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Welcome to the inside of my brain. Here, I share experiences, tips, tricks and fun things I've learned during my weight loss journey. 

  • Gail Ballin

Burpee-phobic.



About a year ago I was asked to join a book club made up of some of the most fabulous women I’ve ever met. They are strong willed, brilliant, beautiful and a lot of fun to be around. We met a few nights ago and I was really looking forward to spending time with them.

We all got comfortable in the living room and started talking about exercise. Everyone in the group was sharing their favorite type of activity. One of the gals loved to shag (a fabulous southern dance that was graciously demonstrated to the group), another went walking with a friend a few times per week. Some loved yoga, others were focused on taking group classes or spending time outdoors with friends and family.

During the discussion I shared that I have a love for high intensity classes because they burn the most calories AND because I find them more challenging. One class in particular is high impact and at one point, requires participants to run around the room, stop, do a burpee, get up and run again. This run, burpee, run pattern continues for for about 7 minutes.

A burpee is an exercise by which you squat, dive into a plank (see pic above), jump back into a squat and then quickly jump into the air with your arms extended upwards. If you really want to challenge yourself and live on the wild side, you can attempt to do a push up when you’re in plank form. For me, the biggest challenge is getting from the plank back up to the squat. I don’t think my arms are quite strong enough to propel me back up. Either that or my form is completely off. It is likely a combination of the two.

I openly admitted that I don’t do the burpees during class. I shared that I’m embarrassed to try them because they are done so quickly that I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep up with the pace. Then, trying to add some levity, I add that if I attempt to burpee, the rest of the class will resume running and trip over me while I’m attempting to get back up.

While I rationalize my aversion to burpee’s as being a safety hazard, in my heart I know that I’m afraid of what I’m going to look like to the rest of the group. I feel like I’m the largest person in the class and to do the burpee and not have perfect form is embarrassing.

As I was sharing my story, I realized that changing my body was a lot easier than changing my mind. I may wear a smaller size and feel healthier than I’ve ever been, but there are moments where I still think like I’m 300 lbs. That epiphany took me aback. I spent my entire adult life as an overweight woman, which comes with a very unique way of thinking. I don’t want to be in that head space anymore.

So, while the rest of the group was chatting about burpees and physical challenges, I thought about how would overcome this. Here’s my plan:

  1. I’m going to own my fear of failure. I’m human and being fearful is part of the human experience. Most importantly, I bet that there are people in the class who don’t do the burpees perfectly either. They are probably so busy focusing on their technique, they won't notice mine.

  2. I’m going to practice burpees at home so I can get better and gain confidence.

  3. Next time I attend that class, I’m going to suck it up and give it a try.

When I snapped back into the moment, the group asked me to demonstrate my burpee technique. While the old, less confident me shouted “NO! DON’T YOU DARE GO THERE” the new me smiled, said ‘sure,’ and went for it.

Bee healthy. Bee happy.


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