ONLY NINE DAYS LEFT! I say with great excitement – I’m currently at day 21 of my 30 day core challenge. It’s the furthest I’ve ever come to finishing one of these, but it’s definitely taken a noticeable step-up in the duration of my planks, Russian twists and mountain climbers.
Previous attempts at these sort of challenges often tailed off around day 10 when I got bored, tired and generally unmotivated. I often attempted them on my own with no support and quickly became disillusioned when I couldn’t do the full time on the activities.
This time round, it’s been different. So, what have I learnt so far?
Get others involved – I’m fortunate that I have an amazing hockey team around me that were also keen to give the challenge a go. Even those that hadn’t been taking part still got involved at training. It’s an awesome feeling all working towards the same goal, even if that is getting to the end of a 1:20 plank!
Sharing progress – Knowing others are looking to you for what today’s challenge entails is a big motivator to get it done. I found sharing a daily update on Facebook and Instagram often prompted others to keep going with the challenge too. Support each other – talk about what works, what doesn’t and what progress you’ve made.
Routine – My routine has largely been to do this after exercise (either a swim, bike or run session), probably not the wisest move as my body was probably a little tired already, but it helped already being in an “exercise” mind-frame
It’s okay to take a pause – In the past, I stopped the challenge when I stopped being able to do the exercise for the whole time. This time round, I changed my point of view. For me, this 30 day challenge is about building a stronger core, not about holding a plank for 2+ minutes. Because of this, I know that holding my form is far more important than painfully sticking out the whole 2:30 plank. Hit the pause button on your timer, take a breath, reset and go again! Three lots of 30 seconds plank are still good for building a strong core!
Crowds can motivate – Having struggled in the days leading up to it, I was elated and incredibly surprised that I managed to hold a 2 minute plank. I honestly think being in the middle of a bike shop with people asking what on earth I was doing was a massive help. A display of strength when I needed it most was quite the confidence boost!
Regardless of what I’ve learnt, the end is now in sight on my 30 day challenge – I’ve seen progress in my core strength, having started from a 30 second plank on day 1 to holding a 2 minute plank by day 19. I haven’t enjoyed all of it – there’s been some evening’s I haven’t wanted to put my body through the pain of mountain climbers or the burning sensation Russian twists causes. But there’s been times where it has been fun and that’s always been when I’ve done the challenge with others – either the hockey team, or roping in begrudging housemates or my boyfriend. Sharing experiences, working together and getting others involved is the best motivator to get through whatever challenge you face!