Spartan Burpee How-To & Penalty + Race Registration Giveaway

Burpees.   People love to hate them, although I personally don’t think they’re all that bad. Except maybe I don’t love them so much the middle of an obstacle race when my arms and legs are already wobbly, stickers are piercing my palms and I’m coming face to face with cow patties.

How to Make Burpees More Fun - 5 VariationsBut, in a pristine situation, burpees have been a pretty good fitness friend to me, they are a simple, no-equipment needed way to get a full-body workout plus a little cardio (okay, mabye a lot of cardio).

Plus, there are a million variations as I rounded up last year on my post on How to Make Burpees More Fun – Did I Really Just Say That?


But in the Spartan Race, they don’t want to see the variations. And that’s good, because who has any bounce left for fancy stuff?!  In fact, I’ve been revisiting the rules on Spartan Race burpees (30 burpees required as a punishment for failing an obstacle) because, at my last race, I (gasp) received a 3-minute penalty added to my finish line time. Now, if you’re running in the open, you don’t have anyone judging your burpees, it’s honor system. But, the elite heat is suffering under the scrutiny of video cameras and clipboard bearing field officials.

spartan burpee

Before my last Spartan Sprint, I breezed through the burpee details in the Standard Obstacle Specific Instructions:

Obstacles may have a “Burpee Zone or Burpee Area”. Athletes are required to complete their penalty burpees within the designated zone or area, as burpees are monitored by Course Officials and/ or video cameras. Course officials will review video to ensure proper form is used and the athlete has completed the burpee penalty. . . .Camera review can change the outcome of the race, and results are not final until camera review and field officials have approved the results and assessed penalties

Penalty for Obstacle Failure: – 30 Burpees (chest must hit the ground, feet must leave the ground)

So, I do remember a few times when I though “hmmm, this manual says nowhere hands must be thrown in the air when feet leave the ground.” But, at one burpee zone, I decided to omit the overhead hand throw to conserve energy. This omission caused a field official to reprimand me . . .  who argues in a situation like this, so I just started back to throwing hands overhead and doing the hokey-pokey from hell.

If I’d had anything left to give, I’da busted out “Put Your Hands Up, Put Your Mother Effin’ Hands Up” covered by a gazillion different rappers.

So, when the initial finish line results and final results were exactly 3 minutes apart, I knew something was up. It was too late to challenge, I was already home . . . plus, I want to be completely legit, flawless and clean, if I messed up, then I deserved the penalty. I know I did ENOUGH burpees, I can count. I just wish I would have known EXACTLY what was expected so this would have never happened in the first place. When you know better, you do better. I did burpees as described in the obstacle manual  (which is Chest to Ground – Feet Leave Ground). Search the web, so much controversy on the topic, even on the Spartan Race site (see the Great Burpee Debate)!

I should have watched this video which shows the hands going in the air, although he doesn’t mention this step as every other is noted.

And found this after searching the Spartan Race site for “burpees,” I found this article called THE PENALTY AND THE PAIN: BUCK FURPEES. It describes burpees with the hands overhead. This should be in the Standard Obstacle Specific Instructions, please – thank you very much.

  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.

Then after more searching around, I found additional information that elite racers may be penalized 30 seconds per incorrect burpee, up to 10. Then disqualification. It’s subjective still, in my opinion, and you have obviously are on someone’s radar if they are scrutinizing your burpees.

Spartan after way too many burpees

The face of a 120 burpee race. Damn.

So, my takeaway for the next race. Don’t fail an obstacle, don’t get stuck with burpees.  And, if that’s not possible, do a bonus burpee on top of the 30 reps just to show trustworthy toughness! Aroo!

No sour grapes with Spartan Race in ANY WAY whatsoever. In fact, I love them for challenging me so significantly at this stage of my life. However, I just wanted to clarify some of this burpee stuff and keep any of you from suffering the wrath of not knowing.

Other timely Spartan Race stuff you need to know:

spartan fotI also wanted to remind you about Spartan Race founder and best-selling author, Joe DeSena’s new book, Spartan Fit. It’s the go-to tome of training for newbies and veterans alike or just help on how to get super fit in 31 days, without a gym or weights. You also learn how to build your fitness from one race to the next, get nutrition advice and will be motivated by stories of inspiring Spartans. Pre-order now, it ships August 30, 2016.

How to Make a Spartan Spear in Less Than 10 Mintues and Under 10 DollarsAnd, don’t forget your spear throwing practice – I’ve got the tutorial on How to Make Your Own Spartan Spear in 10 minutes, for $10.

Register for a Spartan Race, from Sprint, Super or Beast to one of the more team-worky endurance events like Hurricane Heat or Agog and save 10% at checkout with the code SPARTANBLOGGER.

Enter my giveaway for a FREE SPARTAN REGISTRATION. Winner will receive one-time use code good for any Open Heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the Continental US. Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.

