April 06, 2009

The Cranky Fitness Resistance Challenge!

Image credit: fouro

Any normal health blogger writing about a "fitness challenge" would first propose a laudable fitness goal, break it down into small steps, and then urge everyone to join along and see how much we can all accomplish together!

But hey, this is Cranky Fitness. Those of you expecting a sincere, helpful, motivational pep-talk about Striving and Achieving and a nudge towards Doing your Utmost--where the heck did you wander in from? Maybe you were googling "big fat ass," "flat belly diet," or "fitness porn?" (Three of our most popular search terms--we're so proud!)

Anyway, you may have noticed that there are a lot of fitness challenges out there in blogland. They've got the "Couch to 10-K" and the "100 Push-Ups Challenge" and the "Nine Zillion Sit-Ups Challenge" and whatever. From what I can tell, these things work really well for most people. Fitness challenges may seem grueling at times, and not everyone finishes, but the majority of y'all seem to get pretty pumped about taking them on and quite pleased about succeeding. (Our own Merry Sunshine, for example, triumphed over the 100 Push Up Challenge. Hooray!)

However, I am not Merry Sunshine. I too saw lots of posts about 100 push ups, but this did not motivate me to do 100 push ups. A hundred is a big number.

No, this is not Crabby, but it's exactly how the prospect of 100 push-ups makes her feel.
Photo: raggle

Most importantly, rigorous physical fitness challenges are prohibited by my religion, Crankyism.

I admit, it's tough to be a devout Crankyist. Crankyism requires the ritual wearing of Slankets, the consumption of virtuous but unappealing vegetables balanced by the enjoyment of celebratory cupcakes, and frequent attendance at the Church of The Most Holy Gymnasium.

Wanna join my religion? Order now, operators are standing by!

Crankyism also has demanding rules of conduct. Too much slacking is a sin! On the other hand, there is a strict prohibition against partaking in activities that sound exceptionally unpleasant. And a hundred push-ups, or 200 sit-ups, or 26 miles of running all in a row, rather than sensibly spread out over a couple of weeks? That would violate my religious principles.

However, even a devout Crankyist is sometimes tempted by cool-sounding challenges. What to do?

For anyone thinking of abandoning their cheerful go-get-'em approach to physical fitness and taking up Crankyism instead, you may need some guidance in situations like this. So I'm proposing a different sort of challenge...

The Cranky Fitness Resistance Challenge! No, this kind of "resistance training" had nothing to do with building your muscles by lifting big-ass heavy things. It simply calls for you to resist taking part in the next fitness challenge that comes along.

I did it; you can too. Peer inside the brain of Crabby McSlacker (acck! it's weird in there!) and discover the exact process by which I was able to resist a recent Fitness Challenge Temptation myself.

The temptation: The 100 Burpee Challenge. (What is a burpee? See the video below).

The temptress: Hoop, who commented on Merry's water cooler post and led me to the evil, evil Burpee Challenge site. But what should I expect from a woman who plays rugby and throws people out of widows? (Or perhaps that's not what she meant by 'defenestration?') Anyway, she sounds way too fit and fierce for me to be taking exercise advice from.

Why The Challenge is So Tempting:

1. I can do burpees! I even did some on our recent cross-country trip, at rest stops, to the amusement of squabbling families and truckers on their lunch breaks. (Note: bring gardening gloves if you want to seriously try this.)

2. I watched this video demonstration which convinced me that if I could just do more, better burpees, then I too would be muscular, fit, attractive and 20 years younger. (And watch the whole thing if you want to know why I really got jealous. I want to be able to do that cool ring thing!)

3. The challenge starts off with just one Burpee, and works day by day up to 100. So I got the first week or two nailed already!

4. Maybe I could turn it into a Blog Thing and get a bunch of us doing Burpees together. And then you guys would tell all your friends, and then some famous actress would google "Burpee Challenge" and get mine instead of the real one, and she'd tell Oprah about it, and pretty soon Cranky Fitness would be famous too and well on it's way to World Domination!

Oh my goodness, this is really starting to sound tempting now! What to do?

Hmm.... I know that doing "negatives" is really helpful trick in breaking through other sorts of "resistance" plateaus, like when you're struggling with pull-ups... let's try that concept here and see if going negative will help!

Bring it On!

There must lots of reasons not to try to do 100 Burpees. Yep, now that I'm properly negatively motivated, they're coming fast and furious.

1. After the first 3 or so, I hate burpees! I kinda forgot that. Do I seriously think that burpee number 67, for example, is going to be more fun than burpee number 4?

