I'm back on it! I'm at goal weight now, so into maintaining, but I still want to find a sustainable way of incorporating strength exercises into my routine. My chart shows that I've had a few days rest, and I've definitely benefitted from this. This is because I developed back ache and a weird bruise on my lower back at the weekend. Also, as I was confronted by a challenging few days where I wouldn't be at my home anyway, it made sense to take time out. Now, having taken this break, it feels like my 'Strength September' has got two halves. The first half is gung ho, building the squats by 5 or 10 more each day, launching in with innocent sounding 'abs' exercises, and then crashing down to nothing. The second half will be characterised by caution: I'll alternate my exercises - crunches one day followed by squats the next (the crunches are from the NHS 'abs' exercises - I've dropped the 'planks'!) I have also found some lower-back exercises on the NHS site which are really good for gently stretching my lower back out - nhs.uk/Livewell/Backpain/Pa... I'm doing these everyday (well - today and yesterday so far), and they seem to be helping. I also took a break from running, but went out again yesterday, so I feel like I'm back on track there too.
Looking back, and thanks to Lucca's suggestion, I think the weird bruise on my back came from doing crunches straight on the floor, with no mat, in normal clothes. I think the belt on my jeans was digging in and gradually causing a bruise. So, as obvious as it sounds, I'm now using a mat (which I had all along - doh!), and wearing softer clothes. So a word of advice if anyone else is trying out exercises like this for the first time, it may sound obvious but wearing sensible kit, putting a mat on the floor, alternating exercises so you don't strain muscles etc - these are all things worth paying attention to!
So, going forward I've dropped the planks but keeping the crunches from the 'abs' exercises. I've also reduced the squats. So far today I've done 40. I think I'll keep it at that, and increase 2 at a time rather than 5-10 as I was doing before. I'm also taking stretches etc really seriously, and now incorporating exercises specifically aimed at my lower back, which is my weak point. Hopefully this will become something I can sustain long term, rather than crashing and burning like last time
How is anyone else getting on with strength exercises? Has anyone else crashed and burned or made changes according to their needs? Anyone actually managing to follow the 30 day squat challenge with no problems?!