Welcome to the Splash Zone.
We have less than 2 days to go before we start 80 Day Obsession. At this point heading into my first round of 80 Day Obsession, it was January 13, 2018, and I was frantically guzzling beer and downing french fries to make up for the next 80 days of deprivation. I was feeling overwhelmed by the meal planning aspect of the program, and I was having serious doubts as to whether I would have the grit to get up at 5 am every day to make it to the gym to workout (something my busy work/school/life schedule demanded).
I had questions and doubts and fears and felt like I had nowhere to turn. I watched the videos available for 80 Day Obsession on Beachbody On Demand religiously, but all I saw were happy, perky people who had a direct lifeline to the Creator (Autumn Calabrese) and thus all the answers.
In case you are like me, I’m using this post and tomorrow’s to address my biggest doubts/fears about the program, in the hope this will help you, dear reader, if you have any similar concerns.
FOOD IS FUEL – PLAN ACCORDINGLY
The first thing you MUST do, if you have decided to bite the bullet and start 80 Day Obsession, is read the starter guide to figure out your meal plan. The Starter Guide uses your weight to determine your caloric intake – and thus your meal plan – for the first phase of 80 Day Obsession.
If you are like me, you are probably thinking, “but Katie, I want this program to WORK, and I want results FAST, so why can’t I just ignore the guidelines and start with the LEAST amount of calories on Meal Plan A?” That’s what I thought, and, frankly, that’s what I did for Day 1 of the program.
My idiocy did not last for longer than that one day.
Pro tip #1: You MUST FUEL your body with enough food to complete these intense workouts.
FOOD IS FUEL.
Repeat that to yourself over and over again. And when you think you’ve said it enough, repeat it at least 100 more times. If you have a fucked up relationship with food, this, more than anything, will hopefully start to address a few issues.
This program is NOT about getting skinny. It’s about getting strong and building muscle which in turn will cause you to lean and shred out. To do that, you need to eat enough to BUILD muscle. You can’t do that if you are starving yourself or depriving your body of necessary nutrition.
Again, I am NOT a nutritionist, but learn from my experience: Like an idiot, I meal prepped for Plan A; the first day, after making it through the first workout, I had no energy by lunchtime and felt terrible; my lethargy continued into the afternoon, until I finally caved and ate an extra helping of protein and vegetables. Like magic, my energy improved and my head cleared. That night, I went home and amended my meal plan to meet the needs of Plan B.
BUT EVEN THEN, in retrospect, what I should have done was bump up to Plan C.
As my boyfriend will tell you, I spent the first month a horrible grump, low on energy and crabby in the evenings. This continued until halfway through the second phase, when I got a clue and bumped up to Plan C. Immediately, my body was a lot happier with the increase in caloric intake, and instead of struggling to finish workouts, I started crushing them.
And, if you’re thinking this caused me to gain weight and bulk up, it didn’t: I continued to drop pounds and inches and feel GREAT.
So, please please please please PLEASE do NOT do what I did and skimp on the calories because you think that will help. It won’t. Remember, FOOD IS FUEL. You wouldn’t refuse to put gas in your car before a cross-country road trip; why would you demand your body do the same?
2. MEAL PREP – PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
Let’s just call a spade a spade: I am a terrible cook. I am a master at overcooking chicken and burning toast. I routinely forget to season everything, and as a result, usually just end up dousing my food in hot sauce to make up for it.
Which means, when I sat down to meal prep for the week for the week, I knew in the beginning I would NOT have a lot of success if I was having to cook a lot of elaborate, fancy, healthy meals for the week.
The good news, however, is I make up for my lack of kitchen prowess with an ability to eat the same meal every day of the week – what I lack in skill I make up for in routine. And, thankfully, I have a boyfriend who CAN cook and is very good at not roasting chicken to a crisp.
Which is all to say, my meal plan that first week played to my strengths: Most of my meals involved a cooked protein and a salad of some sort, and always, a Shake for breakfast (more on Shakeology in a later post). The reason being that my boyfriend was responsible for cooking the protein, while I was responsible for the chopping of vegetables, which I can handle. Kind of. Not well, but I can do it.
