I have a habit of doing things that are way out of my league without thinking twice about the consequences. Wanna go to a 10-day prison camp (Vipassana) where you will feel miserable almost every day? Sure, why not? Wanna take part in a debate tournament where you will only get the motion 15 mins before the actual debates? I have no idea about how to do it, but Sure, how hard could it be?
However, one thing is always common whenever I do things that are way out of my comfort zone. I learn a lot, and in the end, I am always grateful for the personal growth it brought. This workout program was a similar experience. One day, a friend told me about this workout program (21 days fix), and my first thought was, “Sure, how hard could it be, I am a fit and healthy person?”. I think it is safe to say that this program kicked my ass.
The good thing about the entire experience was that I was able to stay consistent and finish the program on time. It’s not like I did not want to quit. The first week was probably the easiest in terms of motivation. You know that feeling you get when you do something for the first time that really challenges you. You are so excited that you wake up at six in the morning with all the energy in the world. You feel alive and are ready to do the hard thing, regardless of how miserable you may feel.
But the reality of life is that the honeymoon phase slowly wears off. By the 5th day, I started to wake up at 8 am instead of 6. And by the 8th day, I was afraid that I will not finish the program.
Sometimes in the morning, I would procrastinate for hours trying to figure out why I should not do the workout, and some days I was just scared. Those days it took an immense amount of conscious effort to even get out of my bed and put myself through hell to finish a workout session. Although I did always feel good after the fact.
I was afraid of not being able to complete the program. So, I decided to create an accountability mechanism that came in the form of daily Instagram stories. People who follow me on Instagram know how obnoxiously I post a daily high angle picture of myself covered in sweat to “showoff” my consistency. I have to say that as stupid as that idea was, it ended up helping me a lot because, after that, I was afraid to break my consistency. So I did the workouts even though I sometimes woke up at 9 am. I think there was one day when I did my workout at 11 am. Don’t judge me; it’s just that my sleep cycle for the past 3 months has been really crappy.
In terms of the meal plan, I had none. The only thing I did for the entire program was to not pick and choose the food I ate regularly. This meant eating things I absolutely hated. I increased my intake of fruits and nuts, and the only thing I added was eating an apple right before the workout. Also, I started to eat a bit more than usual, and that was it.
Things I wrote right after my Workouts
To capture the essence of what I was going through, I decided to do something peculiar. This looked something like sitting on my computer completely exhausted right after a workout (Mostly cardio) and write whatever came to mind at that exact moment. This essay is simply the consolidation of those thoughts and what I managed to achieve at the end.
The first week was supposed to be hard as I was doing something I had never done before. However, it was especially hard because I decided to do something really stupid and start the entire program by destroying my legs.
You see, whenever you start an intense workout program, you have to ease yourself into it. And most good home workout programs are made so that your body can adapt slowly to the intensity.
This looks something like starting small and working out your entire body before you begin to focus on specific areas. I was supposed to shift the workout of Sunday to Wednesday(the day I actually started the workout-July 22,2020). However, being the genius that I was, I decided to follow the workout calendar to the point and do the legs workout instead. It was 30 minutes of brutal leg exercise, and I really thought I would throw up at the end. I fucked up so bad that for the next 4 days, I could not walk straight
The first week went something like this. I would do the workout for 30 minutes and lay crumpled on the floor, drenched in my own sweat for an hour.
Day 3 of the program, 1st week of cardio in the morning
” As I write this, I am delirious, having just now completed an intense 30 min cardio. I cannot even think straight at this moment, but writing this at this time felt like the right thing to do as this feeling will wear off in a few hours. So I somehow managed to drag myself off the floor where I was lying like a dead corpse and decided to write this.
As I write this, I feel like I will vomit in front of my laptop. I can feel my heart wanting to pop out of my chest as it is beating faster than ever. All I want to do right now is to die so that I don’t have to feel this miserable ever again. One other thing is that as I write this, my mind feels empty, and my head has fallen to one side, unable to even stare at the screen. One advantage of writing a lot is you know what you are typing without even looking at the keyboard (There a lot of errors, but It works), and that is what I am doing at this moment.”
Day 10, 2nd week cardio at 6 pm:
‘I feel like at some point I will fall off this chair and crash onto the floor. This is all I want to write as my brain wants to give up. I feel like I just took a bath in a gallon of sweat. My mom just came in and asked what the fuck did I eat (minus the profanity). I just hope that somehow I can drag my ash towards the bathroom and take a bath.”
Day 17, 3rd-week cardio
“It hurts like hell. For every 5 seconds towards the end of each set, I want to stop and fall to the ground. During the workouts, My brain keeps telling me that “you have done enough, and if you don’t stop right now, your bones will break, and your muscles will atrophy. You will not be able to walk for days and most probably feel sick unable to get out of your bed tomorrow”. That is how it’s like to do a high-intensity workout; after you finish a set and have given everything you have for 60 seconds, it hits you that there are about 10 more sets of exercises and 15 more minutes to go.
Like anyone doing something difficult for the first time, I failed a lot and cheated through a few exercises just because it made me feel good. Sometimes I would take more than a 20-sec break during some sets (which was the recommended rest time between every set) by simply pausing the video. My body would falter, and sometimes I would stop and take a 20-sec break at the end of a set just so I would be able to push for the last 10 seconds. For the first week, at least My form was all over the place.
But despite that, I would push through a set with hunched shoulders and lousy form just because I wanted to feel good about having completed that set. During tough workouts, every muscle in my body would throb, and my legs would shake, and I would give up mid exercise to catch my breath. This made me feel like I was cheating, and I felt horrible. Sometimes right as I am about to do a squat, my legs would give in, and I would crumble on the floor unable to get back up again while the exercise continued on the screen like normal. The only thing I am proud of is that I know I did the best I could.
The reason why I did this program in the first place was to prove to myself that I am capable of pushing the physical and mental boundaries I have set for myself. I failed and stumbled and made a lot of mistakes throughout this program. But the reason why I got up every time my knees crumbled was that I wanted to prove to myself that no matter the circumstance and the misery, I can get back up, adapt to the situation, and try a little harder and get better every day.
What I accomplished and Future Plans
In 21 days, in terms of aesthetic growth, there has not been much, to be honest. I think there are few muscle definitions visible somewhere around my chest and core areas. I have slightly larger triceps, biceps, and shoulders. And that is about it. However, my endurance and stamina have grown by maybe 10 fold. As I move ahead, I feel like I now have the confidence to try even harder workout programs and worry less about whether or not I will be to cope with them physically or that I will be able to maintain my consistency.
Here’s a quick disclaimer: If you are choosing a program for yourself, start small and don’t to the stupid thing by trying to take on too much at the same time. If you do that, then there is a good chance that you will injure yourself. That initial extreme phase of motivation will wear off at some point, and you will most likely quit if the program is too hard. It is also important to manage your expectations as you will most likely not achieve everything you desire with a single workout program. To get really visible results, it requires a lot of hard work and consistency.
So do things at your own pace. And here’s a myth I want to destroy. You don’t have to go to a GYM to have an amazing physique. You can do that by working out at home. You just need a good diet plan, consistency, and patience. Do the best you can, and results I guess will show sooner or later