Susie-squat-challenge-Mirafit

The team at Mirafit loves a challenge – and not just any challenge – we want the hardest, toughest, most gruelling, punishing workout yet.

And what better test of strength than a 30-day squat challenge? One whole month of learning what it really feels like to build – and burn.

Ready to prove herself worthy of her ‘Team Mirafit’ badge is our feature writer, Susie, who is ready and armed with the knowledge, guts and determination to go one step farther – and beyond.

Let the ultimate squat challenge – BEGIN!

 

Getting started

You may have noticed I’ve been writing a lot about squats recently (and if you haven’t, feel free to catch up with the rest of us here.)

So, after waxing lyrical about how to get the perfect peach, I felt like it was time to put my money where my mouth is – or indeed, where my money-maker is – and test my own squat skills.

A bit about me? I’m a regular gym goer and a confident runner as well as an absolute legend at sitting down (just to balance things out).

I pay attention to fitness, gnaw down on daily protein bars and am familiar with reps, sets and DOMS.

Am I a pro? YEAHHH No. There’s plenty of room for improvement and as we all know, fitness isn’t finite.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or an expert, when you work out, you should always be pushing yourself to the next level, getting a sweat on and pulling your fiercest gurn.

Squat challenge? Let’s do this.

 

Day one:

Heading into the gym on Saturday afternoon, I’ve had a good sleep and a healthy boost of carbs – I’m officially ready to work out.

Time to get warmed up: being a runner, I jump straight onto the treadmill and smash my way through 5km in intervals ranging from 8.5km to 13km/ph. By this point, I’ve got sweat dripping down into my eyes which confirms to me that I am officially “warm”.

I’ve recently been trying to perfect my squat technique and strengthen my lower body for a more powerful sprint but wasn’t sure what level I’d got to in terms of racking up the squat reps.

With the 30-day 100 Squat Challenge swilling round my brain, I thought to myself – 100 squats – that sounds like a good number to aim for, I’ll see how many I can do and then go from there. Turns out, I can do 100 – and that’s on top of my lower body workout too, so it wasn’t really a challenge and showed me I should be pushing myself much harder.

Time to ramp it up.

Back in the office, I consulted the team of Mirafit experts and was promptly handed a 30-day challenge headed: 3,000 squats 1,000 push ups.

The bar had officially been raised.

 

Day two:

Mirafit-Susie-Squat-Challenge

It’s the start of the week, I’m energised, have had too much coffee and have got my game face on (*smooths pillow marks out of cheeks).

And after spending the day in the Mirafit office buried deep in power cages, foam rollers and squat racks, I’m ready to head down to the gym to smash some more goals. The first challenge I’m taking on is the 3,000 squats, 1,000 push ups challenge – a perfect opportunity to build both upper and body strength while perfecting my technique.

The title is a little misleading – it’s not 3,000 squats in one go – although this may end up being the ultimate goal – it’s 3,000 over the course of 30 days. You do however start off with 100 squats as the bare minimum and work up to a set of 300.

I’m just using my own body weight for squatting at the moment and my push ups are on my knees (because otherwise I’d just be lying face down on the floor). Once I have this challenge down, I can start looking to add more weight as my strength, stamina and form improve.

Warm up run – done. Time to squat: today’s total? 100.

I maintain good posture and keep my spine straight with my chest elevated. With every squat I can feel my muscles get a little more shaky, but not so much that I feel myself slowing down.

After a quick rest, I’m onto the weight machines, stretch and foam roller.

 

Day three:

Today is push up day.

I must admit, when I saw the “day two: 20 push ups” I didn’t feel like I was doing very much. However, I know this was only the beginning and I don’t want to burn out before it’s too soon, so I got down and did 20, focusing on a straight spine with my weight pushed forward over my arms. It was actually a lot harder than I thought it was going to be so at least I was doing them properly and again, showed me I don't do enough upper body strengthening!

