of her animals.  Jessica is a wildlife expert and caregiver at Safari West in Santa Rosa and is trying to evacuate all of the animals this morning.  As you can imagine, this is a daunting task and I can only imagine how challenging this is for the staff right now.  Of course, we need prays for all of the people who are in harms way and in danger of the fire.  I saw on the news that an entire mobile home park was destroyed.

MMB – Moving is Living

Good morning everyone,

Happy Monday to you!  I hope that as you are reading this blog you are feeling refreshed from your weekend.  The weather is beautiful this time of year and a good reminder of why we live in California and pay the real estate prices that we do!  LOL!  This past Saturday was our 2nd  Fall Movement Mania and it was awesome logging so many of your exercise minutes into miles.  You guys are off to a great start, so let’s keep the momentum going and finding new ways to squeeze in exercise minutes every day!  I want to see those maps filled up by the end of the six weeks and find out who traveled the farthest! 

MMB – Parental Nutritional Ignorance = Child Abuse

Good morning everyone!  I hope you all had an amazing weekend and celebrated by moving!  Speaking of moving, the Fall Movement Mania kicked off this past Saturday!  For the next six weeks, you’ll have the opportunity to exercise in a variety of different ways.  With every minute of exercise you log, you’ll earn 1 mile per minute.  So, if you exercise for 200 minutes by next Saturday, you’ll earn 200 miles to travel on your own personal map!  Imagine the places we can go….  Hawaii, Europe, Mexico, disclaimer alert ( this vacation is in your imagination 🙂 )  Someday, Jen Allan Fitness will have amazing funds to award a magnificent vacation, but for now, ladies and gentleman, we’ll have to use our imaginations! So, start tracking those exercise minutes and mix up how you are moving.  The only rules are that whatever it is you are doing, you must have your heart rate up and be sweating.  A casual walk with a girl friend and chit chatting doesn’t really count…sorry! 

Every Saturday there will be a timed challenge for everyone to participate in and I’ll announce the winners on the Monday morning blog.  This past Saturday’s challenge was the following:

60 minute class:

  1. Run 1 lap around the buildng
  2. 20 push-ups & 20 Burpee push-ups
  3. 20 MB Slams & 20 MB Rotational Slams
  4. Running Pyramid – starting at 1 (light run) to 5 (sprint) and back down to 1.
  5. 20 Renegade Rows with a push-up, jump into a bicep press, and overhead press.
  6. 4 – 2 X2 Sprints and Stair drills
  7. 20 MB Tricep push-ups & 20 MB Burpee Tricep push-ups
  8. 20 DB Dead lifts & 20 Single leg warrior rows both left and right

30 minute class:

  • Run 1 lap around the buildng
  • 20 push-ups & 10 Burpee push-ups
  • 10 MB Slams & 10 MB Rotational Slams
  • Running Pyramid – starting at 1 (light run) to 5 (sprint) and back down to 1.
  • 10 Renegade Rows with a push-up, jump into a bicep press, and overhead press.
  • 4 – 2 X2 Sprints and Stair drills
  • 10 MB Tricep push-ups & 10 MB Burpee Tricep push-ups
  • 10 DB Dead lifts & 10 Single leg warrior rows both left and right

Top winner for 60 minute class – Christi Stevenson 28:22

Top three winners for 30 minute class are:  Heather Thompson 16:23, Dave Thompson 16:40, and Erin Campbell 17:50

Way to go guys!  Keep up the great work and let’s get those exercise minutes logged this week! 

