Mercifully, I somehow managed to escape that ice bucket challenge clogging my Facebook scroll a couple years back. But now there’s a pushup challenge going round. And this time I got tagged: 22 pushups, 22 days, 22 pals to pick (and in some cases piss off) to do the same. The purpose, I learned, is to bring awareness to the sobering statistic that 22 soldiers commit suicide every day because they aren’t getting the support they need.
I don’t like pushups. And the guy who tagged me, God love him, makes pushups look obnoxiously easy. No huffing and grunting in his videos. And why limit oneself to plain old pushups when you can throw in a hand clap or leg lift? Sigh. But hell, how could I say no? It’s a critically important cause, and I actually like a good challenge. Especially when it pulls me away from eating another fistful of animal cookies whilst viewing other friends’ pushup challenge posts. And since posting my first video sporting a “Do The Work” slogan muscle tank (actual muscles to come by day 22), I’ve picked up some pretty cool lessons along the way.
In the event you get tagged:
22. Count backwards. It makes a difference, I swear.
21. You’ll realize how pathologically quick you are at making excuses. My arms are too long. I did multiple chatturangas in class already. I don’t want to mess up my just-coiffed hair. I don’t have time. For 22 pushups? It takes roughly 30 seconds. I can’t eat 5 animal cookies that fast.
20. Do your version. Knees down, hands against the wall, flat-sided dumbbells to support your wrists. You CAN do 22 pushups. Let ’em be ugly.
19. Do it. Do it NOW. Procrastinating means staring at your bed at 10 PM, knowing your dreams will end up in Loser-ville unless you crank out 22. Like I did in my pajamas before allowing myself to crawl in. Do them in the morning. It’s so much easier.
18. You’ll start carrying heavier shit. 20-Lb. bucket of laundry detergent in one hand, four bags of groceries on the other shoulder. Carts are for sissies.
17. Go to yoga. Not just to counterbalance all that muscle contraction, but to work all the elements that will make your daily 22, well, at least tolerable: breath, mental focus, core integration, and a massive degree of gratitude for the amazing body God gave you.
16. Your un-messable factor will go up a notch. I sit taller now. Especially behind the wheel of my pickup truck.
15. Know you’re in Badass company. You can share with all honesty that you do the same exercises as Navy Seals and firefighter calendar boys.
14. Broadcast your progress. We’re in the Instagram-era. Go ahead, be a narcissist. You’re bringing awareness to our soldiers who need our support.
13. TuPac will get you through. Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Beck…crank up the volume and you’ll be done before realizing you didn’t stop until you got enough.
12. You’ll be stronger than you were at 22. At 22, I couldn’t do 2 pushups.
11. You’ll get to see your brother’s new carpet 3000 miles away. While he’s cranking out 22 in his living room in Seattle, I’m smiling at his FB video and missing his giant heart in Boston.
10. Log it somewhere. On your iPhone, tablet, or go old school like I did with a pen and journal. Don’t just record “22”, add the details: time of day, what you were wearing, how it felt, any colorful dialogue that came up in the process.
9. You’ll get a bonus six-pack. Because pushups work the abs too. As long as you avoid the other six-pack in the cooler.
8. Manage Felix and Fido. Naturally your pet’s gonna want in on the action. But that can be a good thing. My cat’s purring back under my belly forced me to improve my form.
7. You’ll see and feel measurable progress. I put that muscle tank back on halfway through the challenge, and my husband asked where the guns came from.
6. Make your husband drop and do 22. Now his guns are getting bigger too.
5. You’ll spice up your dreaded Stairmaster-to-hell-while-watching-a-Law&Order-rerun routine. Because pushups will also get your heart rate up. In a fraction of the time. With a whole lot better result.
4. Do it for someone else. Because a lot of people would love to move their bodies but can’t. You CAN. Therefore you must.
3. Don’t stop at 22. Taking on one challenge can lead to bigger challenges. I’m up to 47 a day to match my age. Not all at once, but that’s the next challenge.
2. Temporary discomfort is good. Daily bouts of discomfort are doorways toward building mental and emotional strength. Get through 22, and you’ll deal with whatever other life shit is cluttering your path more effectively.
1. To bring awareness to our military, who desperately need our support. You can find out more here: #22KILL.