'I am proud of the fact that I didn't miss a day,' says Deep Malhotra.
I am no fitness freak or a gym addict. I'm just a regular guy who used to hit the gym 4 to 5 days in a week for 45 to 60 minutes before the lockdown hit us all.
Since visiting a gym didn't seem likely to happen, the problem ahead for me was how to stay fit when your regular gym time is taken away from you due to factors that are not in your control.
One easy option was to blame the situation and let the lockdown be your downturn in fitness.
The alternative -- to find ways to motivate yourself to maintain your levels of fitness in these difficult times.
Generally when I workout in the gym, I have my horse blinders on along with a music playlist on my phone and follow whatever my gym trainer says.
I always believed that consistency is more important than intensity.
But during the lockdown, it was challenging to stay consistent.
I was clueless also because I didn't know what exercises worked for which body part.
I tried doing some basic level ones for few weeks, but soon got bored as my knowledge of variations was limited.
The one thing that I knew and have been following regularly was push-ups.
I could do 15 push-ups of 3 sets with a slight struggle in the last set usually.
I thought of giving myself a new challenge and routine with 100 push-ups every day for 30 days to bring on my 40th birthday.
This way, I believed I could maintain my fitness levels for the goal I had set myself to at this age and it would also help me to be regular with my workouts during the lockdown.
I never knew what I had instilled among myself would help me realise many things in the journey:
1. It's more mental than physical
You realise this pretty soon that it is not a physical test, but more of your mental test of putting you through such a challenge.
It's like you have jumped into a sea and you are clueless where you have to swim to the reach the shore or even if there is one.
So, you need to keep yourself mentally strong that this is do-able and there is a shore at the end which you cannot see just now. But eventually, you'll get there.
Along the way, you should keep celebrating your milestones as they are not just numbers but a definition of your path.
2. You need intervals that suit you
This may differ from individual to individual as some of you might prefer doing 100 push-ups a day in a single time slot while some others would like to break it down throughout the day.
I preferred doing it in a time frame of 25 to 30 minutes with 4 sets of 25.
This was intense, but I wasn't doing any other major workouts besides this so I needed this kind of intensity to challenge myself.
There were days when I faced too much fatigue with body soreness so I'd do 20 push-ups or lesser in 5 or more sets over 45 to 60 minutes.
So it's really up to you how you would want to pace yourself.
3. Social media keeps the fire burning
Doing 100 push-ups a day is monotonous and can get boring after a few days. Especially when you are doing it alone.
Now, I hit the boredom part in the second week as I started questioning myself: Why am I doing this? What and Whom do I want to prove things?
Well sometimes you just take up a challenge to prove yourself in your own eyes, but you try to get derailed in this situation after a while because no one is watching.
Social media can be a good tool to encourage yourself, it helps you get an audience and some encouragement.
I usually use social media not for maximising likes or virals on my posts, but more to understand if things are on track as it is a great tool to get perspective on things.
4. It is a gritty journey
Grit is a very underused word.
But when you set off in this journey you would understand the true meaning of it as your true grit will be tested.
Your ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles around will be put to test.
I am proud of the fact that I didn't miss a day. I didn't skip even the days I felt a little low and feverish being in a lockdown for over 2 months.
In fact, in the third week, the challenge made me look forward to doing my push-ups as a meaningful task.
So, in a way, the low of the lockdown helped me get to the high of my grit as I could see the shore of this unending sea and I was gearing up to reach there soon.
5. Discipline and focus are the key ingredients
Before the lockdown, I was accustomed to putting myself through a phase of '60 days off-alcohol' and '30 days off-sweets'. But I never got myself into a physical task everyday challenge.
A diet control challenge does take discipline but physical challenge takes your focus too, because where the focus goes, your energy will flow there too.
You need to be focussed and disciplined to determine your reality ahead and make sure you can reach there.
I realised the more disciplined I got, the easier it was for me to finish the challenge for me with focus.
And these skills also overflowed for me in my regular day and work so doing 100 push-ups a day for 30 days wasn't just a physical upgrade for me, but also a mental one.
Bringing in my 40th year with the 3,000 push-ups challenge made me confident to pursue physical fitness and understand my mental ability.
This self instilled lockdown challenge has upgraded me and I hope it would inspire others to push themselves to do something they think will be tough to even try. Because you realise that it isn't difficult any more once you go ahead and do it.
Deep Malhotra is the author of Brick, Cement & Dotcom: The Unspoken Dark Realities Of Entrepreneurship. The co-founder of BeckFriends.com and Gemini Group has over 2 decades of entrepreneurial and start-up experience.