50,000 Push-ups

As 2017 is coming to a close I look back on what I’ve done this past year. Things like buying a house, growing a business, and traveling to some pretty cool places are nice accomplishments.  However, one of the biggest goals at the beginning of the year was to do 50,000 push-ups by the end of the year.  That comes out to around 137 push-ups per day.  Why push-ups? Why 50,000?

I was first inspired to do this back in college.  Toward the end of 2006 I realized that even though I was pretty athletic, I only had an average amount of muscle mass and strength.  So, I started lifting weights regularly and looking for ideas to build muscle mass and strength.  One day I read about a college football player who had a very unique training plan. He did 100,000 push-ups, and 100,000 sit-ups throughout 1 calendar year.  I thought this was pretty crazy, but I was also inspired by it.  I figured that if this guy could do 100,000 push-ups and 100,000 sit-ups, surely I could do just 50,000 push-ups.  So, just like that, I set a goal for 2007 to do 50k push-ups by the end of the year. Each day I would write down on a piece of paper how many push-ups I did so that I could keep track throughout the year. And sure enough by the end of the year, I hit 50,000.

Flash forward to 2017.  I reflected back to my challenge from 10 years earlier. I remember the sense of accomplishment I felt at the end of the year.  So, I decided to do it again. Another 50,000 push-ups in 1 year.  However, this time I decided to challenge a few of my friends to join me.  Initially there were 6 of us that were going to do it,  but it quickly dwindled down to 3, then after a month, there were just 2 of us.  For added accountability we used a google spreadsheet to record our daily pushups.  This worked much better than trying to keep up with a piece of paper.  

The first month is usually the hardest. Going from doing 0 push-ups per day to 137+ takes quite a toll.  But after a few weeks I started getting use to it.  What worked best for me was to do around 50 before I headed to the gym, then another 50 in the evening, followed by 37 before bed.  As the months went by, I was able to do more push-ups in one session.  I started doing 75 before going to the gym in the morning, then another 75 in the evening.  I kept this split up for the rest of the year.

By the time October got here I was so sick of push-ups.  Its not that they were difficult, its just that I didn’t want to spend the 5 minutes each session doing them.  They were becoming monotonous.  But, I couldn’t stop at 40,000 – so I pressed on.  Eventually I finished my 50k right before Christmas.  It felt good to hit that milestone again.  

Now looking forward to 2018, I’m debating whether or not to do push-ups again, or set another goal.  50k? 100k? Running a mile a day? Not sure yet, but I have a few days to figure it out before the new year starts.

 

Warrior Dash 2017

After an 8 month winter hiatus it was time for another obstacle course race.  It was just a year ago that I participated in my first OCR, The Warrior Dash followed by another a few month later – Conquer the Gauntlet. As the weather has started to warm up, this was the perfect time for the 2017 Warrior Dash. 

One thing I learned last year was the the hardest part was the steep incline hills all over the course. While many of the obstacles were the same, there were some new ones this year – and even a water obstacle.  Overall, it was another great race, and I enjoyed running the course with one of my life-long friends.  We finished the course a lot faster than we thought we were going to, and hope to return again next year.

Here are a few pics from the race:

 

 

Warrior Dash 2017 w/ @spmag #warriordash

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How to Eat Healthy Food

Lately, in a quest to eat less processed foods, I’ve struggled to find something that I enjoyed eating that wasn’t filled with ingredients and chemicals that I can’t even pronounce. More specifically, I’ve altered my diet (but not really a diet) to consume low/no carb style meals.  This whole thing was originally inspired by the Slow Carb Diet from The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss – so that is where I’ll start.

So a few years after graduating college, I realized that maintaining the same unhealthy eating habits I had at OSU wouldn’t work anymore if I wanted to be fit.  I was able to get away with eating whatever I wanted in college and high school because I was also very active with intramural sports and would go play basketball or football 3-4 times a week.  After graduating – I didn’t keep up the same physical fitness regimen, and added on some weight.

About the same time, Tim Ferriss released his second book, The Four Hour Body.  While flipping through the book, one headline immediately stuck out, “The Slow- Carb Diet I: How to Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercise.” A large portion of this book was dedicated to this Slow-Carb Diet (SCD).  It sounded great, but I’d never been a diet person so I was hesitant to even read it.   But I pressed on and was very intrigued by the concept.  I wanted to give it a shot.

The main rules of SCD are as follows:

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you’re just picking new default meals.
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night is allowed.
Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more bodyfat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.
Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday. 

 So I gave it a shot and things went really well – I initially lost 10-15 lbs in the first 3 weeks.  I was actually pretty surprised.  But despite the great progress, I got so sick of eating eggs, salads, and naked burritos (no tortilla).  I never could find a few meals that I could eat consistently and enjoy – so I eventually phased out of SCD.  Neither my wife or me want to cook every night, or even every other night, so it became really hard to keep things going with the SCD.

