It happened Dec 29, 2019. I put a simple challenge out on Facebook, wondering if any of my friends would like to join me for a 30-day plank challenge. I figured, “Why not start January in epic fashion? I’m going for a 5 minute plank in 30 days.” A plank is designed to strengthen your core, chest, and arms. But, what good would it be doing it all alone? I wanted a tribe. Well, let me tell you, I was NOT alone!
One by one, I began receiving notifications saying, “You have a new message.” Every time I opened the message, I saw things like, “I’m in!” or, “It sounds pretty crazy, but I’m up for a challenge“. One of those messages was from my wife, Patty. Another was from my friend, and Race Director of Gazelle Girl race, Holly. It seemed to make sense to make this more than just an idea for myself. I love the Bible verse that says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
A few years ago, I remember Holly inviting a few friends into a plank challenge. She called it her, “Planksquad”. This seemed like a great idea to resurrect! So, we created a new tribe,”#Planksquad”. To help create more of a sense of community, the three of us decided to begin posting pictures of ourselves planking. Not for vanity, but for accountability and community! We wanted people to share with others the, “hard things” they were accomplishing.
As each day went by, we heard from new people who wanted to jump into our #planksquad. Yes, they were willing, even if they missed the first few days. It totally showed us that people are willing to join something bigger than themselves. (that’s what community is all about, right?) One of our #planksquad-ers, Carrie, said, “I’m in! Cranked out side planks, too. Thought I would add extra since I missed yesterday.” Julie, in Florida, said, “I’ll join you! I’m almost always up for an exercise challenge.” Paul messaged me, “I’m in, but I need the accountability!” Then there was Patrick. Patrick posted a pic of himself, and his son, saying, “Building the strength of the next generation.” Wow!
As the month went by, the planks got longer, and harder. Longer planking equals more time ‘inside of your head’. So, just how does someone pass planking time? For me, I popped headphones in, and found songs that equaled the time of each plank. Like, “Jessie’s Girl” from Rick Springfield. Great for my 3 minute plank. (It comes in at 3:16.) Patty cranked up, “Desire” from U2. Great for her 3 minute plank. (It comes in at 3:29) Holly found herself mixing things up between songs, and reading out of her, “God Calling” devotional. A great way to build mind and body.
As the month passed by, each of us commented on how great we were feeling. We noticed that our core was getting tighter. And, we felt stronger in our arms. This really is working!
The real game-changer happened on Monday, January 27. God gave me a vision of getting as many of our #planksquad together to do a unified 5 Minute plank, in the same location. Remember, “WE can do hard things!” So, why not do these ‘hard things’ together? As Patty, Holly and I chatted, Holly reached out to one of her friends, Ed, at City Built Brewing in Grand Rapids. It was on! We arranged an impromptu #planksquad meet-up. We had no idea who would show up. But, you never know til you try, right?
January 30, 2020: The night that would live in infamy.
Day 30. Holly arrived at City Built Brewing first. She was chatting with Ed. Next, Patty and I arrived with our yoga mat. There were several people who wanted to be there, but already had prior commitments. Well, we were the only ones there for about 10 minutes. (The question of “would anyone show up?” went through our minds) That was until we saw Rose. Then Rachel. Next, was Brian. Followed by Betsey and Matt. Game on! Let’s DO this!
Ed took us back to a special part of the brewery, “the brew station”. This is the area where City Built creates their beer. We each grabbed our yoga mat, (mine made by Gaiam) got comfy, put located our headphones. As a tribe, I said a prayer of thanksgiving, and safety, for our #planksquad. We said, “Amen!” and we were ready to go.
I popped my headphones in. My song?? I went with, “Metal Health” by Quiet Riot. Odd choice, I know. But, it has a kickin’, driving beat, and is 5:22. Patty went with, “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. Holly went with, “Rage Against The Machine”.
As time went by, we all shouted encouragement to each other. 5 minutes is a LONG time! Basically, the volume on each song got louder, as the minutes got longer.
Legs were shaking. Sweat was forming. Mental grit activated. Then, TIMER! 5 minutes! It was finished! The #planksquad goal was accomplished!
We all got up, cheered and clapped. “We did hard things!” What a feeling! To do something that has been 30 days in the making, together, makes it even tastier!
OK, so now what?
As we rolled into February, Patty, Holly and I knew this whole thing was something much bigger than ourselves. Together, we’ve decided to keep it going. Patty has created a sub-group inside of the #planksquad who want to plank, but at a bit of a slower pace. Shorter increases, looking for great results. Awesome, huh?
Meanwhile, we’re also currently in the midst of a, “31-Day Wall Sit Challenge“. And, once again, we have numerous amounts of people posting pics of themselves not only doing their wall sit, but also their planks, too. By day 31, we will be up to a 3:20 wall sit. (ugh my legs are shaking just thinking about it!) And yes, we’ve adopted 2 new hashtags. In addition to #planksquad, we have #BreakingDownWalls and #mindandbody.
In Genesis, the beginning of the Bible, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him“. (Gen 2:18) Friends, you were NEVER meant to do things by yourself. Knowing someone has your back really can push you through ‘hard things’.
What ‘hard things’ can YOU do? Wait. I bet you already have. Maybe you’ve battled a sickness. You’ve persevered through a struggle in a relationship. Even the loss of a loved one. (insert YOUR “hard thing” here) Take a second and reflect on how you’ve gotten through your ‘hard thing’. Chances are, someone in your “community” has helped you through it. I encourage you to take a second, and thank God for them. And hey, why not take it a step further? Send a text. Make a call. Simply say, “Thanks for helping me through some hard things!”
Find your tribe. Go make a difference. Do hard things. And, keep Running By Faith.
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