Some things are more mental than physical. For the Sargento family the Groundhog Day Plank Off was equally both. The two-minute challenge presented by Personal Trainer Debbie Posewitz (pictured above) caught like wildfire and spread quickly through every campus of Sargento because people thought they could physically do it.
And they did.
“It was the biggest health and wellness challenge we’ve ever done based on participation. It was awesome!” said HR Director Sherri Samuels-Fuerst. “Two minutes seems doable, until you get down there an actually do it! It also built camaraderie because groups formed so they could give each other support,” she said.
Nearly half of the Sargento family, at each of our facilities, planked for two-minutes: 788 people. Some did it for the wellness points. Others for the cool t-shirt. Some did it for bragging rights. But they all did it because fitness is at its best when its fun.
“It was fun,” said Production Manager Steve Cahoon (pictured above). He and Russ Monroe planked together and would not quit until the other one did. They lasted a whopping 28 minutes! “We made it a competition with each other, but also to better ourselves. I got my family to do it with me as well. They struggled in the beginning, but we all got better and better,” he said.
Debbie Posewitz designed the challenge so people could work up to their ‘Personal Best.’ In December, she created a plank calendar for people to plank as long as they could and record their time each day. The goal was the work up to two minutes which is a fitness industry standard for proper core strength.
“I don’t know how these things get in my head!” laughed Posewitz. “I go to bed and I dream up these things. This was one of those. It really took on a life of its own!”
With an assist from Debbie.
“We got the word out through the fitness group and to managers and supervisors asking if they could get teams together,” said Posewitz. “Then the Sargento factor; the energy took over! It was incredible. Also that shirt because it became like the concert t-shirt that everyone wanted!” she laughed.
After 788 members of the Sargento family planked, a king and queen were crowned. Sr. Engineer Aaron Strand planked 41 minutes and Master Data Specialist Sheryl Hughes planked 45 minutes! Although everyone was a winner, Sheryl said she really wanted to beat “the guys.”
She planked more than once to maintain her title (pictured above).
“Sheryl was 15 minutes into her plank when I threw in the towel,” said Strand. “I thought there was no way she would top that, but I was wrong!” he laughed. “Debbie did give us some leeway. We could get in different positions as long as we didn’t let our core touch the ground.”
For Strand, the Plank Off was an iteration of what he’s been doing for 25 years.
“I used to have chronic back pain. Years ago a colleague told me that having strong abdominal muscles would make the pain go away. So I started doing crunches and now I have a really strong core and no back pain,” he said. “Exercise has to be convenient and you have to make it a routine. That’s how you build it into your life.”
Strand said another key is to “just start” his version of ‘Just do it.’
“You don’t have to run a marathon the first day. Just 5 minutes a day, but you have to work it in. Start slowly.”
Sargento offers many ways to take that first step, from Debbie the personal trainer, to fitness challenges, to nutrition help with our dietitian.
“I am so proud of the Sargento family for embracing this plank challenge,” said Sherri Samuels-Fuerst. “It was so positive and so well-received. We are now thinking of other things we can do to match this success. What a great way to kick off the 25th anniversary of the Wellness Committee!”
Way to go, Sargento!