Now, forgive me for being a bit cheeky (hint hint, cough cough) but I would like to get to the crux of this challenge – and that’s why so many of us do squats in the first place. And yep, you’ve got it – to make your butt look good. And I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that’s gone all motivated at the prospect of a glute-focused gruel.

I think if I had taken on a challenge that solely worked my forearms, I wouldn’t be feeling as half as hopeful.

So the question is: can you build your butt using just your bodyweight alone (alongside cardio and a healthy diet) or do you need to start using weights? It’s time to find out.

In the name of science, I grab a tape measure and make a note of my stats. And even though I’m not expecting instant results, I’d like to see how squatting with my bodyweight alone changes my shape – if anything at all.

At least this will be a good way of perfecting my form before I build up to the squat rack.

 

Day four:

Day four and I’m getting used to the dull ache that’s hanging around my lower body. It’s pain but good pain – the type you get when you’ve worked hard. I give myself a mental high five and embrace the burn as I take the stairs into the office.

Consulting with the experts once again, I’m informed I should be making a note of my current strength to measure my success slightly more accurately. Still terrified of the 7ft Olympic Bar that’s ready and waiting on one of our Squat Racks, I opt to build up to squatting with weights (*pencils in next challenge). I can tell you however that I can currently press 50kg with the leg press at the gym so I’m going to use this as a gauge.

I did have a go with a slightly smaller barbell though and it made me realise just how much strength and stability you need to be able to squat down low while supporting a weight bar and how important it was for me to perfect my form before I started taking on weights. Having just a weight bar is really useful as I instantly saw that I’ve been bending forward too much and that I should be keeping my chest more elevated as I descend. As soon as I corrected my posture, I found my lower back much more engaged.

 

Day five:

Last night’s goal was 120 squats but I smashed 130 (all in one go) – because that’s the Mirafit way.

I’m embracing my speedy progress and my butt cheeks are feeling fierce. Spurred on by the realisation that I have the power to change my body and get stronger sees me trying to get some extra clench-training in as I queue up in Poundland.

My next goal is to get a little lower as I’m currently squatting parallel but I’ll see how much this is possible due to an old hip injury.

Push ups tonight and I’m onto 40. I’m aiming to do as many as I can in one go but last time I rep maxed at 20 so don’t expect to envisage me lining up for any bodybuilding competitions just yet…(soon though, soon *flexes…)

 

Day six:

Last night was Push Up Thursday – that’s a thing now.

Doing 40 in one go was impossible for me but I was determined to not add in too many breaks. I did 25 in the first set (5 more than last time) another 10 and then another 5, all with 10 second rests.

With squats I enjoy the burn but with press ups I just want to cry. When I’ve finished, I see myself in the mirror and my frowny lines are even deeper – a sign of progress at least. I get up, have a shower and lather my face in anti-wrinkle cream before bed.

 

Day seven:

Today is 140 squat day but I’ve raised the bar now so I’m going to try and sneak in a few extra on top. With all this strengthening, I am hoping to clear up a niggle at the top of my hamstring which has been with me for the past couple of months. I pulled it doing hill sprints and it still flares up a little every time I use it.

I have read that strengthening alongside using a foam roller is a good way to help mend minor strains – not that I need an excuse to break out my Mirafit Foam Roller. It’s my favourite piece of kit and I love coming home and ironing out all my trigger points – especially after a long run. It’s definitely come in handy doing this squat challenge too as it helps ease off some of the tightness you get around your lower body.

 

Day eight:

It’s the weekend and I still hate doing push ups. I sort of feel ok going down but trying to get back up again is like trying to convince a small child to eat a radish – it just isn’t going to happen.

However, the push ups remind me that this is a challenge and even though my focus was originally on squats, it will be really nice to start getting some strength into my upper body. I keep dreaming of being able to do full press ups – or even just one! – that’ll be the real test.

At the moment I still can’t do more than 25 in one go (on my knees). I get to 10 and I start to whimper, 20 the burn becomes unbearable and at 25 my arms have officially stopped working.

