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'Just finished 500,000 burpees:' Billings trainer impacting veterans

Jim Thompson Burpees.png
Posted at 1:47 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 16:43:24-04

BILLINGS - It seems like Jim Thompson enjoys punishing himself.

"I just finished 500,000 burpees," the Billings trainer told MTN Sports.

Granted that's been over the course of three years, nine months. But no matter how hard he punishes his joints and muscles, Thompson knows the pain level is nowhere near what people suffering from PTSD feel.

"22 veterans a day commit suicide," Thompson said.

That's what sparked the Courage Foundation a few years ago, "helping veterans with one of the hardest parts of military service - coming home."

Thompson is in his fourth year of locally spearheading Burpees for Vets, and this month anyone can help taking advantage of a new social media challenge at

"You video yourself for 11 seconds, see how many burpees you can do in 11 seconds. Then you tag three people and challenge them to do the same."

Whether you conquer one burpee or more in those 11 seconds, you simply donate $11.

This year, veterans aren't the only ones benefiting. The Courage Foundation is extending nationwide help to front line workers seeing a lot more deaths via the pandemic.

Personally, Thompson is taking the challenge a step further. He's one of only 20 people invited to California for what they call a SEALFIT crucible on Veteran's Day.

"(It's) military style physical training. They'll be spraying you with water, there will probably be smoke bombs, a lot of sirens, chaos. Making you uncomfortable so you get comfortable being uncomfortable," Thompson said.

That's next Thursday. This Saturday, the trainer is hosting Burpees for Vets at The Underground gym behind Western Ranch Supply on the West End. All are invited to visit the 24-hour event and hammer out a few burpees.

For those who absolutely loath this form of fitness, don't feel badly. It's been a love-hate relationship for Thompson, too.

"At first it was like, I have to do burpees today. Now it's like, I get to do burpees today."