30 Day App Challenges: do they really work?

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Many of us want to lose a little bit of weight and tone up a little bit, but that can be really difficult when real life starts to get in the way. Even before you have left your bed there are a million and one things that you need to do – whether you are a parent who is caring for children, you have a job that requires a huge amount of effort, or you are trying to do both! Add into that the daily cleaning concerns, trying to keep bills under control, managing your finances, and ensuring that your car, your boiler, and all of your insurances are up to date . . . it really is a wonder that we get anything done at all!

That is why more and more people are starting to think about using technology to help them keep in shape and motivate themselves. One of the most popular bits of technology that is doing the rounds at the moment is what is generally called a 30 Day App Challenge. These apps are usually free – although they do sometimes involve advertising – and have specific tasks that you need to do every day for thirty days. The idea is that with an app, you cannot escape it as it is always in your phone, and you can gain a real sense of achievement by ticking those days off. Scientists also believe that it takes our minds and bodies around twenty one days of doing something over and over again for it to become routine, which means that these sorts of apps cover that as well.


I wanted to see for myself just how useful – if at all! – these sorts of apps could be to someone who has to care for a home and work. The app I chose was a 30 Day Ab challenge, because let’s be honest, we have all wished that we were a little bit more toned around our stomachs! Here are some of my thoughts and notes through the thirty days:

Day One

The app downloads ridiculously quickly, and then it’s off to work! The first day is incredibly mild: I though that I would be started off on something really difficult, but actually the app has only asked me to do fifteen sit ups, five crunches, five leg raises, and a twenty five second plank. Of course, once I had done all of those I didn’t think it was so mild! I don’t usually do any exercise really, and it was amazing just how sore my abs felt after this really short workout. Hopefully in the next coming days, it will get a lot easier!

Day Three

Without wanting to exaggerate . . . this hurts! Today my app told me that I needed to do twenty five sit ups, ten crunches, ten leg raises, and a fifteen seconds plank. I like that each exercise does not just increase over time; while most of them have, the plank timing has decreased, perhaps to allow for that. I am sure over time, all four will build up again. I found it difficult to motivate myself to open up the app today, but ticking off the day really felt good.

Day Ten

I completely forgot to do my app exercises today! One of the major problems with the app that I have is that there is no reminder setting on the app, so if I do not bother to open up the app, there is no way for it to force me to do the exercises! Totally my mistake though, and I will just have to pick up tomorrow where I left off. At least my stomach doesn’t hurt any more.

Day Sixteen

One of the great things about this app is that there are actually scheduled rest days. Scientists have pointed out that in order for our bodies to actually gain the muscle, our bodies need time to recuperate, and to build up the muscles. It also means that I can tick off an entire day without doing anything!

Day Twenty One

It feels really great to be past the half way point, and I am really noticing a difference in the way that my abs look and feel. However, the number of each exercise that I do has really increased each day: I am now up to ninety sit ups, one hundred and thirty crunches, fifty two leg raises, and an eighty second plank. The planking is the worst – I always leave it until last in the hope that it will hurt less, but I guess I should start with it.

Day Twenty Five

I am now doing more exercise than I ever thought was necessary! It is taking me a good twenty minutes or more to get through all of these because I need rest breaks, but afterwards I feel really good. Although my abs hurt when I am doing the exercises themselves, they do not hurt once I finish, and I am really starting to feel so much better about my abs. This is actually working!

Day Thirty

This is the last day! And it is certainly not easy: but I made it. I have noticed a real tangible difference, not only in my abs but in my body confidence and in my energy levels throughout the day. I would definitely recommend the 30 Day Ab Challenge app . . . and best of all, it’s free!


  1. Heather

    Okay, so I did one of these last year. I stuck to it, did everything it said, and after 30 days, I lost maybe 3 pounds and an inch off my waist. Maybe I should give this one a try. The one I did wasn’t free either! It was $2.99 I believe. So not worth it. I struggle with my baby weight, and have been for almost a year now. Most women can take it off in 4 months, not me!

    • John Smith

      So how is it the apps fault you are lazy and cannot stick to a diet?

