If you remember about 7 weeks ago (I know, that was like an entire year ago) I wrote about my 100 pushup challenge. The basic premise of the challenge was to increase my upper body and core strength through a 6 week program designed to get you to 100 pushups.
For those of you still reading, here’s what happened.
I started the challenge out with realistic expectations. I had very little upper body strength and wanted to do something about it. So I downloaded this 100 Pushup app and set on my merry way. I did a fitness test before starting the challenge to see what level I should start on. I was able to do 10 good form (boy) pushups which meant starting on level 2 (there’s only three levels). The program has you doing pushups 3 days a week and uses a rep/rest pattern.
Week one went by and yes, it was challenging but doable. The first day I had to do 25 pushups and by the end of the week 1 (day 3) I was up to 42 pushups. Week 2 came and I found myself still trucking along at a total of 60 good form pushups at the end of week 2 (day 3).
Week 3 (day 1) started with 72 pushups and the last day ended with 88 pushups and a fitness test. Apparently I failed my fitness test because I actually got knocked down to level 1. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty happy to be demoted. Also, during week three I wrote a brief update on my dislike for the program; I hadn’t yet been demoted.
The gratitude of being demoted didn’t last long because I soon found level one kicking my tail. Week 4 came and went and then I made it through my first set of 100 pushups on week 5, day 2. I thought I was going to die. I managed to do all of them the regular “boy” way but found myself with a whole slew of problems during the last few reps. My wrists and palms started hurting really badly, I developed a shoulder ache in my left shoulder and I was having trouble breathing. Not to mention I’m pretty sure I altered my form to help ease some of the issues I was having.
Week 5, day 3….120 pushups. Oy, what was I doing?! Week 6, day 1….130 pushups. This was where I quit. I made it almost all the way, I only had two more days left and I would have finished the program. However, those 130 pushups killed me. In fact, around 100 I had to stop doing ‘good form’ and finish with the girl ones. I found myself almost in tears after finishing those stupid 130 pushups. Tears from both pain and frustration. I’m not one to quit but I knew there was no way I was going to be able to complete the 150 pushups week 6 day 2 had scheduled or the 170 pushups week 6 day 3 was prepared to heap on me.
So what did I learn from this? First to forgive myself; I’m not a failure. It’s ok to draw boundaries and acknowledge what I’m capable of. I was not physically capable of finishing the last two days. Does it irritate the snot out of me that I didn’t finish something? YES! But do I feel bad about it? Nope. I did notice an increase in my strength; mainly my core, shoulders and back. I was really hoping to increase the muscle tone in my arms but as you can see from the before/after shots, that didn’t happen. Oh well.
Would I tell people about this app? As much as I hated it, I probably would. Would I give it a glowing endorsement? Definitely not. I really think this program should be stretched out to 8 weeks. The intensity of going from only doing 10 pushups in a day to 130 (170 if I had finished it) is just way too much for me personally to handle – at this time. To end on a positive note, I will at least say I enjoyed the structure of program. And I did manage to do a total of 1,049 pushups during my 5 weeks and 1 day.
So there you have, the good (what there was of it), the bad and the ugly. And I guess I’m a masochist, I’m actually considering trying it again. I hate that something got the best of me.
Question: Have you ever reached a physical or mental breaking point? What did you do to overcome it?