Last month, I wondered what would happen if I did pushups every day for a month.
Well, I did it.
First off, I went straight for full pushups rather than on my knees, which was probably a mistake. More about that later.
What happened, then, after 30 days of pushups?
Well, let's start at the beginning.
On day one, I could do one full push up. Let me repeat that: I could only do one full push-up.
My arms wobbled and shook. I decided to set a goal of 10 pushups after 30 days. Ten solid, on my toes pushups.
After two weeks, I could do five push-ups. Five. I mean....it was something. I wasn't complaining. I was half-way to my goal.
Thirty days later....here's where I'm at:
Let me just say a few things:
First, I realize my form is all wonky. My head is down instead of flush. I'm not actually touching my chest to the floor. I'm sure there's more.
Second, I now have significant lower back pain after doing 30 days of pushups. I'm sure that's linked to the issue of form described above, but for the first time in my life, I am stiff and in low-level chronic pain. It's no fun. No...fun.
Third, my husband is an Army officer and was some kind of master fitness trainer at West Point during his cadet days. He said my pushups were fine, and I was doing great. Lesson learned: get a trainer who doesn't rely on you for home cooked meals.
Fourth, even with all of the form issues, I feel pretty badass for being able to do 20 pushups.
Fifth, this whole 'what if' endeavor really solidified for me the lesson that we can make substantial progress when we're consistent in pursuing change. Boom. That's one of those lessons you think you know, the kind that sound really great on paper (maybe in books entitled Mindset or Outliers). In real life, though, it's amazing when it plays out. I've always thought of myself as physically 'weak,' but after reading both Outliers and Mindset, I began to see that I was actually just mentally 'weak.' Attitude matters more than aptitude.
Going forward, I'll still do pushups, but I'm going back to my knees until I build up the core/back strength and develop good form. I can't even make my bed without back pain right now. That's not worth 20 pushups.
Speaking of making my bed, I'm still doing that daily before I leave my bedroom each morning. It's a habit now, and it gives me a little sense of structure and accomplishment before I step into the chaos of getting kids ready for school, packing lunches and actioning some semblance of a healthy breakfast.
What's next on the horizon for the whole 'WHAT IF' experiment?
I'm dry brushing.
I know. You're beside yourselves with excitement.
But for real, I've wondered for years if dry brushing is legit, and if it is, what would the results be? Would I feel detoxed and less congested? Would my cellulite diminish? Would I get sick less often?
These are all claims made for the ancient art of dry brushing (pretty much via Gwyneth Paltrow).
The New York Times, however, is suspect. Apparently, the liver (not the skin) is responsible for detox.
Here's the thing, though. I know people who've done skin brushing who swear by it. They say it feels great, reduces cellulite and gets the lymphatic system pumping, which is good for overall circulation and blood flow and probably other technical, scientific stuff.
I guess we'll see. I started last night, so I'll report back at the beginning of next month.
Until then, I hope everyone is happy, healthy and looking forward to something lovely for dinner.