It’s burpee day for this week’s Monday Motivation – and we’re showcasing a hardcore athlete who broke 12 hour record doing one of the most enduring moves in the fitness world.  

Many are out of breath and experiencing leg pain after doing 20 minutes worth of burpees, but can you imagine doing them for 12 hours continuously?!  

Samuel Finn from Longueuil, Quebec, Canada managed to break the record for the most chest to ground burpees in 12 hours with a striking total of 5,234.  

While many would consider Samuel’s feat to be quite remarkable, the most exceptional quality of his achievement was his reason for attempting the Guinness World Records title in the first place.  

Back in 2017, Sam’s brother Ced sadly passed of sarcoma cancer after fighting for a long nine months.  


After experiencing the loss of his sibling, the fitness enthusiast and young business owner had one thing that repeatedly came to mind when thinking of the last few moments he spent with his brother:  

“It hit me when I took my last walk with my brother, at the very end in January 2017. By that time, the cancer had spread to his brain and he was losing control of the right side of his body. He could barely walk and spent his days inside. One day I asked him if he wanted to get a breath of fresh air with me. I helped him put on his winter boots, his jacket, and his gloves. We walked outside for 45 minutes, covering a total of roughly 200 meters. Each step was a struggle, but he kept putting one foot in front of the other and we talked about life, like we had done so many times in our lives. Only this would be the last time. It was a simple moment, a little thing. Yet, it was one of the most powerful moments in my life. Don’t take the little things for granted, enjoy them.” 

Wanting to do something to honour the memory of his brother and the challenges he faced with his illness, Samuel decided to do 1,000 burpees.  

After finishing, he decided he could take this effort a step further and researched breaking the official record for the most burpees performed.  

Although Samuel would eventually go on to break the record and raise an impressive $58,000 to benefit those who suffered with the same form of cancer that his brother did – he had a lot preparation leading up to the the final results.  

At first, he consistently trained doing hours of burpees a day to raise his stamina for the title, but his body started to protest after so much repeated endurance.   sam-mid-attempt-with-just-30-minutes-on-the-clock

In order to alleviate the pain he was experiencing, he decided that the chest-to-ground burpee was a more manageable exercise for a longer period of time.  

Upon making the switch, he instantly noticed an improvement in his recovery period and felt the record was in reach.  


“Chest-to-ground burpees are such a great exercise because it utilizes most of the major muscle groups, it requires stability in your joints, it requires a strong core, and it most definitely works your cardiovascular system. Another great aspect is that it requires no equipment and no gym. In fact, while I was training for the Guinness World Records title, I used to do hours of burpees next to a dog park (I love dogs, they kept me smiling throughout the hundreds of burpees).” 

The day of the attempt, Samuel was prepared for the extensive measures he would need to put his body through in order to become a record holder.  

Despite some early knee pain, he was determined to make his brother proud and see the attempt through to the finish.  

With friends and family present to support him, even the toughest points of the 12 hours were bearable.  

“I kept pushing, focusing on one rep at a time and always thinking about my brother Ced – remembering how strong he was while facing challenges that seem insurmountable compared to 12 hours of burpees. The best part of my attempt was when there was roughly 30 minutes left. By then, I had already beaten the record and everyone could tell I was in pain. I kept working, burpee after burpee. At one point, one of my brother’s best friends asked my team to place Ced’s picture in front of me (it was on the table behind me). My team gathered a few kettlebells to hold the picture right in front of me. I had tears in my eyes as I went down to the floor and looked at Ced every single rep until the very end.” 


Since becoming the official record holder, Samuel wants to share his story with others so they too can learn that you can push beyond mental limitations when you believe in yourself.  

As he feels everyone should encourage themselves to become more physically active and set fitness goals to reach their potential, he has some tips to share with others:  

Tip 1: Take it one day at a time, one rep at a time.  

Don’t think about the next 29 days, focus on today. A quote from a book I read a few years ago has stuck with me and helped me in tough times: “it’s okay to want to quit, just do it tomorrow.” 

When I’m going through challenging workouts and I think I can’t handle it anymore, I think to myself “quit after this set”. Then I finish the set and, guess what, I’m still alive and well. So I start another set and repeat to myself, “quit after this set”. And on and on until I’ve gained momentum and I’m no longer thinking about quitting. When you add up all those sets, you might end up doing 5234 burpees in 12 hours! 

Tip 2: Dedicate each session to someone 

I find that we can do so much more for others than we can for ourselves. Who cares if you quit on yourself? If you dedicate a session to your mom for instance, you can find it in you to keep pushing when things get hard. I remember dedicating long and hard burpee workouts to my family, to people who were supporting me, to people who messaged me as they were battling with cancer like my brother did.  

Tip 3: Don’t listen to yourself, talk to yourself 

Our minds are very powerful, and they prioritise comfort and safety over pretty much everything else. You must talk to yourself instead of listening to that little voice that will no doubt beg you to stop. What helps me is to repeat mantras while I train. Not only does this prevent the little voice in my head from stopping me, but it also energizes me. I love the following mantras: The harder it gets, the stronger I become; Stay in the fight; This is for “ the person I dedicated my sessions to (see tip 2) ”.