We caught up with the legendary John Hoath, aka @1000workoutsguy, who hasn’t had a rest day since 28th October 2018.
Can you explain a bit about your background and how you came to start the 1000 workout challenge?
I was 32 when I started and had been exercising on and off, but I’d often lapse into doing little or no exercise because of lack of time, energy, or just about any other excuse I could get my hands on! Years prior I had attempted (and fallen slightly short) of trying to swim 1k a day for 100 days; and while I never made the goal it was helpful for getting me to actually stick to something.
When I started this challenge I was in a difficult place mentally, and I knew exercise would massively help my mental health, but I hadn’t figured out a way to stick with it. So I started by trying to hit 100 days in a row. Some people said I wouldn’t make 2 weeks, but after 60 or so days I was going strong and thought I’d go for the year. Then when I was coming up on 200, I realised I was going to make a year soon, so I decided 1000 was a properly hardcore goal.
What workouts have you been doing and how do you decide where to go each day or what to do?
I currently do a lot of Spin and HIIT/boxing classes. I’ve been to pretty much every well-known fitness studio in London and try to mix it up, but I do really like Rumble, especially with the new bags.
I would say that if you’re planning on doing 1000 workouts you need to let yourself do the ones you want and not get too caught up on X number of HIIT classes per week etc. I always plan in advance, based a lot on what I am doing with the rest of my day and trying to avoid things like 10 spin classes in a row. When I started I did a lot of functional and weights workouts, with a little bit of spin, then I took up running, then I started Boxing HIIT classes including Rumble, so it’s evolved over time, but never stopped.
I’m fussy about what counts as exercise. I’d say my easiest is 1k in the pool, but I try to avoid too much of this. A tough day would be double spin classes. I won’t include anything that might make it too easy.
How far in advance have you been planning your schedule?
I try to plan 2-3 weeks in general, but there have been times where I have had to rethink or book classes that are starting in less than an hour! Planning is key, I recently went to Scotland and had planned all my rides and swims before I even left.
How did you keep going during lockdown?
I was super lucky and managed to buy a Smart Turbo Trainer just before they all sold out! With everything closed and the local paths jammed with runners, walkers and cyclist, I used my Zwift 130 days in a row on the mini balcony of our flat. The Zwift platform was pretty good, and despite some teething issues with the bike it was fairly smooth going.
What have been your highlights to date?
Hitting 1 year and then 500 days were both great, especially as my fiancé and my friends came along to both. Other times the workout itself is the highlight. I ran over the cliffs in Dorset in very windy conditions but the view was incredible. I’d never have done that if I wasn’t doing my challenge, as it’s too easy to skip when you’re camping on holiday. More recently I completed Alp du Zwift, which is a virtual Alpe d’Heuz on the turbo trainer, that was long but I felt really great after.
What has been the hardest part to date?
Occasionally things get complicated, equipment breaks, swimming pools close without notice etc. these days are the hardest. I can sometimes be pragmatic and find a fix, other times it really winds me up and I feel like I’m going to fail. Normally my excellent fiancé Lucy helps me out and we find a way around it. These days are rare but they happen.
Some days I also just don’t want to do it, I just want to relax, but so far this has not defeated me.
What do your friends and family think of the challenge? Have you been able to tempt any into joining you?
Most people are super supportive, and there are a handful of people who come along on occasion to classes with me. My mum has always got the timetable for the local sports centre ready when I visit home on the Isle of Wight! My partner is the main person who comes along, she probably does about 20% of classes with me (along with plenty without me!)
I actually met my partner about 3 months into the challenge and we’ll be married before it’s complete. She is also the person who introduced me to 1Rebel!
What are your plans for your rest day on day 1001?
Everyone asks that! I don’t know. I guess I might have a celebration on day 1000, so recovery from that? I’m already scheming a plan to keep me going (if not every day) after the 1000 is done. But it’s still secret.
What advice would you give to anyone else thinking of doing a similar challenge?
Don’t think it’ll be easy, it’s not, even if you don’t smash it every day the physical side will get on top of you eventually.
Time wise it’s much more possible than you think, but you need to take advantage of all that’s available and be flexible. I’ve started before 7am or finished after 10pm on occasion.
Tell your friends and family, they have supported me a lot!
Ignore the haters, there are a few people who will tell you that it’s not the optimal way of training and therefore is a waste, but this is based on their goals. For me it’s about sticking to exercise, maintaining good mental health and having fun.
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Follow John on the remainder of his journey on Instagram or on Strava.