This Man Does Thousands of Pushups a Week and Wants to Hit 1 Million

Kevin Cullum didn’t initially set out to do a million pushups. One day in 2015, however, he realized that he was well on his way, having done 100,000 reps in just a couple of years. That’s when Cullum set his ambitious one million pushup goal and started documenting his progress on Instagram, where he averages thousands of pushups a week. We checked in with Cullum as he closed in on 400,000 reps to find out how he stays motivated to keep on pushing.

Growing up, I was always a skinny guy. Going to the gym intimidated me because I didn’t really know what to do. When I was in college, though, I started doing pushups. I found I could start getting a bit more toned, in the comfort of my own room.

What I love about pushups is that you can do them anywhere, any time. Nothing is holding anyone back from doing a pushup, even if you just start with one. All you need is a floor.

After graduating from college in 2011, I kept doing pushups here and there, but not at all seriously. It wasn’t until 2015 when I started making them a more regular habit. I’d heard a guy talking about recording how many pushups and situps he did, and thought I would try it myself. I figured I’d like to be able to look back years from now and see how much I’d accomplished.

In a couple of years, I realized I had done a lot of pushups. Late in 2017 I hit the “100,000 pushups” milestone. It got me thinking: One million pushups would be a pretty cool accomplishment. And I realized then that it was 100 percent doable; at my current pace, it’ll take me about ten years. The question was whether or not I’d stick it out and remain committed.

So far, I have. There have definitely been times when “one million” feels like a really big, daunting number. That’s part of why I started recording my updates on Instagram a few years ago—I realized that accountability was crucial. I didn’t want to let myself down, but even more, I don’t want to fail publicly.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLnY_jhhm27/

A post shared by Kevin Cullum (@pandemic_motivation)

For the last few years, I was doing just about 70,000 pushups per year. At the time I figured that would be my pace, but 2020 was a breakthrough year for me: I did 114,000 pushups. It proved something that I talk about in my videos a lot: that we can all be doing more in life.

The biggest challenge is overcoming the mental aspect of getting them started each day. There’s a lot of monotony involved in my pursuit, but I’m learning that completing any big pursuit in life will be monotonous at times.

I often think about it as “the power of one.” For example, if I’m struggling to get down and start doing pushups, all I need to do is one pushup and it’s like a flip is switched in my brain. I can do hundreds if I just start by doing one.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLNatAChZ0a/

A post shared by Kevin Cullum (@pandemic_motivation)

I think that pushups are truly a metaphor for life. Only I can progress toward my pushup goal, just like only I can steer my life in the direction I ultimately want. The same is true for everyone. We are all in control of our own lives. The question always is, will we choose to do the things our future selves would want us to do?

I can look back and see the progress I’ve made. I weighed around 155 pounds in 2016. Now, at 31 and standing 5’11”, I weigh 175 pounds. I feel good with my overall size. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m at the size and build I’ve always wanted, and aside from running and doing situps, pushups are my main exercise. I feel more mentally disciplined, too; just finding the will to commit to this project has changed me in ways I could see happening in real-time.

I’m such an “ordinary” guy in many ways, and I’ve always wanted to do something memorable in life. I’m not overly athletic, good looking, smart, or anything else that naturally sets me apart, so I’ve always felt I had something to prove. While this pushup pursuit is likely viewed by many as “odd”, I firmly believe in the mission—to prove to the world that anyone can do anything, as long as you don’t quit. —as told to Jesse Hicks

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