Edmonton dad attempts burpee world record-breaker for autism awareness

For Stephen Schaefer, the burpee is a way to give back.

Schaefer will attempt to break a Guinness World Record on Saturday for the most chest-to-ground burpees completed in one hour. The current record is 920. 

Schaefer's attempt will raise money for Autism Edmonton. 

His eldest son, seven-year-old Jason — the inspiration behind the fundraiser — has been acting as Schaefer's personal fitness coach.

"My little boy likes fitness as well so he's been helping me train and it's been quite the journey," Schaefer said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"He really likes to be active. His favourite show is American Ninja Warrior so he's always jumping around and copying my moves. My other boy also participates and they've really been big supporters of this."

Jason and his brother Joshua, 5, have their eyes set on the record books, Schaefer said.  

When Jason was diagnosed with autism at age three, it was a lonely, confusing time for Schaefer and his wife Monika. 

Volunteers and staff at Autism Edmonton gave the family the resources they needed and the sense of community they craved, Schaefer said. 

"That was the motivating factor behind doing this," he said.  "It's something I feel pretty strongly about." 

'I'm going to be really tired'

Schaefer, an Edmonton police constable, has been training for months, attempting to get his speed up to 15 burpees per minute, the rate he will need to pull off a record-breaker.

He didn't tell anyone about his plans for months. He waited until he felt he was up to the task. 

"I wanted to do something that would be extremely challenging for me and so I picked burpees and I've been training pretty hard but it's quite the task," he said.   

Schaefer will make his record attempt at Generate Fitness at 17210 106A Ave. Anyone is welcome to attend. The business will open its doors at 11 a.m.

"Obviously I'm going to be really tired so there is going to be somebody counting and somebody there to make sure I'm going all the way down," he said.  

"If I didn't think it was possible, I wouldn't have taken this on. I'm just going to do whatever I can. 

"Obviously 920 is the goal but I'll just keep going until the hour is up."

Kirsten Britta Photography