2. I will probably give up and fail anyway! Even cool people sometimes do. For example Shauna, the Amazing Diet Girl, failed the 100 Push-Up Challenge. True, she had a good reason, which was because she was already doing a bunch of other things like weight training and kickboxing classes. As she explained: "We always do heaps of push ups at kickboxing and I hated looking pissweak in class because I'd fried my arms the night before doing the Hundred Push Up Challenge."

(Note to self: must start working the expression "pissweak" into conversations, it's a winner!)

3. I still haven't accomplished the last challenge I set for myself, almost a year ago, which was to complete one freakin' unassisted pull-up. (I did one chin up though... before I started slacking on the cross-country trip and I can't even do that anymore). Ironically, the thing that's got me stalled with the damn pull-ups, in addition to general laziness, is that I hate negatives, which seem to be critical. Too bad I seem to embrace all things negative except actual negatives!

4. The Burpee Challenge participants themselves are making a great case for staying way the hell away. I mean, sure, there are some who are cruising through all empowered and shit, but a lot of them are dropping out from serious injuries or abject misery. (One of my favorite posts on that site is a break up letter to Burpees, but alas its author Frankie is not a Crankyist and apparently perseveres anyway.)

5. The 100 day challenge is almost over! No way in hell I'm jumping in on day 95 or whatever and trying to make up for lost time.

Whew! I feel so invigorated now! Success!!!! I have no residual desire to start doing daily burpees.

How about you folks, do you like fitness challenges? Do they motivate you? Or are there any other Crankyists out there who won't go near 'em?


  1. Wow! That's one of the best de-motivational posts I've ever read!! I'm truly impressed by your level of crankiness.

    There was a time when fitness challenges (or for that matter any challenge) motivated me. But now I'm just too blasted busy to be motivated by someone else spouting random drivel. I lean toward establishing goals that work for me over the long term.

    Very funny!

  2. Oooo...A burpee challenge. I'm in! Your crankiness is such a great motivator. Gracias!

  3. How about a challenge to 100 days of Crankines...or has that alreay been done?

  4. Um... no....
    'fraid fitness challenges fit somewhere in between San Francisco and Honolulu for me - at the bottom of the ocean. And, sorry, Cranky not even your demotivational stance could change that one. I remember burpees well from my school days when they were used as punishment for mis-demeanours...now I'm getting my own back and boycotting them! If it ain't fun I don't do it.

  5. I seriously do NOT like burpees...anytime we have to do them at the gym I audibly hear a groan escape my lips before I can stop it.

    I however do 100 pushups pretty much every tuesday and thursday in my bootcamp class, sometimes he makes us do 200...he tricks you however if you aren't a math wiz by doing 7, then we'll take a quick breather and then we'll go down for 11, but we end up at 100 or 200 but those that are mathmatically impaired it takes them a bit of time to realize how many we actually did. LOL

  6. Heyyy... where did you find that picture of me?

  7. Crabby,

    You have finally hit a topic that I really can excel at. I've been able to resist challenges from early on in life. On one particular day a mean little girl that lived down the street talked me into kicking a football as far as I could while she held it on end. I backed up huge distance to build up my speed in order to launch that ball high in the air. I flung my body forward as fast as I could and just as I was about to give that odd shaped ball a might kick, she pulled the ball away and I fell on my ass. I haven't been able to take on any challenges since.

    To make matters worse, there was this grey haired old man that witnessed the whole event. I used to shake my fist at that guy; I think his name was Shultz, who continued to mock me. He's dead now and the mean girl was just hanging out as a Beatles groupie. She claimed they wrote a song about her when she was covered in diamonds. I hear she’s married now to some recluse piano player that never really made it.

  8. Ooooo! Another online fitness challenge for me to fail at? Huzzah! I'm in. Probably. :)

  9. There are few exercises I detest as much as burpees. The combination of cardio and upside-downness always makes me want to vomit. Gym Buddy Allison and I once did 256 burpees as part of a monkey bar gym workout. We figure now that excuses us from ever doing one ever again.

    PS> Do you still have your feminist rant anywhere?? I wish you would post it! Or at least let me read it;)

  10. Eh. Challenges. Too much commitment! I like to just do my own thing. :)

  11. Oh my goodness, some of you are blowing me away with your hundreds of push ups and burpees and whatnot.

    But if I take Yum Yucky's advice and start a 100 day Crankiness challenge, I bet I got you all beat! No one out cranks the Crab.

  12. Not into fitness challenges myself. I certainly don't discourage them. There is a zen thing to doing 99 pushups then stopping, don't you think?

  13. OH CRAP! I am one of those people that like to push & torture myself. Now you have given me something that I need to try to do on top of what I am already doing! OH NO! My crankiness will certainly go up trying the burpee challenge!

