As someone who went to the gym 6-7 days a week, you can imagine how I felt when I got the email from my gym that, due to the Coronavirus and state regulations, they would be closing their doors until further notice.
At first I truly thought this was all a huge over-reaction to something that was no more serious than the common flu. It wasn't until a week or so later that I realized just how serious COVID-19 really was and how the precautions being put in place were not overboard but, in fact, not enough in certain cases.
That said, upon the closing of my gym I realized I needed to quickly devise a plan to maintain my health, fitness and overall wellness. I know that the coronavirus was of serious concern to those who were immunodeficient and those who were not of sound physical state. Being overweight, diabetes, hypertension...these were all targets for this deadly virus. So maintaining my health was priority number 1.
I quickly got on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and found a few things I could throw in my garage to facilitate a makeshift gym. I also went to Home Depot and purchased 1" steep piping from the plumbing department to construct a DIY at home pull-up bar (I'll do a separate blog on that later).
When all was said and done, I had spent the equivalent of about 2 months of my gym membership dues on equipment and parts. However, I now had a pretty solid setup which would surely help get me through the next few weeks (or possibly months) of quarantine until the Coronavirus threat subsided.
On day 1 I decided to warm up with some basics just to get the blood pumping and literally "warm up" as it was about 40°F outside. Burpees and jumping jacks are my go-to for this. Upon completion of 3 sets of each, I decided to bang out a few push-ups just to get the shoulders loosened up a bit more. And that's when it started...
I did 25 push-ups right out of the gate and felt really good. Nothing gets the blood pumping and gets those upper body muscles going like push ups. I felt so good that I decided I would bang out another 25 before beginning my workout. After the second set of 25 I realized that I was halfway to 100 so why not just do 25 more now and do another 25 at the end of my workout to close things out. And that's exactly what I did.
About 45 minutes later, upon completing my workout and doing my final 25 push-ups, I felt an odd sense of accomplishment. Not only had I completed a pretty taxing at home workout but I had also officially done 100 pushups for the day. There was something psychologically satisfying knowing that I had done 100 of anything in a given day, let alone push-ups. Oddly enough, I felt better about doing the 100 push-ups than I did the 45 minute garage workout.
The feeling was a bit intoxicating. As stated, I had gone to the gym 6-7 days a week for the last God knows how many years. But I couldn't remember the last time I had done 100 push ups in a single day. Then it hit me; The Murph.
The Murph Challenge is an annual tribute to United States Navy Seal Officer Michael P. Murphy. Murphy (Murph) was killed in action in 2005 defending our freedom. Lieutenant Murphy was awarded The Medal of Honor for his actions. Every year, in CrossFit gyms around the country, people take part in what's called "The Murph" which consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 pushups and 300 squats, followed by another 1-mile run...all while wearing a 20 pound weighted vest.
As much as doing The Murph challenge sucks, every time I found myself in pain and complaining in my mind while doing it, I thought about how much pain Lt. Murphy must have been in having been shot numerous times and still managing to complete his mission to save his teammates; all in the name of defending our great nation and our freedom. And in an instant, I forgot about my pain and kept pushing forward. And that's when I made the decision...
I decided that every day I was in quarantine, until the COVID-19 lockdown was over, I would do 100 push-ups a day...every single day. I knew it was not going to always be pretty. And I know all about rest days and giving your body and your muscles time to recover. But I truly wanted to commit to something that would be a personal physical challenge for my mind and body every single day during this time when many would be letting their bodies go (if they weren't already gone) and going mad sitting in their house all day.
Now, before I continue, here's a disclaimer. I know not everyone is capable of doing 100 pushups a day. However most are capable of doing 1 pushup. And if all you can do is 1 push-up a day for a week, then so be it. By week 2 I assure you that you'll be up to 2 push ups a day. And every week thereafter you'll just get stronger and stronger. I'm not writing this to gloat about my incredible push up capabilities. The purpose of this piece is to motivate and activate you to challenge yourself with something every single day and build the discipline to stick to it every single day. Doing this alone can boost your self confidence and self esteem more than you know. And I assure you that will lead to other achievements and accomplishments in your life. Now on to the 100 push ups a day journey...
Not gonna lie, at the end of week one, I was sore. Not sore that I couldn't move my chest muscles sore. But sore in that most anything I did, my chest muscles let me know they were there. Seeing this I expected and was prepared for this soreness to be more prominent by the end of week 2. But, oddly enough, that's when it started to happen.
By the end of 2 weeks straight of doing 100 push-ups a day, rather than being more sore than I was at the end of week 1, I was less sore. Right? Exactly what I said. How in the world...? Then it hit. My muscles were getting stronger and adapting to the 100 push-ups a day regimen. The reality was, in order to reach the soreness level I had experienced at the end of 1 week of 100 push-ups a day, I would now probably have to do 120 push-ups. And as the weeks went on, they got easier and easier.