A few years (and pounds) later I decided to revisit the SCD.  I knew that it worked for me in the past – and if I could just reprogram my taste buds to like certain foods, I’d be fine.  Plus I could still eat whatever I wanted on a cheat day (Rule #5).  This time around I was open to being more flexible and make exceptions to some of the rules.

However the real breakthrough I had was when I discovered the concept of “Meal Prepping.” The idea behind meal prepping is spending a few hours 1 day a week to prepare and cook your food for the rest of the week.  There are multiple ways to do this, but the path I chose was the following:  I would go to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon, buy all my food I would need for the whole week,  go home and cook it, and lastly I would divide up the food across 7-10 meals. I usually only prepare 7-10 meals because I use these meals for dinner only (1 for each day of the week, and a few extra dinners to share with my wife).

 

Too much green? #mealprepsunday #bbqchicken

A post shared by Kevin Pojezny (@kevinpojezny) on

When I first thought about meal prepping, I was kinda worried about trying to make a weeks worth of food at the same time, but I was really surprised how easy it ended up being.  The best part was that I only had to clean up the pots and pans 1 time, instead of 7 – that alone made it worth it.

Here are some of the various types of food I prepare:

  • Grilled & Oven Baked Chicken (BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Garlic)
  • Ground Turkey
  • Steak
  • Fresh Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Squash 
  • Green, Yellow, Red Bell Peppers
  • etc.

Overall this has been a pretty reliable system for keeping myself healthy.  The idea behind writing this post is so that if I even run into problems or fall back into bad habits, I can look back on what has worked for me in the past.  

 

 

 

Conquer The Gauntlet

So earlier this year, a few friends and I completed the Warrior Dash obstacle course race (OCR).  I wrote a post about training for it, and then a recap after the race.  Long story short, I had a lot of fun with the obstacle course race, and wanted to try another one.  So naturally, I decided to find the most difficult obstacle course race in Oklahoma – Conquer The Gauntlet.  

Conquer The Gauntlet (CTG) is a 4.5 mile, 25 obstacle OCR that takes place in several locations around the central United States.  The race I signed up for was located at a lodge in Tulsa, OK.  I’ve been to a few retreats at this lodge and knew the terrain.  However, the part that I struggled with the most at the Warrior Dash was the hills, and the hills at the CTG were about 10x higher and harder to conquer.  A few days before the race, the CTG team posted a contour map showing the hills on the course, and wow, it was pretty intimidating.

 

contour

Each of those lines represent a 10ft change in elevation

 

The CTG is designed to test you.  You aren’t competing against others, you are competing against yourself to overcome the mental and physical aspects of the race.  In fact, you have to rely of other competitors to conquer some of the obstacles.  A complete stranger will extend there hand to help you climb over a 15 ft wall, and then you turn around and help the next person.  It was cool to experience the teamwork and encouragement that went on during this race.

 

 

Action shot from #ctg this past weekend. Torpedo #conquerthegauntlet #ocr

A photo posted by Kevin Pojezny (@kevinpojezny) on

 

Some of the obstacles we faced included: scaling inverted walls, rope climbing, crawling under barbed wire, carrying a tree stump up and down a large hill, sledgehammer swinging, traversing through water, etc. (more obstacles listed here).  I believe I underestimated the pure arm strength needed to conquer some of these obstacles.  It was brutal, and probably in the top 3 hardest things I’ve ever done physically, but despite all that, I completed around 20 of the 25 obstacles, and came out with no major injuries.

 

 

I’ve heard rumors of there being a Spartan Race in Oklahoma City in 2017.  I’m thinking this will be my next challenge.

Warrior Dash Recap

Yesterday, I completed my first obstacle course race – The Warrior Dash.  As I mentioned in a previous post, participating in an obstacle course race is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  There was mud, mud, and more mud – although apparently not as much mud compared to previous years.

Back in January, I challenged a few friends to join me for the race, and 3 agreed to sign up. We weren’t really sure what to expect. None of us are really “runners” in the sense that we enjoy running just to run. But we all enjoy sports and have don’t mind getting dirty, so the Warrior Dash seemed like a good idea. 

Warrior Dash 2016

IMG_0004

 

IMG_4296The race consisted of 5 kilometers with around 12 obstacles throughout the course.  The first obstacle was located about a 1/2 mile into the course.  I had been training on a treadmill for the running portion, but didn’t really factor in the hills, bushes, and of course the mud.  The first mile was mainly running, then the second mile seemed to have a majority of the obstacles, and the last 1/3rd of the race was probably 80% downhill, which was refreshing.

Overall, the toughest part of the race had to be running up the 35 degree angle hills.  Of all the obstacles, the final obstacle was probably the most difficult.  We had to crawl under barbed wire through a 50 ft. mud pit.  It was nearly impossible to get a grip on any part of the mud, as it was pretty much like swimming through brownie batter, minus the good taste.  

I felt pretty good at the end of the race. It actually went by a lot faster than it seemed.  It looks like there are other similar, more difficult obstacle course races coming up over the next few months in my area… I plan on continue training and participating in them as well.