  14. Those things look evil. I'm staying away from them. Far, far away.

  15. dragonmamma/naomiApril 6, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    I wouldn't want to do burpees every day, 'cause they do tend to suck away all your energy for doing anything else, but I have occasional weeks where I fit in a few dozen every day.

    For the past two years, my birthday workout has been to do chin-up burpees equal to my years. It's not too bad if you break it into groups of seven with a minute break in between. This year I'll need to do 51. It's really gonna suck when I hit 100.

  16. I live in a house with three boys. Reading the post title I thought this was going to have something to do with a burping challenge. After watching the video, I am definitely more interested in a burpING challenge than a burpEE challenge!!!


  17. Actually, the burping idea occurred about halfway through, before I watched the video. Sorry!

  18. The sad thing is, I read this and went "now I have something to do when I don't have enough time to go to the gym and I'm not motivated enough to find my workout DVDs (okay, I keep them in the same place, but hate going to that drawer)!"

    I'm so not a crankyist.

  19. As a committed Crankyist I wholeheartedly embrace this post and Slanketwear. Resistance is Not Futile.

  20. So, you motivated me--I finally looked up "burpee" and found that, as I had suspected, it is a squat-thrust, or some variant thereof. I used to enjoy these in elementary school. Especially watching our fourth grade teacher do them with us in a 1963 knee-length straight skirt and four inch heels (she was under five feet tall) on the asphalt playground. Gloves? what gloves?

    As a devout Crankyist I can easily resist a challenge. Even a hundred challenges.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  21. I agree with Greg! Well said, Cranky.

    Actually, I work best when people tell me the opposite of what I expect to hear. Challenges so don't work on me. Ever.

    Vee at www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

  22. I'm staying away from this burpee thing. Mainly because "burpee" is the stupidest sounding word I have ever heard, and I think I'd feel too stupid saying, "I did 23 burpees today!" That, and they look painful.

  23. I'm in...the resistance part, not the actual burpee challenge. I loathe and detest burpees - was supposed to do 25 today at my workout but did 4 correctly, 10 half-assed, and then I snuck out of the weight room. Burpees make my self-esteem go down the drain. Burpees are the devil.

  24. I really like burpies, and one of my favorite 'suckfest' workouts was just doing 150 of them for time.

    That said, be careful with them people.

    Take a look at the position the lower back is in when returning to the bottom of the squat from the push up position.

    You're putting a fairly explosive load on a rounded spine. If you can do them without pain, more power too you. They don't cause me any problems at all.

    If you have lower back issues be careful with them though, and if they make your lower back hurt stop!

    The military stopped using these in their PT for a reason - the injury rate was too high.

  25. burpee's look fun, but also looks like a gas disaster waiting to happen!! lol we did those in class a couple years ago, and a lady had to leave, cuz she squeaked out lil toots when she brought her legs back in before standing up! hehe

  26. OK, you just persuaded me to quit the 100 Push-Up Challenge and buy a Slanket.

    Fun fact: we used to (secretly) call my junior high history teacher, Mr Belcher, "Burpee." I don't think I've actually done a burpee since jr. high, come to think of it, so a good challenge for me would be to do just one, for old time's sake...

  27. I always thought "Burpee" was a seed company. Reading Cranky Fitness is highly educational :)

  28. you are such a gift the the slacker masses which, IMO, is all of us on some way shape or form.

    Im off to work.
    I wanna slack.

    hold me :)

  29. If I drink a Coke really fast, I might be able to manage a couple burps in a row.... oh, wait..... that's not what you said?

    BurpEEs, you said?

    Um, after watching the video, I think I could do the 'jumping up in the air with my hands up' part..... once. But not after I drink that Coke really fast, because, well.... you know... it might come back up.

    Think I'll stick to Crankyism.

  30. I'm with Baggie. She and I can jump around a bit.. pre cola, lest we commence snorting. Neither of us have ever snorted Coke before.

  31. I love/hate the burpees! A challenge here or there sometimes gives me the push I need! Lately I have need more push. :)

  32. I have no idea what burpees are and don't have time to find out right this minute, but they sound horrible.

    I could probably use some kind of pissweak fitness challenge right now, actually, but I will resist looking for one just for you.

    My FatBet challenge, however, is going great and I can't recommend it highly enough. (Does that count as a fitness challenge? I'm saying no because there's no exercise that's actually required...)

  33. Funny post!

    I'm not into challenges at all.

    I'm also not too much into progressive regimens. With strength training, yes, OK. But somedays I walk, sometimes I run, sometimes both, depending on how I feel and what my needs are.

    So, I guess I'm just not a linear, step-by-step kind of person.

    Plus, I'm cranky a lot...

  34. Heck, I am not doing 100 of these! I have rethought my prior post! I add them into my routine here & there already but decided this challenge would make me way crankier than my hubby already thinks I am!!!

