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|
(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).
|ugh...."the-camera-does-not-lie" plank (outside in natural lighting, none the less)|
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!