Local triathlete Justin Mendelson recently set a new fitness goal: 100 burpees to start his day. So he pulled out a yoga mat one morning to get started. It didn’t go well. “My hands were hanging off the sides; I slipped a few times once I got a little sweaty,” he says. “I tried it again a few days later with shoes on, and I kind of shredded the mat.” As the founder of the Hackfit coding series, Mendelson was no stranger to fitness-focused entrepreneurship—so when he couldn’t find the right mat for high-intensity training, he set out to create one. “I said, somebody should make a mat that’s perfect for burpees, because if it’s perfect for burpees, it would be perfect for any kind of training.”
The result is Perfect Burpee, a larger mat made from natural rubber coated with a no-slip nanoparticle-infused material and shaped like a stretched-out octagon. “During testing, we found that when athletes are given diagonal boundaries, it helps them stay centered,” Mendelson explains. The mats will be priced at around $100, but early supporters can get them for $60 via Perfect Burpee’s $20,000 Kickstarter campaign, launching on Jan. 14 at the first Boston Fitness Gala. “We’re saying to athletes in Boston, get out of your fitness attire, get into nice dresses and suits for once and get to know one another,” Mendelson says of the free event, which will bring Bollywood- and parkour-inspired dance performances and speakers such as triathlon hall of famer Karen Smyers to District Hall.
Also beginning at the sold-out gala: a challenge for Mendelson and business partner David Gritz, who’ve pledged to perform 10,000 burpees over 30 and 60 days, respectively. “I’m a pretty avid triathlete and weight lifter, and David essentially never worked out,” Mendelson explains. “He said, ‘I want to do this for people like me who’ve never been fit before but who’ve always wanted to be.’” Mendelson hopes Perfect Burpee will appeal to both ends of the fitness spectrum. “The product is really built for athletes, but it can be used by anybody who wants to work out in their living rooms. That’s what we’re really excited about: allowing people to get unhooked from the really expensive gym membership and unleash their fitness wherever, whenever.”