Angela Chatman Shatters Guinness World Record, Completing 5,529 Burpees in 12 Hours
When Angela Chatman began CrossFit at Elk Grove Fieldhouse in 2019, her goal was to learn how to climb a rope. Two years later, she’s breaking a Guinness World Record and making a name for herself in the CrossFit Open. But not for rope climbs, for burpees…5,529 in 12 hours to be exact.
The details: As gyms were shut down globally due to the pandemic, many coaches programmed WODs that members could do at home with minimum to no equipment. So what did many of us do for months on end? Burpees. And that’s exactly how Angela Chatman’s journey to break the Guinness World Record for most burpees in 12 hours began.
- “A few friends and I would wake up and get on zoom at 5 AM after the gym closed down at the beginning of the strict COVID restrictions,” Chatman said. “Since we didn’t have a ton of equipment at our homes, most of the WODs consisted of bodyweight movements, and burpees always seemed to sneak their way in.”
- But the irony of it all is that Chatman doesn’t even really like burpees. She said, “they are exhausting, tire out your entire body, and are super unforgiving, but the CrossFit community is really what inspired me to start this journey.”
- She added, “right as the gyms started reopening, my friend Catherine said that she thought I could break the previous record. At first, I laughed at the thought of it but one of our coaches, Thorsten, said he thought I could also do it and would help me accomplish it.”
And if breaking the World Record for burpees isn’t impressive enough, Chatman also came in first place in the equipment free division of the Open this year.
What her training looked like to break the record: Chatman trained for five months. She started with a 60 minute EMOM of nine burpees. Each week, Chatman would increase the amount of reps per week until her and her coach were confident she would be able to keep it up for the entire 12 hours. But it didn’t come without some speed bumps along the way.
- “Since I have asthma, I wasn’t able to train for a couple of weeks when there were bad wildfires out here in California,” Chatman said.
- But like any athlete chasing a goal, “once I said I was trying to break the record, there really was no turning back from there,” Chatman said.
December 6, 2020, The day she broke the record: Chatman started off with the progression she had been dialing in on for nearly half a year: Complete 9 burpees every minute. She said, that gave her about 20 seconds rest before dropping to the floor for the next set of burpees.
- “As my muscles tightened up, my coach would blast me with a massage gun to keep me as loose as possible,” Chatman said. “He also made me drinks consisting of BCAAs, electrolytes and sugar and would alter the recipe as needed. We called it hummingbird juice.”
- Although many COVID restrictions were still in place back in December, specifically regarding capacity, members of her box came in shifts to cheer her on.
- “Even through wearing masks, I could hear them encouraging me and cheering me on. One person, in particular, kept telling me that my burpee count was lower than what it really was because he knew I would push myself harder,” Chatman said. “During a moment in our lives when there wasn’t much to celebrate, this event brought our community together and gave us something to cheer for. I was so happy to be a part of it!”
Remind me: The previous Guinness World Record for most burpees in 12 hours was 5,332. With Chatmans impressive 5,529 burpees, she destroyed the record by 197 reps. It goes without saying that the human body is going to pay for a feat like that.
- “The next day I wanted to wear a diaper! Sitting on the toilet felt like a workout,” Chatman said.”
For Chatman, she says the pain was all worth it. It’s not just about breaking a record, but being a role model for her kids.
- “I wanted my daughters to see that they can accomplish anything if they work hard at it. I wanted them to see that goals aren’t accomplished overnight and you have to work hard for anything you want in life. I wanted to make them proud and allow them to see that they can do hard things,” Chatman said.
So what’s next? Chatman is now looking to break the record for most burpees in one hour.