Have a Cold? Do Burpees!
We have previously discussed the value of the Burpee as it relates to physical fitness (read this blog). The Burpee may also be your best defense against infections.
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and glands that carry fluid from tissues back to the blood stream. The lymphatic system plays an important function in re-circulating immune cells back into the blood stream and tissue where they protect the body from foreign invaders. The lymphatic system is often called the second circulatory system and is equally as important. However, unlike blood, lymphatic vessels and the lymphatic fluid contained within them do not have a pump to help circulate the fluid.
The lymphatic system relies on the effects of gravity, breathing, and skeletal muscle contraction to help keep the fluid moving throughout the system. Without the movement of the fluid the immune system is compromised. The Burpee takes advantage of all three of these methods and may be a sure fire solution to facilitate the movement of fluid throughout the system.
The Burpee utilizes the muscles of the upper and lower body. The muscles in the extremities contract and relax in a cyclical fashion, massaging the lymph vessels and facilitating the movement of lymph fluid. The high metabolic demand of the Burpee stimulates deep breathing. The constant changes in pressure in the thoracic cavity versus the abdominal cavity during deep breathing stimulates the flow of lymph though the system. Also, although not tested, it is reasonable to believe that the rapid changes in posture from the vertical position, to the horizontal prone position, and then back to the vertical position also facilitates the movement of fluid through the lymphatic system. The constant
change in body position changes the hydrostatic pressure within the lymphatic system. Fluid movement undoubtedly occurs with changes in hydrostatic pressure. Have you ever stood up fast and felt “light-
headed”? That is the result in a drop in hydrostatic pressure in the circulatory system; the blood has “dropped” into the lower extremities. Conversely, if you hang upside down for a second, the blood accumulates in the thorax and head. Essentially lying down and jumping up has the same effect, there is rapid movement of blood and lymphatic fluid through their respective vessels.
A recent paper by Lisa Hodge published in the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine suggests that manual Lymphatic Pump Techniques enhance immunity and may protect against pneumonia. The Burpee acts in similar fashion, accelerating the pumping action and increasing movement of lymph through the system. The Burpee reigns as the exercise champ!
by Carrie Adams, Spartan Blog Editor and Finance Professor
Tomorrow is Monday! As always, Monday is the day that most people say that “the diet starts.” Well, it’s Monday, so how is your diet going? Let’s do some math and see how your fast food lunch is costing you… in burpees AND in your pocket book.
While counting calories is only one factor of health and nutrition – the numbers certainly don’t lie and are an easy way to demonstrate how your time AND money is affected. You’ve heard the adage, you can’t out train a bad diet, and it’s absolutely true. You can’t. You also “pay” for your calories in more than one way.
The calorie burn is easy math. Livestrong.com tells us that vigorous calisthenics such as pushups, sit-ups and burpees can burn 563 calories an hour for a 155 lb. person, 472 for someone weighing 130 lbs. and 645 for someone at 180 lbs. That’s a great number (enough to burn off a six inch meatball sub from Subway in most cases, but how many of you are doing an hour of burpees a day?
Anyone who did CrossFit Open 12.1 last year, (seven minutes of burpees) knows that seven minutes is a rough stretch. I can’t imagine another 53 minutes!
Let’s look at an example of calories per dollar. A large fry at McDonald’s weighs in at 500 calories alone and that’s before you’ve even put ketchup on your Big Mac (another 540 calories by the way). In dollars, that $2.19 you paid for the fries, just bought you 228 calories per dollar. Add your Big Mac and you just spent 370 calories per dollar on your lunch that you are telling yourself you earned at the gym. Cheap lunch on the wallet maybe, but at what long term cost?
Fast food is cheap, but it depends on how you do the math… You don’t “earn” the fries in the gym and you shouldn’t reward yourself with garbage, even if the garbage is cheap. Saying, “I worked out hard today, I earned a fast food value meal,” is like saying, “I worked out hard today, I am now going to assault my body with garbage and toxins.” That doesn’t make any sense and it doesn’t do your body any good. It may save you a few dollars to load up on tacos, pizza, and burgers but in the end you’ll pay for it and not just in hours of burpees logged at the gym.
The reality is, eating healthy will cost you more in the pocketbook… but compared to what it will cost you in your health and well-being, it should be perceived as an investment, not just an expense. According to a New York Times article, Adam Drewnowski, director of the center for public health nutrition at the University of Washington conducted a study about price of food. Based on his findings, a 2,000-calorie diet would cost just $3.52 a day if it consisted of junk food, compared with $36.32 a day for a diet of low-energy dense foods. However, most people eat a mix of foods. The average American spends about $7 a day on food, although low-income people spend about $4, says Dr. Drewnowski.
But it’s easier to overeat junk food, Dr. Drewnowski adds, both because it tastes good and because eaters often must consume a greater volume in order to feel satisfied. The money saved today on food may be needed later if it leads to expensive healthcare costs associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. That doesn’t sound like much of a cost savings to me.