Announcements and Reminders:

  1.  6 week Fall Movement Mania is happening now through October 28th!  It’s not too late to join.  You can see me during the week to get weighed and measured and start tracking your exercise minutes this week to record on Saturday!  Bring a friend and shake things up!
  2. Next Running Boot Camp is on Sunday, October 8th at 7am. 
  3. Cardio Core for this Tuesday night is full.  If you’d like to attend, you are welcome to check in with me during the afternoon to find out if there have been any cancellations.  You can also contact me to sign up for the next two weeks for October 3rd or 10th. 
  4. Remember Leah and John Borges?  For those of you who are my regulars, you might remember Leah and John Borges, who used to attend my evening classes together.  They ended up moving to Discovery Bay, so they aren’t able to come to my classes anymore.  However, you might recall that John had announced that he was going to start training for a Triathlon?   Well, this was about a year ago and I ran into John and Leah yesterday and found out that John had just completed his Triathlon yesterday in Santa Cruz!  Here is a picture of John riding his bike in the 24 mile race!  John only started exercising about a year and a half ago.  Before that, he was very sedentary and out of shape.  Based on a decision he made to change, he was able to complete this race of a 1 mile ocean swim, 24 mile bike ride, and 6.2 mile run!  Way to go John!  We are proud of you!

 

Thought for the week:  Parental Nutritional Ignorance = Child Abuse

My husband and I don’t get out much.  In fact, if truth be told, we are kind of boring and enjoy our simple routines of home cooked meals, family time watching concerts, or bbqing and hanging out in our backyard with family and friends. Because Bob and I are both self-employed, it’s hard for us to get away and have any type of extended vacation, so we typically try to enjoy “staycations” where we are close to home and make the most of the time we have in a weekend.

This past weekend was a special one for our family because it marked the 5th year anniversary of our son Andrew’s open heart surgery at UCSF.  Andrew’s heart is now healthy and strong and thanks to the amazing surgeons and nursing staff at UCSF, he’ll have a bright future ahead of him where he can do anything physically he chooses to do!  We praise God for this!

So, we had an amazing “vacation”  weekend and truly celebrated as a family.  One of the fun events we attended over the weekend was the A’s game on Saturday night where they had a special Star Wars fireworks, which by the way, if you have never seen the fireworks at the Oakland Coliseum, they are spectacular and are better than Disneyland – if you can believe that!

One of the interesting things to do at any large sporting arena is to people watch.  It didn’t take my boys very long to figure out the trends at the Coliseum.  They watched a parade of people march by with tray after tray of loaded up hot dogs, nachos with dripping cheese, sodas spilling over the trays, and lots of sweet treats such as cotton candy and churros being consumed with gusto and speed. 

As you might imagine, this is not how my family rolls.  So, we had many interesting conversations about the observations we witnessed in terms of eating behaviors and choices.  As I reflect on what I watched in front of me the entire night, I am both saddened and horrified at what I observed, but I feel that I MUST share this with you to shed the light on what is happening in our country in regard to the path to obesity. 

First off, in sharing this story, I mean absolutely no disrespect to the mother whom I will speak of.  I don’t know anything about her, except what I saw in regard to how she eats and how she was feeding her daughter.  I am truly saddened for the state of health this woman is currently in.

At a ballgame, it’s hard to ignore things around you because you are surrounded by people in close proximity.  You hear their comments, biases, and yes, observe their eating and drinking habits. 

There was a young mother in front of me, probably around the age of 28, and she was about 150 pounds overweight.  She had a one year old with her, who was about as adorable as they come with her little bow in her hair, and was decked out in her little outfit for the day embracing all of her cuteness.  What wasn’t so cute, was watching her mom feed her.  I wish I was making the following observation, but I’m not. 

At the beginning of the game, the mom brought out a huge bag of nacho cheese flavored Doritos and was dipping the chips into the Frito Lay cheese sauce and handing them to her daughter one by one.  A little while later, she brought out a zip lock bag of pretzels and let her daughter have some of those.  Later in the game, the Skittles candies came out and she fed her daughter a handful of Skittles.  I noticed there was a woman sitting close to this mother, who was munching on blueberries, and offered a handful of blueberries to the little girl.  So, thankfully, the little girl had something decent to eat. 

