Unsure whether he would achieve his New Year’s Resolution for 2020, which involved getting fitter by doing squats, Ned from YouTube’s Try Guys decided to bash out a year’s worth of squats in a single day.
“The last two years have been really hard on my fitness journey,” he says. “I used to be really in great shape, played soccer all the time, I even did CrossFit… Then I had knee surgery, and I had a baby, and I started a company, all at the same time.”
Of course, this is a YouTube challenge, not an instruction video for real life. Ned starts by warning viewers not to try this at home, as attempting 10,000 squats in 24 hours can put you at risk of rhabdomyolysis: a breakdown in muscle tissue which results in harmful proteins being released into the bloodstream.
He’s coached up to the first 1,000 by Cassey Ho from the fitness channel Blogilates, who guides Ned through a series of different squat variations and helps to correct his form. The variations they attempt include a ballet-style plié squat, which transfers energy to the inner thighs, and a narrow squat, where the energy goes to the outer thighs. For the narrow squat, Cassey recommends pulse reps: “Pulsing it out helps you get through it quicker.”
Ned gets through the first 1,000 in an hour and a half. The next 900 take about 5 hours. He’s incentivized from 1,600 up to 1,700 by YB Chang and Alexandria Herring, who keep him going with protein and carbs, offering him a single piece of sushi for each five reps that he completes.
“10,000 is achievable,” says personal trainer JP Amistoso, who motivates Ned up to 1,990. “What you’re wanting to do is create good habits… but I think starting with smaller pieces, 30 squats a day, and aim towards a big picture, you can get that.” He urges Ned to listen to his body throughout this challenge, and go by feel: “If you’re feeling very tight and sore, stop.”
Ned falls short of his 10,000 goal, but does make it to 2,020 squats for 2020. “Even though it wasn’t the amount that I set out to do, I’m still proud of pushing myself to do it,” he says. “And now I think when I want to do something that’s a little simpler, it’ll be that much easier.”