I guess Rome wasn’t built in a day so I’m just going to have to postpone those triple-clap jumping push ups for another day…

 

Day nine:

Squats! My goal was to do 150 today but I did 200 instead – all in one go. I should have kept going to see if I can smash that 300 goal yet – perhaps I’ll do that next time. I know for a fact that I’m not very strong but I have always been good at endurance. A fast paced 5km isn’t the easiest task for me, but ask me to do 18km at an average speed and I’ll happily plod along for hours.

I’m wondering if this is making it easier and that if I tried to squat with weights, this would be a much more intense (and beneficial) way for me to train.

Don’t get me wrong, it does burn a little and my legs do feel like they have been worked. It gets my heart rate up slightly too and makes me feel warm (ideal for chilly days in my big old house) but I feel like the challenge aspect of this test of strength is starting to wear thin and not because I’m brilliant (*flexes) but just because I have reached a point where I need to change it up and avoid the customary plateau.

I’ll do some more in the gym tonight and might start adding in some weights or a barbell, just to make sure I’m still progressing. I could even throw in some curtsy squats to ensure all my muscles are properly burnt out – got to justify that end-of-workout-war-cry somehow…

 

Day 10:

It’s Monday, I’m sleepy and I have forgotten what I’m doing. Push ups or squats?

In an attempt to cover all bases (and because it’s the beginning of a new week) I do both. My push ups are terrible – I struggle to do 50 push ups in sets of 10. Every time I reach the end of a set, my arms are killing as I sit doubled over, face pressed into the grubby mat without a care – IT’S TOO MUCH, I’LL NEVER GET STRONGER, MY ARMS ARE WRONG…

Onwards to squats and I decide (after breezing through the last session) to pick up a weight. My hand hovers over the weight bags and I decide to go for a 5kg medicine ball to see what happens. I hold the medicine ball in close to my chest as I squat and manage 80 before my lower back gives up. I drop the weight and keep squatting to ease the pain.

I get to 180, quickly reminisce about Bullseye and then decide to mix things up. I do 40 curtsy squats (20 each side) and notice one side is a lot harder than the other. I then head over to the adductor and abductor machines and do 30 reps of 30kg on each but make a note I need to do a heavier weight next time to get some more strength in there.

On to the leg press I want to push myself and see how I have improved. I try 60kg and do 12 leg presses fairly confidently so I rack it up to 70kg. I manage another 12 with my legs in a wide stance and placed high up on the board. My legs feel they can take more but my knees and lower back tells me to stop, get off and go to Lidl.

 

Day 11:

It’s Halloween and to make sure I don’t spend all evening truffling the bowl of sweets I’ve popped near the front door, I grab my gym gear and head out.

Apart from a few spooky cobwebs hung around reception, the gym remains relatively free of the barrage of fancy dress going on outside. With a clear head, I get to work. Tonight, I do my usual warm up run and then get on with some squats. I do 160 normal squats but concentrate really hard to make sure each one is perfect. I’m making sure I sit back properly for each squat without bending forward too much. I notice my shins and the tops of my feet getting tired as I try to stop myself from falling backwards.

I then do an extra 40 curtsy squats to make sure my glutes are properly engaged. I really enjoy doing these and as I feel quite stable doing them, I think I might try some more but with a weight bag later on in the week.

 

Day 12:

Wednesday. Hump day. Rest day.

It’s also push up day which clashes with my rest day strategy.

Filled with the genuine fear that if I don’t do my push ups, the Mirafit team of experts is going to turn up at my house for HIIT drills, I get down and do 50 (well, 20, then 15, then another 15). Planning and organisation have gone out the window a little this evening and I start doing my push ups post spaghetti Bolognese. FYI I wouldn’t recommend doing this but I manage to get away with it and plan to do a much better job tomorrow…

 

Day 13:

Thursday night and I’ve made it to the gym. I’m off to see some fireworks tomorrow night so I want to make sure I really ache to justify having a rest day.

