The holidays are right around the corner, which means -at least for me- large family gatherings and eating WAAY more than I should. Usually, I overeat and gain 2 pounds overnight, then struggle to lose it throughout January.
This time, I decided to take things in a different direction, I wanted to lean out so that by the time Christmas and new years rolled around, I would have some leeway in terms of body fat before I started growing a gut.
With that in mind, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone and lose weight by doing a fitness challenge that could be shared with you guys later. That’s how I stumbled onto the 100 jumping jacks a day challenge.
Not too hard, not too time-consuming, just what I was looking for. I did the same thing with the 100 pushups 100 situps 100 squats for 30 days challenge that too I shared with you guys and it was a great way to measure my fitness levels.
How Weight Loss Works
Before we get into the challenge itself I wanna explain to you guys how weight loss works and what to expect about a challenge like this.
Calories In vs Calories Out
When it comes to losing weight, think of your body as a machine that uses food as its fuel. Every day, your body needs a set amount of fuel (Calories) to function, the number itself varies from person to person depending on activity levels, metabolism, body composition, etc.
If your body receives more fuel than needed per day (Calorie Surplus), it’ll store the leftover as fats. On the flip side, if your body doesn’t get enough fuel to make it through the day (Calorie Deficit), it’ll have to burn through fats in order to make it up.
That’s weight loss in a nutshell, eat more than you burn and you’ll get fat, burn more than you eat and you’ll lose weight.
HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean you should starve yourself taking one meal a day or fasting, you should build sustainable habits around a healthy diet and exercise, and lower your consumption of unhealthy food or just cut it all together like what I did when I decided to stop eating sugar and started to look for healthier alternatives.
It’s All About Diet
There’s an old saying, “You can’t out-train a bad diet”, and unfortunately it’s spot on. No matter how long and hard you train, if your eating is not on point, then you’re not gonna lose weight.
Our bodies are extremely efficient machines, so they consume very little energy to move around. If you want to burn a significant amount of calories, you’re gonna have to slog through long, boring cardio sessions on that incline treadmill that I personally hate to use.
As an example, according to Harvard Medical a 125-pound person will burn 240 calories after running 5 miles in an hour. That’s as many calories as you’d get in a bottle of regular coke.
See how easy it is to go overboard with your calories? Couple that with a big mac and fries and you’re looking at 1080 calories. You’d have to run twenty miles in four hours to burn that much!
This doesn’t mean that there’s no point to exercise. Resistance training will create more muscle, which requires more calories to sustain, so it will increase the amount of fat you burn, there is a ton of evidence that exercise increases metabolism.
Even better, more muscle will make your body look a hell of a lot better once it’s not covered by layers of fat. If you burn all your body fat but have no muscle underneath, you’ll end up looking “skinny fat” or just plain unhealthy.
Losing Weight the Right Way
As I said, losing weight doesn’t mean starving yourself. Your first step should always be to go on a low calorie, high protein diet. Lean meats and veggies will do you wonders. Couple that with exercise and you’re on your way.
What Happened When I Did a 100 Jumping Jacks a Day for A Month Straight
Why did I go through the trouble of explaining weight loss to you before I broke down the challenge? Well so that you can manage your expectations. Because until I started making some changes to my diet, the challenge did almost nothing.
The First Week
The challenge in itself isn’t really that rough, at least for someone like me who works out and is in decent shape. If you’re just starting out, this might pose a bigger challenge for you.
For me, it took about 2 to 3 minutes to get through all the reps, and even though I was winded by the end, it wasn’t really a grueling workout, it felt just like jumping on a trampoline. That’s why during my first week, the number on the scale didn’t budge at all.
The Second Week
By week 2 I realized that if I didn’t make some changes to my lifestyle, I was just wasting my time, so I decided to start watching what I ate a bit more closely. ¡Lo and behold! I started losing weight!
The Last Two Weeks
The last two weeks of the challenge were amazing. Even though by this point I had grown used to doing my jumping jacks every day so they didn’t really do much for me in terms of actual exercise, they were still a great way of starting my morning with a burst of energy that carried on throughout the day.
