Alight! I am no fitness freak or a gym addict just a regular guy hitting gym 4–5 days in a week for 45–60 minutes, that was before the lockdown hit us all. The coronavirus pandemic did spell doom for regular gym goers due to the design of the virus spreading also through sweat. I doubt if there will be people flocking the gym anytime soon even after the lockdown is opened up as the fear around the virus isn’t going to go low profile. Hence, the problem which was ahead for me was how to stay fit when you have your regular gym time taken away from you due to factors not in your control. One easy option is to blame it on the situation and stay put and let the lockdown be your downturn in fitness. While the other one is to find ways to motivate yourself to maintain your levels of fitness in these difficult times. When I workout in the gym I have my horse blinders on with playing my music playlist on my phone and just following whatever my gym trainer says. I am so lazy to ask that no wonder I still don’t know what is the name of the many variations of workout I do at the gym even after doing it for over 24 months with my trainer.
But, I follow one simple rule that is: consistency is more important than intensity and that was getting challenged in this lockdown with no chance of being regular with my workouts as I am so clueless that I don’t know what exercises works for which body part. I tried doing some basic level ones for few weeks but got bored doing it for long, as my knowledge of variations was limited and didn’t want to screw up things trying to do something that I don’t know about watching videos online. But, one thing that I knew or have been following regularly was push-ups and could do 15 push-ups of 3 sets with a slight struggle in the last set usually. I thought of giving myself a new challenge and routine of 100 push-ups every day for 30 days to bring on my 40th birthday. So that I can maintain my fitness levels for the goal I had set myself to at this age and this would also help me to be regular with my workouts during the lockdown. But, I never knew what I had instilled among myself would help me realize many things in the journey:
It’s more mental than physical: You realize this pretty soon, it is not a physical test but more of your mental test of putting you through such a challenge. It’s like you have jumped into a sea and you are clueless where you have to swim to the reach the shore or even if there is one. So, you need to keep your self mentally strong that this is doable and there is shore at the end which you cannot see as of now but will surely soon. On the way, you should keep celebrating your milestones as they are not just numbers but a definition of your path.
You need Intervals that suit you: This may differ from individual to individual as some might find it doing 100 push-ups a day in a single time slot while some would like to break it down in a day. I preferred doing it in a time frame of 25–30 mins with 4 sets of 25. This was intense but I wasn’t doing any other major workouts besides this so I needed this kind of intensity to challenge myself. There were days when I faced too much fatigue with body soreness and that time I just did 20 push-ups or lesser in 5 or more sets over 45–60 minutes, so it’s really how you would want to pace yourself.
Social media keeps the fire burning: Doing 100 push-ups a day is monotonous and can get boring after a few days especially when you are doing it alone. Now, I hit the boredom part in the second week as I started questioning myself: Why am I doing this? What and Whom do I want to prove things? Well sometimes you just take up a challenge to prove yourself in your own eyes, but you try to get derailed in this situation after a while because none is watching. At these times social media can be a good tool to encourage yourself, it helps you get an audience for a while and helps you get some encouragement on the side. I usually use social media not for maximizing likes or virals on my posts but more to understand if things are on track as it is a great tool to get perspective on things.
It is a gritty journey: Grit is a very underused word generally, but I guess you set off in this journey you would understand the true meaning of it as your true grit will be tested. As your ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles around. I am proud of the fact that I didn’t miss a day, even when a couple of days when I felt a little low and feverish being in a locked-down for over 2 months. In fact, in the third week, the challenge made me look forward to doing my push-ups as a meaningful task that I did for the day for myself with all the craziness that was going outside. So, in a way, the low of the lockdown helped me get to the high of my grit as I could see the shore of this unending sea and I was gearing up to reach there soon.
Discipline and focus are the key ingredients: I am accustomed to putting myself through 60 days off-alcohol and 30 days off-sweets earlier but never got myself into a physical task everyday challenge. A diet control challenge does take discipline but physical challenge takes your focus too, as where the focus goes your energy will flow there too. You need to be focussed and disciplined to determine your reality ahead and make sure you can reach there. I realized the more disciplined I got the easier it got for me to finish the challenge for me with focus. And these skills also overflowed for me in my regular day and work so doing 100 push-ups a day for 30 days wasn’t just a physical upgrade for me but also a mental one.
When you hit your late thirties, you usually realize that you need to get fit by the time you hit your forty. It’s more out of worry nowadays, especially when you see around or read news of 35-year-old guys getting sudden massive strokes, that’s when you realize this shit is real and you better get fit than joining the crowded unfit queue of post 40’s group visiting their cardiologists. That’s when you end up with your elevated peer groups trying to get fit with gym workouts, marathons, functional trainings, etc. which kind of helps you get going but sometimes these things become more of race than a journey and I feel that’s where it takes the fun out of it. I hate being in a race that explains why marathons don’t attract me much. But bringing in my 40th year with the 3000 push-ups challenge did help me give a lot of confidence for my current physical fitness levels along with understanding myself mentally. This self instilled lockdown challenge has upgraded me and I hope it would inspire others to push themselves to do something they think will be tough to even try. Because you realize that it isn’t difficult anymore once you go ahead and do it. So, wanna join me for the next 3000 push-ups in 30 days?
Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.
Inset photo provided by the author.
Feature photo: Shutterstock