It is your resident workout guinea pig here to share my experiences doing, you guessed it, another challenge. But this one doesn’t have the ending you may or may not expect.
We’re all human and life comes at you quickly, as the cliché goes. And this time around, I did not finish the plank challenge in its entirety. Quite honestly, it didn’t keep my attention this time around. Keep reading to find out why.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of my shortcomings, let’s discuss the benefits of a great plank (above). Planks are great because it engages several muscle groups simultaneously. Planks strengthen your core, booty, legs, back, arms…essentially it’s a full body exercise. With each workout challenge, I’ve incorporated the exercises into a routine, working out 3-4 times per week and of course changing my eating habits. You don’t want to lose your gains with ice cream and donuts.
My core isn’t as strong and so I thought participating in a plank challenge would be a great idea. So I found a 30 day plank challenge, along with a calendar, with how many seconds and reps per plank. There are many plank variations, but this challenge focused on a front and side plank (performed on both sides). The goal is obviously to complete each one plank every day for 30 days, increasing the time from 45 seconds to 4 minutes. That’s only a blimp of time per day, so easy, right?
Not so much. Here is why the plank challenge did not work for me.
Lack of variety. I’ve learn about myself that if I’m not constantly moving within my workouts, I lose interest, very quickly. While it may have been exciting to begin the plank challenge in week one, by week two I was doing the positions every other day. And while it is engaging every part of your body, for me, I personally need to be moving i.e. squat challenge (moving up & down) or cardio (i.e. running or spinning). The idea of a stationary position waned over time.
Lack of schedule preparation. Every morning my alarm goes off at 6:30 and by 7:30, I make it a mission to meditate and begin my workout by 8 am. My schedule varies, so I know first thing in the morning is best for me to knockout a workout and clear my mind for the rest of the day. With that being said, I didn’t make a true intention to complete the daily plank exercises. Instead, it really became an afterthought. This is no reflection on the makeup of the plank challenge, but more so, I didn’t make a true effort to incorporate the challenge in my daily schedule. Even if I had the intention of completing the exercise at night, it would be thwarted by previous evening engagements or just exhaustion from the day’s events.
Distractions. Distractions can come in many forms. Sometimes they’re obvious like being on Twitter and Facebook. Other times they’re not so obvious. For instance, a weekend getaway with girlfriends. It’s not their fault the hostess with the most-ess made a bomb sangria and a full spread of your favorite comfort foods. Who wants to workout when I can just lay casually on the porch and sip on this mojito? As I said to myself, while doing such things in that order. Needless to say, my mind was on summer fun, not summer burn.
While some reading this may think, “Wow what a total failure” others or most, may be able to relate. We have these dreams and aspirations of reaching a goal, only to be unconsciously or consciously side-tracked. Instead of pivoting and adjusting, we completely give up on the goal completely.
But like anything, exercise and healthy living isn’t an overnight triumph. It takes dedication and hard work. Some days you’ll want to run 5 miles while other days you may just want to be a bump on a log. And both are okay. The challenge is to simply be better than you were the day before and not stop. You can take a rest day, but get back on it the following day. Don’t ever be hard on yourself.
The mantra I keep in mind is that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” So seize the day, push as hard as you can and live in the moment.