Phase 3, Day 64: Cardio Flow (aka Screw the Video, Pump Up the Music)

PRO TIP #12: When fighting the drudgery that is Cardio Flow, swap the workout video for some great music and hit play.

I don’t know why it took me 144 days to figure this one out. By now, you know that Cardio Flow is my least favorite workout, especially in Phase 3. It seems to take forever and it’s boring. I also have a tendency to zone out and lose count, which is a pain in the ass.

But here’s the thing: We’re in the 11th week of this shit; you know the workout. You know that it’s four reps of each move and you have to build one on top of the other until you get to the frogs-to-mules, when you do everything altogether for another eight rounds. Even if you have trouble counting, like I sometimes do, you don’t need the video to tell you how to do the workout. You just have to keep track of the reps and the rounds.

So today I swapped Autumn and her workout cast for some workout tunes on Pandora…and life instantly got better. Whereas last week I hit a literal wall, this week I was pushing myself to finish a round before a song finished. While I still had to take a mini-break after four rounds of all the exercises, that’s way better than what I did last week, when I was requiring a break every two rounds.

All in all, I felt stronger. More importantly, I wasn’t bored. And, I was motivated to not only finish the workout, but kill the workout.

I’m proud to say I did. Check out this form:

Mule to Frog
Maybe the best Mule to Frog I’ve ever done, and I got it on tape!

I even got some hang time.

As you can see, if last week was the perfect storm for almost failing, this week was the perfect recipe for success: Blue skies, great tunes, and soft grass that didn’t leave me with blisters.

Your take-away: There are ways to spice up 80 Day Obsession, even when you’ve done everything more than once.

Pretty sure I can’t say much more given the above. That pic alone is worth a thousand words.

Enjoy the Fourth of July, and good luck managing the beer and BBQs while sticking to the timed nutrition! I’m heading to a Mariners game where my boyfriend’s employer has rented out Edgar’s Cantina and guaranteed each attendee two drink tickets. I’m still deciding how to structure my eating, and am coming close to settling on making two yellows tomorrow…two beers. Though I’m waiting to make it a game time decision as I’m not really looking to drink at the moment. Not like I’m avoiding it, but I just don’t need to do it to have a good time, and I feel pretty damn good when I don’t.

So tomorrow will be a good example of working the 80 Day Obsession meal plan into real life. Really, if I can avoid the excess sugar and garlic fries, it’ll be a win. I’ll keep you posted.

Link to the usual goods. Happy 4th!

Phase 3, Day 63: AAA (aka The Countdown Begins…To The End)

Reality Check: There are only THREE WEEKS left in 80 Day Obsession.

Let that sink in for a moment.

You have only 17 more workouts to get through before you finish the program. For every workout you do this week, you will only have to do it two more times.

At this point in my first 80 Day Obsession journey, I knew immediately I wanted to do it all again. I couldn’t imagine my life without the structure and discipline and challenging workouts.

Now, however, I am looking forward to taking a break. I want a break from the 1/2 Turkish Get-Up with Push-Up Hell. I don’t want to go to the damn zoo every week with Cardio Flow. (Seriously, if the workouts still came on DVDs, I would be burning the Cardio Flow DVD in a backyard bonfire to celebrate.)

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy today’s workout. I absolutely did. I think AAA in Phase 3 is not only my favorite AAA workout of the program, but also my favorite workout in Phase 3 period (though Leg Day runs a close second). Today, you do the three series, consisting of three exercises each, one series at at time for 3 sets of 10 reps each. The pace is quick but manageable. The moves burn in all the right place, and it’s easy to go up in weights if you need to. You even get to spend one entire series on the floor (though that certainly doesn’t mean it’s easy). All in all, AAA is a great way to start the week.

But after I finish these 80 days, I want to do something different. I need to mix it up so that I can come back to this program refreshed and not dreading an entire phase full of renegade rows with a twist.

So, in these final weeks, I’m not only counting down to the end, but I’m also counting down to my next workout program. I have to. What I love about 80 Day Obsession is that it flipped a switch in me so that my day is not complete WITHOUT A WORKOUT; I’m focused on eating right and in the correct portions and at the optimum times of the day. But to keep that momentum going, I have to have a plan. I’m gonna have to literally plan out the rest of my year with workout programs. If I don’t, it’s too easy for a week-long break to turn into “crap I haven’t worked out since August.” That is exactly what happened to me last year, and I ended up doughy around the middle by New Year’s as a result.

I don’t want to yo-yo this time. I want to be consistent. I want to keep building the booty gains I’ve been seeing in 80 Day Obsession. Exhibit A:

Bridge Lateral Press
What goes up goes down into the booty.

I want to continue to shred out and reveal the abs that are finally starting to peek through after a lifetime of hibernation:

PROGRESS
Work is showing in all the right places!

And while I know that 80 Day Obsession gets me results, I know that mentally I will need a break from it all when it’s done. Which is absolutely fine.

