Australian YouTuber Laurie Shaw has taken on a number of 30-day fitness challenges on his channel, training intensely in Muay Thai, Krav Maga, Olympic sprinting and running to see just how much progress he can make in the span of a single month. In one of his recent videos, Shaw takes on a new assignment; the burpee, a notoriously difficult bodyweight exercise which originated as a fitness test for the military but has since been popularized as a full-body-torcher of a conditioning exercise.
While traveling and unable to access a gym regularly, Shaw sets himself the challenge of doing 100 reps every single day for a month, and tracks the impact that the repetitive exercise has on his visible physique, and on his actual performance.
“It feels like a good mix of muscle, obviously the pushup, shoulders, chest, mixed with aerobic fitness,” he says.
On the first day, he finishes all 100 burpees in a time of 10:40, which he hopes to improve upon in the coming weeks. However, he doesn’t notice a linear progression day to day. “Some days you’ll certainly feel more on top of it, and some days are harder,” he says. “But day to day, the actual difference in progress wasn’t so noticeable, and in that way it became more of a mental game.”
He also notes that at no point do the burpees ever start to feel easier: while forming the habit of doing the reps every morning became less of a challenge, the physical act itself was still exhausting every single time.
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On the 30th day, Shaw performs his 100 reps, and is finally able to see some improvement: he completes the workout in exactly 7 minutes, shaving 3:40 off his initial time.
“I’m stoked with that,” he says. “No more burpees for a while!”
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.