I read an article by Gina Florio, who is the Fitness Editor at Popsugar, called “I Did 100 Squats Every Day For 2 Weeks — Here’s What I (and My Butt) Learned”. As the title of the article gives away the subject matter of what she did, I was impressed by what she accomplished.
Since she is already physically fit, she stated in her article that she didn’t see much of a result of this strenuous two week challenge. I knew, on the other hand, that I was not in the greatest physical condition and wondered what the results would be for me.
She is a woman who is a fitness editor. I’m a guy who sits behind a desk for most of the day and tries to work out as much as he can with the limited time he has to spread between married home life, employment, and physical training. The difference between the both of us is rather a large expanse.
Although I look physically fit, I tend to hide my shortcomings rather well. When I was in the United States Army a few years back, I was in great physical shape. Back then I was able to knock out 75 push ups in two minutes and run two miles in 14 minutes. I have trouble with those numbers now that time has moved on and has decided to treat me to a few beatings.
Knowing that Ms. Florio could possibly run rings around me, I decided that I would take up the challenge myself. I was going to perform 100 squats per day for two weeks with no excuses. I started eleven days ago and my progress has been informative to say the least.
On Day One the experience was quite painful. I performed my squats with now weights just to gauge how much I had let me body go. By the end my legs were shaking and my ability to walk correctly was curtailed due to the muscle failure my legs were suffering from. What made it worse was that I had to climb stairs several times during the day because I had to do my laundry.
When I used to go to the gym, which I realize I have to join again, I hated leg day. I don’t think anyone in their right mind likes leg day. I have even heard professional body builders dread the idea of working out on their legs, because they know what they will feel like the rest of the day. Needless to say I did not enjoy my first day and I knew that the lack thereof was going to persist through the endeavor. However, that’s why I did it. I knew it was not in my comfort zone and I don’t like to stay in my comfort zone. Being in one’s comfort zone does not promote growth.
On Day 2 of my challenge I added two ten pound dumbbells. I pumped out my 100 squats. The problem was that my legs were stiff from the day before, so the experience was a bit painful. I thought to myself that I was nuts, but I knew if I quit I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror.
I continued on every day until Day 11, which is today. I didn’t skip one day and performed 100 squats with the ten pound dumbbells straight through without stopping. I even added extra exercises afterwards to really make workouts that pushed me farther. The results came. I look and feel better than I did two weeks ago and it was because Gina Florio set the example that I knew I had to follow.
Just like Ms. Florio, I didn’t see any results with my butt, but I did see a definite improvement in my quadriceps. Over time they did get more defined and stronger. I am now performing my 100 squats with markedly reduced effort compared to Day One.
The reason why I ultimately wanted to take on this challenge was two fold. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease back in July of this year and I had to change my diet drastically. I initially was disappointed, but quickly began to realize that it was a blessing. I cut out a wide variety of foods that were not necessarily good for me. I switched to more of a vegetarian diet. I even had to give up drinking beer, which I truly loved. Since then I dropped twenty pounds and my health is only getting better. The choice to change my life to a healthy one and to take up this challenge was also a choice that was made for me by my own body.
The second reason was that I wanted to set an example for my family. They were always telling me to take better care of myself. They wanted me to cut back on drinking beer, eating red meat, and other things I loved eating that were not necessarily healthy, although they tasted delicious. My son, who is the biggest treasure of my life, was really the main reason I thought of it at all. My own father had a disease that he didn’t take care of. He died at the age of 52 when I was 28 years old. He didn’t stick around to see all the amazing things that happened in my life. I wanted to stick around a bit longer for my son and performing this challenge got me to stick to a regimen that ensured success because it was not so difficult that it couldn’t be done, as well as not being to easy that doing it was a walk in the park. On Day 11 I still find it annoying.
As Day 12 approaches I’m curious how this has affected my cardiovascular system. How have the squats improved my ability to run through the hilly areas around my home. Will they give me more endurance? Will they give me greater speed? Have they improved my heart health? These questions won’t be answered until later, but I’m looking forward to them, especially when I go to the doctor.
I would like to thank Ms. Florio of the inspiration she has given me to perform this annoying, but highly rewarding challenge. Without her article I would not have even entertained the idea. I can’t wait until Day 14 when this is all over. However, I’m sure another challenge will rear its ugly head and I will partake in it just so I can say that I did it. Victory is mine!