I start off with my usual warm up run and then jump onto the cardio wave machine to help fire up my lower body muscles. I’ve been using a foam roller before as well as after my muscle strengthening. Not that I have any specific scientific reasoning behind doing this, but I sort of imagined my muscles to be a bit like a tough bit of rump steak. You need to bash them with a tenderiser if you want them to work properly.

Tonight, I do: 170 squats (in one go), 40 curtsy squats with a 10kg weight bag, 20 weighted hip lifts with a 5kg medicine ball, 20 jumping squats, 5 squat and holds with a bar for posture check, 20 double leg raises lying down, 60 leg raises on each side standing up (forward, side, back) 24 seated leg raises (with 25kg) 24 seated leg curls (with 20kg), 24 adductor and 24 abductor exercises (with 40kg) and 36 leg presses with 60kg (3 sets of 12).

I then head over to the mats for bunny hops and decline jumping jack planks using an aerobic stepper. By this point, I have been in the gym for about an hour and a half, so I shuffle off home for some food and a hot shower.

 

Day 14:

I was hoping I’d ache a bit more today than I do. I can feel that I have done some exercise, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve done any real muscle-tearing, waddle-inducing damage.

I consult with the Mirafit Team of Experts who are primed and ready to school me. They use words such as “plyometric exercises”, “supersets” and “ADD MORE WEIGHT”. I start planning my next workout for over the weekend and it involves lots of moving around, jumping and doing fewer reps with higher weights…

 

Day 15:

Susie-Mirafit-Squat-Challenge-post-Workout-Pic

Having taken a day off on Friday, I knew I had to get back on it this weekend. It was almost as if the Mirafit team of experts was primed and ready for my atonement. 6am – they send me a workout to be getting on with: 250 reps per set with no more than 2 minutes’ rest per set – for as many sets as possible. It went: 10 burpees, 20 press ups, 30 squats, 40 mountain climbers, 50 step ups and then back down again, finishing with 10 killer burpees before you do it all again. The results? 1 set max – you’re considered a beginner, 3 sets – average, 5 sets – very good, 7 sets – excellent and 10 sets – hardcore.

Unhappy settling for anything else other than hardcore, I went straight in for the 10 sets. I get my mini circuit set up in the gym and spend a rather large amount of time on the foam roller procrastinating. Eventually I decided I was ready and got cracking. I used a couple of the plyometric boxes – one for stepping and the other just in case I failed any of my squats – and also to make sure I was keeping a good, consistent depth.

After one set, I realised just how much of a challenge this was going to be and lowered my sights. 7 is an acceptable goal I thought – I don’t mind being excellent, excellent is well….excellent.

I got back on it, making sure my form was strong and I was executing each exercise with precision. 2 sets down and I knew I had to at least reach average. I lowered my sights again and thought 5 would be fine – if I could make it to 5 that was…

4 sets down and my press ups are getting more and more shallow, my mountain climbers a bit more wobbly and my burpees started to carry a slight face to floor issue.

I stopped – above ‘average’ but not quite ‘very good’. My cardio was ready for more but my muscles were not and I wanted to make sure when I do this workout again, that I truly earn the hardcore badge – I’m determined to get there!

 

Day 16:

Yesterday’s workout has got me feeling slightly achy so this is a good sign (I think it was the burpees that did it – they’re officially evil). I still want to make sure I get in some strength training though this week as I know from previous workouts I have had to literally crawl around the next day and I still haven’t managed to achieve this state of immobility yet. MORE WORK MUST BE DONE!

Though I totted up my reps for yesterday and felt a little less disheartened after I realised I had accomplished 1,000 reps including 240 squats and 160 press ups.

I thought it was a really great workout too for just working my muscles as well as getting my heart rate up at the same time – the best type of exercise in my mind. The most tiring and the most beneficial in terms of fitness. It was also a much more interesting way of tackling my squat challenge which, as rewarding as it is, has started to get a bit repetitive. Mixing things up is always good in terms of progression so I might do this on the side as an extra focus.

