Phase 1, Day 23: Cardio Core (aka The One Where I Found My Why)

For weeks now I’ve been teasing this particular day.

Day 23 of 80 Day Obsession will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was the day I found my WHY; i.e., “WHY” I was taking this journey in the first place, and “WHY” I would complete it.

(Briefly, a note on logistics: Week 4 is the same as Week 1 of Cardio Core, except you should be stronger and capable of going longer without any breaks. Not much else to say except I hope you enjoyed it.)

Last time, the night before Day 23, I was in the hospital with my boyfriend until 1 in the morning. He went to Urgent Care at about 5 in the evening for severe stomach pain, was referred to the Emergency Room, and by the time I arrived at 8:30 pm, he had been admitted to the ER and was lying in a hospital bed hooked up to IVs.

We wouldn’t know what was truly wrong with him for another day or so, and once we did, he would begin the long road of treatment. Thankfully, he’s better today than he was then, but I didn’t know that the day before Day 23 last time. All I knew was that he was in pain, the doctors didn’t know what was wrong, and there was nothing I could do.

That night, I left the hospital exhausted and starving. I wasn’t in bed until 1:30 am, and when I set my alarm that night, I had to make a choice: I could either set my alarm for 5:30 am, pull myself out of bed for Cardio Core before work, and face my day knowing I had got my workout in, or I could let myself sleep in an extra two hours, slog thru the work day and God knows what else was waiting for me, and hope there was enough time at the end of it all to sweat it out at the gym before bed.

Had it been any workout other than Cardio Core, I probably would have slept in. But the beauty of Cardio Core was that I knew I could do it. Even running on only a few hours’ sleep, I knew I could finish the workout. I’d done it before.

So, I made myself a deal: I would set my alarm for 5:30 am, and in return, my only expectation of Cardio Core was that I would finish it. It was not a day for squeezing in an extra number of squat jumps or getting extra low on popcorn or reaching extra high on mountain climbers. It was a day of pure survival.

When my alarm went off at 5:30, I set my intention for the day: Finish the Workout. I had no idea what else awaited me; no idea how work would go or how my boyfriend was doing or what the doctors would say. But I knew I could finish Cardio Core, damnit. And I knew I could finish the rest of the workouts in Phase 1 because I’d technically done them all before, too! On Day 23 I set my intention to not only finish Cardio Core, but against all odds, to finish 80 Day Obsession.

For me, Day 23 was when 80 Day Obsession went from being an exercise program to a lifestyle choice. Day 23 gave me a new perspective on the workouts. Finishing a workout was the ONLY part of my day I could control; it was the ONLY part of my day where I knew I could push myself and do well and see positive results. Everything else in my life was literally up in the air. But 80 Day Obsession was my anchor. It allowed me to start each day with a sense of accomplishment; it gave me do-able goals to achieve even when everything else in life seemed impossible; it gave me a sense of control when I had none.

I am proud to report that I carried on with 80 Day Obsession despite multiple trips down to California to visit my boyfriend, while working full-time and finishing up my master’s degree in Taxation. My workout was the one part of my day that was non-negotiable. I even went so far as to ensure that the motel I booked down in Cali came with a workout room with free weights so I could get in my Total Body Core Workout in Phase 3. And in the end, when my boyfriend came home, he did so to a newly confident significant other who’d dropped weight and inches while cleaning up her lifestyle.

So. What is my WHY? WHY do I do this, and WHY have I continued with this obsession long after that initial 80 days ended?

Because I am the one thing in life I can control. What I put into my body and how I move it is solely up to me. By claiming my health and fitness I claim control of my life, which means that even on the shittiest of days, I am reminded of my own power and capability.

It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve been happy with how I look as a result of the program. But I didn’t become a Beachbody coach during this process because I was starting to develop abs for the first time in my life (which I was). I became a coach because 80 Day Obsession was a candle in the dark: I followed it out of hell into the light, somehow stronger and more resilient, despite LIFE. I had to share my experience, if only to let others know that if the program worked for me at the lowest point in my life, then it could help them.

So if you took the time to read this and are going through your own personal hell at the moment, I urge you to consider doing something to give you control back over your life. If you’re ready for 80 Day Obsession, bite the bullet and get it started. If you’re not, start with something else, something that’s manageable for you at this point in your life. But start with SOMEthing. And if you need help or recommendations, let me know. I can point you to the ever present link with Beachbody info, or offer a suggestion or two.

At the end of the day, I hope you find your WHY. It helps. Not just in workouts or at home but in EVERYTHING. It took me 23 days + 34 years to find mine. But now that I have, there’s no turning back.

And now, your moment of zen:

Knee Tucks on the Sliders
Gettin’ it done.

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