Push up Challenge - Are you Serious?

I have never been a big fan of push-ups. It’s probably because I was never any good at them - and they hurt!

Recently, an American girlfriend challenged a group of us to do at least 10 push-ups a day to honour the late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and everything that she has done for women. Why you may ask? Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG) apparently did push-ups regularly and even into her 80’s she had a personal trainer and was known to do 20 push-ups at least several times a week. I thought to myself, if RBG who has battled cancer and can do push-ups in her mid 80’s, I can too! The challenge was on! We each had to send in pictures to the group to prove that we were doing the challenge. This got us kick-started!

Where to start?

I started with the 10 push-ups a day and to my surprise, I realised that I could do more. I then started with 20 push-ups and began adding one more each day with the commitment to keep going until the US Presidential election on November 3rd. I got so excited about this challenge and raising awareness of women in Government, I started to incorporate the push-ups into many of my Pilates classes as well! In a strange way, I think many of my clients and students (definitely not all) were secretly thanking me. I’m guessing because it’s fun to see how far we can push ourselves, it’s much more fun to work in a group environment and perhaps it helps to feel like we are part of a movement much bigger than ourselves.

64 Push-ups a Day

By November 3rd, I built up to 64 consecutive push-ups. I can’t believe it! My push-ups are far from perfect, but I’m thrilled that I can actually hold a plank long enough to even consider doing 64 push-ups!

Even though I am a Pilates and a personal development coach, this would have NEVER happened had I not taken on the challenge which provided me with the structure and accountability (peer pressure). I didn’t want to fail and let myself or anyone else down!


This very simplistic approach to any specific goal can make all the difference in just thinking about doing something -- and actually doing it! We can do so much more than we think we can when we bring in a challenge, a structure and accountability into our lives. I teach these principles in my coaching practice.

We need a challenge to focus our minds, a structure to focus our time and the accountability to focus our actions. Now let’s take the same approach to my very own Pilates practice. As an instructor who has struggled with spine injuries and chronic pain, I know that if I don’t physically structure time into my schedule to plan my own Pilates practice, it might not happen. I have to book it into my calendar. It’s so easy to get distracted when we are working from home. Life will try to always try get in the way - children, work, house chores, TV, social media, etc.. There is a big distinction in being interested in my health and wellness and being committed and making it happen no matter what. Now more than ever, we need to stay focused on our physical, mental and emotional health and of course Pilates is a huge part of this formula to success! As a certified Creative Insight Journey Clarity Catalyst Instructor, I have a daily meditation and journaling practice as well.

First Female US Vice-President

Following the impressive trajectory of RBG and as someone who used to work in politics in Washington, D.C., it’s super exciting to finally have the first female US Vice-President elect of the United States! Kamala Harris now gives so many young girls around the world a reason to dream big once again. I love that she comes from an immigrant mixed Indian and Jamaican background. She represents so much of what is possible when you take on a specific challenge, create a structure and an accountability partner and team to help support your specific goal! Kamala Harris’s energy is contagious and she already sparked an international conversation about what is truly possible for women around the world.

Women currently represent less than 25% (24.48%) of the combined 535 seats in the US Congress and Senate and there are only currently 220 female MP’s or 29.54% out of the 650 total MPs in the UK. I began thinking about the bigger picture of how underrepresented women working at the highest levels of Government are in two of the most economic and politically important players on the global scene.

We still have a lot of work to do for women and women’s issues to be fully and equally represented at the highest levels of Government.

So, it looks like we’ve got to keep this push-up challenge going. I’m committed to adding one more push-up each day until US Presidential Inauguration on January 20th. Yikes, that’s 70 more days. Not sure I can commit to 140 consecutive push-ups in a row, but I can commit to doing 140 each day. Who wants to join me?!!

Now if you happen to be feeling inspired to also take on the push-up challenge, you can pick the position or combination of positions that is most appropriate for you.

1) Box Push-up

2) Knee Push-up

3) Plank

If this particular challenge is not for you, that’s OK. However, I do invite you to think about your next big challenge and how you plan to keep yourself motivated and on task, particularly during lockdown and dealing with the various pressures caused by a global pandemic. Please be sure to share your response with me and the Chapel Allerton Pilates team! We want to continue to create a community to support whatever kind of challenge and breakthrough you are up to!

To book a class with Whitney click here to view the timetable and book via Mind Body.

See you in class!

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