It’s the start of a new week tomorrow and I’m looking forward to continuing my development.

 

Day 17:

Mirafit-Foam-Roller

The day has finally come. I failed. I spent the evening running around getting my car sorted and then when I got home I was cold and tired so I sat and ate dinner and sleepily played computer games.

After assuming I wasn’t that achy from the weekend, the DOMS has officially set in and it turns out doing 80 burpees makes the tops of my legs hurt – a lot.

I made a mental note to do more burpees in the future to help strengthen my hip flexors but also, because I was so achy, I thought it would be better for me to rest rather than trying to stress my muscles out when they’re not ready.

This prompted me to look up rest days and what they’re all about. It turns out, there are lots of fitness buffs sat on internet forums making everyone feel bad with comments such as, “On my rest day I like to just do a 10km run and a light spot of Yoga,” says one guy. Another comments, “I’ve taken up rock climbing for my rest days.”

Have I misunderstood? I thought rest meant rest? Apparently not. There are rest days but then there are ‘active rest days’ which means not strength training the same sets of muscles 2 days in a row, but you can work other muscles or do cardio stuff still. So I learnt something.

I know from previous experiences that if I try and work achy muscles too hard that they don’t perform as well so giving them a break and munching down on some protein was probably the right thing to do, but I also learnt that I could have still done some stretching and upper body work on top – it’s just that I didn’t. I know from previous experiences that training through the ache can sometimes help too. I have had DOMS lasting all week before – sometimes even more – and it seems a bit OTT to suddenly stop all exercise for that amount of time (unless you’re injured of course).

So my plan for tonight is to get nice and warm doing some cardio, do an upper body workout alongside my push ups and then onto the foam roller followed up by some stretching.

 

Day 18:

I had hoped the soreness would have eased off by the time the evening had come around, but it hadn’t. In fact, sat at my desk all day and then sitting in the car in the cold only made it worse. Luckily, my gym seems to have cottoned onto the current climate and has whacked up the heating to make sure everyone goes a nice shade of beetroot.

I jump on the treadmill and feel like my run is more of a waddle. Nonetheless, it gets my legs a bit warmer and my heart rate up. Working on my upper body, I make my way round the machines trying to push, press and lift as much as I can. I then do my push ups – 2 sets of 20 and 1 set of 10.

I try a full press up – at the beginning of the challenge I couldn’t do any. Yes! I can do one! Can I do another? *tries. Nope.

Progress at least.

 

Day 19:

Back to the gym this evening but just for a short amount of time to catch up with my challenge. I’m planning a big workout this weekend to really up my strength. The Mirafit team of experts has been designing me a workout plan to induce some real muscle aches so I’m planning on not doing too much this week to make sure I have lots of energy at the weekend!

 

Day 20:

It’s Thursday and I’m feeling completely worn out. In an attempt to rescue my body in time for Friday, I decide to do a mini workout at home and try and get myself an early night. The higher the amount of squats and push ups I aim for, the more time it takes and the more (for want of a better word) boring it gets! Counting quite slowly to 250 takes longer than you think. As a way of splitting this up and still getting all my exercise in, I decide to alternate my push ups and squats – push ups done in sets of 20 and squats done in sets of 50. I then alternated the two to complete 250 squats and 100 push ups. I even added in a few double jabs as I was squatting to mix it up.

I felt comfortable doing these and the push ups gave me a good workout. But the squats are becoming quite easy now – to the point where I started to hold my squats to try and make myself feel a burn.

 

Day 21:

It’s Friday and I have been handed a workout by the Mirafit team of experts. I asked for pain – I’m not sure this was a good idea.