This post and giveaway were sponsored by Spartan Race, all opinions, advice and enthusiasm are all my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beef & Blue Cheese Mushroom Buttons & Burpees

With the Big Game this Sunday, there is guaranteed to be some snacking going on ‘round these parts. The kids always insist on a big bucket of popcorn and a bag of M&Ms – oh, don’t act like you don’t know how awesome it is to mix the two together. My recipe for honey caramel almond popcorn also satisfies that craving for salty-sweet goodness in a healthier way.

paleo beef stuffed mushrooms

The grown-ups are going to want something a little more substantial to snack on, shall we say . . . . something beefy? A beef and blue cheese stuffed mushroom recipe from my peeps at Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner is the inspiration for one of our Super Bowl snacks – these little babies are delicious and bursting with umami flavor thanks to the lean ground beef and robust blue cheese. The only swap I have made is to replace the whole-wheat bread crumbs with almond meal thus transforming them into gluten-free, Paleo-friendly (for those who do some dairy) finger foods. If you’re worried about having more than one of these delicious little buttons; don’t fret — they are surprisingly low in calories and fat.  Click here for the nutrition guidelines (doesn’t take into account I swapped out the bread crumbs for almond meal).

beef and blue cheese stuffed mushroom ingredients

thefitfork beef bluecheese mushroom single

Beef & Blue Cheese Mushroom Buttons Recipe (Gluten-Free & Paleo-Friendly)

  • 1/2 pound Ground Beef, 93% lean or better
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 36 to 40 small button or cremini mushrooms (about 1-1/2 to 2-inch diameter)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (for brushing)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning blend
  • Minced fresh chives (optional)

cooking beef stuffed mushroom recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove and reserve stems from mushrooms. Brush mushroom caps with olive oil and season with salt; set aside. Mince stems to yield 1/2 cup; discard remaining stems.
  2. Combine Ground Beef, minced stems, blue cheese, bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons chives and steak seasoning. Spoon beef mixture evenly into mushrooms.
  3. Place stuffed mushrooms on rack in broiler pan. Bake in 375°F oven 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with additional chives, if desired.


Clapping Push-up Burpees

Clapping Push-up Burpees

Okay, now that I’ve lured you in with the food, it’s time to talk BURPEES.  Even if you hate burpees, you have to love what they do for you – this exercise works every muscle group you’ve got and gives you a cardio workout to boot. Sometimes, if I’m stuck in a hotel or the weather is too bad to even get to the gym and treadmill, I’ll just knock out some burpees instead of a run. I think I get more wiped out doing the burpees! Just when I think I’m getting bored of burpees, I find a new variation to liven things up — push-up burpee, lateral box jump burpee, high tuck jump burpee, burpee to pull-up, and on and on!

Fitfluential burpee challenge

Check out the 1000 Burpee Challenge through Fitfluential. You could be in the running to win a great prize from Under Armour if you show your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #FFBurpee.  I’m committing to 50 a day for 20 days. Today, I made it through 50 clapping push-up burpees, it was fun — am I weird?  Maybe, but my friend Valerie definitely is- this is what happens if you go on a trip with her — BURPEES ON THE AIRPLANE!

burpees in aisle of plane

Burpees on a plane! This really happened!

2Fer | Countdown Spice Rub & 4-3-2-1 Workout

There is something satisfying (and easy to remember) about rattling off numbers backward in a countdown. In fact, this ritual is even so important in some professions that it’s become part of popular culture – just think of NASA and their huge countdown clock.  As a kid, I counted down the days until Halloween, Christmas and the end of the school year.  As an adult, I count down the number of weeks until my next marathon and, admittedly, have even used a countdowns to threaten motivate my kids to accomplish tasks.

Today I have a Countdown Spice Rub recipe that is so simple, you don’t even have to write it down. It goes like this:

4 Tablespoons kosher salt, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper . . . . blast off!

jennifer fisher countdown rub

Dump all of these ingredients onto a zip-top bag and shake or mix straight on the plate that you will used to encrust chicken, beef, pork or what have you. The spice rub makes enough to cover two whole chickens, about 3 – 4 pounds of chicken breasts and/ or steaks or about two medium-sized pork tenderloins.  By the way, I was so excited to have a recipe to use the cute little bags of paprika my parents brought me from Budapest!

jennifer fisher spice rub chicken

Now, as for the 4-3-2-1 Workout, I was looking for a way to make my morning speed work more fun. Sometimes just running the same interval over and over just gets boring! This WOD incorporates burpees, crunches and planks for a full body challenge. Rest one minute between each exercise!

jennifer fisher 4-3-2-1 workout

Will Exercise for Smoothies, Jamba Juice Inspired Workout

All these smoothies are for me, mwha-ha-ha!

You all know how I love my Jamba Juice and today I really earned one of their delicious, nutritious smoothies. So in hopes of inspiring others to work out hard and ‘live fruitfully,’ I want to share an exercise routine I put together, inspired by my favorite smoothie shop, Jamba Juice. Modeled after CrossFit-style workouts, this series of five functional exercises provides a full-body blast, engaging arms, legs, core and the cardiovascular system all at once.  So, let’s get started . . . . give me a “J” . . . .give me an “A.”



JENNIFER’S JAMBA WOD (Work Out of the Day)

Jump onto 20” to 24” box x 20

Air squats x 20

Mile run (at 80% effort or better)

Burpees with full push-up x 20

Alternating arm kettle bell swing x 20 (10 each side)

And, now for the fun part – repeat three times and then rehydrate with a smoothie! Feel free to post your final time to the notes; I’ll give you a virtual high five . . . and a Jamba Juice smoothie recommendation!  You know they have a dizzying array of flavors; sometimes it takes me 10 minutes just to make up my mind!  Right now I in love with the Fruit Refreshers, a slushy-like drink made with yummy fruits and coconut water which so tastefully replaces electrolytes lost out sweating in the sun. Try the Tropical Mango, Watermelon Splash or Strawberry Lemonade.

Oh, and hello! I’m a featured ambassador for Jamba Juice, check me out!