I did a 30 day 'push up for mental health' challenge

What I planned to do

25 days, 3318 push ups. Raising awareness and $3,000.

What I did

25 days, 3,214 push ups. Raised loads of awareness (quantifiable? more on this at the end…) and $1,087.

^ The page for my team’s contribution.

Background (written before the experiment)

Suicide is very close to me, having almost done it myself, having had two people close to me attempt suicide it’s a big part of my life.

It also represents a massive turning point for me personally. I work in suicide prevention and want to contribute in another way. When I found out about the push up challenge I knew immediately that I wanted to get in on it. The idea is to do 3318 push ups, because that’s how many people killed themselves in Australia in 2019.

I’ve also wanted to learn to film, edit and vlog with a bit more class. So I’ll attempt to mash them together using DaVinci Resolve 16. (HA! In retrospect this is bloody hilarious.)

I’ll be doing things a bit differently than I did last time (during my carnivore experiment), for example having a set amount of time to run the experiment and then finish it off rather than leave it open ended and simply avoid ever tying the bow.


The push ups will vary depending on how I feel. I expect a lot of them will be done from on my knees. Most likely I’ll end up also doing variations moving my hands to target different muscles.

Records will be tracked using the push up challenge app, developed by the fundraising organisation who put the whole thing together.

I’ll also post at least every three days with short updates.

Testing period

25 days of pushups with about 30 days to completely close the experiment out in March 2021.

What I learned after doing the above

I can do way more than I think. Yet the physical part was surprisingly the easiest!

Push ups;

  • Activate lats - this is a feeling
  • Squeeze butt cheeks
  • Activate core
  • Easier to do a volume goal like this in small, constant batches of say 10
  • Look up
  • Breathe deeply!
  • Posture changes everything
  • Listen to your body, shoulder pain was relieved by lat activation
  • Pushing through a pulled back muscle is actually less painful than taking days off!
  • No wonder people become gym junkies, feeling like arms are bursting at the seams could get quite addictive


  • Have an attitude of setting a goal, not to hit the goal but just to cause movement
  • Having self compassion and setting smaller targets made the beginning WAY easier for me than for others on my team who didn’t set small targets
  • Slow down to speed up
  • Pushing through a pulled muscle REALLY changed my perspective on injury and pain hyperfocus / bitterness
  • Just treat it like a job, don’t make any excuses and just do it

Content production;

  • Conscious work flow pays huge dividends; speak, then listen while writing and refining, then film
  • Writing, filming, editing and uploading can all be done from mobile at zero cost
  • Take a bit of time to edit etc, it makes a big difference
  • Look at the world in terms of backgrounds
  • Exaggerate! Literally just modulate speech and expression a little more than normal
  • Put hands in the frame!
  • Don’t be scared of thumbnails

Getting donations;

  • Very challenging and eye opening - asking for money is hard
  • Make this fun, engage people
  • Get creative and look for alternatives to engage and excite people

Final thoughts

It’s an understatement to say that it was life changing.

It felt a bit like I was speaking into the void at times, yet months later it got back to me by a few different channels that there were people out there who were following along, talking about mental health and really engaged in their own way with people around them, though I had no idea at the time.

This was super encouraging for me and really reminded me that social media is a highly illusory space. The things we track, probably don’t matter nearly as much as they feel they do. Meanwhile, there’s so much we don’t track, which matter far more!

So yeah, overall, was a great experience 10 / 10 will do it again next year.

^ An example of the kind of content I produced.