My Push-up Challenge for 50-Year-Old Men

You’re in midlife, not mid-death. Let’s go!

I recently did 71 push-ups a few days before my 56th birthday. Yes, all of them at one time, and no, they weren’t the girl kind. That’s not bad for a man who’s technically beyond midlife (and the obligatory crisis).

If it makes you feel better, I started a push-up challenge with my son five months ago, and I could only do 34. I tried to hit 35 and busted a blood vessel in my forehead. But the challenge required we start with the max we could do, do that every day and add two each week.

This silly challenge teaches us valuable lessons.

Exercise patience as well as your body

We can achieve so much more when we stick with a plan and give ourselves a chance. I hit my push-up numbers every day without fail, doing 65 on day 97 and taking a break after day 100. Showing up daily, with my nose to the floor, even on days I’d rather eat the carpet than do a push-up, built strength in my mind, body, and spirit. But you have to exercise patience while waiting on the results.

The same is true in life, especially in midlife when you’re burned out, tired, and grumpy.

However, patience is a lost art form in our culture in which ChatGPT can write a 5-point blog post quicker than your Keurig can make coffee. We want results, and we want them 3.2 seconds ago. I increased from 34 push-ups to 71 in months, not days. I lost 35 pounds through several seasons, not weeks.

Your wife can forgive you in time, but not today.

You can get out of debt in months or years, not tomorrow.

You can learn a new skill to quit the job you hate, but not before your next paycheck.

Be patient.

But you can’t be patient while staying up late every night binging The Blacklist (my wife and I binged it on our date nights. I recommend it. You’ll love Red.) You have to work with intensity while patiently waiting on the results.

Patience means showing up every day and waging war on the thing you want. You may not be wealthy, tall, strong, beautiful, or academically gifted, but you do have a superpower.

You have a superpower – did you know that?


The superpower of consistency is a daily, highly focused, patient effort toward a worthy goal. Although consistency is available to everyone, it’s a superpower because few choose to wield it. People get bored. They want the thing now without the work. They burn with envy seeing you happy, successful, and driving a new Ford F150, but they weren’t with you every morning at 4 am when you busted your butt learning skills for success.

I didn’t discover a shortcut to 71 push-ups. They were a byproduct of the 8100 push-ups done daily over the preceding months. But I didn’t have to wait months on the results. They trickled in as my max number increased slowly, which inspired and motivated me, triggering the magic of momentum.

Momentum is your accelerator. You trudge along dutifully, patiently, and consistently long enough to hit the tipping point, and the results will flow in. You can’t microwave success; it’s a crockpot recipe.

As they say, wait for it.

Let’s grow stronger down the stretch and be in command of midlife, not in a crisis!

If growing stronger sounds like too much effort, and you’d rather roll back over and go to sleep, my new book will help you. Check it out – Stronger Down the Stretch: Surviving Midlife Without a Crisis. It may save your family.

Ladies, you should definitely buy it for your husbands.

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