Still, I am primed and ready to take on what looks like a really tough challenge. I’m looking forward to next week to find out just how achy it makes me – in fact, so are they. I know they like a challenge and I think seeing me crawl into the office on Monday morning will give them a massive sense of achievement. I’ll include my squats and push ups but I’m starting to mix it up more and more to make sure I continue to progress.

 

Day 22:

Today is a rest day.

I know I have previously mentioned in my blog that you can also have active rest days. I wanted to make sure that I followed this to stay on form, so I actively ate cake while I rested. I know this is possibly not the Mirafit way but it’s certainly all about balance and who doesn’t love a bit of chocolate cake…

 

Day 23:

Today was the day that I had planned to follow my new workout of pain given to me by the Mirafit team of experts. I knew I had to do it and was ready to get myself to the gym but due to a bug going round the office, woke up feeling unwell. I contemplated still going thinking that it might be good for me but I knew I wanted to give it my all and the only way I was going to do that was to make sure I was 100% when I did it, so I stayed at home in the warm.

 

Day 24:

It’s Monday and every gym goer knows that Monday is gym day. No matter how you split out your regime, everyone who goes to the gym will be there on a Monday to make sure they get their training off to a good start (as well as erase some of the bad habits that have crept in at the weekend).

Having spent a few days feeling a bit off, I haven’t eaten much and even though I am feeling well again today, my energy stores are running low. I make sure I eat right during the day and attempt to fuel my muscles with healthy carbs. By the time I get to the gym, I’m feeling a bit tired and hungry. I knew today wasn’t going to be the day for my new workout of pain either, so I decide to head in anyway and revert back to my squat and press up challenge to make sure my progress doesn’t take a step back.

My squats feel good and are certainly a lot better than my press ups. I still manage to get in a short run and a couple of circuits before I burn out. Feeling shaky, I head home for dinner and realise I’m going to have to gradually work my way back up to full strength before I can attempt anything too hardcore – watch this space!

 

Day 25:

Tuesday night at the gym and my enthusiasm for moving around is pretty low. I skip my usual run in favour of going on the wave machine which I am happy to use for a good 20 minutes. Energy stores still low from not eating much at the weekend and I decide to get the important parts over and done with before I try and attempt anything else – if I can manage anything else.

A little bit lost as to where I am in the squat challenge, I decide to do both press ups and squats to cover both bases. 100 push ups and 300 squats later and I’m done – whoop! I made sure each movement was full and that I maintained a good posture throughout. And even though my push ups felt difficult, my squats caused a light burn but nothing I couldn’t work through.

 

Day 26:

I’ve seen some great progress so far doing this challenge – my legs have definitely got stronger and I can do a full press up now which I couldn’t do before. But I’m starting to sense a plateau. Doing these exercises regularly has helped me to maintain a small amount of strength, but to make any real difference, I know I need to start doing some more intensive exercises with weights. My measurements have stayed the same and I don’t look any different. I have also been finding that going to the gym to slowly count to 300 can be less than inspiring and isn’t something I want to keep doing on a regular basis, however splitting the exercises up into a circuit has been much more fun.

One thing I have learnt in particular is that cardio and resistance training can be combined. As someone who has always been in camp cardio rather than camp weights, I have mainly gone to the gym to burn calories. I’d then jump on the occasional machine afterwards, but it was never my priority. I now understand how important strength training is and also, how much you can wear yourself out doing it.

I definitely wasn’t pushing myself enough in the gym before - I’m pleased I’ve got some more interesting ways to approach fitness rather than just jumping on a treadmill and pressing Quick Start.

Mini circuits have been great for invigorating my gym sessions and making me a lot more engaged. I can raise my heart rate while using weights and therefore can get a lot more out of my time in the gym. How to strengthen your body is such a vast and complicated subject.

Although it’s worth keeping an eye on how much you’re lifting and how many reps you’re doing, there’s nothing like grabbing a weight bag and doing some plyometric exercises to really get your heart rate up as well as your legs burning!