Of course, after all of the sodium this little girl consumed, she’d be thirsty right?  Yup, she was, so the mom brought out a Capri Sun and handed it to her.  The mom was drinking a huge container of soda and was also eating all of the snack foods too.  During the entire course of the game, this little one year old ate nothing but processed food filled with preservatives, MSG, artificial flavorings and colorings, multiple forms of sugar, and void of any nutrients. 

Guys, my heart sank.  I don’t mean to be a pessimist or judgemental, but based on the size of the mom and what they were eating, one has to assume they are eating these types of food at home too. It’s easy to see the path that this precious, innocent little girl will be on for her entire life.  Imagine what is happening to her brain consuming all of these foods?  How are her taste buds being shaped?  With every bite or drink that little girl consumed, she was being trained to take in pleasure.  How is she going to react when she meets a vegetable or green leafy?  How can plants replace the excitement of a Dorito chip? 

This is why child hood obesity is on the rise and diseases such as Type II Diabetes are baffling doctors because they’ve never had to treat so many ten year olds who are now insulin dependent.  While we enjoyed the A’s game and time together as a family, I also took in the realization that this little girl would most likely grow up to be very unhealthy and will repeat the pattern, so I was sad too.  Of course, you never know, and I hope and pray that she’ll choose differently in her life at some point because CHANGE can happen for any of us at any time. 

As I mentioned before, this was a vacation weekend for my family, so my boys wanted to celebrate by having a slurpee.  They only get a slurpee once or twice a year, so it’s a big deal when they get one.  I thought you’d also like to see a couple pictures of my boys consuming their slurpees and the reactions their brains had!

If you made it this far in the blog, thanks for listening guys!  Let’s inspire our families to eat healthy and nutritious foods, because after all, they deserve the best and it starts with your leadership in your home. 

The boys and I munching on Kale Chips at the Boardwalk!! 

MMB – Avoiding Pattern Overload

Good morning everyone,

I hope you had a great weekend and are feeling energized out there!  Great job to everyone who was able to make it out to Boot Camp on Saturday and Running Boot Camp on Sunday!  Wow, that was a double whammy of fitness that made my trainer heart happy!  The hint of fall is in the air and the weather will be cooler this week, so it’s a perfect time to put on those running shoes and get an early morning run in or after work to re-energize yourself and de-stress!  You can do it!

 

MMB – A Moment to Pause and Reflect

Hi Everyone,

Happy Monday to you!  How are you all doing out there!?  Great effort by everyone who was able to make it out to classes this past week.  Now that September is rolling along, I hope that you and your family have settled back into routine and are able to focus on consistency with healthy meals and work outs.  Routine is our friend and our guide because routine allows us to go into autopilot mode and not stress about getting up early for a work out, because it’s normal to do it!  Or, doing meal prep at night so that you have healthy snack and meal choices for the following day.  If you are in the routine of carving out time for things that matter, then eating nutritious food and exercising is just part of who you are and what you do.  Make sense?  After all, you are worth if friend, and so are the people who you care about. 

Announcements and Reminders:

  1.  Cardio Core is at Jen’s Home Studio on Tuesdays.  
    1. 5:45pm – 1 opening      6:55pm – full    7:35pm – 2 openings
      1. Please contact me via text if you’d like to sign up for a session!  925-699-7725
  2. Running Boot Camp is this coming Sunday at 7am at Jen’s house!  Get a 5k distance in with strength and core drills!
  3. Fall Movement Mania begins on Saturday, September 23rd! 

Thought for the week:  A Moment to Pause and Reflect

 

Like many of you, my heart is aching for the millions of people who are suffering the effects of Hurricane Irma in Florida over the last couple of days.  It’s hard to fathom the plethora of challenges surrounding every nuance in the state.  Millions of people are without power and the storm surge continues to wreak havoc on thousands of structures.  Thankfully, we have organizations such as FEMA, which have plans in place for such disasters and are working night and day to rescue people and provide for their needs.  Of course, donations are still greatly needed and there are a variety of ways to pick up the phone and help in that way.  Perhaps the most important thing that we can do is to pray and to ask God for protection over the people and emergency response teams who are putting their own lives at risk to save others. 