And, I chose meals where I could chop up most of the vegetables on Sunday, put them in separate containers, and then from those containers assemble my meals for the week the night before they were needed.
This is pretty much what I am doing this time around. Here is my menu for the week:
I am on a taco salad kick a the moment. Don’t ask me why. All I know is the recipe for ground turkey taco meat off of FIXATE (the Beachbody On Demand cooking show featuring Autumn Calabrese and her chef brother, Bobby Calabrese) is AMAZING and I can’t get enough of it. Similarly, the stuffed shells – they are at the edge of my culinary skills, but I can manage. And they are totally worth the effort.
I’m already over 1,000 words and think I’m rambling, so I’ll save discussion about the containers for a later post.
3. PRINT OUT TRACKER SHEETS TO TRACK YOUR WEIGHTS – AND USE THEM!
Confession: I did NOT do this the first time around, and I wish I did. I had no idea how I progressed or how much stronger I got, and I found I was having to rely on the weights Autumn was using in the workout to judge what I should be lifting.
I am including this tip NOW so that if you have to go somewhere to print out the tracker sheets (found under the “program materials” tab in the 80 Day Obsession program on the Beachbody On Demand website), YOU CAN DO IT.
Here is the basic layout of the weeks in the phases of 80 Day Obsession: There are three phases, four weeks in each phase. In Week One, for every workout, you will do 2 sets of 15 reps; in Week Two, you will do 3 sets of 10 reps, but it is structured so that you go all the way through ALL the exercises 3 times in a row (this was my least favorite week of each phase). In Week Three, you will again do 3 sets of 10 reps, but this time, instead of doing ALL exercises 3 times in a row, the exercises are broken up, roughly according to muscle groups, so that you do three exercises in a row for 10 reps each, and then repeat two more times before moving on to the next muscle group. (This was my FAVORITE week.) Then, in Week Four, you go back to 2 sets of 15 reps.
If you learn from my mistakes and use the tracker sheets, you will be able to see how much stronger you are from Week 1 to Week 4 BECAUSE YOU HAVE TRACKED YOUR WEIGHTS. As per usual, Autumn included these sheets for a reason. Use them. I swear she knows what she’s doing.
4. EXILE SHIT FOOD FROM YOUR KITCHEN/PANTRY/HOUSE
“Shit food” is, of course, a scientific term for “junk food.” I call it “shit food” because I always feel like shit after eating it (AND YET IT’S STILL SO HARD TO RESIST).
Do yourself a favor: Throw it away. Now. DO IT. Just get rid of the temptation and get it out of your house so you can’t reach for it in a moment of weakness.
Because I will tell you, the first week, when your body is adjusting to a new, clean, meal plan, and recovering from the beer and cheeseburgers you stuffed down your gullet the weekend before, you will have cravings. For a few days, your body will want what it’s used to: Shit food. You either have to a) be strong enough to resist these cravings, or b) remove the shit food from your house and then do what you need to do to ensure you don’t leave the house to get the shit food.
I had cravings. I wanted more beer that first week. Or a glass of wine after a tough day of work. I got all of that shit out of the house prior to Day 1. Then, when I got home from work, I immediately changed into sweats.
Ladies, what does this mean? I took off my bra. And as you all know, once that happens, I’m not leaving the house for ANY reason. I may have had the cravings, but now I had no way to satiate those cravings. Because once the bra comes off, I’m not putting it back on.
I also got in the habit of having tea for “dessert.” I could have as many cups of decaf tea as I wanted when I got home – Trader Joe’s does a great “well-rested” tea that is supposed to help put you to sleep. After a week or two of calling tea “dessert,” I had brainwashed myself into thinking it was true.
My point being, expect these challenges, and do what you need to do to overcome them.
Wow, well this post got long. More tips to come tomorrow. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Beachbody products, link below. Or, email me with questions.