I Did 100 Pull-Ups A Day For 30 Days And Here's What Happened
This was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
Hey, I'm Spencer! Throughout the last few years, I've done a bunch of different fitness projects for BuzzFeed.
This time, I wanted to challenge myself with something I honestly wasn't even sure I'd be able to do: 100 pull-ups a day for 30 days.
On a personal note, the last few months have been pretty tough for me. Due to a lot of stress and anxiety, I lost a bunch of weight and muscle mass that I originally worked so hard to gain.
Working out the same muscles every single day can result in injury, so I worked closely with Albert to figure out a safe, proper way to do this project. For starters, we counted pull-ups as any variation of an upper-body pull (i.e. regular pull-ups, chin-ups, using a parallel grip, reverse grip, etc.). These variations helped me avoid overuse of my body.
I wanted to see how much my body would change just by adding the 100 pull-ups to my daily routine, so I didn't alter too much about my diet. I tried to consume at least 2,500 calories per day, including one gram of protein per pound of body weight (about 160 grams in total).
I wasn't eating carbs with my dinners (usually sausage + broccoli or chicken + broccoli) to begin with, but I did cut out things like whole milk and bananas, which I'd usually eat in the morning. It was important for me to eat most of my daily carbs before/after my morning workouts, because that's when my body needed the energy the most. I also continued to stay away from alcohol, fried foods, and processed sugars.
I also measured myself and did a bioelectrical impedance analysis before and after the challenge to calculate any physical changes.
I was really nervous, excited, and scared to start this project, because I honestly didn't know how many pull-ups I'd be able to do. I didn't want to fail on Day 1.
I was ridiculously sore for the first few days, and the callouses on my hands were basically visible from outer space.
There were some days when I'd wake up and hate myself for creating this pull-up challenge. I just did not want to go to the gym.
I've always struggled with not knowing how hard to push myself at the gym. The first two weeks of this challenge were a real test for me, and I learned a lot about my body.
The best and worst thing about working at BuzzFeed is that there are alwaysssss snacks around, like this triple-decker cheesecake tower that I had to fight every urge in my body to not eat.
Sometimes my gym would be so crowded that I'd have to get creative about where I could do my pull-ups.
Being vocal about the challenge on Instagram was a great way to create a support system and keep me motivated.
At the end of the third week, I noticed that my shirts were starting to fit me better.
I originally wasn't going to say this, but I felt like I owed it to everyone to be transparent: There was one day this week when I didn't complete all 100 pull-ups.
I knew I wanted to see big transformations in myself, so the last few days of the challenge were crucial.
On the last day of the challenge, I completed all 100 pull-ups in 21 minutes vs. the 54 minutes it took on Day 1.
If you think about it, 30 days is actually a pretty long time for a fitness challenge. Instead of thinking about the whole project as a monthlong process, I broke it up into weekly increments. I thought to myself, "You only have to do this for seven days. That's it." And after I finished the first week, I re-convinced myself that I could do it again, thinking, "Okay, you just did it for one week. That means you can do it one more time." Before I knew it, I had completed the whole challenge.
I don't know how to say this without sounding ridiculous, but I'm just a regular person who wanted to challenge himself, and I thrived. There's nothing special about me or this challenge — anyone can do it. All it took was some hard work, a little willpower, and a desire for success.
I used to go to the gym and be so envious of people who could do pull-ups. It was unhealthy for me to compare myself to them. This challenge reminded me that everyone has to start somewhere. Like, just look at me. I originally wanted to be strong enough to do a single pull-up. That was my first goal, and I accomplished it. Then I wanted to get stronger and stronger. I never imagined that I'd be able to do 100 pull-ups a day for 30 days, but I did it.