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Personal trainer in Listowel, Ont., completes 730 burpees in an hour, breaks world record

A personal trainer from Listowel, Ont., has broken the world record for most chest-to-ground burpees performed in an hour by a female — with 730.

Alison Brown, the 38-year-old owner of New U Personal Training Studio, performed the feat at the studio on July 12, 2020, and received confirmation on Friday from Guinness World Records that she now holds the world title. Her feat is documented on the Guinness World Record website.

“It’s pretty awesome, actually,” Brown said in an interview. “I’m a little bit competitive in nature and the original record-holder set the bar very high. So when I saw the number I was just ready to give it all I had and I knew I wanted to set the bar even higher. So it’s pretty cool to know that I did it.”

To win the title, Brown beat the previous record of 709. 

A burpee is an exercise that involves performing a push up, then jumping up in the air before returning to the push up position.

Burpee symbolic this year

Brown got the idea to break the world record when her oldest son Andrew, 9, brought home the Guinness Book of World Records. 

“Andrew said to me, ‘Mom, can I do something like this?’ And I said ‘you can do anything that you work for,'” Brown said.

Then Brown decided this should be a case of show and not tell.

“I tell all of my clients, children will be what they see, not what we say to them … So I tell my clients that you need to model what you want your children to follow,” she said.

Brown says she picked the grueling exercise for a number of reasons. One is that it’s one of her favourite workouts because of the number of muscles involved. But there was also another, more symbolic reason for her choice — particularly since she and her husband had their fitness business shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been a year of us having to get back up,” she said. “So I really like that metaphor, you just got to keep getting back up.”

‘I hit a pretty big wall’

Even though Brown is a fitness professional, setting the record was far from easy.

“It was OK until I got to 600, and then I hit a wall — I hit a pretty big wall at 600,” she said.

It was motivation from Jennifer Fenton, an observer and a physical education teacher at Norwell District High School in nearby Palmerston, Ont., that inspired Brown to keep going.

“[Fenton] said, ‘You didn’t come this far to only come this far.’ And it was just what I needed to hear at that moment to get back up again and push through.” Brown said. “She even said something like, ‘What’s another hundred when you’ve done six [hundred], right?'”

The Guinness World Record website features photos of Alison Brown completing her burpee challenge. (guinnessworldrecords.com)

Brown broke the original record of 709 at 58 minutes, eventually hitting 730 at the end of the hour.

She said she hopes her feat provides inspiration to aim high.

But did she end up inspiring her children to break a world record of their own?

“I think actually my one son was curious about the most marshmallows anyone can fit in their mouth,” she said.

“That was kind of what was on his radar.”

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