Also on this Monday morning, I spent a few minutes listening into the 9/11 tributes and memorials and was reminded about the horrors of that time and could see so plainly how many people are still devastated and affected by the pain of losing their loved ones. 

O.k. so intense stuff right now right?  It’s heavy stuff to take in, but it’s also a good reminder of how fragile and precious life is.  My whole point in drawing our attentions to these two topics this morning is a couple of things:  1) pray for those who are suffering and are in need because we serve a God who listens to our prayers 2) Be aware of your abundant blessings and don’t take them for granted.

So, in knowing that our lives are precious and that every day is a gift, what can we do today that will take care of your body and mind?

  1.  Attitude check – Come on admit, do you have any stinking thinking going on?  If so, why?  What are the thoughts that are consuming you and why?  When we are negative, it affects everything – our body language, voice, demeanor, confidence,  and yes, exercise and eating!  Ever hear of emotional eating?  Oh boy, negative thinking has a direct link to indulgences because we end up with a defeatist attitude and think, “what the hell, it’s only one more cookie and I deserve it because I’ve had a bad day.”  See what I mean…dangerous!  Turn your thoughts around by taking your eyes off yourself and focusing on how to bless other people.  Negativity often comes when our thoughts are consumed with ourselves – how we’ve been wronged by someone, or we aren’t good enough, or we are a failure etc..  Instead, think, how can I bless someone today?  Reach out to a stranger and say Hi!  Tell a checker they are doing a great job and you appreciate the help.  Not only will this uplift the spirits of someone else, but guess what, it will make you feel better too!  Positive words are powerful stuff!  Try it!

 

  1. Storms of life – I’ve always said that the storms of life are always out there hovering over the ocean and we don’t know when they are going to hit land and come crashing into our lives.  Hurricane Harvey is a literal example right now isn’t it?  While we have no way of knowing when we are going to get hit by hard stuff, we can control the the things that go into our mind and body on a daily basis.  For example, when we are more fit and are exercising on a regular basis, we have a constant flow of positive endorphins in our body that help us manage stress and negativity.  Exercising is also amazing for releasing stress, so when we are under stress, exercise is an important tool to help us manage hard times.  I also acknowledge that it’s during these times that we aren’t very motivated to exercise, especially if we are under emotional stress, but if you can be mindful enough to carve out time to start by walking, that’s a good start.

 

  1. Don’t be a mindless eating machine!  When we are under stress, we often eat to soothe ourselves.  The problem is that it’s temporary and the minute we’ve stopped, we usually feel worse because of the types of foods we’ve taken in.  Think about it, we usually don’t binge on celery stalks or carrots when we are blue or angry!  That’s how we know it’s not true hunger.  No, it’s the good stuff like carbs, chocolate, cookies, alcohol etc.  that we crave.  It might feel good temporarily, but these habits can lead to devastating results such as  diseases like Diabetes.  So, stop and think before you eat, especially if you are upset, depressed, or angry.  Instead of reaching for the goodies in the cabinet, put on your running shoes instead and get out of the house for a brisk walk.  You’ll feel better and will have fought off a temptation triumphantly! 

Life is precious guys.  Make the most of what you have and appreciate what you’ve been given in life.  We all only have one life and I urge you to eat well, exercise well, love well, serve well, and life to your fullest potential because you are worth it!

See you soon!

Jen

 

MMB – The marvelous, mouth watering, bean burger!

Good morning everyone,

I hope you all had a fabulous Labor Day weekend and are feeling great out there!  It certainly was a hot weekend and felt more like we were in the mid-west or east, than in California.  Thankfully, it will start cooling down and returning back to normal. 🙂

Excellent effort by everyone who was able to make it out to classes this past week!  Let’s keep this fitness train moving forward and aiming towards consistency and commitment.  It’s only with this combination that you can truly be successful, and you can’t have one without the other!