  2. Anjelica Way

    Hey, it sounds like fun! What’s a little pain when you’re trying to prove (to I-don’t-know-who) that you can be macho enough to handle it?

    I think I would DEFINITELY need the reminder though! I’m so overwhelmed that I think I would forget to check the app 90% of the time. (And the thought of all that pain might remind me to forget.)

    Seriously, though, I’m kind of looking forward to trying it. All my life, my big bugaboo has been my core. I don’t know why, but it seems to have gotten worse over the years. I’ve never been thin, but right now I feel like Miss Piggy. With less self confidence.

    Okay, you’ve convinced me! I’ll download the app and stock up on aspirin.


    • Anjelica Way

      Oh,gosh! I hate to admit this, but even though I got an app that has a reminder built in, it doesn’t ring like an alarm clock, only gives you a visual reminder, and makes it very easy just to reset the days to Day 1!!!

      So I haven’t done anything! I’m a bum!!!


  3. Emma Sinder

    I downloaded a free thirty day running app last year but I’m ashamed to say that after using it consistently for around a fortnight, I forgot to open it for a few days and by then I had lost my resolve. I definitely want to get back on the horse and try again though!

  4. Eugenia

    I also started the 30 days challenge i hope to complete it, for now everything is going well, it’s only my third day today, it wasn’t painfully as i thought it would be, i also run for 45 minutes 3 to 4 times a week, so… i am aiming for that 21 days, then i know after that i should be ok, i need to lose my baby weight.

    • Inge

      thanks to your observation about the ltitle piece of wood sticking out I was able to increase my old score by 8k+ using only 2 Birds. Again, thank you for your insightful observation. I wrote this twice because I thought your name was AngryAdvisor and I had directed it at that name.

  5. Candace

    I like this idea because I feel I can do most anything if I know it’s only for 30 days. I haven’t tried using the apps, but did do a thirty day walking challenge which was fun. If you have a goal and a set amount of time in which to achieve it, it’s a lot easier to stick to your guns. Although, like a couple of people have said, you really have to set a phone alarm or some kind of reminder to help you get in the habit at first. Anything that encourages you to get in shape is all right in my book. I’ll look into these apps.

  6. Tonia

    Hmm…I have never used an app but I can see the attraction for people. For me, it’s a little like an alarm clock and pushing the snooze button…I would definitely turn the app off on the days I didn’t feel like exercising. I need a little more motivation than that, so I doubt an app would work for me. It is a great idea though and I like the idea that it tells you how many of each exercise you need to do because this gets confusing for me a lot of the time.

  7. Clara

    Off course these work because you’re doing something! Even the slightest physical activity has results that you can see after doing it for a while. Not only does your body changes, but you feel better and more active, you climb a hill faster or you can run with your dog without feeling like you’re gonna have a stroke.

    I did the 30 day squat challenge and while my butt doesn’t look like a Brazilian one, the lift and toning is more than obvious. If you want to change your lower body, this challenge is perfect but you have to be used to doing them otherwise you could injure your ankle or lower back.

  8. Anjelica Way

    After re-setting it to Day One for over a week, I finally started it! The trouble is that after I looked at some of the demo exercises, I thought… “My God! Are they kidding with that plank? And I think I would throw my back out the way they’re doing the leg lifts and the sit-ups.” So I decided to do the whole 30 days, but only the crunches! That’s something I can do!

    Now, before you judge me too harshly you guys, at least I’m doing something, which is better than the NOTHING I’ve done for all these years! I think Clara has a point there about just doing something and seeing some good results. I’ve only done two days but I already feel the muscles in my abs again.

    Haven’t felt them for many years…


  9. Barbara

    I use my iPad or phone alarm to prompt me only on first week but got to keep going

  10. Abby

    My vagina hurts! help!

    • Aran john

      consult with a doctor .

  11. Barb

    I’m loving the challenge on day 21 I admit it is hard but just knowing that it is good core exercise is a great feeling for me and yes I have a flatter tummy?

  12. WilliamEn

    Appreciate you sharing, great forum post.Really thank you! Fantastic. Mettling

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