The proof is in the planking and this calls for a celebration
Case in point, I recently noticed my "fitted" skinny jeans feeling kind of not-so-fitted.
I have not been running crazy mileage (it is my off-season, don't forget), and I have not been doing any extra running than the absolute minimum. Currently, I'm two weeks into a STREAK
, as a participant in the Runner's World Holiday Streak (since Thanksgiving Day), but prior to that I was only running a few miles every other day or so, and a moderate "long" run on some of the weekends.
But things have been toning up and trimming down.
It has to be the planking. I definitely do NOT have washboard abs (you'll have to take my word on this because I'm not gonna show you), but they are flatter and (dare I say?) firmer. I spent the month of November doing my self-hosted Planking on the Fly Challenge (you can read about that HERE
), which had me planking 6-8 minutes (everyday) for 30 continuous days. These were cumulative minutes, not long continuous planking minutes (though there were a few 4-5 minute planks on occasion). It wasn't until the third week in (or so) that I really started to see the results.
|Hmmm, "what-will-I-make-for-dinner" plank|
And, isn't it that way it usually happens?
(Another) case in point, P90X. Have you ever tried this 90 day program? I was introduced to this Tony Horton gig five years ago. I faithfully did the workouts, recorded my stats, and took weekly measurements. The first few weeks were SO painful. I remember how much of a struggle it was to simply brush my teeth, because my arms (and, actually, my entire body) were hurting-so-good. Then, about five weeks into the program, I noticed a dramatic shift in my measurements. Although I gained a few pounds (not a concern since I wasn't trying to lose weight anyways), I did lose several inches.....like two inches just around my waist! By the time I had completed the 90 days, I had lost a total of 3 inches around my waist, and four inches around my hips. That's no lie...those "lost" inches went missing even though I wasn't aware that they needed losing.
This solidified the truth of the matter regarding fitness, new exercise programs, or temporary challenges.....you will see some minimal results pretty early, but you need to stick it out to the end to really see the transformation. You don't just see the results with your physical appearance, you will also feel the increased stamina and endurance that comes from doing the work. For example, for the past couple years or so, I have planked (almost daily) for 2-1/2 minutes each morning while my chai latte' is warming up. Planking for 2-1/2 minutes really isn't a challenge for me anymore...but doing it several times a day is. I can now hold a 4-minute plank without much effort, and I also can extend that hold for 5 or 6 minutes if I'm feeling ultra beast-like. I'd like to be able to hold a 10-minute plank....someday (there, I've said it).
I didn't have any specific goals with the Challenge other than reach (or surpass) a total of 200 planking minutes in November. The Challenge was, indeed, a success. I made it to 210 total planking minutes for November....and I kind of slacked off for the last few days because I knew I was going make it.
|ugh...."the-camera-does-not-lie" plank (outside in natural lighting, none the less)|
How did I make it happen? As mentioned, I did a 2:30 plank every morning. Each afternoon (if I was home) and each evening, I tried to do another 4-5 minutes of planking. I knew I needed to average just under 7 minutes of planking each day, so it wasn't hard to stay accountable. Some days, I had as little as 5 total minutes. Other days, I had as many as 8 total minutes. There even were a couple days where I had 10 cumulative planking minutes. Most days, though, I was right at 7 minutes.
Although I varied the planking positions, most of the planking was done on my forearms. You should see the crusty buildup of the newly-toughened skin on my elbows. Total yuck. (Someone, anyone, give me a pumice stone--or a power sander--for Christmas, please). I also did a lot of side planks, and these did some major "love-handle damage." As mentioned, the skinny jeans are feeling kind of loose, especially in the upper thigh area. This has to be from the side planking, I predict. Holding a side plank not only requires core muscle power, but also inner thigh power to stay in position (to keep the "top" hip raised high and the lower hip from swaying downward). I challenge you to give side planking a try and see where you feel the most strain...it'll probably be in your hips and thighs. My only regret in doing this challenge is that I didn't take any beginning measurements. Oh well. There's always next time (and there will definitely be a next time).
So, am I still planking? Absolutely! I'm still drinking my daily chai latte's, so I'm still doing the daily 2:30 minute plank each morning. I'll do an occasional long plank (4-5+ minutes), and I'm a big believer in the power of side-planking. I'm just not trying to do an excess number of cumulative minutes each day (for the time being). That challenge has ended; instead, I'm doing 100 push-ups each day for the remainder of 2015. Oh, and let's not forget that daily running streak.
Have you ever taken on a monthly challenge? Did you stick it out long enough to see (or feel) results? Did you continue after the challenge ended, or move on to a different challenge?
I'm linking up with Deb from Deb Runs
for the Wednesday Word link-up, today's word is Celebrate
. Care to join the celebration? I invite you to check out all the blogs on the link-up....and see what everyone else is celebrating!