health

I Tried The ‘100 Pushups Challenge’ And Now My Arms Look Like The Hulk’s

by Kendra Beltran

“Bingo wings” is the term most commonly used to describe the excess skin that hangs from under your arms.

If you haven’t heard this term before, you’re not alone. I was not made aware of it until I was in my teens, but even though flabby arm skin lacked a name before then, its existence still made me super self-conscious. According to Urban Dictionary, bingo wings are the “hanging fat that swings from an obese woman’s upper arms when they are raised and shaken while shouting ‘Bingo!’ during a tournament.” Yes, it’s a pretty horrendous definition. I could go on and on about how terrible the term is, but that’s not the point here.

While I am slowly getting over the fear of someone seeing my arms above the elbow, I still feel a good dose of anxiety when I leave the house without a jacket.

Why not just exercise, then? Well, um… if you think I’ve never thought of that, then you’d be right, sort of. As someone who is over 30 and refuses to learn to drive, I walk a lot. Because of that, I am insanely proud of my calves. If I could learn to walk on my arms, then these bingo wings would be no more. Alas, I am not an Olympic-level gymnast, so I have to try a more traditional route.

Which is why I’m going all in with this six-week pushup challenge. Three days a week for the next six weeks you’ll find me pushing it up and working on (one of) the body parts I loathe the most and have the hardest time getting to my liking. I’m also doing this to prove my junior high teacher wrong. Screw you, Ms. Brubaker. I’ll pass the fitness test by the end of this. I promise.

Pushup challenge, here I come. Here goes nothing.

Before the Challenge

Before the Challenge
ABC

The six-week pushup challenge starts before the six weeks with a test to see where you land. Weighing closer to 200 pounds than 150 pounds and having the upper-body strength of a newborn, I knew I’d fall into the weaker of the three categories (which was fine). I knew starting out I’d be far from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. With my level set to “Do you even pushup, bro?” I took a deep breath and began my journey to getting through more than one pushup without wanting to dial 911.

Day 1

Day 1
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

I’m saying this wasn’t that hard because I can manage the bare minimum of any challenge. That’s how this girl managed to pass PE throughout school. Of course, I’m scared for what’s to come, but Day 1 was nothing.

Day 2

Day 2
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

When I woke up the day after legit doing 12 pushups I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. It was so tight, and not in the cool “That’s tight!” way but rather in the “Am I dying?” way. My fiancé said this was a good sign. That it meant it was working. Huh, working…

Day 3

Day 3

After your body starts to expect something is coming, it doesn’t hurt that much. I didn’t feel like I couldn’t breathe when I woke up, and moving my arms wasn’t torture. I’ve skipped ahead to see how many pushups I’ll eventually be doing, and I know I’ll be singing a different tune then.

Day 4

Day 4
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Today I learned that you shouldn’t be that confident about your physical fitness until you reach five pushups. Yes, five sounds like a measly number, but my lawd! I struggled through five like it was a war zone. It may have been the fact that I downed a bunch of M&M’s, though. Who knows?

Day 5

Day 5
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

It’s getting easier, but I’m not going to be winning any arm wrestling challenges anytime soon.

Day 6

Day 6
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Eight is now the most consecutive pushups I’ve done in my 31 years on earth. That accomplishment deserved a beach day. Which is exactly what I gave myself!

Day 7

Day 7
NBC

Today the battle was not the pushups, but the fact that it felt like 98 degrees in my apartment (sans Nick Lachey’s hot self).

Day 8

Day 8
NBC

The heat wave ceased to exist, and doing 50 pushups today was nothing to worry about.

Day 9

Day 9
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Nope, this is where I can tell there is going to be a turning point and that my former fat-kid self from middle school is crying inside. How could I have been so confident? I had to take a break during the final run when you’re supposed to do 13 at once. Next week will be a killer.

Day 10

Day 10
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

The best thing you can do while traveling is exercise. Not! Mentally it was harder to do this in Nashville than it was physically. Halfway through this challenge, I don’t feel like there is a difference you can see, but at least I feel stronger.

Day 11

Day 11
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Have you ever woken up at the crack of dawn, gotten on a plane, taken a NYC subway, and then done the pushup challenge? Well, I have, and it sucks. Exhaustion paired with a hardwood floor far from my yoga mat and an escalating number of pushups (80!) proved to be harder than I thought.

Day 12

Day 12
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Doing 80 pushups is hard. Harder, though, was walking around Washington, DC, in the middle of the summer.

Day 13

Day 13
NBC

This challenge has left the Big Apple and moved on to Virginia. Things weren’t that bad. I was tired from the traveling and was eating badly — so perhaps that’s why I struggled.

Day 14

Day 14
Fox

Forget what I said a couple days ago. I DID ALL 25 AT THE END WITHOUT A FREAKING BREAK. My arms might not look any different to the eye, but I freaking did 25 pushups at once. My fiancé couldn’t even do that, and he lifts weights.

Day 15

Day 15
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

It’s clear that I’m not consistent. When we had to pull out 30 or more, I did them in three shifts. The high of the other day definitely did not last.

The Final Week

The Final Week
CBS

So. Many. Breaks. When you’re asked to do 25, 30, 20, 15 and then wrap it up with 40 or more pushups, your arms are not happy. They are upset that you don’t look any different and upset that you’re exercising them so hard. I wish I was the Hulk and able to power through the last day like a boss alongside Thor, but alas I still felt like an entry-level employee playing with a kitten.

Pushup Challenge Conclusion

Pushup Challenge Conclusion
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

When all is said and done, you’ve completed 18 days and 90 sets of pushups over six weeks — then you’re asked to do as many pushups as you can in one sitting. Apparently 25 is my max. That might seem low after over a month of doing this one exercise, but let’s consider the fact that when I started, I could barely do a handful without feeling like death was waiting outside my front door. My bingo wings may not be gone forever, but I’m happy to report that I’ve started the challenge all over again! My 12-year-old self doesn’t even know who I am anymore.

Looks aside, though, I do feel stronger in the arm department. At least I gained something out of all of this. While I didn’t do it the best, I still think my middle school PE teacher would be impressed.