Phase 2 Day 31: AAA (aka You’re Going to Have to Struggle)

This is an earlier post than normal because I am out of my routine for the next few days.

See, I am currently in San Diego, celebrating the wedding of a dear friend. In the past, I would have used being away from home as an excuse to not workout, and to eat myself into oblivion while claiming to conduct a “cultural experiment.” That is, “Do tacos taste better in the Gaslamp Quarter or at Point Loma? Better try them all to make sure!”

This time, however, vacation feels different. Don’t get me wrong: I’m enjoying myself and not holding my diet to a Nazi standard when it comes to nutrition, but I’m also driven to find ways to comply with the 80 Day Obsession as much as possible. And miss a workout? NO fucking way.

Which means I was up at 8 this morning to eat and then workout in the hotel gym. Not the perfect set-up, and I had to alternate between the fitness room and the hallway outside in order to use my sliders on the tile floor, but I got it done. Which is saying something, considering today’s workout. It’s not easy, and it’s not like one you have ever done.

The basic set-up of AAA stays the same: You contract for three count, then release for one. Here’s what you can expect:

Series 1

Shoulders – Bilateral press; alternating unilateral press.

Delts – Lateral raise; “Y”.

Abs – Lat Side Bend; Standing Weighted Knee Driver.

Butt – Loop Standing Donkey; Forearm Plan Jumping Jacks.

Series 2

Chest – Chest Press; Fly.

Triceps – Kickback in plank; tricep push-up.

Abs – corkscrew; teaser.

Butt – 1st Position Bridge; Single-Leg Bridge w/Loop.

Series 3

Back – Pullovers; renegade row.

Biceps – Curls; Turned out Curl.

Abs – Loop Scissor Twist; V Leg Raises.

Butt – Narrow Bridge Clam; Straight Leg Circles.

I know i know, that list means nothing to you. Here’s how to decipher it. For the first move listed for each muscle group, in Week 1 of Phase 2, you do 15 reps in the usual AAA pattern: Contract for three count, release for 1 count. Immediately after the 15 reps, you go straight into the second-listed exercise for 15 reps at normal tempo. HOWEVER, you only do the second exercise in the FIRST set of 15. When you circle back through to do all the exercises for a second set, you drop that second exercise, which causes the last half of the workout to move a lot quicker than the first.

Even so, the quickened pace doesn’t stop this workout from being a beast. It’s a struggle. My notes for the corkscrew and teasers read simply: “SO HARD.” Why? Because you will have just done kickback in plank. Your new least fave exercise. Here’s a photo:

Kickbacks in Plank
F-ing hate this one.

You can tell from looking at the photo that this workout is a struggle. That said, it’s not so much that the moves are hard. They are. But it’s moreso that these challenging moves are stacked one on top of the other, so it’s hard for your muscles to catch a break. You go from barely making it through one exercise to struggling through the next.

And that, friends, is the key word for the day: Struggle. Even on my second time through 80 Day Obsession, this workout was a struggle for me. I almost started crying during the corkscrews. I had to go down in weight in the middle of bicep curls. I started with a lower weight in the first shoulder round. Today was one of those days when I felt nowhere near as strong as I did yesterday. Probably because my schedule is off. I had to hit pause a few times as I worked to pull the loops up over my thighs. Oh, and a loop snapped on me.

Goodbye, Loop
At least it snapped when I was pulling it on, and not mid-pull.

My point is that I had a lot going against me doing this workout, including shit that happened DURING the workout. The old me, especially the one studying for the Bar years ago, would have used these set-backs as an excuse to quit.

But not today, Satan. I don’t know if it’s 80 Day Obsession or age or a combination of the two, but today I just rolled with the punches and got it done. Some days, that’s all you can do. Don’t let the struggle stop you from finishing. It’s just part of the process. Embrace it and move on.

Now, as for food. Before reading this next section, for those of you doing 80 Day Obsession for the first time, DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO.

Did I have alcohol last night? Yup. Did I have some pizza? Oh yeah. Did I follow it all up with ice cream? Hell yeah. Did I feel guilty afterwards? Nope. Because I made sure to go a glass of water for every drink, I got my veggies in prior to having the pizza, and it was a nice walk to the ice cream place. I’m on vacation. I’d regret not living it up at least a little if I went home without sampling the local goods. But I didn’t go crazy. And today, I made a point to walk to Ralph’s to stock up on some hard-boiled eggs, mini peppers, and nanners, all so I can have some healthy snacks on hand later if/when I can’t find this particular combination of containers.

But EVEN BETTER, on my way to Ralph’s, I happened upon the BEST place for a superfood bowl: SD Discount Nutrition. I got the PowerMax Bowl post-workout, and I didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t this deliciousness:

IMG_0382I wasn’t even looking for it, and it was the perfect post-workout fuel, and it was all plant-based and low in sugar.

My point being, because I went out of my way to make an effort to eat at least semi-healthy, I ended up with this slice of heaven without even meaning to. It was like finding $10 in your pocket when you’re going to do laundry. Completely unexpected but absolutely welcome.

I include these details so that you know 80 Day Obsession IS sustainable, even in the face of life and all its pleasures. Still doubt? Well, the wedding is today, which means tomorrow’s post will be a true testament as to how to manage a semblance of the nutrition plan in the face of champagne, bite-sized appetizers, and wedding cake. I will let you know how it goes!

2 thoughts on “Phase 2 Day 31: AAA (aka You’re Going to Have to Struggle)”

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