Phase 1, Day 11: AAA (aka Choose Your Hard)

Hello, Thursday.

For me, Thursdays are all about survival. It lacks the sense of accomplishment that accompanies Wednesday, and it certainly doesn’t carry itself with Friday’s proud excitement. Thursday is just kinda sandwiched in there like limp lettuce: You need it for a bit of green but it doesn’t bring much flavor-wise to the table.

I have the hardest time getting out of bed on Thursdays. It’s when my mind tells my body to stay in bed longer because it’s ALMOST Friday, which is good enough.

Except, when I do that, I usually spend the rest of the day stressing about whether or not I’ll get my workout in. Because I’ve been working some long days lately, and I need to know when I head out the door in the morning what time I will be working out so I can plan my meals accordingly.

Which is why today, it was imperative I get out of bed without snoozing into a mandatory lie-in. I had to get my workout in before work, because I knew it was going to be a late night. So when my alarm went off at 5 am this morning…I chose my hard. I chose to get out of bed and roll to the gym at the crack of dawn because I knew it would be easier than trying to head to the gym at 9 o’clock at night after a long day at the office. I knew I would focus better if I got an early morning sweat on and didn’t have to worry so much about when to eat. And, I knew my anxiety overall would go down knowing I had accomplished one thing today before heading into work: AAA.

Autumn will remind you today to Choose Your Hard. I like that saying. It’s powerful. It reminds us we have a choice, even when making difficult decisions. Especially when making difficult decisions.

I also like the AAA workout in Phase 1. It flows nicely, works different muscle groups, and doesn’t feel long. I can’t remember what I described last week, but suffice it to say that this week in AAA, you’re doing all the exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeating for another 2 sets for 3 sets total. Within those sets, there’s three rounds of 4 exercises each. Exercise 1 works your shoulders or back; exercise two works your shoulders or back or biceps or triceps; exercise three works your abs; and exercise four works your butt. It’s a good mix. You work the e-centric (sp?) contraction, meaning you keep the muscle under tension for a three count, pulling it in, then release in one.

(I’m realizing now I probably left that description out of last week’s post. oops.)

I’m tired, so I’ll keep this short and hopefully interesting. The first exercise in round 2 is push-ups. Good ol’ fashioned push-ups. Lower yourself down for a three count, push up in a one count.

My first time through 80 Day Obsession, I had to do all of these on my knees. I have always sucked at push-ups. I have a lanky six foot frame and my arms have never been up to the task of raising it off the ground in any sort of athletic fashion (neither have my legs, frankly, though that’s another story). Gradually, however, by the end of my first Phase 1, I was doing at least one set completely on my feet, with only a few reps here and there on my knees.

This time, today, I did all three sets of 10 reps on my feet. Victory! Improvement! I was so proud of myself I almost called my 70+ year old Dad over in the gym to take a picture of my form. (Yes, I go to the same gym as my parents. At the same time. Also another story.) Maybe next time I’ll get him to do it.

Which is all to say, if you’re doing 80 Day Obsession or any other workout program, and you feel frustrated because it feels like the pounds aren’t falling off, or you aren’t seeing any difference, look for these non-scale victories: Can you do more push-ups on your feet than you did last week? Can you do more push-ups in a row without resting? Sometimes those tell a better story of our progress than a scale ever could. Plus, if you do your workout first thing in the morning, these non-scale victories will give you a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning. You did 10 push-ups in a row on your feet for the first time; what else can you do today??

For me, I rode that wave of well-being into the workplace and got done what needed to get done today. And now I’m tired so it’s bedtime.

Sorry for the lack of pictures. I’ll get my Dad on it, next time.

In the meantime, click on the link to see a pic of me whitewater rafting and to learn more about Beachbody.


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