Want a strong chest without having to pay money for a gym membership? It’s easy. You just need to do 150 push-ups a day. No gym required.
Don’t be intimidated because 150 push ups a day sounds like a lot. It really can help you meet your fitness goals. But unless you’re already fit and exercise regularly, working up to 150 won’t exactly be a walk in the park. You’ll need to set aside some time to work up to that level. Let me tell you how I started doing this every day.
1. Baby steps trump big leaps
Twenty push-ups was the best I could do before I started working on it. I chose to begin the first week by doing only one push up a day. Why? I needed to make it so easy that there was no reason not to do it.
So many people try to make changes in their lives by making huge leaps, but really it’s better to start with one small change at a time. For instance, going to the gym for 15-minutes a day every day or going two times a week is a lot easier than trying to go for an hour five days a week.
By beginning with one a day, I had 20 weeks to get in the habit. It motivated me to show up every day, and then it made it easier to keep going. Which leads me to my next point…
2. Consistency is everything
The more I study fitness, the more I understand that it isn’t all about counting calories, going to the gym, keeping a schedule, or even finishing a task –it’s really all about getting started and being consistent.
There will be days when you don’t want to do it–yet, you find yourself getting out, grabbing your gym bag, turning on your computer, and then making notes about what you did. If you just get started, you’re more likely to follow through. By keeping track of it, I held myself accountable for the changes I was making.
There were so many days where I just didn’t feel like doing it, when I thought skipping one day won’t hurt. But I actually committed to doing it anyway. I got into the push-up position. Once I did that, it was easier to just go ahead and finish the task I’d set for myself.
3. Don’t be afraid to chunk habits down
When you’re taking baby steps toward working your way up to 150 push-ups, it can be difficult to begin and to stay consistent. But as you build to a level where you’re comfortable, you can’t be afraid to take risks to get to the next level. If you do the same thing every day without changing it, your growth could falter.
To keep this from happening, break it down into smaller steps. Instead of trying to go from one push-up to 150, take it in stages.
During Week 20, for example, I broke my 20 push ups into two sets of ten with a one-minute rest time in between. As behavior change expert James Clear says, “Success is the product of daily habits–not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”
4. Set milestones (and celebrate them)
You need to set milestones–and celebrate them to be successful. If you’re a long-time follower, you know I’m a fan of “gamifying” and playing “goofy little games (HT: Daniel Coyle). When working toward a goal, there are many achievements you can celebrate along the way including:
- Doing it once (getting started)
- Doing it two days in a row
- Doing it seven days in a row
- Doing it 30 days in a row
- Missing one day but then resuming the next
- And so on…
You can also set particular measurements of progress to celebrate. For example, doing 10 push ups was an achievement for me. When I made it to 25, I celebrated that, and then I set the next goal for 50.
If you can track it, you can turn it into a game.
5. Focus on perfect processes (not outcomes)