Spring is in the air, so soon we will be bare!
Well, not totally bare, but shedding the concealing layers of winter clothing and stepping out in short sleeves leaves me feeling bare and suddenly self-conscious each spring. I’ve found a solution. Salt water! That joke’s for you, chemistry teachers.
My solution for feeling good in fewer clothes is March Ab-ness, when we challenge ourselves to strengthen our abdominal muscles in the month of March. Strong abs are not just good for looks, but also for strutting and lifting. Working your abs— or core—makes them tighter, which makes your clothes fit better, which makes you strut your stuff with confidence.
A strong core also helps support your lower back. When I slipped on ice last year and injured my lower back, my physical therapist recommended ab strengthening exercises as part of my recovery. Its’ all connected, folks. If one part of your body is weak, another part works harder to make up for it. The back and the front of your abdominal area are two sides of a sea saw. A strong core supports a strong back which is equivalent to two kids having fun on a balanced sea saw. A weak core is a two year old whose feet don’t touch the ground and your back is the parent trying to make the sea saw go up and down by straddling the board and doing squats. She squats sea saws down by the sea shore.
Two years ago, the challenge was to do 3100 crunches in 31 days. 100 crunches takes about 3 minutes to complete—including pauses to catch your breath, moan, groan, and get back at it. In order to include a variety of abdominal exercises—crunches, planks, etc.—the challenge this year will be based on minutes. Three minutes of abdominal torture per day for 31 days: 93 minutes total. I’d love for you to join me in this challenge and see how three minutes a day can change your core! And yes, I do feel like an infomercial.
Before we start, measure your waist and write that number on your calendar or somewhere else you’ll remember it. Your waist is between your belly button and your ribs; if you stand up straight and bend to the side, your waist is where the crease forms. I measured my waist while standing relaxed and while sucking my gut in as hard as I could. There’s a two inch difference between the measurements, and I’m curious to see if both numbers change.
I find it helpful to make a chart and mark off the minutes each day. If I miss a day (life happens), I make up the minutes in the next day or so. The three minutes can be done all at once or spread out during the day. Here’s my chart:
If you’re willing to join me in this challenge, say “YES” in a comment below. Bring on spring! We’ll be ready! The challenge begins Tuesday March 1st.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)
Images courtesy of: www.3tresidence.com (how to plank), www.dreamstime.com (sea saw), fitdocs.com (core muscles), www.pinterest.com (baby)
I discovered that my measurements around the waist for relaxed versus sucked in really hard is also 2 inches. I will join your March ab-ness!
Wonderful! I’m going to try some of those side planks you showed me.
YES! I’m up for the challenge!
I’m late – but me too. Maybe I’ll start 1 April (and no, that’s not a joke!)
Better now than never! I’ll do April with you. I really liked my results from March so I’m going to keep going!
Well – my first pick for march-abness did not win – ab exercises EVERY day and a visual difference. However, I had a “cinderella” which was less jiggle when I run and 3/4″ decrease around the waist. yahoo – well worth it!
Ha ha! Nice!