Lessons Learned During A Month Long Fitness Challenge

Lessons Learned During a Fitness Challenge

On Turning 40.

As I approached 40, I knew that I wanted to do something memorable for myself. Leading up to it, I thought I might make a “40 before 40 list.” Then I thought I might make a “40 things I want to do while I’m 40.”

As fate…destiny…timing…would have it, I stumbled upon a site saying that a 30-day detox from alcohol would be a great thing as I headed toward Virgo season (I am a Virgo). So I decided to do it.

I was successful!

After adding alcohol back into my life (which was never daily…but back to the occasionally), I can see how I might change some of the “lessons learned from 30 days of no alcohol”. However, out of that experience, an idea for my 40th year was birthed.

30 Day Challenge.

Each month, beginning with my birth month of September, I have set a 30-day challenge. A challenge that pushes me. Whether that is to push me out of my comfort zones, a push to expand my knowledge, a push to manage my time better, or to push myself physically, all of them are attempted in order to grow.

With each challenge, I learn something about myself.

March Challenge.

The March Challenge offered me lessons as well.

If you missed the March Challenge, it was to push myself further than I have from a physical standpoint. I did have an ulterior motive for a hard physical challenge. We were heading to Aruba at the end of the month and I planned to live in a bikini.

I decided on a double challenge of logging 10,000 steps per day and doing a plank challenge. The plank challenge started at 10 seconds, climbing 10 seconds per day, to a culmination of 5 minutes.

There were many, many days when I thought that I might not complete the plank part of the challenge.

However, ultimately, I was successful in the completion of both challenges!!


I have shared in past posts, that while I completed the majority of the plank in a forearm plank, there were also times when I would go to my hands (taking the pressure off of the core, but adding it to the shoulders). Also, I occasionally took my legs wider than my hips to form a different base. I focused on maintaining form during transitions because I have lower back and shoulder issues.

I share this information so that there is no misinterpretation of my approach to this challenge.

Lessons Learned.

This challenge offered many lessons.

Here are a few that I learned.


Walk More.

  • Many average days don’t include 10,000 steps. While I don’t think steps are the full measure of physical health (for example, my Pilates classes don’t include many steps) you should still focus on moving more. I can get lost in writing or editing photos and spend hours without moving. Set a timer if you need a reminder…BUT GET UP AND MOVE.

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Avoid Injuries.

  • When you read about someone else’s journey with the plank challenge and they mention the fact that they ended up with friction burns…take heed! By day 26, my elbows were raw. On day 27, they were painful. Days 28-30, I got smart enough to lay my yoga mat on top of the carpet. I don’t know if using it from the beginning would have eliminated the burns, but it helped me make it to the end. If you do end up with friction burns, use a healing lotion!
  • Although I’ve stated it before, I will reiterate..No challenge is worth damaging injuries. There were days when I thought I’d have to throw in the towel because I didn’t think my shoulder and/or lower back would handle the length of the plank. I monitored it closely because I wasn’t willing to put myself at a significant risk for an injury that would have made my time in Aruba miserable.


Push Yourself.

  • Your body is capable of so much more than you think! If you told me when I took this photo for my A work in progress post in February of 2017, that a year later I would be working on holding a 5-minute plank, I would have laughed…loudly. Although I had been practicing yoga for a few years, I had only been taking Pilates for about a month at that point. My journey with both of those has brought me so far, both physically and mentally. p.s.-I’m still a work in progress. Aren’t we all?


Celebrate Your Victories.

  • It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments. You should celebrate your victories. I struggled with this on a physical challenge because I don’t want to seem narcissistic. Also, I have issues with body confidence and I struggled from the standpoint of sharing photos that showed off my accomplishment but also put my “perceived” flaws on display. I say “perceived” because I realize I’m harder on my physical appearance than I should be. This is an area that I am working on.
  • Which is why I put out photos on Instagram (even ones in a bikini…granted on the story and highlights only)…not to show off, but to teach myself that it’s okay to be proud of how far I’ve come, even if I’m not where I want to be.

Although some of you have already seen it, working on appreciating all that my body can do, is why I’m sharing the time-lapse of the final day of the plank challenge.

If you’ve missed my announcement for April’s challenge, you can find that here. You can also find what I’ve learned from prior challenges by clicking on the monthly link.







Have you ever discovered a strength in you that you didn’t know that you had?

Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming. - Alice Walker

Let your light shine!


17 thoughts on “Lessons Learned During A Month Long Fitness Challenge

  1. You look amazing. I remember looking pretty much the same when I was your age. I’ll be 67 this coming September. I too am a Virgo.

    Have a fabulous day. β™₯

    1. Thank you so much! πŸ’• I laugh at how much I fit the Virgo traits. Do you find that to be true of yourself?

  2. Dang! Awesome job holding that plank! I know planks are great for strength and toning, but I have yet to really push myself to do them more often and for longer duration.

    I also consider myself a work in progress. I think it’s the perfect description. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! I’m not sure I’m a proponent of holding it that long. The risk for injury seems too high in my opinion. Much of my 45 min Pilates class focuses on core, but the change up give certain muscles a break…and I can sit out reps if I need to. I was happy that I made it, but 5 minute will not be likely in my future πŸ˜‚.

      I think a work in progress is often better than being stagnant. 😊

  3. Great advice and fantastic you’ve achieved what you have. I agree about avoiding damaging injuries. You never heal as well as you might have when you were in your teens or twenties. It’s part of the looking after yourself regime.

    1. Thank you! It definitely takes a lot longer to heal (one of my sad realizations about aging…however, I think there are lots of positives to aging as well). πŸ™‚

  4. Just for the record – I always think you look fantastic in the photos you share πŸ™‚ I’ve been wearing one of those fitness tracker watches for the last few months (the girls got me one), but I never really look at the stats. I USED to go running two or three times a week – that all went away when the girls arrived lol

    1. Thank you Jonathan.
      I haven’t put the fitness tracker back on since we returned from vacation. I’m pretty sure it would ask me if I turned into a sloth. lol.
      I have never been a fan of running, but I do need to up my cardio game.

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