Announcements and Reminders:

  1.  Cardio Core is Tonight at Jen’s house.  I currently have two openings at 5:45pm for the hour long class and three openings at 7:35pm for the thirty minute class.  Please text me if you want to sign up for tonight.
  2. Fall Movement Mania begins on Saturday, September 23rd!  More details to come!
  3. Next Running Boot Camp is Sunday, September 17th.  TBD

Thought for the week:  The marvelous, mouth watering bean burger!

Just recently, I have discovered the bean and veggie burger in my kitchen.  Now, I’ve known about this wonderful veggie concoction of stuff smooshed together to make a burger patty, but I’ve never actually made one!!  So, I’ve been thinking quite a bit that I feel like an idiot because there’s nothing new about veggie and bean burgers and they’ve been around for a long time, yet I’ve never made one.  What is wrong with me?  This stuff is right up my alley and I use all of these ingredients all the time! 

So, there’s no looking back right?  What’s in the past is in the past and there’s only looking forward.  As you know, I am always trying to find recipes that promote more of a plant based lifestyle because the bottom line is it’s healthier for us in the long run.  I’m not saying you can’t enjoy animal protein, but it’s the green stuff and veggies that we should mostly be consuming. 

If you are looking for something new to make for lunch or dinner, these veggie and bean burgers are awesome and I’ve been having fun making them!  Now, just like in all foods, you can gourmet them up by adding all kinds of lethal ingredients such as mayo, ketchup, and cheese, or you can enjoy them by themselves, on top of a bed of lettuce, or purchase a small think bun around 100 calories to give you that burger feel. 

The bottom line is that they are loaded with protein, fiber, good carbs, a variety of vitamins and minerals, and will leave you feeling very satisfied.  My son Ryan, who admits that he’s a carnivore, loved these burgers and can’t wait for the next round!

If you are like me and  have never gotten around to making a veggie/bean burger, it’s time to try something new for your family and discover an awesome new recipe that is plant based and delicious!

Ingredients:

2 cans of low sodium beans drained:  use either black beans, kidney beans, white beans, pinto beans, or combinations

1 egg

1/2 yellow onion finely chopped

1 cup of crimini mushrooms chopped

1/2 cup of red bell pepper chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped

1/2 cup of bread crumbs – I used gluten free bread

1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

1 tsp of ground cumin

sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

dash or two of hot sauce

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Saute pan or iron skillet

Extra:  2-3 yellow onions sauteed separately to add to the top of your burger.

Bun choice – this is up to you, but be careful of the big fluffy buns because they cost about 200 to 250 calories and are tons of extra carbs and sugar!

Other ingredients to play around with:  mashed yams, diced jalapenos, green chilis, chopped spinach, finely grated carrot and zuccini, Italian seasonings, Indian seasonings like curry, and roasted corn

 

Directions:  In a medium size bowl, smash beans with a fork until they are mushed up and sticky together.  Add all ingredients and mix well.  Mixture should be dense and sticky.  Make patties with your hands and set aside on a plate.  Note that the burgers will not shrink down like a typical beef patty. 

Heat up skillet with a little coconut oil to medium high heat.  Add burgers and cook about 4 minutes.  Flip carefully and cook another 4-5 minutes.  You can add a lid or tinfoil to cook faster.  Serve and enjoy! These are also great make aheads and enjoy for lunch or dinner the following day.

Note:  You can use the grill for these burgers, but it’s recommended that you place them on a sheet of tin foil because they don’t hold up well like a beef patty.

MMB – Why Good Sleep is Important!

Good morning everyone,

I hope you had an awesome weekend and were able to get outside and move!  Great job to everyone who was able to make it out to classes this past week.  Let’s keep the momentum going with consistent work outs and clean eating! 

 

MMB – History of the Burpee!

