I love me this Leg Day.
Especially this week’s set-up: Three sets of 10. But one exercise at a time. And there’s really only five weighted exercises. Which means you do the first weighted exercise, reverse lunges, then go straight into the sliders; then back to another 10 reps of reverse lunges, followed by the sliders; then the last set of 10 reps of reverse lunges, ending with, you guessed it, SLIDERS.
The workout feels a little long because you have to do most of the exercises one leg at a time. But then you realize that you’re already on the third exercise out of five and the whole thing feels like it flew by.
I realize I’ve perhaps been a bit lax lately with my pro tips, which was the whole point of starting this blog: Putting out on the net what I faced the first time around in 80 Day Obsession in the hope it might answer some of the questions you might have as you tackle the same. So, let’s get started.
PRO TIP #15: PUSH YOURSELF WITH THE WEIGHT.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: This Leg Day lends itself to testing how much you can lift. Do it. Test yourself. Try at least one set with a heavier weight than you have ever done – within reason, of course. And as always, listen to your body. If your lower back is already screaming as you goblet squat a 15 pound weight, then don’t push it. Focus on form and get that core stronger before you up the weight. But, know that the harder you lift the better the results. Plus, how satisfying is it to KNOW you’re actually getting stronger? I find it immensely satisfying to be walking down the street and feel STRONG; like, I could arm-wrestle a would-be mugger strong. Or at least run away fast. Probably the latter. But still. It’s the thought that counts.
So the above will be my only pro tip about working out. The rest will be about food and sticking to the timed nutrition plan. Because I was reminded today that no matter how hard you lift on Leg Day, you can’t out-train a bad diet.
I was reminded of this because of who I see at the gym.
Oftentimes, I am the sole girl in the weight section. And because this is now my second round of 80 Day Obsession, I’ve been in that weight section for the past 80+ days. Which means I’ve pretty much seen the same people over and over, often doing the same thing for the past 80 days.
And the people that I see, the workouts that I see them doing…they are no joke. From push-ups with claps to leg lifts with weights to pull-ups. I’m not the only one with a good sweat going by the end of a workout.
Yet of those devoted gym bunnies, NONE have demonstrated any notable change in physique. One or two of them might have toned up a little, but given how much they’re all working out, you’d think they’d be ripped and ready to strut some stuff on the bodybuilding stage. It makes no sense given the workouts they’re killing, where every muscle is worked and the abs are taking the brunt of the focus. WHY DON’T THEY ALL HAVE SIX PACKS?
Because you can’t out-train a bad diet. When I see the same people in the gym looking the same despite their effort, I have to wonder what they’re eating: Are they eating enough? Are they eating too much? Are they getting enough protein? What does a typical meal plan look like?
Based on what I’m seeing, I have to think none of them are getting the diet part RIGHT, otherwise they’d all be cracking open beers on their wash-board abs.
Which is why I love this 80 Day Obsession thing: It comes with a meal plan to follow that will work if you follow it.
But HOW do you follow it, especially on those days when cravings are bad? What if you slip up?
I’ve not just slipped up but royally fucked up, and had some strong cravings to boot. But I’m still here, and I have a few tips to share.
PRO TIP #444: IF YOU’RE CRAVING SWEETS, REACH FOR VEGETABLES.
I have been there and had those uncontrollable cravings; where you just ate a beautifully balanced, nutritious meal, yet your body is crying out for MORE. And not just any old MORE, but CUPCAKES and BROWNIES and ICE CREAM and MACARONS. And WORSE, you can feel this pit yawning open in your stomach, as if the food you just ingested completely missed the mark and went straight into oblivion instead of your bloodstream, leaving you feeling as though you ate NOTHING at all and so MUST EAT ALL THE FOODS NOW.
That is now I felt tonight. I got home from work and felt that pit of hunger starting to crack open.
Now, I’ve tried ignoring it. I’ve tried sticking to my containers and eating what I’m allotted and sticking to my guns.
That never works. Inevitably what happens is the craving gets the best of me and I end up stuffing four maple bars into my mouth.
This time, however, I let myself snack. I actually let myself go to the fridge and have some extra food….baby carrots.
Crucially, that or cherry tomatoes or cucumbers were pretty much the only foods I could snack on (another key: DON’T KEEP JUNK FOOD IN THE HOUSE) in the moment. But I took a handful of baby carrots and crunched away. And when I finished that handful, I helped myself to some cherry tomatoes while I heated up my dinner.
Then I ate my dinner and….nothing. I DID IT! I’m now sitting in a cafe right next to a cupcake shop, and not a nerve in my body is singing for that sugary goodness. Instead, I feel satiated. Satisfied. Even though I ate more than what I was supposed to, it was only vegetables. And it stopped me from heading next door for a red velvet cupcake instead of coming here. So it worked. But only because I’ve trained myself to get used to a different kind of “dessert.” Which brings me to my next tip:
PRO TIP #32: KEEP BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL AFTER DINNER.
I can’t take credit for this one. This one is all Ilana Muhlstein, the creator of Beachbody’s nutrition only program, 2B Mindset. The point is that instead of reaching for food after dinner, reach for a cup of tea or a cup of coffee or a glass of sparkling water. Something, ANYthing, but food. Just make sure you have something in your hands that will keep them occupied. Here’s me putting this philosophy into practice:
It works. I have a fish bowl full of herbal teas at home, and each night I try a new one. Or, if I don’t feel like a tea, I’ll knit. Or read. Or do ANYthing that requires me to use my hand. Because if my hands are busy, they won’t be picking up food to stuff in my gullet.
PRO TIP #53: IF YOU’RE HUNGRY, DRINK AT LEAST 8 OZ. OF WATER FIRST; WAIT; IF YOU ARE STILL HUNGRY, THEN EAT SOMETHING.
This is also a tip pulled slightly from 2B Mindset, which emphasizes drinking water before EVERY meal, and drinking at least half your body weight in ounces every day.
My tip is a slight variation of that, and I found it works for me when I start to get hungry in the late afternoon, during that lull between my afternoon snack and dinner.
I start to get hungry, especially when I think about my delicious dinner waiting for me (chicken sausage with peppers and onions and tomatoes and quinoa this week). My stomach starts to grumble. Before it gets to loud, I make myself down half my water bottle…all 12 ounces.
Usually, that does the trick. Sometimes it doesn’t. But at the very least, I’m going to the bathroom to pee in the half hour following, as opposed to eating early. So it accomplishes something.
As Ilana points out in 2B Mindset, sometimes when your body is telling you you’re hungry, you’re actually just dehydrated. So try water first. If that doesn’t cure the craving, then start to think about some food. But it doesn’t hurt to be extra hydrated.
I hope these tips help. And if you want to learn more about 2B Mindset, click on the link to learn more. It’s different from 80 Day Obsession in that there’s no workouts; 2B Mindset focuses SOLELY on nutrition and how to eat for healthy weight loss. It’s not quite compatible with 80 Day Obsession, which has you eating certain foods at certain times of the day; the schedule conflicts with some of the 2B Mindset principles. But at the very least, 2B Mindset has given me a new perspective on how to view and address cravings, and my other achilles heel: Eating out.
I have a few new tools in my arsenal to try out the next time we have family dinner at my aunt’s on Sunday. First true test is coming up this Sunday, so it will be interesting to see how it works.
In the meantime, I hope you found this post somewhat helpful. If you didn’t, message me with questions, or leave a snarky comment. Both are welcome.
Because it at least tells me that SOMEone is reading this damn thing!