I don’t normally write about personal things like this, but recently people have been expressing surprise when I tell them about something I do every day: 300 pushups as part of my daily workout.
Anyway, I thought I’d write this post about something that has always seemed obvious to me: one approach to fitness that often gets ignored is the very long term.
Here’s how you get to a target like 300 pushups per day, without having to live like a competitive athlete (nothing wrong with that FWIW, but be careful!): just plan your workout to evolve over literally decades.
I’ve been working out one way or another every day since I was 18, at least when work and other responsibilities didn’t get in the way.
(Pro tip for keeping up daily workouts over decades: come up with a workout you can do next to your bed in a hotel room, with zero equipment. That way available space, and needing time to go to a gym, will never get in your way.)
I’m not sure when I added pushups to my regimen, but I eventually settled on four sets of 20 reps, or 80 pushups per day.
Without really thinking about it, when the number of pushups I was doing became effortless, I’d just add 5 to each set.
I was in no rush and not competing or anything like that, and one of my fitness goals (feels weird to write that, I don’t normally think in those terms!) is to avoid the kind of self-inflicted long-term injury that I’ve seen a few friends go through (particularly to their knees, unfortunately), for absolutely no good reason (read a book before you start jogging!).
Since there’s no schedule and I’m patient, I can’t say for sure, but I think I add the 5 reps to each set once every six months. So, 20 pushups added to the whole workout twice per year.
Now I’m up to 4 sets of 75 reps, or 300 pushups per day.
If you start at 4 sets of 20 reps, and add 5 to each set once every six months, you’ll be at 300 pushups per day in 12 years, unless my late-night math is failing me.
If I keep it up, in another 2.5 years, it’ll be 400, without any strain whatsoever - not that strain is bad if you have a good reason for it.
You don’t need any supplements or workout routine tricks. Just time.
It’s hard to stress this enough, because all the marketing around this kind of stuff is so get-rich-quick-y: just really take your time (and attend to your body, don’t overdo anything), and you can reach all kinds of crazy-sounding goals in a healthy way, without even really thinking about it.