Hi Everyone,

Happy Monday to you and Solar Eclipse Day!  Although, with this fog in the Tri-Valley at the moment, I’m not sure we’ll be able to see it! LOL!  Now that school is back in session, it’s been really great reconnecting with many of you in class again and helping you get back into routine!  Yeah for routine!  Come on, admit it….you guys really miss a regular schedule of work outs right?  You know you do, that’s why you are coming back to class.  You want to feel energized, capable, confident, and know that you are taking care of your mind and your body! 

Announcements:

  1. Next Running Boot Camp is this coming Sunday, August 27th at 7am!  Join us for a 5k distance as we go around the sports park incorporating a variety of body weight training strength and core drills!  Beginners are welcomed!
  2. Cardio Core reminder is at Jen’s House, not VBC!  It’s by sign up only, so please contact me if you want to join in the fun on a Tuesday.  I currently have one spot open at 7:35pm for tomorrow night, but you are welcome to sign up for the following week if you want to reserve your spot!
  3. Fall Movement Mania is coming on Saturday, September 23rd!  The Fall Fitness Challenge is being replaced with the Fall Movement Mania and will incorporate new movement contests and drills!  Stay tuned for more details.

Thought for the week:  History of the Burpee

For those of you who train with me on a regular basis, you know one of the exercise we’ll be doing often is the burpee! I love burpees!  Why?  Because they are so darn effective!  The burpee is  the creme de la creme of body weight training exercises, because it takes care of the cardiovascular system utilizing HIIT, as well as working practically every muscle group in your body.  It’s easy to regress the exercise for beginners or progress it for more advanced exercises.  Once you have a decent level of conditioning in your body, then you can have fun with the burpee and perform all kinds of combinations and drills!  Think burpee/push-up/tuck jumps or burpee/spiderman plank/lateral burpees! 

I love body weight training because it’s functional, which means it helps us in how we move on a daily basis, and can be done anywhere.  Is it hard?  Absolutely!  This is why it’s critical that we get this type of training into our routine – because we need it and it’s highly effective!

But, what about the history of the burpee?  What about the name and how it all started?  I came across this article on Dr. Josh Axe’s site and wanted to share more information about the burpee so that you can better appreciate and understand the exercise. 

Check out this article below from Dr. Josh Axe:

Burpees: The Single Best Exercise Ever?

 
Burpees - Dr. Axe

If you were to ask me what exercise I would perform if given only one option, it would undoubtedly be the burpee. Burpees hits almost every muscle group while providing the aerobic and endurance benefits. It even helps strengthen the core. (It is important to note, though, the person has to be in proper shape to start off as this complex exercise can lead to injury if the exerciser isn’t ready for it.)

To be clear, this exercise is not an easy one. In fact, some people make breaking world burpee records a priority. On May 17, 2014, in Greenwood, South Carolina,  a gentleman by the name of Cameron Dorn broke two burpee world records. He performed 5,657 within a 12-hour period. He also completed the most burpees in a 24-hour period, finishing with a whopping 10,105. Another world record was achieved on October 21, 2013, in Portland, Oregon, by Lloyd Weema. He broke the burpee world record for the most chest to ground burpees performed in 72 hours with 9,480.

The burpee, also known as a squat thrust, is a full body exercise that incorporates four steps. The basic burpee is called a four-count burpee and starts in a standing position. From there, follow these four steps:

Count 1: Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground.
Count 2: Kick your feet back, placing your body into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended.
Count 3: Jump your feet back into the squat position.
Count 4: Jump up from the squat position.

Often, the burpee is performed as a six-count bodyweight exercise where a push up and an explosive jump is added to the mix, making this love/hate exercise even harder. The burpee is using so much energy that it is easy to get fatigued very quickly. This is one of the reasons that it is often incorporated into a challenge of some sort such as the 100 burpee workout. The fatigue happens very quickly due to the full body movements and, in some cases, up to three jumps not to mention the push up if you decide to add that.

