Choosing the Challenge
Well, dear readers, a week after completing the first 30 day challenge, I felt it was about time to embark on another. The problem was, they all looked too scary. There was a beginner’s Yoga challenge (I can’t bend like THAT!), a “Get rid of back fat” challenge (I’m in denial about my back fat) and a “Couch to 5k” challenge, to name a few. I initially thought that the “Couch to 5k” would be a good one to start with, seeing as I’d already done a 5k run four years before. So I set off on my daily walk around the park, aiming to improve my walking pace to 5km/h (see Eat, Train Love).
It was a beautiful day, I was motivated by my own success from the last two walks I’d done (my first walk was 30min and I averaged 3.5km/h, the second walk was 40m and I averaged 4.5km/h) and by the time I reached the first gentle downwards slope of my walk in the park, my average pace was 5km/h! Feeling invincible, I decided to jog down the slope and feel the exhilaration of the run.
Reader, it was not exhilarating.
Not halfway down the slope I was forced to stop. My stomach (I mentioned already that I’m 21lbs heavier than the last time I ran) was, there’s no nice way to put it, flumping up and down and the sheer weight of it was pulling on my insides to the point that it really, really hurt.
The decision was made: my new challenge HAD to be the 30 day abs challenge.
About the Challenge
Firstly, dear readers, it’s important that I make it clear that I don’t believe that the 30 day abs challenge will burn the fat from around my hypothetical abs. I’m aware that cardio and weight training will help burn fat but that it’s almost impossible to target specific fatty bits. What I do want to do with this, however, is strengthen my core and hopefully ensure that the flumping won’t hurt quite so much when the time comes for me to pull on my running shoes again.
The challenge itself is fairly simple:
There are 5 different exercises and by day 30 you’ll be doing 110 abdominal exercises in total.
Day 5 – No rest days
At first, I thought the challenge looked almost too easy. Day 1: 5 reps of 3 exercises? Simple! However, once I’d completed day 1, I realised that it wasn’t as simple as it at first appeared. These exercises REALLY work you. There’s no hanging onto your head in the roll-ups, like there might be in traditional sit-ups. As your legs are flat, there’s also no opportunity to brace yourself. Basically there’s nowhere to hide and no possibility of cutting corners and cheating.
My second observation is that, if you have a well-rounded behind like mine, your spine doesn’t necessarily lay flat to the floor. The result is that, doing these exercises on a hard floor without a mat or support really puts a strain on your back. I’d advise using a yoga mat if you have one or, if you’re like me and don’t have your own range of gym equipment, a folded up blanket for that additional support and comfort.
Finally, and I’ve only just made this discovery today, unlike the 30 Day Squat Challenge, you don’t get rest days! I did no abdominal exercises yesterday, thinking that it was day four and therefore my day off. Today I was horrified to check the challenge and realise that I was now a day behind!
So, welcome to the 31 day abs challenge everyone 🙂 I won’t post before and after photos because a) nobody needs to see the before ones and b) as a teacher, I need to be super careful what I put onto the internet.
If anyone fancies giving this challenge a go along with me, I’d love to hear what you think. Post your progress in the comments below. Please remember, this is not a challenge I’ve devised myself, I’m simply picking challenges from Pinterest and giving them a go.