Even better, I was losing weight!
How Many Calories Are Burned Doing 100 Jumping Jacks?
There’s no definitive answer for this question since it varies wildly depending on the size, weight, body composition, metabolism, and activity level of each person. However, on average, it’ll burn around 20 calories
If you really wanna get a better estimate of how many calories jumping jacks burn, maybe consider buying a heart rate monitor, like a fitbit tracker, which has many models, and is easy to wear on your arm although some peeps have been wondering whether wearing fitbit on the ankle would work just as effectively.
Will I Lose Any Significant Weight Doing 100 Jumping Jacks a Day?
Unfortunately, like most things in fitness, it depends. If you’re already working out and in shape, then no, 100 jumping jacks alone is not enough to tip the scales and put you in a calorie deficit.
You will need to target other muscle areas like what I did when I tried training my biceps & triceps on the same day alongside jumping jacks or doing other exercises that require machines like the seated tricep press, mixing your workout routine will go a long way when losing weight.
However, if you’re seriously out of shape doing 100 jumping jacks will burn a lot more than 20 calories, and it might help you lose weight-*. Of course, this only applies if you’re watching your diet as well – I tried doing 2 protein shakes a day and it offered me a great way to cut bad eating habits without trading off my daily energy input. Otherwise, you won’t lose weight no matter what you do.
Overall Though, Is It Good to Do 100 Jumping Jacks a Day?
While it won’t turn you into an Olympic athlete anytime soon, doing 100 jumping jacks a day can have a pretty great effect. Here are some of the benefits that can come from it.
This was something I wasn’t expecting out of this challenge. I found that by starting each morning with 100 jumping jacks, I got my heart pumping and felt energized throughout the day.
I think it’s a great way to shake off the last dregs of sluggishness that come from waking up, but the workout is not tough enough to leave you feeling drained.
This was the hardest part of the challenge, at least for me. Like I said, I workout and am in decent shape, so my muscles could take it. My lungs and heart however, didn’t do so great, which got me considering getting in more cardio after my workout sessions, and going even harder on my cardio equipment moving forward.
The first week I found myself out of breath more than I’d like and had to take a couple breaks to get through.
By week four however, I had mastered it to the point that I could do 100 jumping jacks with only one break. No breaks at all if I really pushed myself.
This improved capacity even translated to better performance in the gym! I could make it through supersets without feeling like my heart was gonna explode!
While the jumping jack works more than just your core (We’ll get to the other muscles later) I wanted to make a point about core stimulus with this exercise.
I mentioned before that since I was trained, 100 jumping jacks wasn’t that much of a challenge for me, that’s true for everything but my core. I’m not saying I don’t train my 10-pack abs, I’m just saying that the amount of work they do during a jumping jack is a lot more than I thought it was, and I definitely felt it.
Other Muscles Worked
Of course, the jumping jack is gonna work primarily your legs during the jump, and your arms when you swing them up. Like I said, this probably won’t pose much of a challenge for trained individuals, but for untrained ones, it’s a different story.
If you’re looking to get started with exercise, but want to avoid the gym and weight training in general, the jumping jack is a great way to stimulate your legs and arms, as well as develop cardiovascular capacity.
Not to spoil the fun,but honestly, you won’t be building bigger quads and stronger legs overall (or arms) with jumping jacks. If you’re in for bigger gains, then sorry, you still have to grind out tougher workouts like the sumo deadlifts, get used to that squat rack or go for a mix of other intense muscle-building exercises in both calisthenics and weights workouts.
Jumping Jack Variations
Jumping jacks vary widely, which is a good thing as it gives us the flexibility we need to do the one that we feel most comfortable with or the one that delivers the best performance.
And sometimes we simply want to switch them up when one feels bored with one variation.
Chances are, you have been doing one or more of these already, but for the sake of the total nerds, let us list them so that you can decide to try them and go with the one(s) that feels the best.
This variation offers a great option to keep your muscles warm when switching between workouts. And it is pretty effective at working just about your whole body, not to mention that you can do it virtually anywhere.
