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My Amazing 50 000 Reps Challenge - joelalain.com

(Details of the challenge after the text, below)

The mother of all challenges: after a friend asked me and other friends if we wanted to do a one year, 10 000 reps push-ups challenge, I was immediately thrilled by the idea. Staring at the beginning of December, I have been training almost every day because of a new, original challenge and most of the time, I did 100 reps of one thing. The great part about this is that this was the first time in more than 1 year that I was doing so without giving up after a few days. This gave me the idea for this uber challenge.

What was the secret for how I kept training consistently for the first time in 1+ year?


Yep, that’s it. In his book The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss says that the best way to stick to a new habit or training regimen is to make it something you have no trouble doing everyday. Make it a ZERO WILLPOWER task. Anything too hard and you’re likely to fail. And I know that, since I’ve failed so many times in the past by trying all sorts of crazy challenges, etc

Also, one other problem was this: I was trying something TOO HARD for my current mindset, habit levels and willpower levels. There was nothing wrong with most of my challenges, the problem was that my fitness habits didn’t have time to fully mature. In other words, before you decide to train hard every day doing the P90X, why don’t you start by having ONE EASY habit? In my case, I ran at least 5 min every day for the better part of 2013. Even if I felt like crap, it was still easy to do (worst case scenario: walk). BUT you MUST have a NO-QUIT attitude: you CAN’T CUT YOURSELF SLACK. Because one day turn into 2, which turn into 3 and then the hill becomes just too hard to climb back and you completely stop.


The key to success: have a reason to do this. Be excited about it because it’s not a chore! Know why you want it: I want it because I know that by going at it a bit every day, I’ll get fitter without even trying and the fitter I get, the more motivation and energy I’ll have. I know that because the last time I was fit, it felt incredibly amazing. So much in fact that it’s hard to describe: just having a 6 pack felt amazing. My brain was functioning better, my core felt strong and gave me a better posture, my sleep quality was improved. In other words, it felt like magic. So I know that I want to feel like that again.

Here is my challenge:


I must accomplish, in 12 months  (before December 31, 2014), all these items + meet the milestones below for each month. Note: for each item, I’ll do variations or make them harder as I get better better or to keep things fresh.

  • 50 000 repetitions
  • And these other juicy exciting bonuses:
    • 777 km of jogging
    • 3650 min of yoga, breathing and stretching (10 min per day)


Although I have trained on and off for the last 6 years, I have NEVER accomplished something so hard and so consistent. In fact, I want this challenge to push my limits, so maybe I won’t be able to do it all. I always create my challenges some way outside my comfort zone, so that even if I fail, it will still be a major accomplishment. But if I succeed, then it will be my biggest accomplishment ever. I feel as ready as ever to do so.

As a reference, for all “10 000 reps” items, it should look like this:

January 849 849
February 767 1,616
March 849 2,466
April 822 3,288
May 849 4,137
June 822 4,959
July 849 5,808
August 849 6,658
September 822 7,479
October 849 8,329
November 822 9,151
December 849 10,000

To keep myself accountable, I’ll have a column on the right of every one of my blog page dedicated to this challenge and its milestones and where I stand. I’ll also report to my friends for the push ups and I’ll create blog posts & youube video for EACH MONTH’S milestone. This is AWESOME & I’m totally thrilled by this challenge and the fact that I’m already 18 days in and have accomplished a lot is highly motivating.

Although it SEEMS a lot, it’s only 27 reps of each per day. But since you can’t (and shouldn’t) train the same muscle every day, I’ll do 100 reps every 3 days for each. It’s all about consistence and building the right success habits.

Why these? Because they are EASY to do, require NO EQUIPMENT whatsoever and can be done inside or outside (chin-ups can be done anywhere, or with minimal equipment). So no reasons to not do them! They also take no more than 15-25 min each to do. Moreover, by having just ONE item to focus on, it’s much less emotionaly and mentally draining than having a full on complicated training that requires weights, etc

Important note:

  • MUST train every day, even if really slow.
  • don’t have to train hard everyday, it’s about building the habits. If one day I’m really trashed and feel like crap, it’s ok: I’ll train at 30% of my normal power, but I still have to do it. The biggest reason for failing training is when we start cutting ourselves some slack.
  • ideally, I won’t train the same muscles 2 days in a row, or 2 hard training (like push ups one day and chin ups the other). Spread them around so you don’t overwork yourself
  • as a general rule, the first few days of the challenge, TAKE IT EASY! The worst thing people do when starting a training is go too hard at first, then feeling sore for a week and not wanting to start again. Start SLOWLY and easy, and build on that small success.



As of January 18th, 2014 at 11:15 pm, I have done:


I’m really excited since this challenge is a MAJOR STEP toward my life long goal of being healthy and building HEALTH HABITS in my DAILY ROUTINE. I’ve never been uber fit with sub 10% body fat and great overall strength, so I’m looking forward this. This immensly simplify the training pain for me and gamify it by only having to chip away at it a bit every day and not worrying about perfect training, mixing the training around, etc. That remove massive overhead in stress and preparation for my daily training. That way, all i need to know is what i did in the last 2 days and not do that.

And finally, these images are a visual representation that I look at EVERY MORNING and EVERY NIGHT before going to bed for motivation and to remind me of my goals.


What I aim for:

50000 reps challenge motivation

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Joel Alain is on a quest to the 4 Hour Workweek Lifestyle, Accelerated Growth & Meta Learning. He rejects status quo and the so called "common sense" and creates his own vision of reality. The goal being to live the life you've imagined, no matter how crazy that is. Hop in.
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