But I don’t know what that means for this blog or continuing to share my journey. I started this thing 60+ days ago because I was so impressed with what 80 Day Obsession did for me mentally and physically. I still am. The program saved me. It gave me structure when I needed it most; it allowed me to find a shred of victory when it felt like I was sleeping in the jaws of defeat. 80 Day Obsession gave me the feeling of control when everything was careening off the tracks. I know that when I am lacking that control in the future, be it in my personal life or my own health and fitness regime or whatever, I can turn to 80 Day Obsession and pick up the tools I need to right the ship.

I wanted to share that excitement with others, and provide something of a roadmap for those who will come after me. Plus, I was a newly minted Beachbody coach, and this seemed a good way to put myself out there and perhaps attract others who might need exactly what 80 Day Obsession has to offer.

The problem, I have learned, is that while I have no problem with coaching, I’m terrible at selling. Just awful. It’s not that I have a problem talking about 80 Day Obsession – I don’t. Or that I can’t answer questions about the nutrition – I can. It’s moreso that hawking this product feels like it cheapens what the program did for me. I don’t want to sell this program to make a commission or build my genealogical chart (no real idea what that is, btw); I want to sell it to someone like me who is at a point in their life when they need it.

I’m rambling, I know. And I know there are other coaches out there who would say there is an obligation to reach as many people as I can with this product to try and change lives for the better. I just haven’t figured out what works for me. This blog was fun, but I’m pretty sure no one reads it. It will likely just live on infamy, forgotten in the dusty corners of the internet with the millions of failed blogs that have come before it.

I’m okay with that. If even one person out there has gotten something useful out of any of these posts, mission accomplished.

At the very least, this is the most consistently I have ever blogged. EVER. Just like 80 Day Obsession, I’ve stuck with it. That’s just another example of how 80 Day Obsession can change you for the better if you stick with it and work the program.

So even though we have 17 days left to go, if you’re reading this, thank you. I hope you’ve gotten something out of this. And if you didn’t but are wondering if other Beachbody products might be more your jam, check out the usual link.

 

Phase 3, Day 62: Booty (aka The One Where You Don’t Stop Sweating)

There is a condition called hyperhidrosis. It’s street name is excessive sweating.

I know this because I just looked it up to see if I have a problem. Today was one of those days where I finished my workout in a pool of sweat and it wouldn’t stop pouring down my face. I was in a rush to get out of the gym, and for once, I had to change and shower before doing so. I could not, repeat, COULD NOT, take off my leggings; rather, I had to SHUCK them off me with a wet, squelching noise, like one does a wet suit, because they were completely soaked. To top it off, I was able to wring an actual stream of sweat from a different article of clothing.

Now, don’t get me wrong, today’s Booty workout will trigger all the sweat and all the burns. It’s three sets of 10 reps, where you do all the exercises in a row for 10 reps each, then repeat for another 2 rounds.

But I swear I wasn’t sweating this much last week. It’s like we hit summer and a dam broke within my internal controls so that the only way for me to self-cool is to drown in my own sweat.

Which means I spent the majority of the day feeling super dehydrated.

It’s hard to describe. I was drinking a lot of water, but even as I was inhaling fluids, it felt like it simply wasn’t…sticking. Like it was just passing through without being absorbed by my deflated cells. As a result, I was tired, extra sore, and a bit crabby.

I was also STARVING.

All in all, I’m not sure how pleasant I was to be around today. That was not helpful for the trip my boyfriend and I took to Ikea.

But, I turned it around tonight at dinner, when I had a beer. And then a juicy burger with cheese and bacon all wrapped up in lettuce. And thoroughly enjoyed the onion rings served with my boyfriend’s burger.

The fact that it was the beer that well and truly brought me back to life tells me that my body didn’t need water today so much as it did salt and electrolytes. So I made sure I got that and then some.

I share this because that meal was not really fix-approved for 80 Day Obsession. What I should have done was mixed myself up a shake and eaten some sweet potatoes. That would have been the extra clean, extra healthy option.

And I would have resented every moment of it.

Sometimes you just need a big burger and beer to get the nutrients you need. And sometimes it’s not about replacing the nutrients, but simply about ENJOYING a meal out with your SO without worrying about the meal plan.

My body needed tonight. I needed tonight. Which means that instead of kicking myself for going overboard and hating this slightly overly full feeling, I’m not bothered. It was the right meal for me in the moment, and it was the first cheat meal all week.

I savored every moment but now am already looking forward to a good breakfast tomorrow morning of greek yogurt and fruit and some cacao nibs.

I’ll handle Sunday dinner when we get there. Knowing now that I can’t eat eggs without having a reaction has been helping with avoiding those foods which trigger my lack of self-control. If I want to replace those baked goods with the meat sweats, that’s fine with me.

After all, my doctor said I could stand to eat a bit more bacon.

No pics today because I was in a rush to leave the gym, and I actually couldn’t get my phone to work because my fingers were too sweaty immediately following my workout. So check out the usual link if you want a visual, and hit me up if you’re searching for inspo.

