Or rather…why I chose to stop participating.
Quit is a strong word, most commonly with negative connotations. I didn’t quit the 30 Day Ab Challenge because I couldn’t be bothered with it, I quit because I disliked the program. Ok, I did struggle with parts of the program, which is partly why I didn’t like it. Read on to understand.
I’m not a ball of muscle, but nor am I a weakling. I run, I cycle, I do yoga. I already have a reasonably strong core. Understanding the benefits of a strong core, it is something I focus on. I’m not a world class fitness specialist, but I do have a university degree that taught me anatomy, in particular how it relates to exercise.
Here’s the SpunkGuts opinion:
The concept of a 30 day ab challenge, where people develop positive habits regarding exercise = winner.
The concept of getting people to openly commit to such a challenge = winner.
Getting people to commit alongside their friends (benefiting from moral support and friendly rivalry) = winner.
Giving unrealistic expectations of the changes in their physical appearance at the end of 30 days = not a winner.
Giving unrealistic expectations of how quickly your body will increase the number of reps it can do = not a winner.
Focusing FAR too much on the rectus abdominus muscles (the 6 pack muscles), and not on overall core strength = not a winner.
What do I believe a 30 Day Ab Challenge should contain?
A realistic statement of expected success. “You will improve, you will be stronger and you will look better on day 30 than you did on day 1. Compare yourself to you then, and you now. Do not compare yourself with others.”
Beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The expectations on day 30 need to reflect an improvement from YOUR starting point on day 1.
Instructions on how to do the exercises correctly. Correct technique minimizes injuries while maximizing the improvement in strength and endurance.
And most importantly, a reminder that if you want a ripped 6 pack, a firm stomach or simply a stomach that doesn’t wobble as much anymore, your eating choices are half the challenge. Embrace the concept that working out begins in the kitchen.
As for me, why did I quit the 30 Day Ab Challenge? The program focused too much on one small muscle group which lead to me having a sore lower back. Also, because the increase in daily repetitions were far too rapid. Mr SpunkyGuts is quite fit and strong already. He too experienced the sore lower back and found the expected improvement was unrealistic. If that is the case for him, what about the person who struggles do do any sit ups on day 1?
Consequently we both modified our workouts to include what we consider more appropriate exercises. We do them most days, not all, and don’t stress if life gets in the way sometimes. We also decided a 6 pack in 30 days is not our primary goal. Our primary goal is a strong core and a clean diet (which improves your 6 pack by default) for the next 30 YEARS.