 

Day 27:

It’s near the end of the week and I’m feeling tired but ready and willing to make a last push. With not much energy left, I warm up on the wave machine and then head upstairs to the mats for my pyramid workout of burpees, press ups, squats, mountain climbers and step ups. I was hoping to beat my last PB of 4 rounds but was too tired and ended up doing just three. Still – that’s 120 push ups and 180 squats. I also found I can now do three full push ups so feeling pleased with the progress I’ve made with my upper body.

 

Day 28:

It’s Friday and as it’s the end of the week, I’ve decided to give myself a rest day and try and conserve some energy before the weekend. I’ve started to notice a change in the way that I train so rather than do mainly cardio – almost on a daily basis – I have been doing more resistance training that also gets my heart rate up at the same time. This way I stay interested and engaged in what I’m doing, and I am finding it more challenging too. It also means that I ache more often, so I am keen to make sure my muscles have the odd day off to make sure I optimise my training.

 

Day 29:

The day has finally arrived when I take on the extreme workout of pain given to me by the Mirafit team of experts. I pop it in my bag and head off to the gym. I’m feeling slightly nervous as I step onto the treadmill and realise just exactly what awaits me. It starts off with a cardio section which comprises a mile run, followed by 300 squats (all in one go), followed by another mile run. I complete the first mile run in under 9 minutes, do 300 squats – which leaves my legs slightly shaky but not burning – and then do the second mile run in just over 9 minutes. Luckily all that endurance training has paid off and I can do this without too much of a strain. Then onto the circuit training which is focused on my lower body – as requested!

The circuit starts off with weighted hip thrusts, then goes onto goblet pause squats, weighted wall sits, box jumps, step up box lunges, calf raises and wall runs – three sets of each. Throughout the workout I make some small adjustments – holding a weight bag while doing a 1-minute wall sit just wasn’t possible for me. After around 12 seconds I drop the 10kg bag onto the floor and spend the rest of the minute stopping and starting while in burned-out pain. Needless to say, the rest of my wall sits are done without a weight…

By the third round I was giving myself a mini TED talk before the box jumps. 15 seemed impossible and it wasn’t so much that my muscles were burning, it was just like they had nothing else to give. I didn’t expect my heart rate to be so high throughout either but again, it goes to show you can get a good cardio workout while you strengthen if you do it right.

By the end I was completely worn out but just to finish everything off, I decide to see how many full press ups I can do – five! I’m over the moon. Even though they’re not easy, I’m so pleased I can finally do some and intend to keep this up!

 

Day 30:

It’s the final day and I have finally accomplished my 3,000 squats, 1,000 push ups challenge! So how does it feel? My upper body has really improved and I have gone from being able to do no full press ups to five in a row so really pleased with that. My squat technique is a lot better and I am able to push my weight back a bit further now with confidence.

I still keep a plyo box behind me just to make sure I am squatting to the same depth each time but I rarely wobble. My legs already had a good amount of strength in them from running, but I am definitely still missing that power.

Measurements wise, the challenge hasn’t made a difference so even though I have got a little stronger, I haven’t ‘bulked’. It’s clear that I now need to carry on adding weights to continue my lower body training.

My workout of pain is definitely a good start and mastering the squat rack will be my next challenge! I think in terms of strengthening, this has been a really important step as it’s so important to be able to get the form and technique right before you start adding weights. Many people go straight to the weights section and then end up training badly. I’m really pleased to have had the chance to really work on my form – even if it does involve a lot of counting!

My hamstring injury has definitely got better but I’m not sure if that’s because I have been strengthening and foam rolling it, or because I have reduced the amount of running I have been doing – especially hill running which seems to trigger it. The foam roller has been a real muscle saver throughout this whole challenge and I have been using it almost on a daily basis. It’s really helped get rid of any aches and made sure my muscles are in proper working order before I work out.

And because I have been enjoying doing my mini circuit challenges so much, I have been inspired to design my own, just to keep everything fresh and give myself a regular boost. Onwards and upwards!