Spartan Races require participants to do 30 burpees in a row if they choose to skip an obstacle– clearly a form of punishment that goes to show just how tough the exercise is! The Spartan Races are not the only ones that use the burpee as a form of punishment. The popular Cross-Fit gyms require a number of burpees to be performed for anyone arriving to class late. (1)


History

Let’s get into the history of the burpee. A physiologist named Royal H. Burpee developed the burpee in the 1930s by using it as a fitness test. He used the test as part of his doctoral thesis in applied physiology from Columbia University in 1940. It became popular when the United States Armed Services used it as a way to assess the fitness level of recruits during World World II. It allowed the military to quickly review agility, coordination and strength. (2)  

We learned more of this through Mr. Burpee’s granddaughter, Burpee Dluginski, who has shared that her grandfather was a “fitness fanatic before the famous Jack Lalanne.” What was important to Burpee was to be able to measure the fitness level of everyday people. Around 1939, the invention and the official test of the burpee began with members of the YMCA in the Bronx, which is where Burpee worked.

Burpees - Dr. Axe

Burpee’s granddaughter says that the official movement has become known as a squat thrust, a four-count burpee, a front-leaning rest and a military burpee. The test was applied by measuring the heart rate of the subjects before and after four burpees were performed so that he could determine how efficient the heart was at pumping blood. This measurement was a good indication of fitness level and apparently so good that the military used it as a fitness test. Initially, the test was for 20 seconds, later moving to one minute with 41 being considered excellent while 27 was considered a poor fitness level. (34)


5 Reasons to Do Burpees

1. Burpees Are a Full-Body Workout

As I noted above, if you told me I had to choose only one exercise, I would definitely choose the burpee. Most exercises work on specific muscles or muscle groups; whereas, the burpee pretty much works it all. You can even modify it to ensure full body work. For example, when in the plank position, throw in a tricep pushup and you are now including the triceps while working legs, core and other upper body muscles!

2. Burpees Add Strength
Let’s face it, burpees are tough and often fall into the the dreaded exercise category. You love the results, but they are so hard, that getting through 10 of them is enough of a challenge for most. The thing to keep in mind is that just like anything else, practice offers more. At first, doing even 3 burpees may be as far as you can go, but if you stay with it, you will be able to do way more because you will get stronger. Those 3 burpees can turn into 43 in no time!

A recent study reported the evaluation of active women and their aerobic fitness and muscular endurance when performing whole-body weight high intensity training to include burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, or squat thrusts as compared to specific single interval exercises such as leg presses. The data indicated that although improvements in cardiovascular fitness and strength are evident by both endurance and low volume interval-style training, “whole-body aerobic-resistance training imparted addition benefit in the form of improved skeletal muscle endurance.”  (5)

3. Burpees Can Be Done Almost Anywhere
What I love about burpees is that I can take them with me wherever I go! There is no need for any additional equipment beyond body weight. That makes them the perfect exercise to do almost anywhere, so you have no excuse to keep up with your fitness, even when traveling.

A study of Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets investigated how the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) impacted fitness levels. Twenty-six college-aged participants completed 4 weeks of exercise training in just 3 days. This consisted of 60 minutes of general physical training such as whole-body calisthenics, incorporating “all-out” burpees. The results showed sustained fitness even though the duration of the calisthenics was short. An exercise program that includes HIIT may be the best way to maintain fitness without access to equipment. (6)

4. Burpees Build Definition

Burpees are working arms, chest, butt, hamstrings, quadriceps and a ton of core. With all that work, it is impossible to avoid getting a more defined and toned physique. Proper form is key; however, you need to take your time while performing the exercise to make sure you avoid injury and reap the benefits of this amazing all-in-one exercise. Once you have mastered it, you can start to challenge yourself with increased speed.

