Saturday, August 25, 2012

Push, Plank

I have finally accepted that the way the Hundred Pushups Challenge was designed is not for me.
My body doesn't jump from doing 72 to 80 pushups in two days.
And I'm OK with that.
I haven't thrown out the app or gotten rid of the pushups in my weekly routine.  In fact, I really like including them, I really really like how my arms are looking, and I really really REALLY like the fact that the program only expects users to use it three days a week.
So, I've been using the reset option to repeat days.
Like adding reps or weight to other cross training practices, it can take me a week or more to move from one Day to the next.  I try to maintain a balance of pushing myself along in the program with being careful not to overdo it.  I tend to spend 3-4 days per Day before moving to the next, using the final, max-out set as a guide.  Once I can max out at 2-4 pushups more than the minimum with only little exhaustion, I know it's time to move on.
Yet still I have no cheesy body-builder, flexing pose to offer you.

I can feel your disappointment from here.
To help you process your feelings, I have a snap of how many pushups I have done since I started the challenge.  I hope it's as soothing as it's intended to be.

But while I continue to incorporate my thrice-weekly pushups,  have taken another element out.
I have been intrigued with the #plakaday movement on Twitter for a while and finally decided to add it.  The concept, if you're not familiar, is to complete a plank for as long as you can, with the objective of being able to hold it longer and longer each time.
It's not that I didn't enjoy doing the daily planks.  In fact, I was able to feel a difference in my abs relatively quickly.
But unfortunately, I made the decision to participate in the hashtagging on Twitter, and that's where things went awry.
You see, someone calling himself (or herself) The Plank Police has taken it upon himself (or herself) to call people out when they miss a few days of hashtagging their planking progress on Twitter.
Thus far, I've been asked if I'm "hard core or hard snore" and if I'm "shooting planks or shooting blanks."
So basically, instead of saying, "Hi, I notice you haven't been hashtagging your plank progress every single day.  I'm sure you're busy with other things that are far more important in your life than a one-minute plank and which I have no business asking about, but I just wanted to make sure you're OK" (in 140 characters or less, of course), this person has determined that it's his (or her) job to call people out for not doing something that they aren't required to do in the first place.
Um, really?
So, two weeks was enough for me.  I called it quits on the #plankaday and its skewed definition of "support," although I am still using planks in my ab workouts throughout the week.
Call me spoiled.  The online running community is so amazingly supportive, whether I run 1 mile or 20, that I probably assumed (yes, shame on me!) that other online communities would be similar.
I'm certainly not going to apologize to this faceless Plank Police for not posting about a day or two (or seven, if that's the way it is) of my planks, but I can make the choice to discontinue an activity that is less than uplifting and helpful, which is exactly what I have done.
Thanks, but no thanks, #plankaday.  You can have your snark and pretend support.  For me, I'll stick with my #runchat, #runnerd, #runhers, and #RunningPackintheSky hashtags.  I support them, and they actually support me.  With, you know, kind words and encouragement instead of nagging.

What hashtags on Twitter do you follow?
What is a great source of support for you in your healthy efforts?

Afternoon Update:
Thanks to the retweets of a few of my Twitter running buddies, @PlankPolice (who is apparently NOT a bot) responded:

Thanks to my girls @MomonEmpty and @agirlrunner for their support here.  Hopefully we'll see some positive changes with the encouragement offered.  For now, I'm keeping planks in my cross training plan, but I'm not sure how much I'll tweet about them.

Sept 1 Update:
While Mike, one of the founders of #plankaday noted in his comment below that I have been removed from the Plank Police's list, I've since been mentioned in two tweets that are similar to above.  I will be sending a message once again requesting to be taken of the list.  Hopefully this time it will work.


  1. OMG! That's actually why I quit as well. There was no positive reinforcement from this "Police"; just degradation (as I feel like it was) if we missed a day. I also decided to stick with the running hashtags as well as #SweatPink and #FitFluential.

