On June 15, 2019 I began performing 100 pushups every day. I was feeling especially fat, broke and stupid at the time. I began thinking about a personal, physical challenge that I could start which was doable, measurable, free, and that allowed for variation and flexibility. Pushups were my choice.
It is almost hard to believe that I have already completed 100 pushups a day for the last 122 days. That’s 12,200 pushups. These last four months have passed so quickly.
With the 4th month now complete, it’s time to review and reflect on the results. I share them with you as a means of accountability for myself, and to demonstrate that consistent physical exercise can make big changes in our bodies.
My hope is that more people will begin moving away from a world which is becoming increasingly overweight and in debt, and towards one which is healthier and more financially stable.
For your ease of navigation, this article is broken up into the following sections:
- Health Disclaimer
- The Results
- Challenges During the 4th Month
- How This Challenge Has Changed
- Challenge Rules
- YouTube Video
- Learn More About This Challenge
- Further Questions
I am not a doctor, personal therapist, nor a personal trainer. I’m just a normal dude who obsessively researches topics related to health and fitness. While I consider my knowledge on these topics above average, I am not a certified professional.
Even though I have consulted doctors and exercise experts on performing 100 pushups a day for extended periods of time, I am not a certified professional. Consult your health professional before attempting a challenge like the one I am performing.
I broke my results up into different relevant time periods. With this approach you will see the overall results and you will see how weight and body composition are not the same thing.
1. From Day 1 to Day 122
Let’s begin with comparing my before and after pictures from Day 1 and Day 122. As you can see, my body has changed significantly.
Firstly, I have lost 11.4 lbs. (5.2 kgs.) during the last four months. I started at 198 lbs. (90 kgs.) and at the end of the 4th month I weighed 186.6 lbs. (84.8 kgs.).
Secondly, my muscles are noticeably bigger and shapelier. In particular, my chest and shoulders have grown larger and denser.
Thirdly, my abdominals and core continue to tighten up and become more defined. This is due mostly to also training my core daily in addition to completing 100 pushups every day. To learn more about my abs training and challenge, check out this page on my website.
2. From Day 30 to Day 122
All of this weight that I lost was in the 1st month. In fact, I have gained 1.8 lbs. (0.8 kgs.) in the last three months!
Despite this weight gain, it is clear from the pictures that my body looks aesthetically better now than it did when I weighted less. This is a clear indicator to me that I have gained muscle mass, not fat mass.
Muscle and fat are not the same. Ideally, when we gain weight, we want to gain muscle mass. Inversely, when we lose weight, we want to be losing excess fat rather than muscle mass or water weight.
This means that weight, out of context, cannot tell us how well our bodies are changing. I have gained weight, but clearly, I have increased my muscle mass. Without having data nor measurements to prove it, I suspect that I have lost some fat, too.
3. From Day 92 to Day 122
During the 4th month I lost 0.6 lbs. (0.3 kgs.). It may not sound like a lot of weight, and that’s OK. My muscles continued to grow in size, and my midsection continued to become more defined.
So, while I only “lost” 0.6 lbs., my body composition improved. This indicates to me that I lost fat and gained muscle. I would rather do this every month than lose the wrong kind of weight, like muscle mass or water weight. To me, body composition is much more important than just the weight on the scale.
See all of the before-and-after images at my 100 Pushups Every Day for One Year page.
Challenges During the 4th Month
A challenge wouldn’t be a challenge without challenges.
As I progress further into the year of pushups, I have encountered some challenges. They are:
1. Full Transparency: I Missed Five Days!!!
I got a very nasty cold this month. It was so bad that it had me basically bedridden for five days. Taking the prudent approach, I rested completely for these five days and did NOT complete a single pushup! I will admit, it was a little emotional missing a day, but my health is more important and I truly needed the rest.
Once recovered, I got back to performing my 100 pushups every day. I was very weak on the first day back, but quickly regained my strength and stamina. Once I did, I performed 150 pushups every day for 10 days to make sure that I hit my monthly total.
This was good, as I was feeling that 100 pushups a day was beginning to become too easy for me at this point. Completing 150 pushups every day let me know that I am at the point where I COULD increase the volume of this challenge if I wanted to.
2. Motivation and Enthusiasm
When I began, this challenge was new an exciting. Now, it’s just part of my daily routine. There are no bells and whistles anymore. It’s just a part of my life. The newness was a great motivator on those difficult early days. Now, I need to rely on habit and other things to complete my pushups on days when I don’t want to do them for whatever reason.
