If you are unaware how the challenge works let me explain. There are many different versions of the challenge and this was the one that I thought would be best for me. There are a few different exercises that you can do, from crunches, sit-ups and an assortment of different planks. Each day you choose 5 of the exercises you wish to do. I googled ab workouts and found many that you can do at home. You are to do 20 reps of each exercise with 30 seconds rest in between each exercise. Since I was not a fan of the plank I decided I would pick 4 exercise’s each day and always finish with a plank. More than one plank exercise each day and I probably would have thrown in the towel.
When I started I didn’t have too much trouble with the exercises per say, but the plank was something I was not used to. Holding for more than 40 seconds at the beginning seemed like a struggle. Every time I would get into the position and start my stop watch it would feel as though minutes had gone by. I would look down and see it was 5 seconds. Talk about a mental psych out when you see that. Every day I walked away with my stomach in pain and sweat dripping from my head, and every day when I woke up I could feel my stomach pains as well. As the days went on everything became a little easier and by the middle of the second week I bumped it from 20 to 25 reps for each exercise. The plank was still my downfall and I was only up 1 minute at this point. I was very discouraged because I was reading other people’s blogs who had done the challenge and their time drastically increased. When I finally finished the challenge I was only up to 1:40 for the plank. I guess I really underestimated how hard it was going to be.
One thing that I think really helped me was at the same time I started this challenge I had started my training for the Columbus Marathon. So not only was I doing the challenge but I was going harder than I ever had for training. I started to notice that running and the exercises were starting to benefit each other. My runs seemed to have gotten easier and my times were improving and doing the exercises became easier with how hard I would push myself on the runs. Also right around the same time as me starting this challenge my wife decided she was going to start going hardcore at the gym as well, and we both decided our diets needed to change. We started to shop only from Trader Joe’s which is an all organic store. The prices aren’t that bad either and you can find some really good stuff there. I have become addicted to these veggie burgers that have a pizza flavor. Anyway I think all of that stuff starting around the same time had a little help with me getting through the challenge. I can’t lie every day I would stand on the scale and look in the mirror to see if I could notice a change. I really didn’t see any change in my appearance but I did drop some weight and my stomach definitely feels tighter. Even though the challenge has ended I still am doing the Ab workouts. It is another form of cross training and will do nothing but benefit me along the way as I train. Here is a picture of my before and after the challenge.