February Plank Challenge Wrap Up
Spurred by a busted New Years Resolution and a quick pivot, I started the February Plank Challenge and began recruiting. There was only one rule. You must do one plank per day for all 28 days in the month of February. No time limit. If you are interested in reading the original February Plank Challenge article click here.
The first day after my February Plank Challenge was published, the sound of crickets was all I could hear. My wife told me she would join my challenge which felt more like sympathy than excitement. I attributed the lukewarm response to two things.
First, my blog traffic was small due to The Smart Fi being newly launched (less than 1 month old). My small social media presence didn’t help either. My plank challenge post was floating around on the interwebs but not that many eyeballs were seeing it.
Second, a fitness challenge, really? I was trying to pitch fitness to people interested in personal finance. Not exactly a perfect fit. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of people seeking financial independence are fit. It is just that when your mind is ready to learn about finance, a fitness challenge article might not be what you are looking for.
What happened next was both funny and serendipitous! The second day after the post was published I had my first comment. Angela from the blog Tread Lightly, Retire Early. This was her comment.
Okay, okay. I should probably do this. There was a day I could hold a plank for 5 minutes (today is not that day…).
Maybe I was being naive, I interpreted this comment to mean she was joining my plank challenge. Keep in mind, only my wife had volunteered for the challenge thus far. I had my first real participant. Whoot Whoot!
I sent Angela an instant message on twitter, to both thank and congratulate her. However, after rereading the comment, I later realized, maybe she was saying something entirely different. She should join, but today was not going to be the day. It still makes me laugh that I may have misunderstood her comment. At any rate, Angela tweeted out a link to my blog post to her 1000+ followers and the rest is history. Within an hour of Angela’s retweet, I had my plank challengers lined up to suffer through 28 days of planks with me.
Do me a favor. Check out Angela’s blog Tread Lightly, Retire Early. There is a ton of great information on balancing motherhood, career and frugal living while living a wonderful life.
My Plank Challenge Participants
I ended up with 9 blogs participants and 7 nonblogging friends who joined the plank challenge. I estimate that collectively all 16 participants planked for a total of 672 minutes (11.2 hours) for the month of February. That is some impressive planking there.
In the original blog post, I listed 4 main reasons to join the plank challenge
Here are 4 reasons why you should join me in The Plank Challenge for February
- It is free and will cost you nothing.
- Sitting at the computer, while at work or blogging gives you weak core/back muscles.
- Planks require very little time commitment. No driving to the gym necessary. You can even do planks in your pajamas. I do!
- I have anecdotal evidence that when I exercise, even for a one minute plank, I eat less junk.
After one month of planking, I think these four reasons why you should do a daily plank still hold true.
- #1 and #3 go hand in hand. I was easily able to do my plank before going to work. On my days off of work, I would mix it up and add 10 burpees, and a few minutes of free weight strength training to my plank. Then go for a quick run. I saved time and money by not driving to the gym or paying a gym membership fee.
- #2 A funny side story. I have this new Apple Watch I received as a gift for Christmas. The watch will vibrate with an alarm reminding me to stand and move if I sit for 60 minutes uninterrupted. I find the watch is constantly reminding me to get up and move while I’m trying to craft a steady stream of blog posts for all of you. The point here is that writing a blog takes time and sitting at a chair typing on a computer lends itself weakening core muscles. So doing a daily plank helps to mitigate that problem and keep my core muscles strong.
- #4. I found that after a couple of weeks into the plank challenge I was starting to allow myself to eat an occasional treat. Now I am in full blown relapse. Not to worry, I will refocus and take care of that problem. Maybe I will double down with a March fitness challenge.
Plank challenge blogroll. (people or blogs that joined the February Plank Challenge)
- Twitter @MyNextHalf
- Kiwi and Keweenaw
- Mark and Jen
- Discuss PF
- The Green Purpose
- Baby Boomer Super Saver
Here are some of the comments from the plank challenge participants.
I missed four days but I made a bunch of progress. I started with 30 seconds and now I’m up to 2 sets of 2 minutes. Thanks for the inspiration. I would not have done all these planks without the challenge!, Kiwi and Keweenaw.com
I only made about half the days but I am glad I did it! I am trying to focus on fitness and this was a great daily reminder that small changes make a difference over time. Oscoey.com
I haven’t expanded my time very much but I’ve managed to do it every day, which is huge for me. I’m glad I didn’t set a time goal or I would be feeling disappointed in myself. @My Next Half.
Plank Challenge Wrap Up
Thank you to everyone that participated in the challenge. I enjoyed the camaraderie and motivation that came from the frequent tweets and well wishes. I was able to complete the 28-day challenge by doing a plank every day in February. After breaking above the 90-second plank per day barrier, I could really feel my core muscles getting stronger. My personal record (PR) for the challenge was 3 minutes. Although most days I kept to a sub 2-minute plank. I achieved my PR plank on the very last day of February.
This is your takeaway lesson
The underlying theme of the plank challenge was that small incremental improvements in your life coalesce to become substantial change.
During the challenge I had a few people ask me what a plank has to do with personal finance. On the surface, they really don’t have much in common. But drill down a bit and I think there is something there. The most precious resource you possess in your life is time. All the money in the world can not buy you more time on this earth. Health and fitness are important in that battle against aging and time.
Sometimes on the journey to financial independence, we find ourselves cutting corners to save money. Like canceling our gym membership (I am guilty of this) or eating less fresh fruits and vegetables. Always remember there is no point in having wealth without your health. So be sure to give your body some love.
Here are a few articles that further detail the connection between your health and your wealth.
- 30 Times and Then You Are Dead Unless
- The Health/Wealth Balance
- Exercise: Go Cheap or Spend Some Cash?
Did I miss anyone who was participating in the plank challenge? How did everyone do? Leave a comment. Thanks again to everyone who participated.