This morning I banged out 125 sit ups, 200 crunches, 65 leg raises and 2 mins of plank. Not bad but I know you’re thinking wtf? why? or even how?
Well 30 days ago, before the New Year, I set myself a goal. It was a personal, private one. I’d tried this a couple of times before and always caved in or gave up after a week or two. My excuse was life got in the way. No excuses this time. I started a 30 day ab challenge.
There are loads of apps available to track it on your phone and different variations of my plan are out there too
Its a challenge that gets you to start and gradually build up your reps over a month. 3 days on, 1 day off until you get to 30 days later like today for me and you are able to do something you look at and not think possible in such a relatively short space of time.
The challenge was just one part of it. The most important reason for me was to build core strength to help my cycling but to protect my back. A few years ago I had a double prolapsed disc and after spending a lot of time and money on treatment I now have good health again and its imperative I maintain it through regular stretching and now a good, solid core. I’ve accepted I’m not getting any younger.
What did I learn?
- The first 14 days are the hardest. Get that far in and its not as mentally hard to do the rest.
- Routine is key. Same time, same place every day. Make time. I did it when I got up, straight of bed, 20-25 mins. done.
- The hard bits get easier and the easy bits get harder. I found 10 leg raises at the start really hard but 60+ now are the easiest part of the workout. Plank just got harder and harder.
- You become very good at sit ups and crunches.
- Sets help. I broke the reps up into sets with short pauses in between to help me get through them
- Core strength definitely helps cycling. Riding to work after a workout highlighted where your core is engaged, particularly when out of the saddle climbing for example.
- You don’t get a six-pack. I’ve toned up and lost a bit around my middle but don’t think its a shortcut to a six pack
- Its not a boring as it looks.
So what next?
Well my app has higher levels (I’ve only completed beginner level 1!) so I’ll probably continue but I’m not keen on anymore time spent on a workout than I’m already doing. Perhaps I’m looking for different types of ab exercises that are harder. I might do a press up challenge too. Lets see!