June Exercise Challenge: Get a beach ready body!

I have had an amazing group of people who have joined the April Squat and May Plank Exercise Challenges; all of us have transformed our bodies, improved our health, and feel amazing. I must say, the May Plank Challenge seemed super hard for all of us, and it was, but we dug deep and got through it, and I think that we all felt amazing finishing the challenge!

So, for June, as we continue with some core work, we will be adding some upper body strength in the form of a dual challenge: Bicycle Crunches AND Push-ups! I know that people think Push-ups are horrible and basically the worst things ever, but after finishing the plank challenge you already have the core strength you need, we will be strengthening our upper bodies (think, arms!).

What are the benefits of these exercises?

Bicycle Crunches: these crunches target the internal and external obliques (part of your abdominal muscles that usually don’t get worked out with standard crunches), as well as the rest of your abdominal muscles (transverse and rectus abdominis).

Push-ups: this exercise is a great way to not only strengthen the core muscles BUT you also strengthen your wrists, forearms, chest (pectorals), shoulders, along with your biceps and triceps (upper arm muscles). Women tend to have less upper body strength than men, and they are a great way to start slowly and build it up, but you also strengthen/tone muscles in the legs, back, and abs (just like the planks).

How do I perform them correctly?

Bicycle crunches: Lie down flat, and rest your hands (interlocked) behind your head without putting pressure on your neck. Lift your legs so they are off the floor 2-4 inches, and exhale as you reach your left armpit to your right knee (as you pull your right knee up), hold for a second, then release and pull your left leg up as your pull your right armpit to it. Make sure you are using you core and NOT pulling on your neck, and go slowly, when people do these quickly they don’t see results AND they get hurt. So go slow and if you have lower back discomfort from laying flat, you can put a towel or extra mat under your lower back for some extra support.

Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle Crunch





Push-Ups: Get into a plank position (resting on your knees for beginners) and your arms shoulder width (or just a little wider for beginners) apart. keep your head and neck straight and in line with the rest of your body, keeping your hips straight, and bend your elbows down about 6 inches, then pull yourself back up to the starting position.

Bottom Position

Bottom Position

Top (starting and ending) Position

Top (starting and ending) Position







The Challenge (should you choose to accept it):

Day 1: 20 Bicycle crunches (BC) and 2 sets of 10 push-ups (PU)

2: 30 BC & 2 sets PU

3: 40 BC & 3 sets PU

4: 50 BC & 3 sets PU

5: 60 BC & 4 sets PU

6: 70 BC & 4 sets PU

7: Rest Day

8: 75 BC & 5 sets PU

9: 80 BC & 5 sets PU

10: 90 BC & 6 sets PU

11:100 BC & 6 sets PU

12: 110 BC & 7 sets PU

13: 120 BC & 7 sets PU

14: Rest Day

15: 125 BC & 8 sets PU

16: 130 BC & 8 sets PU

17: 140 BC & 9 sets PU

18: 150 BC & 9 sets PU

19: 160 BC & 10 sets PU

20: 170 BC & 10 sets PU

21: Rest Day

22: 175 BC & 11 sets PU

23: 180 BC & 11 sets PU

24: 190 BC & 12 sets PU

25: 200 BC & 12 sets PU

26: 210 BC & 13 sets PU

27: 220 BC & 13 sets PU

28: Rest Day

29: 230 BC & 14 sets PU

30: 250 BC & 15 sets PU

DONE!!!  You all can do it!  Split the BCs up as you need to, and if you have any medical conditions that may prohibit you from these exercises, please check with your Healthcare Practitioner before joining!

(For those of you who have done previous challenges, I still encourage 50-100 maintenance squats a day and no need for continued planks, as we will be getting the same benefits PLUS from the Push-ups!!)

Join me, won’t you?
Yours in Good Health,


May Plank Challenge: Side Plank Addition

I am so excited that so many of you decided to join me on the April (Squat) and May (Plank) Exercise Challenges, it is VERY challenging month, and since the end goal is a long period of planks per day, it would not only be beneficial to your body, in strengthening different muscles, but it will also break up the monotony of the exercise! I have encouraged  you all to do leg and arm lifts, along with alternating leg/arm lifts at the same time, which is great addition to the exercise and makes it a little more challenging, but adding the side planks will add a whole new level of strengthening and benefits!

Why Side Planks?

Side planks help to strengthen your core muscles, as we have been working on, but it adds a different dimension, and we can do beginner to more advanced side planks.  Side planks target your gluteal (butt) muscles, quads, hamstrings, and thigh (inner and outer muscles), along with those core abdominal and back muscles. This will really help to tone and strengthen those muscles that assist your abs and back, so you will have a much stronger body, which will lead to less back pain (unless you have a medical reason for it), improved posture, and you will feel better and stronger, which will improve your self-esteem!

How do I perform a Side Plank?

You can start either from a plank position, and turn to the side so that the side of your foot is on the floor, the other foot is directly stacked on top ankle to ankle, knee to knee, and your hips are directly in line with the floor. For the beginner, you can do this pose on your elbow (arm flat on the floor perpendicular to the shoulder).  More advanced, you can have your arm straight, with your hand placed flat on the floor, directly under your shoulder. From this position, you can get more advanced, keeping your core muscles engaged and tight, lift the top arm directly above your shoulder into the air, and also lift that top foot 6-9″ into the air.


Top: beginner side plankBottom: more advanced

Top: beginner side plank
Bottom: more advanced


Top: Advanced side plank with arm and leg lift

Top: Advanced side plank with arm and leg lift

I do suggest starting at a more beginners level and then advancing as you feel stronger, and as you can get hurt if you push yourself too hard and you do not have the proper body  positioning.  You don’t want to fall or topple over or overstrain muscles. Make sure to engage your core muscles, breathe through the exercises (holding your breath is never good, but especially when exercising!), and if it gets to the point that you do not feel like you can breathe, take a break! Yes we are all challenging and we have goals as a group BUT you need to listen to your body and do what feels right.  If you have pain (not just “this is new muscle I am working” type of pain but real pain), stop and take the day off, and if the pain comes back you may need to see your healthcare practitioner (HCP), if the pain goes away, maybe you pushed yourself too hard, and go to a more beginner position.

Keep planking your way to that beach body, we are almost halfway through a very difficult challenge: just focus on how strong we will be and how good we will look at the end!

Yours in Good Health