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    This Is What Happens When You Do 100 Push-Ups A Day For 30 Days

    Was I going to p-push it real good?

    Hi guys. I'm going to get right to the point. My name is Sam, and I just put myself through a fitness challenge: Complete 100 push-ups each day for 30 days. Yeah, I'm basically a super hero now (just without the cape).

    A couple of my coworkers put themselves through the same challenge for a BuzzFeed video a few months ago, and after watching it, I knew I had to give it a try.

    I'm already in pretty decent shape — I'm a competitive swimmer who hits the pool 4-6 times a week. But we live in an age where people feel the need to hit the flashiest, most expensive gyms or try out the trendiest boutique workout classes to stay in shape. And while I love SoulCycle as much as the next avocado toast-eating millennial, I wanted to know what would happen if I put myself through a fitness challenge that you could do anywhere. You don't need to pay $30 for a class or belong to a gym to do push-ups. You can do them literally ANY TIME, ANY PLACE, FOR FREE (which just means more money for avocado toast).

    Would something as simple as 100 daily push-ups push me mentally, physically, and teach me something along the way? There was only one way to find out.

    Before I got started, I had certified trainer Astrid Swan give me some tips and make sure my technique was up to snuff (the last thing I wanted was to end up embarrassed AND injured for a BuzzFeed post). Here's what she had to say about the push-up challenge.

    Macey J Foronda / BuzzFeed

    I got these 10 tips *BEFORE* the challenge started, so you might have already seen them...but they're worth repeating.

    1. The most common mistake she sees is people letting their back arch and torso sag. "You want to make sure everything is tucked like you're in a plank," she said.

    2. Astrid said the challenge "is going to be harder before it gets easier." Boy, did this end up being true.

    3. "Be smart with your training." She said starting with 10 sets of 10 reps sprinkled out throughout the day was a good way to start. "Don't think, Oh, I'm going to get 70 and then I'll have 30 more to do."

    4. She said if I started to feel up for it, I could add and build up to 15-20 push-ups at a time. Or, if I was feeling sore, I could bring it down to five at a time. "Less is more at the end of the day," she said.

    5. Astrid believes in rest days (yup, right off the bat I was asking about days off) but she said since this was a challenge, she thought it was OK to go 30 days straight doing push-ups.

    6. For those of you who are daunted by 100 push-ups... it's OK to start low, with something like 20 push-ups! You can also do push-ups on your knees if push-ups on your toes is too much at first.

    7. Of course, I was curious about results. Astrid says push-ups are "all-inclusive" but I was going to notice the biggest results in my shoulders, core, back, and chest.

    8. I already ate a pretty balanced diet (carbs, fats, proteins), so she said I didn't need to change what I was eating (which was kind of annoying, I wanted to be told to eat MORE food).

    9. She told me to take my time, focus on what I was doing, and if I felt any pain, STOP.

    10. And finally, most important of all: "Form is everything, so don't waste your time on something that's not right."

    So, despite EVERYTHING Astrid told me, my initial strategy was to get as many of the push-ups out of the way in the morning. It worked...for a little bit.

    Sam Stryker / BuzzFeed

    I'm a morning person. I usually get up around 6 every day to get to the pool before work. So it only seemed natural to attempt most of the daily challenge when I had the most energy and right when my coffee caffeine kicked in. I would do 30-40 when I woke up, and then another 30-40 at the pool. This worked initially because I was stoked about diving into the challenge, and it felt new and exciting. In this case, the early bird got the worm: BUT THE WORM HIT BACK.

    Midway through the challenge, I started to struggle. I was doing fewer and fewer of the push-ups early in the morning, and often was finding myself leaving a large portion of them for the end of my day.

    Sam Stryker / BuzzFeed

    Here's the thing: I realized pretty quickly the metaphorical mountain I was climbing was more mental than it was physical. (Also, side note, why is climbing a mountain a metaphor for a challenge? Navigating a valley is pretty tough too, and you don't even get the benefit of a nice view!)

    There were times where I would have just finished dinner and realized I had more than half of my challenge left to complete. This was FINE time-wise (realistically, you can bang out 100 push-ups pretty fast). But I'm tired and cranky at the end of the day, and the only "push-ups" I wanted to do was pushing a glass of rosé up to my lips. I was also feeling really sore (Astrid told me this would happen) without feeling like I had broken through mentally or physically yet.

    There wasn't really any point where I wanted to QUIT the challenge, but it definitely felt like I reached a point where I was just going through the motions and not feeling inspired. I wasn't necessarily physically exhausted, but mentally I was getting a little burned out. I knew I needed to change something.

    One thing I'm proud of is I never, ever skipped a day.

