In 2018, one of Yes Theory's founders, Ammar, started this challenge where he would work out for 100 days straight. The goal was to do enough physical activity to make him drip one single drop of sweat onto the ground. The rules were simple: one drop of sweat on the ground per day, and only being able to take 1 rest day in between days of sweat (if you took 2 days off you had to start over).
This video is Ammar's official announcement about the challenge.
I was too lazy to start back in 2018... and also 2019... but I'm glad I finally did it in 2020.
Some background of why I wanted to do it (besides not having stability during a whole pandemic):
My first semester of college was a super interesting time. Between classes, clubs, work, choir, and hanging out with friends, I rarely found time to work out. I would always justify not working out with "I'm busy" or "I already walk everywhere, why do I need to work out." Occasionally, I would find time to go rock climbing or play a game of badminton or ping pong with friends, but I didn't have a set work out time or a routine at all.
My second semester was a difficult one. On top of getting broken up with the night before classes started, I also started a new job, two research positions, and was taking more hours. I decided that the best way to combat the feelings of sadness and anxiety was to swim it out. I used to be on the swim team when I was in middle school but stopped during high school because I moved to Tennessee and didn't enjoy the swim team environment here. All that to say "I used to be fit but now I'm not and it makes me sad." The pool was the one place where I could just focus on the task at hand and not have to worry about 4 different things at once. I was getting back in shape and I was ridiculously happy to be walking back to my dorm from the pool at 10 pm.
Then COVID-19 happened and we all went home and I couldn't swim anymore. I needed to keep the momentum I had going...
When I started this challenge, it was the middle of April. Quarantine was happening, the world was collapsing, time felt like a distant memory. I needed some routine to guide me back into the realm of sanity. When Yes Theory announced that they were starting the challenge back up for everyone, I was ready.
I made my 100 Days of Sweat grid and just got to it.
The first two weeks were pretty difficult, not going to lie. I was constantly reminded that I was out of shape still and I felt bad about myself because I couldn't finish a workout video without taking mini-breaks in between reps. But then after the third week, I was feeling better, more in shape, I was able to finish workout videos and not collapse immediately onto the ground and pant for 2 minutes. Progress!
Some workouts I did during this challenge:
Natacha Oceane's HIIT series on YouTube: HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. I cannot stress enough how good of a workout her HIIT sessions are. I did these maybe like a good 60% of the 100 days. They are short, high impact, and definitely make you sweat. Here's a good one to start with if you're a beginner in HIIT (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njKwu3dqD0Y)
Hannah Lagoski's workouts: I came across Hannah when I took one of the Zoom fitness classes UTK was offering. She was teaching kickboxing, and I was drawn to her chill energy, the effectiveness of her workouts, and her good music taste. She plugged her blog after class ended and I was hooked. This is her website (https://www.hannahlagoski.com/) I recommend her 45 minute Barre series, her kickboxing circuit, her AMRAP video, and honestly, just everything on her website.
Yoga with Adriene's 30 day Home yoga series: She started this 30 day Home Journey back in January, but I didn't find it until May. Yoga with Adriene is possibly my favorite yoga channel on YouTube. Adriene is so genuine and positive and adorable, containing energy you didn't know you needed, but absolutely needed. Her dog is also the cutest. I definitely felt stronger after this series because I developed a stronger core, a stronger connection to my breath, and a stronger mentality. Here's day 0 and the series playlist (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWBfQjuwp4E&list=PLui6Eyny-UzzFFfpiil94CUrWKVMaqmkm)
Running: being a former swimmer, I absolutely despise running. I literally only did this a few times at my local greenbelt and I got sick of it after like 3 runs. I have bad knees and running wasn't a vibe for me. My brother made fun of me for being terrible at running. I respect those who can do it though.
With the workouts listed, I had no trouble getting at least one drop of sweat on the ground.
I have noticed drastic improvements in both my mental and physical health throughout this challenge. My confidence surged. My motivation to be alive also surged. I started eating more healthily, I slept better, I could both see and feel that I was healthier. My levels of creativity went up. I had more patience with both myself and other people because I applied the lesson of coming back to my breath in difficult situations.
I have always had trouble finishing tasks that I start. I always end up succumbing to the temptation of quitting. But it is so much more satisfying finishing instead of quitting. Forming a habit of working out every single day is every bit as challenging as you would expect, but it gets exponentially easier when you keep in mind that you are strong and that there is a whole community in the world that is sweating with you, reminding you that you are supported and you can do it.
Without this challenge, I doubt I would've mentally made it through a global pandemic and a stressful workload for the past few months. It literally saved me from wallowing in distress and drowning in self-pity. If you're reading this and need a sign to start working out consistently, THIS IS THE SIGN! (and don't be like "this sign can't stop me because I can't read!" stop making excuses and just get up and go sweat!!). I cannot stress how important it is to take care of yourself and form good habits. Your mind is stronger than you think it is, you just have to start and push yourself to keep going.
Keep seeking discomfort, my friends. You won't grow without it.
I am taking one (1) day off, and then I'm going to keep going with another 100 days. It's become too much of a habit for me to work out before bed to stop comfortably, which is a good thing.
Big shout out to my friends who did Zoom workouts with me, I could not have finished this challenge without you. You were all my rock and support during this and I love you all dearly. You know who you are <3