Fitnessgoop.com published an article citing that an unhealthy diet is a major contributor to long-term disease. A 2007, Milken Institute study entitled “An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease” reported that seven chronic diseases—cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and mental illness—cost the nation $1.3 trillion annually, including $277 billion for treatment and nearly $1.1 trillion in lost productivity. This sum equates to $361 per month per American for 2007 for just those seven diseases. Doesn’t sound like a bargain to me.
Where is the “value” in your value meal?
“The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
- Samuel Johnson
After months of work and tireless time in the Spartan HQ lab, we’ve finally determined that eating a high sugar, high salt diet can be an effective way of losing weight! Over time, the high sugar content brings about a metabolic change in the body and the weight just falls off!
This comes at a time when more and more Americans are looking for that quick fix and that immediate, work-free alternative to a healthier lifestyle! So, indulge your sweet tooth and eat that seventh piece of cake. It’s not going to hurt you!
April Fools! Come on, you knew we couldn’t possibly be advocating that! Let’s do some Spartan math.
Sugar is an enemy of the body. It causes tooth decay, leads to poor nutrition, increases insulin levels in the body and is a contributor to the onset of Type II diabetes, and can even be linked to cancer cases. We all know it contributes to obesity and heart disease and is one of the most addictive substances to the body.
Okay, so here we are, the Monday after many celebrated an Easter or Passover potentially filled with cake, cookies, candy, and other sweet or high fat foods in excess and it might hurt as much as a hangover. The good news is, it’s a new day and new decisions can be made. It’s another opportunity to get it right. The bad news is, you will have to work for positive change. You will have to exert effort for the healthy body you want. It doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth the effort.
If you’ve finally decided to get off the sugar train once and for all, we’re here to help. Sign up for our Food of the Day tip – and better yet, SIGN UP to received our daily workouts as well. With both FREE resources, you’ll begin to experience positive and healthy changes in your body.
Start now… your body will thank you.
by Carrie Adams
At last year’s Texas World Championships, elite racer Elliott Megquier was ahead of fellow elite Alec Blenis by about 100 yards. Reaching the traverse wall towards the end of the race ahead of Blenis, Megquier fell almost halfway across and began his pentalty burpees as the crowd looked on. Blenis reached the wall seconds later and also fell halfway through. Even though Megquier was halfway through his set of the mandatory 30 Blenis finished his first and edged out ahead of Megquier, snagging a top five finish. Burpees have meant the difference between a cash purse and a lonely car ride home, but for most of us, they’ve just mean a lot more pain on race day (and the several days following.) Despite the burpee hangover, our runners keep coming back for more despite the harsh Spartan penalty that are also often featured in our Spartan WOD’s. Let’s explore the Spartan burpee…
Meet your maker, Spartans. The burpee is a feared, abhorred, and often bringer of tears and pain at Spartan Races. Sometimes the difference between a non-podium finish or a giant cardboard check. At Spartan Races, we operate with a different set of rules than most races. You don’t get to opt out of obstacles, oh no. Don’t want to climb that 8 foot wall? 30 burpees. Failed the monkey bars you say? 30 burpees. Want to bypass the low crawl, drop and give me 30 (burpees, of course). Didn’t quite make it across the traverse wall? Yeah, that’ll be 30 burpees. They’ve been a part of Sparta for a while, our Winter Death Race crew got real good at them last year, they did over 3,000 for their over 24 hours of effort. We even had a founders Buck Furpees day! Read about that HERE.
The spear throw, a prime location for those relegated to doing burpees. A fan favorite, it’s usually near the end of the course and the finish line. Spectators swarm the fences to watch as Spartans advance cautiously, knowing how high the fail rate is on this intrepid obstacle. Weighing the spear in their hands, the techniques vary but it often ends the same way… the thrower watching in horror as their mis-thrown spears bounce off the straw targets, fly recklessly off to one side, or the worst, when they almost land but fall dejectedly to the ground. It’s always the same reaction. The Spartan’s face falls and their head drops, knowing that the burpees are now imminent, and off they go to begin their, what else? 30 burpees.
What’s proper burpee protocol? Not all burpees are made alike, but for starters, watch this video that demonstrates proper burpee form. As Hobie Call has often pointed out, burpee form tends to degrade over the course of a race as athletes fatigue but a few landmarks hold true to executing a proper burpee and we’re going to give them to you so that you can perfect yours in time for your next Spartan Race.
1. Chest to deck. When you drop to the ground, you must execute a full push up with your chest touching the ground.
2. Press out of the push-up jumping your legs underneath your body so that you are in a squatted position.
3. Stand up, extending the hips, and jump off the ground with hands overhead.
Repeat 29 more times.
This 30 burpee penalty is often repeated several times over a Spartan course with finishers often comparing burpee statistics at the end.
“I did 150 burpees!” says one, “Oh really? I only did 90.” Yes, in Spartan we say things like, “I only did 90 burpees today.” Regardless of number, burpees numbering more than about seven are just a suckfest. That might be why we love them oh so much. So, don’t expect them to go away anytime soon from Spartan Race courses.
Want to get registered? What’s stopping you? Go HERE for details.