Core Work and Beyond

Sahara smiling in front of green tree - white nike hijab with blue starry mask pulled under her chin. Wearing green adidas sweatshirt
would you look at that I match the trees

I've recently started changing some things around in my workout schedule. For a good reason -  I was getting too used to my routine, the ab workouts I was doing didn't feel like I was putting in much effort. That's not to say they haven't been a gift that kept giving, though. I've been doing Chari Hawkins 10 Day Challenge on loop - I started doing them 1 each day, then each video 2 times in a row, and then once I made it to the 10th video I'd take it from the top again but add an extra rep to do the video over. I did that until I got to doing each video 8 times in a row for an ab workout. Then I started to make my way to doing all 10 videos in a row for 1 ab workout.

I got stronger. I could hold a plank for longer, I learned how to do V-ups with better form. But I wasn't being challenged anymore.

I knew what was coming next for each workout. There wasn't an element of a surprise as there used to be in the beginning - and I felt like I wasn't gaining much from the workouts any more because I was moving the same muscles over and over again. And even for those muscles, I no longer felt the twang of them being worked out in crunches anymore. So I started trying to think of something new to sprinkle in that would challenge those same muscles and also wake up the muscles that I haven't been focusing on.

I started thinking should I search for other Olympian 10 minute ab workouts but that also meant I'd end up at the same spot - not being challenged anymore. Technically speaking Chari Hawkins was the second Olympian I followed workouts for, the very first one was Stacey Irvin Jr. And before anyone asks why I look out for Olympians (or Professional Coach/Trainer) specifically when it comes to workouts rather than I guess fitness personalities (is this the right phrasing? probably not but we're rolling with it.) it's because I feel that with Olympians the form they have is obviously top tier as this is their bread and butter since they are a professional athlete™/ this is their field so they know what they're doing. Another reason that ties into them being professional athletes with top coaches is that the workouts they are showing us are probably something they themselves mix and match in their own training or have done in the past.

I did come across a fitness personality (hi I'm still rolling with this term) aka someone who does not have a certification in personal training/no professional background in it and found that an actual coach had pointed out how their workouts could actually harm people in their fitness journey. From incorrect form to just a harmful exercise in general - so long winded train of thought to say I try to stick with professional athletes when it comes to exercising.

Sahara looking away from camera in front of green tree - white nike hijab with blue starry mask pulled under her chin. Wearing green adidas sweatshirt
would you look at that - me not knowing at all how to pose for a photo. as per usual.

ANYWAYS, as I was saying before I rambled on, I was trying to figure out what to do to add a bit of something new to challenge and strengthen my body.

So I dusted the metaphorical dust off my Nike Training App, and started scrolling through.

There's a massive selection all for free, we love free things, you can target specific muscle groups you want to focus on, or if you want your workout focus goal to be endurance, strength, mobility, or Yoga.

One thing I like now that I've added the Nike Training app into my routine is that I'm not only doing an ab workout/arm workouts that I have been doing - I'm strengthening each part of my body from legs, arms, abs - no body part left behind! I started to mix and match some of their workouts with Chari Hawkin's videos so I got to do something new but also having that I guess cushion of a base workout.

Sahara smiling in front of green tree - white nike hijab with blue starry mask pulled under her chin. Wearing green adidas sweatshirt
*shine bright like a diamond plays in the distance*

And then I decided to take it one step further and start a 6 week training plan called Burn with Kirsty Godso. 

This training plan focuses primarily with body weight which is great because I'm not about to go buy equipment.  So far, my abs are definitely feeling the burn as well as my arms and legs. In each workout I am being challenged, and wondering how long I have left till the time's out rather than just cruising on by. My heart rate definitely goes up, and I feel my body getting stronger too, a different type of strong compared to the 10 day ab challenge I was doing on loop before. And best part is that there's just a general structure to it all for 6 weeks - not me randomly choosing what to do. Also bear crawls are not my friend, just thought you should know that. And burpees, burpees can go and burpee off a cliff a-thank-you-very-much.

Back to focusing on one muscle group - so I only recently started to think of how wrong I was to do just ab work.

I did do some leg strength workouts but not as much as ab workouts for the past year. I still don't have abs visibly - which side bar any video that tells you you'll have abs in a week is just pure lies! okay thank u for your time! - but I do feel I have gotten stronger over the course of the year of doing those ab workouts. But, something I learned in recovery that I think can also apply here is: By only focusing on only one part of your body, you weaken the rest because it isn't given the same care and focus.

Here's how I think of it: Let's say my knee starts to feel a little tingly pain feeling (I am literally praying I am not about to jinx my running self with this imaginary scenario - hi future me editing this to say ya girl really went jinxed herself more on this in a future post) and I decide okay okay time to ice and elevate only my knee, and foam roll and start googling knee strengthening exercises. 

Is that the only thing I need to do? 

You would think but no - what's at the top part of your leg? Your hamstrings, glutes, and hips. You should also be foam rolling your glutes, and working on strengthening your hips too. Your whole body is connected, focusing on one part means you're leaving the rest of you behind. Focus on all of you and you bring all of you to that better version-non-injury self. 

In my scenario of only focusing on abs - well what's the one thing that leads me in my runs? My arms. So, that means I should also be focusing on strengthening my arms too. And what part of my body is the literal main function of running? My legs. I need my arms to drive strong back and forth, I need my core to be strong and tight as I balance from one leg to the other as I run to maintain a pace, and I need my legs to be strong to push my feet off the ground.

Sahara smiling in front of green tree, thumbs up - white nike hijab with blue starry mask pulled under her chin. Wearing green adidas sweatshirt
who would I be if I did not have a thumbs up photo

Focus on all of you not just part of you.

I am strong (and that's not be tooting my own horn, okay well I guess I sort of am), but I can be stronger in my running to maintain a fast but fun pace. If there's one thing the Nike trainers on the Nike Run App say it's that when you run fast you should be having the most fun - and it's true, when running my fastest I'm just like LOOK AT ME GO! THE PACE! THE FORM! but that's not to say I don't value my recovery-run-regular-I-just-wanna-go-on-a-run-and-not-think-of-pace type of runs.

Forward lean, arms drive, legs flying - that's my version of happy place.  And this Nike Training App Burn with Kirsty Godso 6 week training plan will no doubt get me to feeling stronger, even if I am a little out of breath after her workouts.

How's everyone's workout life going? Do you also only focus on core work and forget about strengthening the rest of you? Do you use the Nike Training App? Let's get chatting!

sahara end logo


  1. Sorry, 10 for one ab workout????? So I erm...have not been doing that. Your core must be solid right now! I've actually been really lazy with my non-running workouts lately and really need to try and figure that out. I use the Nike Training a lot for their stretching routines but nothing that really makes me feel like a proper workout. I never find other workouts enjoyable the way I enjoy runs so I struggle to stick to them. I need to get on board with something else x


  2. Your core is so strong! I still really struggle to do a full 10 minutes abs workout. I really like the idea of using Olympian athletes routines, and you’re right they definitely have perfect form so I think I’ll follow them and try out some workouts!