Many of us start off the new year resolving to make changes in our lives: “I’m going to drink less, eat better, exercise more.” Blah, blah blah.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that many of the resolutions I’ve set over the years are either unattainable or more importantly, unmeasurable.

So this year, I’m trying something different and trying various challenges. No, not the “Man vs. Food” challenges, but some different types of exercise challenges.

So today marks the end of my 30-Day Plank Challenge, which is designed to enable you to do a five minute plank at the end of 30 days.

To perform a plank, you need to start off by laying on your stomach. Slowly rest your arms on your elbows and push your stomach off the floor so the only thing touching the ground are your forearms, elbows and toes.

If you are performing a plank correctly, your butt shouldn’t be in the air and your tummy shouldn’t be below your butt. Your body shall be positioned in a straight line, like a wooden plank.

So for day one of the 30-Day Plank Challenge, you will start off with a 20 second plank. If you you’ve never done a plank before, 20 seconds can seem like an eternity. Yes, your legs may shake. Yes, your breathing may become labored. Yes, you may decide it’s better to eat a burger versus going a plank. But by the time your done thinking of all the things that you’d rather do, your first 20 second plank is done. Congratulations!

For day two, another 20 seconds and then day three calls for a 30 second plank. The progressive nature of this challenge will enable you after five days to complete a 40 second plank. That is 100% improvement in only five days. Not too shabby.

After a rest day on day six, after days seven through 11, you will be able to do a one minute plank. Assuming you haven’t already given up on this challenge (Lord knows I tried), day 12 makes what I thought to be one of the biggest jumps: a 90 second plank. Say, what? That’s a another 30 seconds from the day before. I though I almost was going to have a panic attack, alas I was able to complete day 12 surprisingly without much contemplation.

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Lucky day 13 thankfully was a day of rest, but from this day on, most of the daily jumps in time will remain at 30 seconds each day. On days 14 to 18, you will go from 90 seconds to 150 seconds or 2 1/2 minutes. For me, this is where it became super difficult. At about two minutes my lower back was starting to give out and occasionally if dip to one knee or both knees. However, I’d also make sure that I finished my time.

On or around day 19, my plank partner decided she would no longer be able to do this challenge alongside me due to my huffing and puffing and occasional profanity. Nevertheless we parted our ways and completed our planks in separate areas. Now, my partner definitely has an advantage as she’s a yogini and in amazing shape. Not so true for me.

Days 20 through 25 will bring you up to a 3 1/2 minute plank and then the hardest part of the challenge after a rest day, happens to be days 27 through 30. Yes, you will want to think you can’t do this. Yes, you may want to quit. But keep pushing yourself through the last couple of days and you’ll be able to complete the challenge and yes, you will feel amazing.

Now it’s okay if you need to dip a knee or pause for a second or two to regroup yourself, but try to make sure you complete all of your time each day.

Tomorrow marks a new day and a new challenge. Personally I’ll be going back to day 1 of the 30-Day Plank challenge and try to complete this Challenge until I can entirely do a five minute plank without the need to dip a knee.

I’m already thinking about how great I feel knowing that I actually resolved to do something different this year that resolution was measurable and attainable.

So what are you waiting for? Come join me in the next 30-Day Plank Challenge. You won’t regret it as it’s not too shabby and you may get less flabby.

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