Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mission accomplished: September push-up challenge

Today is the last day in September, and so ends my 1000-push-up-in-a-month challenge.

Last Tuesday I had 130 push-ups left to go. Not counting today (since I haven't done any yet), I've completed 170. So: mission accomplished! After the first week of setting a habit and gaining a bit of strength, it was a pretty easy challenge too. I find myself impressed at what the human body can adapt to, especially one that leads a sedentary life like mine.

9/25 Tuesday20 3555
9/26 Wednesday20 2040
9/27 ThursdayNone0
9/28 Friday25 3055
9/29 Saturday2020
9/30 Sunday3535
Grand total: 1075

As you can see I sort of petered out toward the end, mostly on purpose to be honest. Ten or so days ago I noticed myself feeling fatigued, and I thought maybe some rest would allow me to do fewer sets of many more reps. That's an hypothesis I haven't fully tested yet, so let me go collect some data now...

Whew. Okay. That was 35. And a tough 35 at that. With the right type of coercion I probably could have done another five consecutively, which would meet my 2012 resolution of 40-consecutive-push-ups. My plan for the rest of the year is to do sets of 30 or 35 any time I'm not feeling fatigued, with the hope that I'll reach another fitness plateau. From there it's a short jump to 40.

In the course of the past month I've greatly increased my upper body strength. This may be a bit presumptuous, but here goes: after this month I'm of the opinion that any able-bodied man should be able do 20 consecutive push-ups. At least. Maybe it's easier for my 25-year-old body to ramp up than someone nearing the traditional retirement age. But if you can do a single push-up, that's your first step; then you put one metaphorical foot in front of the other until you can string together a set of five, ten, fifteen. You don't have to rush yourself either. It's just too simple not to. No equipment required, just lie on the floor and push.

Okay enough proselytizing about push-ups. I've taken a long enough break from discussing personal finance. Expect October to be more oriented on dollars and cents, budgets and loan payoffs, investing and other financial goals. Just take this as a reminder that Mustachianism is not totally, or even mostly, about money.


  1. Well done! You've inspired me to start on a pushup goal of my own, to get back to doing 50 in a row by Christmas. I always used to be able to do 50 push-ups fairly easily, then recently after a few years without doing any I was surprised to see how hard even 10 had become (without cheating by doing them super fast). Long term goal is to be like this guy:

    1. Awesome! 50 is a lot but it sounds do-able, especially since you've already been there. Good luck!

  2. Good work. The most impressive part to me is that you had the patience/dedication to write down your progress each day. I know I tend to get lazy with my record-keeping first, then skimp on the challenge. I'm sure this skill will translate into financial success for you too!

    1. I agree that that consistency is often the hardest part. I have Evernote on my iPad and I kept track of each set in a note. It was also useful that I could update the list while on my computer, for those times when my iPad wasn't handy.

  3. You've inspired me too! I'm aiming for 1000 in October.. yesterday I did 2+1+1, today I did 3+2+1.. I think I might have to do more than 3 sets in a day to get there!