Wilcox Wellness and Fitness owner Allison Hopkins, of Cundy’s Harbor (center), and trainers Trevor Chaput and Bree Bourassa, perform a “burpee” involving a giant tire while Cory King, executive director of the Bath-Brunswick Regional Chamber of Commerce, begs for mercy during the annual Burpees for Turkeys benefit for the Good Shepherd Food Bank. (ANDREW ESTEY PHOTO)

Clients at Wilcox Wellness and Fitness in Brunswick got a chance to turn the tables on their personal trainers during the annual Burpees for Turkeys event on Nov. 19. The trainers, who usually are the ones doling out challenging exercises, agreed to do a “burpee” for every $5 donated in their names, with the proceeds going to the Good Shepherd Food Bank to fight food insecurity in Maine.

For those fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with burpees, the basic exercise involves squatting, thrusting the legs out behind and then returning to a standing position, with many torturous possible variations on that theme.

Wilcox Wellness owner Allison Hopkins, a resident of Cundy’s Harbor, and trainers Bree Bourassa and Trevor Chaput performed a total of 1,288 burpees in a little more than an hour and raised $6,440 for Good Shepherd. Clients Jill and Sophie Jacobs kicked in 90 burpees between them in a show of support.

Cory King, executive director of the Bath-Brunswick Regional Chamber of Commerce, served as emcee in an oversized turkey costume and may have completed a burpee or two while entertaining the crowd that turned out in person and tuned in on Facebook Live to witness the feat of fitness.

“It’s a fun holiday tradition with lots of energy in the gym,” said Hopkins. “But food insecurity is a serious problem throughout the year in Maine, and we’re happy to do what we can to help Good Shepherd in their important work.”

The Burpees for Turkeys fundraiser started at the original Wilcox Wellness location in Bangor in 2015. The trainers there combined with the Brunswick crew to raise $13,086 this year. Hopkins, who opened the Wilcox location in Brunswick in 2019, said that more than $78,000 has been collected to combat hunger through the burpee challenge over the years.

Hopkins, who at one point demonstrated a burpee technique that involved a headstand, admitted that performing more than 400 squat thrusts can be a bit tiring. “But we’re already looking forward to next year!” she said.