Memorializing Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to everyone, but especially those who have served our country and even assisted in serving other countries who need our aid and support. Memorial Day became a big deal in the ZooFit family back in 2014 when both my husband and I experienced our first “Murph”.

Oh, let me explain. It’s no secret that ZooFit is loosely inspired by aspects of CrossFit. I love the variety programmed in CrossFit workouts, and how no two workouts are ever exactly the same. The community surrounding CrossFit centers is INSANE, something I would really like to aspire to when teaching fitness or wellness as well. And my Conservation Hero Workouts are deeply influenced by CrossFit’s Hero WODs (WOD means Workout of the Day in CrossFit lingo). Hero WODs are often grueling, super challenging workouts that honor military personnel who have fallen in the line of duty. There’s a reason they are tough. It’s so you appreciate everything these people sacrificed for our freedom and the pursuit of liberty far from home.

One of the most popular Hero WODs is a workout called “Murph”, named for Lt. Michael P. Murphy. In fact, it’s the one workout you KNOW you’re going to do on the last Monday of May, because nearly every CrossFit box around the country programs “Murph” on Memorial Day. “Murph” is a particularly challenging workout– start off with a 1-mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats. Most coaches are kind enough to let you break the pull-ups, push-ups and squats in any way you like. When you finish those, you head off for another 1-mile run. If you really want to torture, er, I mean, CHALLENGE yourself, you wear a 20-lb. vest during the entire workout.


I’ve participated in several “Murphs” since 2014. One year, I even did 2, sort of (I participated in the morning Murph with my CrossFit box, then led an outdoor bootcamp for friends with modifications). The past three years, though, I’ve simmered down and haven’t done an actual “Murph” challenge, even a modified one. I’ve more or less grown away from the CrossFit mentality of “Go Hard or Go Home” and “You didn’t have a good workout unless you puked or almost died”. I lead senior fitness classes and help people new to fitness find their path and have fun. Puking and going so hard you break something isn’t generally sustainable or fun.

However, I do love a good challenge. A few months ago, a friend and I went hiking in Deception Pass state park. I love Deception Pass, and this hike promised a moderate but doable challenge. At least, that’s what the reviews told us. However, I think most of those reviews occurred before several giant wind storms knocked over enormous trees, and the overly wet winter created muddy swamps to traverse. We had to literally crawl under trees, create new trails around bogs and impossible to climb trail-blockers, and hike up and down steep hills.

After two long grueling hours, my friend and I laughed-cried about our “Spartan Hike” and swore we’d never do THAT again! Until now. I will admit, three months can change a trail completely in the Pacific Northwest. It’s also possible in the last three months, the park rangers have cleared the paths of downed behemoths blocking our way. But, I proposed to my husband that we celebrate Memorial Day in our own ZooFit fashion, by doing a “Spartan Hike” to challenge our fitness, get outdoors, experience nature, and have some fun.

It wasn’t quite this bad, but it was close!

So, while thousands of CrossFitters celebrate Memorial Day with Murph, I will honor our heroes by doing what I do best– making fitness fun, engaging, and impactful.

How do you celebrate Memorial Day? Do you have a ritual or fun activity that you cherish? Awesome, let me know in the comments. And keep eating clean, living green, and training positive. Today, tomorrow, and forever.

One Response

  1. Great post! Yes, Murph is crazy difficult. I still remember the year that I did the whole thing with a vest and without break it up. That was crazy. But, I came out of it with a stronger belief in myself.
    I’m glad we’ve moved away from the crossfit mentality as well. It’s all about longevity and keeping fitness as part of my life every single day without tearing up my body so that I can still be hiking at 90+ years old.
    I loved our hike BTW. I always love our hikes. We need to get out to the mountains soon!

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