Here’s What 30 Days of CrossFit’s Murph Workout Did to This Guy’s Body
Like a lot of people, YouTuber TheTravelMatt was going a little stir-crazy during quarantine and wanted a project that he could take on with all of his newfound free time. “I feel pretty lethargic, I feel unproductive, I’m not really getting much done, I don’t think I’m in the clearest headspace, just because there’s not much structure to my day,” he says in his latest video.
He decided to take on a month-long fitness challenge that would push him to his limits physically, by doing CrossFit’s infamously tough Murph workout every single day. The Murph comprises a 1-mile run, 300 squats, 200 pushups, 100 pullups, and another 1-mile run.
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On the first day of the challenge, Matt admits to walking for half of the run, and even throws up midway through the pushups. “That was way more difficult than what I imagined,” he says. Not the most auspicious start to a 30-day ordeal, but he pushes on, and the next day he has managed to shave more than a minute off his 68 minute time, having completed the entire run without walking (and after learning to wait 2 hours after eating).
On the third day he is forced to take a day off to rest, as he has never put so much strain on his body before. Day 4 he is back to it, and while he acknowledges his form might not be spot-on, by the end of the first week his endurance has increased to the point that he is able to do all of the pullups in one go, and is able to complete the entire Murph in just under 51 minutes.
After a while, in addition to the initial pain in his muscles, Matt begins to experience soreness all over as a result of the daily workouts. “I’m really starting to realize how average my joints are,” he says. “If you have any underlying joint problems, doing the Murph is a way to find out!”
2 weeks in, and he finds that the challenge is taking a psychological toll, as well as a physical one. “It’s mentally draining, it’s physically draining, your whole day revolves around the Murph,” he says. “Preparing for it, eating 2 hours before. I just hope I start getting fitter, so that it becomes less of a debilitating thing in my day. I’m halfway there, and I don’t want to give up now.”
Throughout the entire month, Matt pursues a goal of completing the Murph in under 40 minutes, and he manages it on the very last day of the challenge, finishing the workout in 39 minutes 51 seconds.
“I look more defined, my pecs look bigger, my back’s fuller, my arse is bigger,” he says. “Just in general, my physique looks more athletic.”
Most of those visible changes happened in the first 18 days, after which Matt added high-calorie protein shakes to his routine. “It’s your diet that really counts, so focus on that, if not more,” he says, adding: “Sleep is the most important thing.” He also stresses the importance of staying hydrated and stretching.
However, there were more than just physical benefits to the Murph; Matt says that it gave him something to focus his attention on, after losing his grandfather Harry to COVID-19. “Doing this Murph challenge allowed me to keep my mind active, stay positive, so for that, this challenge has been pretty profound,” he says.
Matt’s next 30-day fitness challenge will be a fundraiser for frontline healthcare workers who cared for his grandfather and so many others during the pandemic; it will consist of a 1-mile run, 300 situps, 200 pushups, 100 burpees, and another 1-mile run. You can find out more about “The Harry Challenge” here.
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