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Mark Zuckerberg's Murph Challenge

And why him talking about it is such a good thing

Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) has recently been in the news again, this time because of his fitness training.

Zuckerberg, 39, undertook the popular Murph Challenge towards the end of May. For those unfamiliar with this workout challenge, it is very popular right now, partly as a tribute to US Lieutenant Michael P Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005, and as a way to raise money for charity.

The challenge is named after Murphy, a US Navy Seal, who used to regularly undertake the punishing exercise routine that bears his name. Murphy was extremely fit (as you might expect from a highly respected Navy seal), and the Murph Challenge is based on one of his favourite workouts. It includes a mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and another one-mile run.

Murphy undertook this workout wearing his military body armour (which weighs in at just under 10kg).

Mark Zuckerberg's Murph Challenge lasted 39 minutes and 58 seconds and, having completed it, Zuckerberg then posted a sweaty selfie online, whilst explaining the meaning of his homage and how it felt when doing the exercise routine.

According to Zuckerberg, “I try to do the Murph Challenge with the girls [his daughters] every Memorial Day as a tradition to honour those who defended us. This year I got it done in 39:58. The girls did a quarter-Murph [unweighted] in 15 mins!”

In principle, the Murph Challenge is a CrossFit workout and those who undertake it do so attempting to complete it as quickly as possible. There is also a CrossFit hero Workout of the Day, which is issued by the fitness network and whose members are challenged to complete it in the fastest time possible.

So far, more than $2 million (£1.6 million) has been raised through the challenge for good causes.

When commenting on his experience doing the Murph Challenge, Zuckerberg admitted that the 100 pull-ups were “brutal” and that the “last mile run when your legs are torched from the squats and your heart rate is pegged is pretty brutal too”.

His strategy to complete the challenge involved partitioning the exercise routine and undertaking small numbers of pull-ups, push-ups and squats until he reached the totals required. As such, he did “a bunch of sets with smaller reps of each alternating”, which was “still challenging”, according to Zuckerberg.

Whatever you may think of the Murph Challenge and what it involves, there is no doubt about the value of such demanding fitness events and associated workouts in stimulating exercise and an interest in training. The Murph Challenge does not stand alone in this regard; there are also regular triathlons, marathons, competitive athletic events and combat sports which draw in and encourage those taking part to up their fitness.

For myself, it was playing and competing on the rugby field that led to me becoming a personal trainer. It was my way into the fitness industry and has upped my physical strength and capacity ever since.

In short, it changed my life for the better.

So, whatever you way into the fitness lifestyle, whether it is through competition, challenges such as The Murph Challenge, or other group activities that have a strong social element, the important thing is to begin your fitness journey.

All it takes sometimes is that one spark to get started.


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