Burpees. Even the name sounds bad. They’re the hiccups of Satan, the worst kind of exercise devised by the evil PT gods of exercise. If you’re unfamiliar with this special form of torture, this is what it entails: Start in a standing position, your body quivering in anticipation of the hurt that’s to come. Then at the crack of the whip (or the whistle of your trainer or worst of all, at the sadistic, Terminator-like beep of the circuit timer), you drop as quickly as you can so that your legs and shoulders are touching the cold, hard concrete floor. This may sound easy, but unfortunately my friend, you land with the grace of a brick and this takes a toll on your knees and arms. Once you’ve hit the ground, you need to press up as explosively as possible into a jump where you touch an object with both hands six inches above your head. That’s one burpee. Then you drop down into the pain again, and do it over. And over. This sounds simple, right? This guy, Danila Shokhin, does it right – check out his video. He’s tied first globally for the first test of the CrossFit Games. He cracked an unbelievable 161 burpees in seven minutes. But even though he has done the most burpees in seven minutes in the whole, wide world – he does lose points for the Maroon 5 soundtrack. This last, sun-filled Saturday was my cold, hard day of reckoning at Cape CrossFit. I slowly sauntered up to the pull-up bar when my turn came, but that was just for show, I was crapping myself. At the sound of the robotic alarm, I entered my own personal burpee hell. My first two minutes went well. So well that I completely tired myself out, and a rather portly Polar bear jumped onto my back for the rest of the test. The next five minutes were a sweat-drenched, light-headed haze where I wasn’t sure the floor ended, and my body started. I was stuck in a purgatory of pain – it was longer than any maths exam or Home Affairs queue. I tried to find my happy place, but it was nowhere to be found. There can be no happy place with burpees, the pain will catch you anywhere. Eventually, the buzzer went again, and I was able to stay on the floor until my heart had returned to normal operation. The result? 101. While it is nowhere near Danila’s 161, I was happy. I am now sitting at 46th spot in the African region on the leaderboard, and if by some miracle I can stay within the top 60 places over the next four CrossFit Open tests, I will be eligible for the regional games. We find out about the next test tomorrow (when it’s released by the CrossFit HQ in the States), which I’ll be attempting this coming Saturday. No one knows what it’ll have in store, but I’m just stoked it won’t be burpees again. But the really good news is that while I probably won’t make the regionals, I am still getting all the benefit of the Open training. The moral of this training story? Burpees aren’t fun, but they’re a good test. Even though you’ll hate them more than you thought possible, they’ll do some impressive things to your fitness.