    I hit 100 push-ups EVERY day for the 30 days. I thought there might be one day where I slipped up in there, but I didn't. There were definitely points where I had more than half of my daily allotment left fairly late in the day, and that was rough. But even when I was at my most frustrated, I set mini-challenges for myself. If I did 10 more, I could check Instagram. If I did ANOTHER 10, I could have a piece of chocolate. Like any super hero, I also had an alter ego: there was the Push-Up Crusader and then the normal everyday citizen who just wanted to binge-watch Stranger Things. Luckily, they found common ground.

    About two-thirds of the way through, I readjusted my strategy. I began to set a reminder on my phone for every hour to bang out 20 push-ups at a time during the work day. This was a huge breakthrough for me.

    Sam Stryker / BuzzFeed

    I'm one of those people who sets an alarm for EVERYTHING because even though I rarely forget to do things, I like to be safe (it's a very distinct personality type). And while I hit "Snooze" more often than I'd like to admit, it was a great way to punctuate my work day and ALSO ensure that I finished my push-ups way, way earlier. That way instead of leaving a lot of them for the end of the day, I could crash on my couch guilt free.

    This is one of the biggest tips I would give to people who are looking to challenge themselves physically: Actually map out time in your day in WHATEVER way works best for you, and stick to it. That way, you don't forget and you're not allowed to make excuses.

    This meant that I was doing push-ups EVERYWHERE, from my pool deck after practice...

    Sam Stryker / BuzzFeed my office and my apartment.

    Sam Stryker / BuzzFeed

    At the beginning of the challenge, I felt self conscious about doing push-ups in front of my coworkers. But as time went on, I just didn't give a crap anymore. I was all about hitting my goal.

    It was right around the end of the third week where I really started to feel stronger in my routine. This was when the whole challenge started to feel WORTH IT, which is a huge lesson in and of itself.

    Sam Stryker / BuzzFeed

    While I still felt sore, I ALSO definitely felt bigger and more muscular. In the words of Kim Kardashian, I was feeling my look — can I live?

    But vanity aside, I also was feeling STRONGER. I noticed that the push-ups seemed to be benefitting my overall fitness – in this case, my swimming. One Friday morning during a sprint set I went a time in a 100 freestyle off of a push that I normally would only go during a meet with a start off the block. Initially, my swimming had benefitted my push-ups — I was able to start strong because I already had a fitness base from working out regularly. But this was the first time I felt the strength training benefit me as a competitive athlete.

    But there's a caveat to this: It should seem pretty obvious, but it takes a while to notice results! We live in a culture that demands a quick pay-off for EVERYTHING. I'm glad I was patient with the challenge, because it really did pay off in the end...but it wasn't easy at first!

    As I mentioned before, I tried to document my journey as much as possible on social media (it's 2017, DUH) — and this ended up being a really important part of my experience.

    I’ve been doing 100 push-ups a day for almost a month and I’m feeling my look can I live?

    On Day 29, I snapped the above selfies because I was feeling really great about my progress. Listen, I'm a millennial: I LIVE ON A DIET OF COLD BREW COFFEE AND ONLINE VALIDATION FROM STRANGERS. But there was something else that stood out way, way more to me — how people were reacting to the challenge itself.

    Here's the thing: The further along I got in my challenge, the more people (both friends and strangers) reacted by saying they'd like to challenge themselves too.

    Sam Stryker / BuzzFeed

    Attempting 100 push-ups every day for 30 days is not for everyone. Heck, I know a lot of people who don't think they can do ONE push-up, and that's fine!

    But one of my favorite parts of this challenge — and probably the most surprising to me — was the number of people who told me they were inspired by me to try some version of it themselves. This ranged from fellow swimmers on the pool deck asking if they could join in to people replying to my tweets and Instagram Stories, telling me they were going to try to attempt it as well.

    It almost felt like I was recruiting my own set up push-up Avengers, assembling a real-world super hero team (except without the fancy costumes). This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't shared my journey online, and I'm really glad I did.

    Macey J Foronda / BuzzFeed
    Macey J Foronda / BuzzFeed
    Macey J Foronda / BuzzFeed

    — Make sure you do things the RIGHT way. I spoke to a certified trainer in advance to make sure I had the right form and strategy. It's better to take your time than to get injured!

    — Push-ups also benefitted my overall workout routine. I felt myself pushing harder through swim sets, especially sprints (where strength training would pay off).

    — Don't be afraid to change your strategy. My game plan radically altered throughout the 30 days, and it was for the better.

    — The overall experience was positive enough that I plan on continuing my push-up routine...albeit with a day off here and there. Although I'm still waiting on my call from Tony Stark and the Avengers.

    If you want to follow along the rest of my push-up and fitness journey, you can follow me on Instagram @samstryker.

    Macey J Foronda / BuzzFeed