Now it should be noted, all the while I was doing a 45-60 minute daily at home workout in addition to the 100 push ups a day. This included 10-20 minutes of cardio or punching the heavy bag (thank you Craigslist). And as much as I was sure the 100 push-ups a day would negatively affect my daily workouts, I was dead wrong. As the weeks went on I found myself getting strong in all the other areas of my training and leaner. It was like I had just discovered a secret to burning more fat and increasing strength that was right in front of my face my entire life.
After doing 100 push-ups a day for three weeks straight I no longer needed to break up my one hundred pushups into 4 sets of 25. I was now easily able to do 50 push ups in a row. And when I say push ups, I mean real push ups that would count in the military; all the way down until my chest was approximately 2-3 inches off the ground and all the way back up until my arms were completely locked out.
What was truly incredible was that when I started on this little mission, my chest would start burning and my arms would give out by 25-30 push-ups. And truth be told, they were not the most kosher pushups if you know what I mean. At times my butt would sag. At others my butt was up in the air. Often times my chest was 8-10 inches off the ground. And rarely did my arms lock out fully at the top of the push up.
But now, just 3 weeks into doing 100 pushups a day, I was able to bang out 50 clean push-ups in a row. In fact, when I pushed myself, I as able to pump out 55-56 clean push-ups in one shot. However if I ever felt my form breaking down, I would immediately stop.
One of the most shocking things that I realized at this point in my 100 push-ups a day journey was that I was no longer sore. Like literally...not sore at all. My muscles and body got so used to the daily regimen that as I did my 100 push ups, I felt zero soreness from the day before. Most of my life I've almost always been sore the day after training a muscle group. At times the soreness was the worst two days post training. But that was totally not the case with my chest and arms at this point in my journey.
I woke up on day 30 of my 100 push ups a day journey or personal challenge or mission or whatever you want to call it, and realized that that was the day I could officially say I did 100 push-ups a day for 30 days. But first, I had to do the push ups...
I had gotten a great night of sleep thanks to my little 10/3/2/1/0 secret and I was feeling stronger than I have felt in months. My diet had been on point and I was now officially 12 months into my HGH gel regimen...which had changed my life. I had also been "fairly" consistent with drinking a gallon of water a day during this time period. So all in all, I was doing most everything I should be doing. I had also been getting an IV infusion of high-dose vitamin C every week for the past month to help fend off the coronavirus. That said, I decided to go for it...
I warmed up for an extra 5 minutes and really got my chest stretched out well. I loosened up my shoulders and they were feeling good. Everything was feeling strong and aligned so I decided I was going to try to do all 100 push-ups in a row.
By now I had made it to 80+ push-ups in a row on multiple occasions before my form started to break down a bit. But I figured that if I could take it a bit easier on the front end (1-30), kick it up a notch from 31-65, ease up a bit from 66-90, I could power through the final 10. At that point it was more in my head than anything else. Just the thought of doing 100 push ups in a row was daunting, despite having done 85+ on multiple occasions previously.
I got down, secured my hand placement and began. I followed the plan I had laid out in my mind except as I got to around 37, I called an audible and made the decision that I was going to do 101 pushups. Not only was 101 going to officially put me past 100 push-ups, it was also the badge number of one of my favorite Sergeants while working as a police officer.
As I approached 88 push-ups I could feel my form begin to waver ever so slightly. So I quickly widened my hands just a little bit. This little trick (literally little...like less than 2" little) makes such a big difference you can't even imagine. Before you know it I was at 101 push ups and I almost felt like I could keep going. Pure insanity.
I started out on this little personal challenge purely on accident. What started out as a way to get warmed up during seemingly boring at home workouts in a makeshift garage gym during COVID-19 quarantine, turned into something that literally motivated me to get out of bed some mornings.
Had all this Coronavirus craziness not happened and the gyms never closed, would I have committed to this seemingly silly challenge? Probably not. But while most are sitting home complaining about how bored they are, how they can't wait for things to get back to normal and how quarantine is killing their drive and motivation, I realized that most of these people are lying to themselves.
Motivation is all around us. We have the ability to challenge ourselves every single day, yet few do so. We have the ability to take care of our bodies every single day, yet so few do so. People say that their health is the most important thing, yet their actions reveal the polar opposite to be true.
So in these times of uncertainty and uncharted territory, just know that every single one of us has the ability to do something greater to become someone greater. And when you find yourself complaining about how painful being bored working from home is under quarantine with everything shut down, just think about the pain men like Lt. Mike Murphy endured to give you the freedom to be bored, safe in your home with power and utilities, a roof over your head and a fridge full of food. Then shut up, get down and give me 100. OORAH!
For those asking, "what supplements do you take" here ya go...
Pre & Post Workout: https://bit.ly/3eNl5Ju
Daily Growth, Recovery & Metabolism: https://bit.ly/2xUTd5D
And if you're wondering about the gear I use, well that's a no brainer. Gear: https://bit.ly/2VWadjU