  35. Wow. I watched that video, and I'm going to skip the burpees. I think if I did more than one or two, they might become "barf"-ees.

    As for resisting challenges, I usually do. I liked the push-up challenge, but didn't finish it. But I also didn't "officially" commit, so I didn't "officially" fail. See how that works? ;)

  36. Barfees!!! We have to call them Barfees, I love it!!!

    You guys are hilarious. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who runs screaming away from challenges. Because some of you are so hardcore you just make we want to crawl in my slanket and hide! Glad I have some Crankyist company.

    Oh, and thanks Chris for the safety info! Be careful out there, people!

  37. Hiya, Crabby! I'm sorry I've been away for so long. Things have been way wild for me lately, since I got that acceptance for my novel -- but wild in a good way, *grin*.

    *whew*, 100 pushups is a lot of pushups. I used to pride myself on being able to do a lot of pushups but my main exercise these days is hiking in the mountains. Now you've got me wondering how many pushups I could do these days!

  38. Nah, I don't go near web challenges. I don't bow to peer pressure. Besides, they never give you the first push ups free anyhow.

  39. Definitely not going to be doing the burpee challenge myself. I started the 100 pushups program, and I got up to 50 at a time, but once it got to week 4 or 5 (aka "insane week") where there were five sets of 40 or 30 at a time, that's where I called it quits. My wrists hurt and I just didn't need that much pain to say I'd done 100 pushups. I'll just stick with 50.

  40. HA! That's fantastic Crabby!

    I HATE HATE HATE BURPEEs...I don't think I have ever loathed any exercise more...cannot.do.challenge.


  41. I'm another no-challenge person. Most challenges make me want to run the opposite direction of the challenge or challenger.

    I had never heard of burpees until I trained for a triathlon and our coach thought they were great for training. I disagreed and never did one after the first day. Do 100? That's crazytalk.

    On the other hand, I could be highly competitive at a cranky challenge.

  42. I don't do many fitness challenges.

    Mark Salinas has one today on his blog. I tried some of his exercises and the wall actually moved so I met that challenge.

    I would not, could not participate in a burpee challenge. Burping, I can do, Burpees, I cannot.


    And you know I LOVE the fitness challenges :) Now that you've made me aware of the 100 burpee challenge I'm afraid I might just have to try it. Which would be grueling. I am so NOT a fan of burpees. (So, my body tells me excitedly, all the more reason to take on the challenge! You'll love burpees by the end!).

    PS I like Yum Yucky's idea of a 100-day challenge of Crankyness. I'm game! "100 days in the life of a Crankyism devotee" and all that.

  44. Crabby, I love your new challenge! It sounds like you're doing well so far, despite all my tempting!

    It's true, sometimes we hate burpees--Frankie's break-up post is one of my favourites as well--but it really kills me that I'm not going to finish the challenge on time. Stupid injuries...

    PS. I have defenestrated many things, but never a person. Yet :)

  45. This was a hilarious post :) I am in the last few days of that burpee challenge, and this brought on a good laugh and a smile, so thank you!! :)

  46. Hand me my slanket, a cupcake and the remote to the tv, no way in Hell I could do even ONE on those nasty things to save my life!

    The drop to the floor and push up would seriously tweak my already aggravated CTS, the rest of me can't do (a) squat normally because my back has previously busted vertebrae that fused badly plus tight hip flexors and tight quads, and landing from a jump in the air would shock my cervical vertebra and give me a headache or jolts of pain, numbness and tingling down my arms, it's called "radicular neuropathy".

    100 BURPS however, I could do, with about 4-5 cans of a great Hansen's Kiwi/Strawberry soda! Whilst, of course, wearing my slanket and sprawled on the couch in front of say South Park. ;)

  47. Hey, Blogger thinks I'm *hot* even if I can't do burpees, my word verification was eCuti!

  48. I have to say that I think this is hilarious and you have a great point. However, I <3 the 100 push up challenge. I should be on week 5 of it this week, but we are going back to week 4 because week 5 is impossible. The reason I love it though: I can tell a marked difference in my arms since when we started. HELLO defined arm muscles!

  49. We have a phrase oft-used in my family, and it goes..."I'M SCARED."

    But what scares me most is that I'm exactly not sure what I'm more afraid of: Burpees themselves (the only thing that could make these evil things evil-er would be to add in some sort of mountain-climber-type exercise to it) or the fact that I am oddly more drawn to this challenge and motivated by what was supposed to be a de-motivating Cranky post, Crabby! Darn you, how do you DO that?!?!?

    Must.stop.thinking about when I will start this new challenge... (oh no, I feel the Type A, first-born in me taking over! HELP!)


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