    1. Yes! I knew I missed some hashtags. I love both those communities, too - so positive! It's good to know that I'm not the only one who got so frustrated with that profile. :)

  2. I totally agree with you! I have found myself defending myself to and apologizing to the Plank Police on multiple occasions. When I saw your first post to them, I followed them on twitter to see how often they were calling people out. I was extremely disappointed to see this behavior.

    I've kept planking and occasionally I hashtag it. When I don't, I've decided to apologize only to myself! The positive reinforcement of the amazing runners and bloggers I have in my life as well as my friends and my family remind me that regardless of what some silly (and most likely automated) tweeter say is unwarranted, and unneeded!! I wish they would find a better way to encourage!!

    1. I love your idea of apologizing to yourself - that's a great philosophy, as our bodies are the only ones that "miss out" when we don't plank, run, cross train, etc. I've said my peace, and now I'm focusing on the family, friends, and online buddies who are making me smile throughout my efforts! Happy training! :)

  3. plankpolice is highly annoying. i dont get why people concern themselves with OTHER people's work outs if that person didn't ask for any advice/motivation/etc. you can always block plankpolice, that's what i did :)

    1. Yes, I did end up blocking the profile. However, see my update (about to post) as to @PlankPolice's response. I appreciate everyone's support and I hope that this brings about positive changes!

  4. Hi my name is Mike (@mbfgmike on twitter) I co-founded #plankaday with Sherry (@drsherrypagoto on twitter) over a year ago. Let me first say I regret you had a bad #plankaday experience, that is not our intent. We do realize that it is not for everyone. The Policing is all done in fun. You should have gotten a welcome message from @plankadaynation with a link ( )to the #plankaday story explaining what it is, why it was created & that it is all in fun. I apologize if you never got the welcome message. There you would have found the #plankaday leader board, the rock video we created from pictures our plankers sent in, our 12 hour challenges, and contest we have had with #plankaday t-shirts as prizes. All this is positive reinforcement.
    To your point about being “faceless” rest assured we are not. Sherry and I have logged countless hours and spent our own money developing this. We have even done surveys to get peoples experience from #plankaday so we can make it better. The response was overwhelming positive, and the Plankpolice was by far the #1 reason. We have had people sending us messages that this was the beginning of their health transformation, and they have built on it and started exercising more, and eating better. We have grown to almost 4,500 plankers around the world and receive positive feedback all the time. Most people have fun with the police, it is meant to be light hearted. The police have even been known to give out penalty planks (again it’s all in good fun)
    You also wrote “this person has determined that it's his (or her) job to call people out for not doing something that they aren't required to do in the first place.” To that I say, it is our job as the creators of #plankaday. That is the point of it. That is why we started it. The police are there to hold us accountable, the reason most people who join #plankaday is to have the accountability in a fun, laugh at ourselves way. Both Sherry & I give supportive tweets to our plankers, and the @plankpolice does as well. But the fun (calling out tweets) need to stay in there because that is the accountability and tough love that has helped us grow our plank nation.
    We have taken you off the police list, you shouldn’t be bothered any more, but if for some reason you are just send me a tweet or message and I’ll call off the hounds (@plankpolice). Good luck to you in your healthy endeavors and of course PLANK ON!!
    Thanks for the feedback,

    1. Hi, Mike.
      Thank you for taking the time to make a thoughtful post here, and I am extremely glad to know that the account is not a "bot" or other auto-posting entity but in fact a person. I did receive an initial welcome tweet that "warned" me about the Plank Police, but I didn't think too much of it at the time; I actually learned about #plankaday from the website you noted before I really started looking at the hashtag on Twitter. I certainly love the idea, and I am continuing to incorporate the concept of your creation into my cross training routine.
      We probably will disagree with regard to accountability, as I'm the one person who can hold me accountable each day; I can only disappoint myself, just like I can only truly become healthier for myself.
      Thank you again - and my best wishes to you, too in all your healthful endeavors. While completing the #plankaday may not be for me, if it's working for others, that's all that's important.