I have noticed that when I go to the gym in the morning, I tend to complete my 100 pushups without a problem. On rest days from the gym, however, I tend to wait until the evening to begin my training. By that time, I am tired and less motivated. It is more of a struggle to complete them. Getting them done first thing in the morning seems to be the best option for me.
3. The Deadlift Effect
I had a minor back surgery during the first month of this challenge. While it did not stop me from performing my pushups, I did take caution at the gym. Enough time has now passed, and I have been gradually increasing my intensity, and the weight, at the gym. Sounds great, right?
It is, but heavy deadlifts, squats and pullups is much more exhausting than 100 pushups every day. I find, especially the day after deadlifts, that completing my pushups is more of a challenge because my body is more exhausted. I still complete them, but my body would much rather be resting. This are some of the more challenging days.
How This Challenge Has Changed
When I first started, I was very focused on how many pushups I could complete in a row on my first set. I tracked it methodically, entered the data into an Excel spreadsheet, turned this data into a graph which also compared it to my weight, and published the results in my previous articles.
I no longer do this. In fact, I no longer keep track of how many pushups I can do in a single set! I am as shocked as you are.
Instead, I focus 100% of my efforts on performing the best quality pushup for all 100 of my daily pushups.
My form has improved, and the tempo with which I perform my pushups has slowed down considerably. I do them very slowly and pause for at least one second at the bottom of the movement. At the top I make sure that my chest muscles are as engaged as possible. I also focus on making sure that my abdominals, butt and legs are engaged during the movement.
I listen to my body more than I did before, and I contribute this change in focus to avoiding injury and improved results.
I feel less superficial and more scientific this way. I no longer care at all about the “ego” stats like how many pushups I can perform, and I just make sure that each one is the best that it can be. Sometimes I perform 20 or more in a single set, other times I have completed as few as three or four. Normally I hover around 10 to 13 pushups per set.
Every challenge needs a set of rules to guide you and to measure success or failure. The rules I have set for myself have changed over these last four months as my knowledge about pushups has evolved. You can read the original set of challenge rules by reading the first post that I published.
Compared to that list of rules, my current list is simpler and more focused on quality movements. Here it is:
- Perform 100 pushups every day.
- Focus on performing the highest quality pushup possible.
- Ignore sets and reps.
- Listen to your body.
- Deeply engage the chest muscles during the movement.
- Rest for as long as you need to between sets.
- Always write down your current pushup number to not lose track.
- Reward yourself at the end of every successful day. (I put a smiley face sticker on my monthly calendar.)
Photos and text are great, but for a challenge like this it is nice to watch video of it, too. There is no hiding my body in a video, and you get the added benefit of seeing the chest muscles from different angles, as well as seeing how my back and other muscle groups have responded to the training.
You can see this most updated YouTube Video here:
REMEMBER: I have eight more months of pushups to go. That means eight more articles and eight more YouTube videos!
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and hit the Notification Bell to get my most updated videos sent to you every month. I put a lot of work into these pushups, the articles and the videos. If you like them, it would mean a lot to me if you would like these videos and leave a comment. It helps keep me motivated.
Learn More About This Challenge
This is a big challenge, and one that most people can start should they wish. To learn more about doing 100 pushups every day for a year, you can click this link and visit the page I created with all of my before-and-after photos, plus links to all of their associated articles and YouTube videos.
You will also find additional questions about pushups and the answers to those questions.
Do I perform additional chest exercises at the gym? Yes, but rarely. Because of the high volume of pushups I perform, I avoid training my chest, the front of my shoulders, and my triceps at the gym. I focus mainly on big compound movements like the deadlift and squats, as well as a lot of pulling movements to compensate for my daily pushing training. That being said, I have occasionally performed some dips and pec deck exercises. By occasionally, I am talking about once every two weeks or so. I have not used the bench press, nor do I intend to until this year of pushups is complete.
What’s the goal for the 5th month? For me, the most important thing to focus on is the quality of my pushups. I really want every single one to engage my chest completely. I want to slow the movement down even more, perhaps adding a two second pause to the bottom of the movement. Additionally, I will be adding an increased focus on my diet again. I feel like my diet has slipped into some bad habits again. Specifically, I look to replace my evening cookies with evening protein shakes. I would like to lose about 2-4 lbs. this month to add some more definition to my already changing body.