Challenge Week 1: Planks & Budgeting

Challenge Week 1: Planks & Budgeting

We are so glad you decided to join along for week 1 of our planks and budgeting challenges.

Create a game plan to reach new physical & financial happiness
Create a game plan to reach new physical & financial happiness
Did you miss our first post about our challenge? It's here!  
Read that one first, then come back to us!

Fitness Habits

Marc and I are lucky that we found running at an early age. Since high school, when we both started running, fitness has not only been a good habit, but it has been a daily pleasure and passion. Sure, there are some days that are harder to get motivated for a run, but what it does mean is that we are in such a good routine that it just becomes part of our lifestyle. We enjoy our daily sweat, whether it’s a run, cycling, taking yoga, or strength training.

We realize we are lucky. A lot of people don’t think of fitness the same way we do. And that’s why we coach, train, write and post. Our hope is that it helps motivate you and helps you learn to like running and working out like we love the habit of fitness.

Financial Progress

In the last two years, basically since we’ve become parents, we have paid lots of attention to our finances. What’s changed the most? Our attitude toward spending.

During pregnancy, we talked about whether we could hack it as a one income family. We decided that, yes, we could, but we’d have to make some changes. While leaving my stable and steady full-time job and moving to a part-time passion for coaching and fitness on a part-time basis, we needed to adjust our spending.

Set a routine and build a pattern for success
Set a routine and build a pattern for success

We went from living a lifestyle of “wants” to a lifestyle of “intentional spending”. This new way of thinking took some time to get used to. It’s a lot like adding workouts into your running plan for the first time. At first, you have no idea how you’ll be able to sustain that effort and then after a month or so you adjust to it and then, you adapt and then excel.


In this first week, let’s focus on a strong foundation. The goal for week 1 is to do these exercises 6 out of the 7 days this week.

Week 1 challenge: pushups + planks and creating a budget
Week 1 challenge: pushups + planks and creating a budget


Start with short efforts of a forearm plank. Aim for 3 sets of 20 seconds each. The pictures/videos below will show you proper form for the planks. Start with your shoulders stacked on top of your elbows, push through your heels, pull your belly button in, squeeze your glutes, and look right past your fingers, not straining your neck. You should have tension in your core and glutes while you hold your plank. If you are doing it correctly, 20 seconds will be difficult.

Front plank builds core strength
Carly demonstrating a perfect front plank


After planks, move to pushups. Remember to have good form. Try 3 sets of 5 pushups.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Create a monthly budget. We know those December spending numbers probably look a little scary. If you have already been toying with a budget, you know.

We use a free app called GoodBudget to keep us on track. But first, you have to figure out your spending before you can use an app like that. So this week, it’s all about taking a look at your monthly expenditures.

The 6 fixed bills most people have
The 6 fixed bills most people have

Most people, Marc and I included, have fixed payments each month: mortgage, phone bill, internet, savings (hopefully), car payments, insurance, etc. They don’t change much or have much flexibility in payments. Start by figuring out what those fixed items amount to and subtract them from your monthly income.

The leftover money is what we want to look at for budgeting purposes. Once you have that number, you can create envelopes (in real life or in an app) for all of your other spending categories. For example, our categories include groceries, gas, dining out, toiletries/vitamins/medical, fitness, Home Depot, gifts, vacation fund, dog, and personal spending money for each of us.

Creating & Setting Sustainable Habits
Creating & Setting Sustainable Habits

You may have similar categories or you might have something totally different. The goal is to get the ball rolling. All you want to do this week is designate how much money you are going to budget toward each category. Start with the necessities and work your way to the “wants”.

If you aren’t already saving, hopefully, this budgeting technique can show you where you may be overspending or carelessly spending and you’ll be able to make some changes. Sometimes little changes can go a long way!

Missed a week of the Fit & Frugal Challenge?

Here are all 4 weeks + the intro!


Start easy and start small. Little changes will be easier to maintain because your life really won’t be all that much different! We know that you can do a 5-minute workout! Give it a try!

Find a budgeting app that you like – do a little research and find something that fits your needs. Maybe an app isn’t for you; maybe you’re better off with physical envelopes and cash. We tried that at first but realized that we like accumulating credit card points. After the initial cash trial run, we found the app GoodBudget and we’ve been going strong ever since!

Regardless of how you make the changes, why you decide to start now, just know that we’re all in this together. If you have questions, we’d love to hear from you!

Hi, I’m Carly.

I’m a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor based in Cherry Hill, NJ! I teach spin, barre, and megaformer classes throughout the week. Check out my schedule and where I teach.

Carly joins TrainwithMarc as a personal trainer & group fitness coach
Carly joins TrainwithMarc as a personal trainer & group fitness coach

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Location Cherry Hill, NJ E-mail Hours Weekdays: 3-10 pm; Weekends: 7 am-10 pm
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