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 some weight, 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, 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 cut sugar altogether from my diet and started to look for healthier alternatives like Kachava meal replacement.
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.
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. 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 you’re burning, maybe consider buying a heart rate monitor. I don’t know if you’ve got an article on heart rate monitors, but you could link that or just an amazon product here.
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. 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. 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!
And all of that without any exercise equipment; no exercise bike, elliptical, treadmill, or any other exercise machine
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 ab muscles, 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.
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