Phase 2, Day 47: Total Body Core (aka Don’t Look Ahead)

Prior to Monday’s workout, I made the mistake of looking ahead to what awaited me this week:

59 minutes of Booty;

57 minutes of Cardio Core;

62 minutes of AAA.

As I struggled with weights that got me swole, a little voice in the back of my mind reminded me how much worse the week was going to get when it came to the 57 minutes of Total Body Core.

When I gassed myself during Cardio Core last night, and I came home remarking to my bf how tired my arms were even though the workout involved no direct upper body work, I knew tonight’s workout was going to get me good.

Because I looked ahead, I started today’s Total Body Core with a certain amount of dread. I knew I wasn’t going to be knocking out the workout in a brisk 30 minutes, or hammering out 3 rounds of 10 in a neat 50 minutes.


I was going to have to slog 2 rounds of 15 reps in 57 minutes.

Maybe it was the rep scheme. Maybe it was the fact that I made a point to push myself and up my weights. Maybe it’s that I didn’t get enough sleep last night.

Whatever the case, my upper body was dead by the time I finished the first round of shoulders.

By the time I got to crab position tricep dip to sit through (say that 10 times fast), my arms were shaking and I worried my joints were going to give out and cause me to dislocate an elbow.

Crab Position Tricep Dip to Sit Through
How creepy is this pose? No I’m not possessed. Just workin’ the triceps.

I enjoyed nothing about the above exercise. I hated every second of it and fought back tears. I hate feeling like my arms are so tired I’m on the verge of hurting myself or not finishing the rep (priorities, people).

I also hated every second of foam rolling afterwards, when I still had to use my tri’s to support myself and once again risk dislocation:

Foam Roller.
I’m not pissed. I’m just fighting back tears.

Even as I type this, I am constantly shifting back and forth in my seat to try and get comfortable. I go from shoving my computer as far out in front of me as I can to ensure my forearms rest on the table so I don’t have to support myself, to then giving my forearms a break and pulling my computer back to the edge of the table to let my elbows dangle at my side as I gingerly peck at the keyboard in danger of falling to the ground. My boyfriend is giving me looks like I’m groaning while doing this, too, which is never a good look at a coffee shop.

I just feel….tired. I have energy at work and I think I’m getting enough sleep, but between the increase of weights and the rep scheme, my body is feeling slow to recover and quick to fatigue. I’d like to tell you this is something you will avoid as you journey through 80 Day Obsession, but I think I also felt this way my first time through. You will have been hitting it hard in the gym for two months, with only one rest day in there to refresh your body. Perhaps it’s not surprising that your body feels tired.

Which is why it’s important to not look ahead. Don’t scan through the rest of the workouts to see how long they will take or how hard they will be. You will psych yourself out.

Focus instead on the challenge right in front of you: the Total Body Core workout that begins with just one rep of squat-row-twist-row, which you then follow up with a second rep, then a third, and a fourth, until you’ve knocked out 15. When you find you are struggling with motivation, just focus on the task at hand. Don’t think about getting to the gym. Just focus on pulling your socks on, one by one. Then put on your shoes and lace them up. Boil the movements down to the base fundamentals: One foot in front of the other; one lift at a time. Even though you have 57 minutes to get through, keeping it simple allows you to compartmentalize and think only about what you need to do to get through the current exercise. The next exercise and what you’ll lift and whether you need a mat, all that can wait. All that matters is what’s in front of you. Don’t look ahead. Don’t look back. Focus on being in the moment and on pushing as hard as you can from second to second.

A brief anecdote on this before I sign off for the night. When I was in college, my basketball team would travel within the West Coast Conference to play away games. One such away game was at the University of San Diego. On game day, teams don’t practice beforehand; rather, each team is entitled to exactly one hour on the basketball court for “shoot-around,” where the idea is you walk through the plays you’re going to run, briefly practice defending against what the other team is going to run, and get a lot of shots up so you can get used to the lighting in the gym and the tightness of the rim.

On this particular day, the three freshmen – of which I was one – screwed up. My other freshman roommate and I were late down to the vans to take us to the gym for the shoot-around. Then while everyone was lacing up at the gym, the third freshman made the mistake of making her first shot a half court shot for shits and giggles.

My coach was not impressed. Pissed would have been an understatement.

The instant she saw we all had our shoes and braces on, she blew her whistle and screamed for us to GET ON THE LINE (the four worst words in the English language for a college athlete). She told us we obviously weren’t focused on a shoot-around, so maybe a suicide (described better in this blog post) would get our attention.

So, barely warmed up, we all staggered through the suicide.

The situation went from bad to worse.

“PUT 10 MINUTES ON THE CLOCK,” our Coach ordered an Assistant.

We then ran 10 suicides in 10 minutes, as the precious minutes on our shoot-around ticked by.

The only thing that got me through those 10 suicides was watching a teammate as she ran in front of me, and telling myself that so long as her legs moved, mine would too.

The running became primitive; I focused solely on picking up one foot and putting it in front of the other; right-left-right-left-right-left. I couldn’t focus on there being nine suicides left, or four left, or one left. I knew only the sound of my footsteps on the hardwood floor and the raspiness of my breathing.

I got through that impromptu 10 in 10 because I stopped thinking about the future and focused solely on the present. If you are feeling overwhelmed or tired, I suggest you do the same.

Message me for further thoughts, or check out the usual link for further details.

Put above all, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep pushing play. And I guarantee that this too shall pass.



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