Ahhhh, January. I mean February, the month of new beginnings. Well, the holidays were a great excuse to take a break from my “no excuses” challenge and start the year off fresh. January, as long as it was, completely slipped away from me. That said, part of no excuses is pushing forward and not stopping. So, I am taking my sister-in-law up on her 30-day, 60-second plank challenge. Remember this weird challenge a while back (like years back) where kids, or anybody really, would lie belly down, stiff as a board in really random places and take pictures?

The Going Green Plank in Beaumont, a town in Alberta, Canada. ((each plank is named, per planking’s official rules)) Credit: Ben Jones

Well, that was called the plank challenge, but if I had to do that, I imagine I would just roll from side to side as if I was balancing on a big rubber ball. This 30-day plank challenge is the one where you hold yourself up in a push-up post, arms below your shoulders (hands or elbows on the floor), legs straight, and just hold it for however long. I am doing 60 seconds and not getting fancy with different sides and adding time. If I want to add time, I will, but I’m just trying to survive one minute at a time (see what I did there??). Planking uses muscles in your core, arms, and legs. Consistent “plankers” experience a number of health benefits including increased core strength, balance, and flexibility….all of which I could use. Despite its greatest efforts, February still falls short of the full 30 days. Therefore, I am beginning the challenge today, January 31 and taking advantage of our freebie this Leap Year to round out day 30 at the end of the month.

I actually think my delay was good, because it allowed me to not only build up my planing ability but also helped me establish some techniques to complete the full 60 seconds. When I first started, I hit 20 seconds, then 30, then 44, and finally 60. What I found after a few successful 60-second planks was that my arms and muscles weren’t as tired as my mind was. I was actually bored during the plank. I didn’t so much need to stop, I just wanted to. I couldn’t even muster the mental strength to do nothing but hold my body still for 60 complete seconds. Yes, my body hurt, my arms were shaking and my belly was jiggling below my tight muscles that I forgot I even had, but my mind just kept telling me to do something else. This is after my meditation challenge and somewhat regular practice of sitting still doing nothing. Somehow, this has proven to be my greatest challenge in completing a plank. Shameful, but reality.

Somehow, if I was planking looking at the water, I imagine it would be easier. Actually, I’m pretty sure I would still rather be doing something else.

So, what I have been doing is after my 10-minute daily meditation by Calm in which they lead you through a practice and then tell you a little story, I would get in the plank pose and finish out the little story. I had something to listen to during my plank, so I felt like I was multi-tasking. I have also listened to music, but I feel like a song barely gets started in that 60 seconds, and it’s mostly just musical intro, which somehow agitates me and makes it harder.

Cheryl after 30 days

All that to say, I am taking the plunge, I mean plank challenge and committing to a 60-second plank for the next 30 days. Who knows. I may end up finishing this month doing a 2-, 3-, or 4-minute plank. Ha! Sometimes I crack myself up. I would love for you to join me on this next adventure. I hear this challenge does some incredible things to your body. Maybe we can find out together. Anyway, I’m heading into my tiny closet to do my meditation and plank right now before I come up with another excuse to put it off. Until next time!

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