5. Burpees Increase Endurance

There’s nothing like 10 burpees in a row to get your heart pounding. A study showed that cardiovascular benefits were gained with calisthenics as compared to cycling indicating that both are beneficial in building endurance and cardiovascular strength. This happens because you are working numerous muscle groups all at one time. The demand for oxygen increases with this work. Over time, you will be able to perform more of them because you your body will have the ability to use this oxygen more efficiently. This is when speed combined with perfect form come into play making you stronger and more efficient at performing the burpee. This work will offer benefits to other fitness endeavors too. (78) 


Burpee Workouts

There are many ways to do a burpee workout. Have you heard of the Burpee Mile? This is where you do a burpee with a broad jump for the distance of a mile. There is the popular 100 Burpee Challenge that may intrigue you. Not ready for that? How about trying one of my burpee workouts and work your way towards your next challenge! (9

Even though the burpee may sound intimidating, it is really simple. Here are the basic instructions for performing the classic burpee.

  1. Start by positioning yourself in a standing position.
  2. Then, drop down into a squat position placing your hands on the ground.
  3. Next, extend your feet back in one quick motion resulting in the front plank position.
  4. Return to the squat position in one quick movement.
  5.  Jump straight into the air as high as possible.

    Now that you know the move, practice it a couple of times to make sure you have good form. Keep the abs tight. If jumping is too much right now, just stand upright instead. Also, instead of jumping the legs out to the plank position, you can walk them out to the position. Once you are stronger, you will be able to perform the exercise consecutively based on the instructions of the workout. If you need a break, take 10 to 15 seconds, then resume. Over time, you will be able to do more at a faster pace.

Basic Burpee Workout — Beginner

Perform 3 sets of 6 burpees with 30 second rest between each set.

Burpee Workout With Push Up — Advanced

Perform 5 sets of 10 burpees with a 45 second rest between each set, but add a pushup when in plank position.

Challenge: Add 2 push-ups with a side knee tuck! To do this, once you are in plank position, perform a push up. As you go down, bring your right knee to your right elbow. Repeat on the left side. Then, resume the burpee. This one is tough, but offers amazing core benefits. 

Burpee Workout with Push Up and High Knee Tuck Jump —Advanced

Perform the burpee as prescribed above, but when you stand up to do the jump, explode into a high knee tuck jump. To do this, as you explode upward into the jump, tuck the knees and try gently slapping your knees as a reminder to brings the knees up as high as you can.

Burpee Circuit Superset Workout

Similar to burst training and some of my Burst Fit workouts, you will perform 4 sets of 4 exercises for one minute each with a 10 second rest between each exercise, and a one minute rest between each set. Do as many as you can during the interval.

Exercise 1: Mountain Climbers

Get in plank position and move the feet forwards and backwards, one at a time, in a fluid movement. Do not touch toes to the ground with the forward foot. Keep abs tight.

Exercise 2: Jumping Jacks

This is the classic jumping jack that you have known since childhood. Simply stand with feet hip distance apart. Arms at your sides. Jump feet out to the sides while taking your arms out the side and up above your head.

Exercise 3: Burpees

Start by positioning yourself in a standing position. Then, drop down into a squat position placing your hands on the ground. Next, extend your feet back in one quick motion resulting in the front plank position. Return to the squat position in one quick movement. Jump straight into the air as high as possible. You can add the push-up and/or the high knee tuck jump as described above for a bigger challenge.

Exercise 4: Squats 

Start with feet a little wider than hip distance apart. Keep the upper body as upright as possible during this exercise. Go down into a squat as if sitting in a chair. Try to go down until the quads are parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.


Burpee Precautions

If you are suffering from pack pain and find yourself seeking back pain relief, you may want to avoid doing the burpees. While if performed correctly, it should not cause problems, it is an exercise that uses most of the body. Additionally, if you suffer from vertigo, this exercise may be difficult to perform. And again, it’s best to work with a fitness professional, at least at the beginning, to make sure your form is correct and you’re not exercising with muscle imbalances. This can also lead to injury.


Final Thoughts on Burpees

Regardless of your fitness level, you can work your way up to performing the burpee as part of your workout and strength building. It is the perfect exercise to build muscles and endurance and can go with you just about anywhere.