30-day Challenge Progress

It has been about two and a half weeks now that I decided to really put forth some effort into losing weight and getting healthy.  I lost 5.2 pounds my first week and as predicted, I gained back exactly one pound for the second week.  I have a history of always losing weight and gaining back a  couple of pounds the next week with a continuous pattern of ups and downs. The bright side is that while this pattern may not be the fastest route to low-body-fat bliss, it’s a pattern that still provides positive results eventually.  I can already tell my body is changing and I’m eager to do my measurements again in two weeks.  I feel like the deduction of crappy high fructose corn syrup and fast foods are to thank for part of my success but I also think the 30 day challenge I’ve been doing is what is helping my puffy stomach slowly deflate.

I have done approximately thirteen days of my 30-day plank and wall sit challenge and miraculously was able to do the required two minute and thirty second plank today.  I began this challenge being able to do one minute and fifteen seconds so my strength has definitely improved.  I have also found that my ability to hold myself up greatly depends on where I’m doing it.  I have been doing them on the dog hair covered carpet of my house, using the desire not to get golden hairs all over my black sweatshirts to keep my core and thighs lifted above the ground.  However it’s been a struggle because the carpet is slippery and it’s hard to keep my balance when my feet are not firmly in place.  I remember on my fifth day into the challenge I did my plank at the beach and was able to reach two minutes easier since the sand was soft enough to comfort my elbows yet firm enough to solidly keep my body in one spot.  This support added a significant chunk of time to the forty seconds I managed to do two days before, on the day I was so sore after tennis.  Yesterday I finally used my yoga mat for the first time in months and also found much success with the ability to stay still… and then today instead of waiting to do my plank after tennis, I did it before and reached my two minutes and thirty seconds with pride… Though I was a bit distracted.

A plank

 

Here are a of the things I have noticed that are crucial for being able to do longer planks:

– Make sure you’re on a surface that has enough traction that you won’t be slipping all over the floor!  If it helps, slip on your tennis shoes and do the plank in those.  The support of the shoe and grip of the rubber might greatly help your balance.

– Have support under your elbows so the utter pain of the hard ground digging into your bones isn’t what causes you to lay back down again. You can do this by folding over your yoga mat, a towel, or that sweatshirt you left on your bedroom floor earlier.

– Use a timer so you don’t have to constantly focus on the clock.  Time seems to moves slower when you’re staring at the seconds and with an audible timer, you can toss it far away from you so you aren’t tempted to see the throbbing question of  “HOW MUCH LONGER?!?!?!?!”

– Take a break.  The days after I took a day off,  I always had better results.  The body needs time for the muscles to adapt and grow and it’s easy to get burned out.  Avoid sore muscles by taking a break every four or five days.

– Be prepared with a distraction.  I’ve found that music is what seems to distract me the most.  It’s easy for me to lose my sense of time while I’m singing along to Flogging Molly.  Otherwise, I recommend distractions like my dog Maggie, who found it necessarily to lie basically underneath me on my plank today and made my last minute filled with laughter.

dogplank

Having a dog beneath you is a great distraction during a plank! You can play the “I won’t smash my pet game!”

 

My wall sit challenge currently has me at a challenge of three minutes but for the past week I’ve been managing anywhere from that goal up to four minutes.  Like the situation with my slipping feet on the carpet during my plank, the success of my time seems very dependent on my grip on the floor.  There are seventeen days left (if I don’t include the break days) of the challenge and I still have confidence in my five minute wall-sit but doubt my five minute plank abilities.

But who knows!?!  Anything is possible, right?

What kinds of challenges have you gotten over that you never thought you would?

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

 

Pilate’s Fitness Test #3

The month of April has been spent appropriately by celebrating my birthday and the coming of the Spring season in California.  I say “in California”, because I know my family and friends around the rest of the United States have not seen much of Spring.  Don’t worry, we will share our sunshine and warm weather with you all soon!  I’ve spent this month busy with the usual school/work during the week but on weekends, I’ve been celebrating my birthday in some way.  With every special occasion I had, an additional amount of calories were welcomed by my body that has been longing for sugar and fat.  As one could expect with this kind of gluttonous behavior, I ended up gaining eight pounds.

Like Alyssa and the number on her scale, I initially was feeling incredibly upset at myself.  I have been working out more than ever in my life and have been feeling my strongest yet.  I knew I ate probably too many pieces of cake and drank too many beers, but I wasn’t being THAT out of control!  Plus all that exercise surely had to count for something!

After talking it out with my sister, we both felt better as we realized that a number is truly only a number and we need to learn to measure our success in other ways.

On Monday I got  the opportunity once again to measure my success in a different way by taking my third Pilates fitness test.

I was SO proud of myself when I was able to improve my flexibility and strength in so many different ways.  Check out my log for how well I did!

pilatestest3

I knew that I would be able to do a four minute wall sit because I’ve been practicing often.  I didn’t expect to add on an additional minute to my plank and I definitely didn’t think I would be able to 13 more push-ups in a minute than I did a month ago.  I credit taking tennis for that extra arm strength!

If you would like to see pictures of each of the moves we did, check out my last blog about my second fitness test by clicking this sentence!

If you would like your own blank chart, just send us a comment or message and I will email you one!

Pilates sadly ends in less than a month and I am nervous whether or not I’ll be able to continue to improve without my amazing teacher, Kim Becker.  She does teach at the Yoga One studio here in Petaluma, so hopefully I can check her out there sometime.

I know some of you were doing a wall sit challenge, how did that go?   Do any of you do planks on a regular basis?  I hate them, but I feel they are one of the best strength creating exercises out there.

 

Enjoy your Wednesday,

AprilSignatur