It is also a great workout for working the heck out of those calves, quads, and lower back, and keeping them in top form.
How to do half-jacks
- Start by setting your arms at shoulder height (when standing)
- Move one leg to the side so that you are balancing your body weight on the other.
- Then step in with the extended leg.
- Repeat this move with the other leg for the number of reps that you want.
If you want to get your heart pumping, this cardio exercise is for you. But the increased heart rate isn’t the only benefit you get with this variation; you also get to work on the endurance as far as those fast-twitch muscles in your leg go. If you haven’t been doing squats everyday, you’ll tap into all the benefits you have been missing.
Besides, it is also an effective workout for strengthening your core muscles, glutes, quads, as well as hamstrings.
How to do squat jacks
- Start by standing with your feet together as you clasp your hands at your chest.
- Next, jump and stretch your feet to the outside as you bend your knees; keep your knees from extending past your toes.
- Then jump to the start position to complete the move. That’s 1 rep, do the number of reps you are capable of accomplishing.
Tip* Make sure to keep your chest held up through the jump.
This jump is very effective for working a variety of muscles like the glutes, hip flexors, and quads. Now, what is the difference between a jumping jack and a burpee? The main distinguishing factor here is that burpees work both your upper and lower body, hence giving you more strength.
So yeah, if you want to get even more out of your jumping jacks, consider adding that simple squat at either the beginning or end of the jump to initiate a whole new level of growth to your lower body.
How to do jack burpee
- Start by standing with the feet at shoulder-width apart, and your arms held by your sides.
- Bend your knees and hips and hold the floor with your hands
- Then stretch your legs out quickly as if you are doing pushups
- With your hands still held on the ground, tuck your feet under your body
- Execute the jump now by using the spring action to jump up then clap the hands above your head.
That’s 1 rep, repeat for the number of times you want.
Jumping Jack Frequently Asked Questions
There is a lot more to the 100 jumping jacks a day challenge than we have looked into so far; you probably still have some lingering questions right? Well, let’s go right ahead and address them.
Is doing 100 jumping jacks good exercise?
As I have mentioned above, this is a good, fun, and effective workout. Every single rep burns about 1 to 2 calories, so yeah, you can burn a good deal of calories with this workout. However, before you get ahead of yourself and hit the floor to try and shake off those extra numbers you oh-so-much hate seeing on the screen, remember this, you also need to work on your diet.
Is 100 jumping jacks enough?
This comes down to what you aim to achieve. For those who are planning to become pro sportsmen and women, a few jumping jacks would be just a warm-up routine to start your day or workout session.
However, if you are using this exercise for just that – to get your heart pumping in the morning, then yes, they are enough. And for those looking to lose a few pounds, you can actually burn through a considerable chunk of calories with this number of reps.
Will jumping jacks burn belly fat?
Jumping jacks are a part of rigorous cardio exercises that you can use to not only get rid of belly fat, but also burn fat in other parts of your body as well. The intensity of this workout and the large amounts of calories you can burn with these are a sure-fire way to burn some serious amounts of fat.
Do it consistently, and you will not only see a change in belly fat, but you will also experience the difference in muscle endurance and have increased metabolic rate – bringing about overall weight loss.
Is doing jumping jacks every day bad?
Not at all… as long as they are done right. With all the benefits you can get with a daily dose of this exercise, it would make little (if any) sense to say it’s a bad thing.
That said, if you are not well prepared physically – I’m talking about your fitness level here, then going all out on this workout might not be such a good idea. Start with a small number of reps that your body can handle and then work your way up, and with time, you will be burning upwards of 200 calories.
Do jumping jacks help slim thighs?
That’s true! Jumping jacks work pretty much your entire body, and yes, they are also good at burning fat in the thigh region.
But the good thing is, jumping jacks don’t leave it at that; you can also strengthen your legs as well (even the hands and the core) with a consistent jumping jacks workout. Not as much as other high-intensity workouts like lifts would, but to a noticeable extend nevertheless.
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