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I Tried Doing 100 Pushups a Day for a Week: Here’s What Happened

One of my main goals since the beginning of this semester has been to take better care of myself. Get more sleep, drink more water, eat more healthy foods and exercise more often. Unfortunately, I have been severely slacking on the last one.

During quarantine, while many people were grinding and focusing on getting into shape, I sat in my room and watched far too much TV, leading me to fall out of shape. Getting back into the habit of working out has been something that I’ve struggled with. It’s a combination of exhaustion from the day, not knowing how to properly work out at a gym and, to be completely honest, my own laziness. I just don’t feel like working out.

Back in high school, I ran cross country (you can read more about my experience with that here [I would like to link my story “Dear Running” from last week, but it hasn’t been posted yet.]), so the only way I knew how to work out was by running. I never really learned how to properly exercise in a gym with machines and weights, and at this point, I’m kind of too nervous to ask.

A week ago at the point of time I’m writing this, I had a bit of a wake-up call when I had to hold a small boom microphone for 20 minutes straight. My arm was shaking afterward, and the next morning it was embarrassingly sore. That’s when I decided I needed to do just about anything to get a little more in shape.

So, what was a girl like me supposed to do? I needed something that didn’t take up too much time, didn’t require any equipment and was something that a beginner could do. I took to the internet and saw that pushups would be my best bet.

Besides the convenience of them, pushups have a lot of health benefits. According to Healthline, pushups build upper-body strength as they work the triceps, pectoral muscles and shoulders, and can also strengthen the lower back and core when done properly.

The main selling point for me, though, was that they don’t require any equipment, which was especially helpful considering I traveled for a few days during this challenge. I also already knew how to do a proper pushup, so back in the day, I was able to complete a fair amount without crashing to my chin.

One thing that I wish I had done more of before starting this challenge was research. Most health websites said it would be best to work my way up to 100 pushups each day instead of starting off with that right off the bat, but I’m never one to turn down a challenge. There’s no official challenge out there that has people do 100 pushups every day for a week, but I made myself one, because that’s how I’m able to motivate myself.

So, how did it go? Here are my day-by-day breakdowns for this challenge in a week:

Day 1

My main strategy going into this challenge was to start by first seeing how many pushups I could even do in a row. However, my base was much lower than I thought it would be. I could only do seven consecutive pushups before needing a break. Nevertheless, I persisted and did all 100 pushups in one go.

That was a mistake. I felt dead afterward, and I still had school work to finish up for the day, so needless to say, that was not a fun night.

Day 2

When I woke up on this day, I genuinely thought that I would have to skip my classes and call out of work because I could not move my arms. Everything was sore. My arms, my shoulders, my chest, my back, my core — basically everything on the upper half of my body. But this was supposed to be a challenge, after all, so I didn’t throw in the towel just yet. I decided to change my approach up a little for day two. Instead of doing all 100 in one go, I decided to break it up into four hours, doing 25 pushups every 60 minutes. As I am not a morning person, I did this in the evening. The pushups were brutal, and it took me way longer to get my sets done now rather than on day one.

Day 3

If I thought day two was bad, just wait until I went into day three. It was by far the most soreness I had ever felt in my life. I couldn’t get out of bed that day. I’d always heard that the soreness is worse two days after rather than one, and now I can attest to that. I heavily considered using this day as a rest day, but I pushed myself to go for it. There was only a week in this challenge, so I was already halfway through. I did it all in one go again, but it took a very, very long time.

Day 4

Today was the day that I traveled, so I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get the pushups in. But I managed, and I felt much better compared to earlier in the week. I wouldn’t say that my body was getting used to the pushups at this point, but I wasn’t even as close to as sore as I was on day three. Here, I did the 100 pushups in one go again, which is ended up being what I accomplished for the rest of the challenge.

Day 5

This was another day that I was out of town, but I got my pushups in in the evening. My shoulders were not feeling too great, but other than that, it seemed like the soreness was almost invisible. It was also the fastest that I had done all the pushups at that point. My form was even improving (or maybe I just thought it was because this challenge was so short).

Day 6

At the tail end of the challenge, I thought I could not have had a better performance (spoiler alert: I didn’t). I was back at home for today’s pushups, and I was feeling confident for some unknown reason. It was by far the fastest it took me to complete the 100, but it was also the day that I felt the strongest. By no means was I suddenly super buff, and I wouldn’t say that I’d had a huge transformation, but it was nice to feel my hard work begin to pay off.

Day 7

Last day! The pushups were slightly rougher than the day before, but that could have been because I was so ready for the challenge to be over.

Overall, I didn’t see a huge physical transformation in my body, and I wish that I had given myself more time to grow into this challenge (a month might have showcased more visible improvement). But I felt more energized and confident during this challenge than I had beforehand.

If you’re thinking of doing a fitness challenge like this one, please do your research. I don’t think that putting my body through that much that quickly was the best idea for my muscles, but I would definitely recommend doing something that you work your way up to with more time. Just make sure that you listen to your body and take care of yourself, and you should be good to go!

Alejandra is a fourth-year journalism and education sciences double major at the University of Florida. A self-described grammar and writing nerd, she loves reading and editing the work of others and helping them in their writing process. She's also extremely passionate about climate issues and human rights. When she's not editing for HC UFL or doing school work, you can almost always find her trying a new recipe, working out, watching a movie, or reading!
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