How many push ups can you do? 10? 20? 50 or maybe 100? Could you do 101 push ups each day for 200 days straight?
Well that’s exactly what one local woman, Shakira Colling, is doing for charity.
Shak (as she prefers to be called) has a goal to raise $8,000 for Soldier On Australia which supports service men and women who have been physically or psychologically affected by their service.
Shak said it all began when she took part in the 22Pushups Challenge to raise awareness of veteran suicides and thought it could be developed into a fundraiser.
“I have friends in the military, my great grandfather served in WW2 and, as some might have seen on TV, Soldier On is trying to raise money so they are able to help vets in rural areas as well.
“At present they are more focused in metropolitan areas, but they understand the needs of those who live further out,” she said.
As of today, Shak has been doing push ups for 200 consecutive days and by tomorrow will have done more than 14,000 push ups in total.
“When I started off I could do about 25 push ups in a set, but now in my video I do 101 consecutive push ups, only resting on my hands,” Shak told The Cobar Weekly.
She’s also more than halfway past her fundraising goal.
Her videos are posted each day to social media which shows her sponsors that she is fulfilling her pledge to do push ups each day.
She said at times it has been tough like when she had a shoulder injury and when she got stung by a bee, had an anaphylactic reaction and went to hospital.
“I conned the nurses to let me go early because I hadn’t missed a day of push ups,” Shak said. “I was struggling after 10, but I pushed to 50 and then spent the next couple of months getting back up to 100.”
Shak said it’s also hard to get through the full set if she’s got a migraine, is fluey, or sore from work.
“There were a couple of days where I lost my video and had to do twice the amount so I could make my video.
“That really hurt for a long time after that.”
Even when she went on an overseas holiday or was camping she still did her 101 daily push ups.
“While I can’t always post my videos because I don’t have internet, I post them when I get back to show my supporters that I’ve been true to my commitment of doing them daily.”
Shak can now get through her 101 push ups in under three minutes and has been creative in finding different places to do each set.
She’s done push ups at the Newey, the Services Club, Fort Bourke lookout, in the park, in a cattle yard. While on holiday in Thailand over Christmas she found lots of photographic places to complete her set.
“I did push ups on the highest mountain in Thailand (Doi Intanon). It was hard doing push ups with so many tourist standing around trying to workout what you’re doing,” she said.
Shak’s challenge has raised just over $5,000 for Soldier On and she has more than 70 sponsors.
“All the money raised goes straight to Soldier On,” Shak said.
She plans to keep doing push ups after the challenge is finished, but maybe reduce it to sets of 50. “If I don’t do my push ups in the morning I think of them most of the day until I do. It can be kind of annoying,” she said.
In addition to raising money Shak said doing push ups has been great for her physique.
She’s definitely more toned, has lost weight around her stomach and hips, and toned up her arms and upper body.
“I feel generally better about myself for it,” Shak said.
Shak said while some of her friends thought she was crazy when she first started, she’s received a lot of support from family, friends and strangers who have told her what she is doing is very inspiring.
“I think it’s important to show young people what you are capable of if you try, and giving back to people who gave so much so we can enjoy our freedoms in this country which we take for granted.
“Travelling overseas helped me too understand how lucky we are in Australia.
“I believe we need to support those people working hard for others too, non for profit organisations have a really tough job, but the world is a better place for it.
“I appreciate all the people who are helping share my posts and get the word out about what I’m doing, every bit helps in some way.”