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Updated: May 30, 2022

Today we remember the fallen heroes who protect our freedoms and push back evil in the world. One way people choose to honor fallen heroes on Memorial Day is by doing a Murph workout, named after Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy who died serving in Afghanistan in 2005. The Murph workout was one of Lt. Murphy's favorite's and one that he originally named "Body Armor."

The Murph workout is done for time and consists of:

  • 1 mile run

  • 100 pull-ups

  • 200 push-ups

  • 300 squats

  • 1 mile run

A 20 lb. weighted vest (or body armor) is typically worn for this workout, and is standard in CrossFit competition.

Many variations of this workout have arisen over the years as a way for many people to participate and honor our soldiers.

My wife and I chose to do a Partner Murph where:

  • Partner 1 runs 1/3 mile

  • Partner 2 performs as many rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats as possible while partner 1 runs

Then as soon as partner 1 gets back the roles switch, repeating this until all mileage and reps have been performed.

This workout is HARD. It is a major physical and mental gut-check. The best advice that I follow about doing this workout is: "don't feel sorry for yourself." Take short breaks between reps but avoid the pitfall of taking long rests where you burn up a bunch of time and fall short of your potential. Get right back to the reps after 3-5 seconds of rest when you need it, and you will surprise yourself at how many reps you can do even when you are exhausted.

This was my first year completing this workout with the 20 lb. vest. I cannot express to you HOW MUCH I wanted to take the vest off halfway through. But what kind of example would that have set for my wife and kids? What kind of example would that set for our fitness community? The truth is that it was all mental. I had to push those thoughts of quitting out of my mind. My body was capable of pushing through. All I had to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep performing one more rep, and again, not feel sorry for myself.

So the first lesson in this exercise is to never quit. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other even when you don't feel like it. If you do this you will arrive at your goal, and you will build a sense of accomplishment. Keep stacking wins like that in your physical goals and with your life goals, and you will become an unstoppable force.

The second lesson is to put yourself in a position to overcome challenges. In short, do hard things. Overcome. Make yourself better, not just for yourself but for those around you.

To add to that, a third lesson is to be an example. As mentioned before, if I would have quit or taken the vest off early, what type of example would that have been for my family? That may sound silly, but the next generation is watching us. Are we showing them that we are strong, resilient, and bold? Are we showing them their potential his greater than they can imagine? Or are we showing them something else?

Strong individuals lead to strong families. Strong families lead to strong communities. And strong communities lead to strong nations.

I can think of no better way to honor those who died protecting our freedoms than to strive for excellence in our own lives.

P.s. find people in your life that support you and push you to be better. My wife is one of those people. She whoops me on the long distance running and air squats. When I see her knocking it out faster than me, it keeps me from sandbagging the workout, and it makes me push myself. Find that person in your life and keep them close. Thanks, Erica!

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