One of those.
About six weeks ago, I got it into my head that I wanted to do 50 pushups in a row before my next birthday. The timeline didn't seem sooooo off, I was giving myself about nine months or so to achieve the goal, I know that consistency is key, and I like doing challenges like these.
But, well, uh, here's the thing.
I couldn't do a single pushup when I made this goal.
Studies have shown time and time again that telling people about your goals gives your brain the same hormonal rush as actually accomplishing the goal, which has the cascading effect of reducing motivation to complete the goal. There's also the added outside pressure of succeeding, and the worry about failing, blah blah blah. Humans. We are complicated. As such, for me, telling people I was going for this weird ability was out of the question until I started making progress.
My first milestone in my plan was one pushup by October 15th. One full-plank, chest touches the ground on the down, arms extended on the up, in four weeks.
To my delight, I could do three full pushups by October 15th. I can currently do 5 if I haven't already worked out that day.
I'm doing the bulk of my workouts from my knees, knee pushups, because I can do more than the 5 in a row, and I can maintain good form. I have built up to my current pushup workout of:
3 x 20 knee pushups
2 x 10 90° full plank pushups.
Those last ones I go from full arm extension to a 90° bend in my arms and back up. They aren't full stroke pushups, but they are full plank, so I'm hoping they help me out.
Because I need the help.
Right now, I'm maxing out on the number of pushups I can do, knees or otherwise. I seem unable to move past the three sets of 20 from the knees while maintaining good form. I think this plateau is because of my form: I'm using my pecs and my triceps and I'm pretty sure I should be using a few more muscle groups than I am. I'm also doing my big workouts every other day, with the "rest" days being one or two sets of 20 knee pushups.
I have pecs again. They are pretty great. I like them a lot.
I have triceps now. They are pretty great. And surprising.
What I don't have is the confidence I'll make it to fifty by the middle of next year. This workout is hard. Every day I do not want to do them. Every day I have to play games with myself, convince myself to do them, pull out the mat and do the pushups for that day while blasting some Queen song that I've recently become enamored of ("Ain't much I'm asking, if you want the truth" has been circling my head for the last month, and it isn't even one of their better ones). I mentioned to Jonathan that I really don't think I can do this, I don't think I will make it to fifty. How easy it would be to lay down this self-imposed burden and tell myself, "Well, I could have if I REALLY had wanted to do them, I didn't really want to do them," instead of doing the work, breaking down my muscles, watching my diet, eating more protein than I normally do, working on my form, actually committing, ignoring the odd looks from friends and coworkers and even myself and seeing if, hey, can I do 50 pushups in a row, going from zero, in nine months. I could do this all this work and still fail.
These newly grown muscles of mine are fun and beautiful. I like them a lot. The muscle soreness when I've worked out hard and well is delightful. I like it a lot. I'll keep doing these pushups, and I'll keep adding enough sets and reps to be sore. I can't cram for fitness, but I can be consistent and put in the work.
You now know what I'm up to.
Sheesh, what was I thinking?