I try to exercise regularly and found the following workout (which I designed) to be one of the most challenging I have ever attempted. It’s not complicated and it doesn’t seem like too much, but it is surprisingly difficult both physically and mentally.
If you want to try it for yourself, please be smart about doing so: Get advice from your doctor before trying it. I don’t want anyone having a heart attack (or worse) from this idea!
The workout is a one mile run with five burpees at the beginning of each minute. If you don’t know what a “burpee” is then watch this video.
So, at the beginning of the run, you do five burpees. After completing the burpees you run for the remainder of the first minute. At the end of the first minute, you stop running and do five more burpees; and then resume running for the remainder of the second minute. You keep doing this for as long as it takes to run one mile, stopping to do five burpees at the beginning of each new minute.
On average, it took me about 20 seconds to do the five burpees, leaving 40 seconds for running. I think that is a good balance between the two. If you are very fit, you could try six (or maybe seven) burpees; if not, maybe fewer.
This workout creates two challenges: physical and mental.
The physical challenge occurs in multiple ways:
- the burpees leave less time for running, which makes the relatively modest one mile run more difficult.
- the burpees interrupt the momentum and cadence of running.
- the burpees require a large expenditure of energy and increase the heart rate, which leaves one feeling depleted while attempting to run. Normally I run at a pace that feels sustainable – I work hard but I don’t feel like I am going to explode. This workout took me into the I-feel-like-I-am-going-to-explode zone.
Sustaining the effort is a great mental challenge:
- If you go fast on the burpees, you will have more time to run but your racing pulse will make it harder to run fast. So you will have to summon all of your will to push yourself forward.
- On the other hand, if you conserve energy by going slow on the burpees, you have less time to run meaning more rounds of burpees. Either way, you have to push yourself hard to complete the workout.
Full disclosure: I have tried this once and had to stop at 0.5 miles. I am going to try to build up to a mile over the next few months.