The 30 Day Ab Challenge and 30 Day Squat Challenge keep popping up everywhere – so I thought why not make good use of all my free time? Rather than do one challenge at a time (like a normal person) I did both simultaneously. I downloaded a free app for each from the Apple app store and kept a little diary…
Day 1 Gentle-ish start. Worried about how these reps are going increase – and the app won’t let me see!
Day 2 How’s my technique? Watched some You Tube clips on ‘how to do the perfect [every exercise].’
Day 4 Ab rest day – hell yes. I could get used to these, muscles a little tight so very welcome.
Day 7 I’ve started clicking – what is this?! Found the best way to do the leg raises without clicking, but nothing seems to help with the sit ups.
Day 10 Just noticed my muscles don’t ache the next day any more, perhaps I’m getting used to it? I can also descend a set of stairs after the squats without shaky legs – progress.
Day 15 Clearly doing it wrong – my coccyx feels a bit bruised. 70 sit ups not fun to endure. I have a good, thick exercise mat – should have used it before now..
Day 17 Joints clicking so badly I’m actually concerned – knees, hip and back are all at it. Googled clicking joints. Apparently it’s nothing to worry about but I feel uneasy – I’m not convinced.
Day 18 Really achy back, so bad I had to take the day off. Not sure if it’s this challenge or if it’s spending too long in front of the laptop. Is it a good idea to carry on? A friend said I shouldn’t expect to see results until the end anyway so sticking with it.
Day 19 How many reps?! How bad is this going to get… Both together wasn’t one of my best ideas but I guess they are different muscle groups. Takes a while to get through the different exercises now.
Day 21 These numbers. Seriously. Just have to say – I hate planking, it’s my least favourite one. To think I thought the beginning was hard..!
Day 22 Ouch! Elbow clicked painfully when I got up from the plank. Aches all day afterwards.
Day 23 So much clicking. Omg. When I do the sit ups and leg raises I can physically feel my hip click/pop – not just hear it.. My knees are quietly crunching during the squats too – thankfully only 40 today. How old am againI?! Google for a solution.
Day 25 105 sit up clickathon joy. I know it’s too late really, but went and bought joint-specific vitamin capsules with collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin and all that good stuff in. Hoping to do some light jogging/cross-training after & next year a big physical challenge so good to see if the vits help after a few months on them.
Day 28 Missed another day so I didn’t take the rest day today. Ploughing on through – so close!
Day 29 An off day, I feel wiped out – at least I can take comfort in the fact that we all have them. Know I have to get today’s exercises out of the way to finish the challenge tomorrow.
Day 30 Yes! Final day complete!! This lot took ages to get through; 175 squats, 125 sit ups, 200 crunches, 65 leg raises and a 120 second plank. It’s over!
They say it take 30 days to form a habit, but I won’t be carrying on with this. I only did it to see if I could stick to it, and the answer is yes! It’s too repetitive for me; my joints started grumbling and I prefer a more varied approach – it would be less boring and spread the strain across my body.
How to get through it
The 30 Day Ab & Squat Challenges really test your determination, perseverance and motivation. You learn the importance of breaking tasks down into achievable chunks. I started every exercise by doing as many reps as I could, then chunking the rest down into 10 – 20 reps at a time, and as soon as I had recovered enough I would carry on.
I played number games in my head, visualising the chunks of numbers as building blocks. It’s definitely mind over matter! For instance, 160 is a lot. So I’d approach it like this:
30 (half of the 60 chunk)
15 (45 – almost done one of the two large chunks (60 and 100))
15 (60 – over half of 100)
10 (just 20 of 100 left – doing well)
15 (only 5 until 100 chunk done – easy)
15 (110 – less than a third left, only 1 block of 50)
10 (only 40 left so I’ve done 120 – should be easy now)
10 (30 of the 60 chunk so half way)
10 (3 blocks of 50 done – just that odd 10)
Final 10 (counting backwards to 1).
Did it work?
I didn’t notice too much of a difference to my body but my legs definitely were firmer. I might have just imagined that my stomach was smaller… I also felt better for having done something towards the goal every day. If I had done some cardio regularly along with the challenge, it would have been far more effective – but for me it was used to get back into the routine of exercise. And I was just pleased to complete the challenge!