KATY MOELLER, Idaho Statesman
BOISE, Idaho — Eva Bulzomi is a Boise homemaker whose life is dedicated to raising five kids, ages 2 to 15.
The 39-year-old doesn’t have any hobbies, but in recent years she has developed a skill that’s won her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Her specialty is “the plank,” an exercise in which you use your back, shoulders, core muscles and glutes to hold your body horizontally above the ground. Only your forearms and toes touch, and proper form requires the body remain flat and straight, like a board.
That’s it. But it’s a killer.
Men’s Health magazine calls it a “deceptively simple exercise” that provides a great workout. The magazine says anyone who can hold the position more than a minute is a “stud.” Anyone who can go more than 2 minutes is “Popeye.”
After seeing that article, Bulzomi’s husband, Geno, challenged her to try it in 2008. He was able to do the plank for 40 seconds. She went 3 minutes on her first attempt.
Bulzomi, who said she was a mediocre but enthusiastic athlete in her youth, realized she had a talent she could develop. Over time, she challenged herself to do the plank for longer and longer periods.
“I think what helps me through it is I focus,” she said. “I get into that Zen — a state of calmness. For some reason, I just put the pain somewhere else.”
She said she enjoys listening to Lady Gaga and other popular music on her iPod while she planks.
Other things that help her focus include gripping her daughters’ socks (which absorb sweat) and studying her kids’ drawings.
Bulzomi said she doesn’t feel any pain for about the first 10 minutes, but after that, it’s a battle. She feels it in her shoulders, triceps and hip flexors.
Her training consists primarily of the “Insanity Workout,” a home fitness program on DVD that promises to burn 1,000 calories an hour and give you an “insane body” in 60 days. She does the plank just once a week, trying to increase her time by a minute each week.
In October, she set the plank world record with a time of 40 minutes, 1 second.
But her record didn’t stand for long. In December, former Marine George Hood of Aurora, Ill., smashed her record by doing the plank for 1 hour, 20 minutes and 5 seconds.
On Tuesday, Bulzomi attempted to set another record for the plank with a 40-pound weight on her back.
There were two official observers at the Axiom gym on Fairview Avenue, and her husband videotaped the attempt to submit to Guinness.
Bulzomi said no record currently exists for the plank with extra weight, so Guinness officials said she must hold the position for a minimum of 10 minutes to make it into the record book.
She fell well short of her goal to make it a half-hour, but likely made the record book by lasting 14 minutes, 44 seconds. She plans to try to improve on that soon.
“I do this to show my kids not to be afraid of setting a goal,” she said, “and go through it step by step.”