In February 2020, as early signs of the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the US, 40-year-old California native Graham Dessert busied himself with a formidable undertaking: complete 365 Murphs in 365 days.
Named in honour of the late Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, the gruelling CrossFit workout consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1-mile run to seal the deal – all while wearing a weighted vest.
Dessert tackled a Murph every day, come rain or shine, until his challenge ended on February 20, 2021. That's a total of 730 miles, 36,500 pull-ups, 73,000 push-ups and 109,500 squats over the course of 365 days. Why? “I guess it just intrigued me… I like doing hard things,” he told Morning Chalk Up.
While the majority of his Murphs were logged at the local park in Carlsbad, Dessert continued to honour his daily commitment while travelling for work in Indianapolis, Dallas, Houston, Tampa and Seattle – and on holiday in Mexico. “I did it as early as 3am and as late as 11pm,” Dessert said.
His fastest time was 34:48, and his slowest around one hour 30 minutes – when Dessert caught COVID-19 in late December. While those Murphs were certainly tough, he says they weren't as physically draining as the first month of the challenge.
“There were nights where my wife was like, ‘What are you doing to yourself?’,” Dessert said. “The inflammation in my body was enough that I couldn’t sleep at night.”
By May, boredom had set in. By July, Dessert decided to expand his workout regimen by adding several three or four mile runs each week, plus a tonne of weighted sit-ups. “I just felt like I needed to strengthen my core, so I also did some weighted sit-ups inside the Murph,” he added. “Two hundred weighted sit-ups once a week.”
For Dessert, the experience was less about the physical challenge and more a test of mental strength. “We as people are truly capable of anything with a little bit of daily work,” he said. “The time that I put into this, I can take that time and effort and put it into anything.
“Consistent and persistent work,” Dessert continued. “ That’s what it comes down to. “Also, something like this tests your ability to handle challenges. It’s a direct reflection of your ability to problem-solve, and we can apply this to anything.” We'll take his word for it.
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