Phase 3, Day 61: Cardio Core (aka Screw the Workout, Let’s Talk About Self Care)

Here’s what you need to know about today’s workout: It’s just like last week’s.

Boom.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about self care.

SELF CARE: noun; the act of caring for one’s self. Dictionary of the FitLuddy.

Sounds easy, right? Usually, self care boils down to the simple maxim of DON’T DIE during the day. You know, look both ways before you cross the street; don’t lick the wet paint; don’t pet the rabid bear. Things like that.

But in 80 Day Obsession, “self care” takes on a whole new meaning. After 61 days of HARD workouts, what are you doing to make sure your body can make it to the end?

Have you gotten a massage? Taken an epsom salt bath? Treated yourself to something nice?

If you aren’t taking the time to care for yourself, then you’re not getting the most out of this program.

Case in point: I did Cardio Core tonight then went to soccer. I scored! But I was also sore as f*ck when I got home. Even though we are in the middle of PROJECT GUT OUR RENTAL, I drew myself a bath, ladled in the epsom salt and baking soda, and soaked for 12 minutes. I’m busy and our apartment is in shambles, but I knew if I didn’t make time for this soak, I would be of no use tomorrow. With that said, this next pro tip draws on my OWN experience (I am NOT a doctor, so take it with a grain of [epsom] salt).

PRO TIP #456: To get the most out of an epsom salt bath, pour at least 1.5-2 cups of that shit in, followed by at least a 1/2 cup of baking soda, then soak for no more than 12-15 minutes; ideally, closer to 12.

My understanding is that you can actually soak too long, at which point, all the toxins that have been drawn out into the water by the epsom salt actually start to be reabsorbed by your body if you linger in the dirty water. So get the F out and move on to the next area of self care: MASSAGE.

PRO TIP #457: GET A MASSAGE.

Gentle reader. If you have gone this far through 80 Day Obsession without getting a massage, you are not truly living life. Seriously. I know how you feel. Your muscles are in knots; some days you can barely move; and if you don’t stretch in the morning, your hammies feel at least a half foot shorter than they did the night before.

Do yourself a favor and get a massage. Work that shit out. Get loosened up. It will help. Just make sure you don’t do the massage BEFORE the workout. Massage should be done AFTER, when you have nothing left to do for the day but maybe eat a good meal, watch some baseball or a movie, and drink a shit ton of water.

PRO TIP #458: If you get a massage, you need to be drinking at least 125% of your water intake immediately after.

Massage will loosen everything up, and in so doing, flood you bloodstream with a shit ton of crap that’s been released from your muscles. You need to flush your system. Drinking more water than normal will ensure you do. After a massage, your water bottle should be glued to your hand. Pound that shit and ask for seconds.

PRO TIP #459: KNOW YOUR LIMITS.

For once, I’m not talking to the 25-year old me who didn’t know that more than 2 Long Island Ice Teas were never a good idea.

No, I’m talking about knowing yourself and your body well enough at this point to know WHAT you have to do, WHEN. For me, this meant getting food at the pub after our soccer game tonight instead of waiting until I got home.

To explain: After our victory, a few of us went out for celebratory drinks at a local pub. I didn’t plan for this, but I figured that with all the sweating I did (it’s humid AF at the moment), a beer was exactly what I needed, and would take the place of the yellow I needed to consume before day’s end. But then I was left with the dilemma: Do I wait to eat until I get home so I can mix up a shake with spinach and Shakeology, or do I find something somewhat fix-approved on the menu to make sure I don’t crash?

I sat down in the pub and my stomach answered the question for me: FOOD. NOW.

Sure, I could have pushed it and waited an hour until I got home. But I would have been miserable and not enjoyed my time with my teammates. After the Cardio Core and the 90 minute soccer game, my body was close to shutting down; I was at my limit.

So I ordered a steak salad, picked out the largest chunks of the blue cheese, and enjoyed myself.

Sometimes, it’s just not worth being perfect if it means you’ll turn into a monster. I came home and had the energy to take a bath, shower, stretch, and now blog for you wonderful people. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Self care will help you make it through all 80 days when your body might otherwise quit. And taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. If anything, it’s a huge benefit to those around you. After all, if you’re not taking the steps necessary to be your best self, then you’re robbing others of the ability to benefit from you being your best self.

Take the time and make the self care count. It will pay dividends, I promise.

If you want more info about programs that might help with self care, such as a plethora of yoga options, check out the usual link.

Otherwise, get some sleep and prep for the million lunges we’ll be doing for Booty day tomorrow.

 

Phase 3, Day 60: Total Body Core (aka The One Where You Realize You’ve Gotten a Lot Better at Tricep Push-Ups)

I work out at a gym.

I don’t know if I’ve told y’all that before, but I do. I realize this is somewhat unusual for a person who is following a Beachbody program, as part of Beachbody’s selling point is you can do the workout from the comfort of your own home. I can’t. I live on the third floor of an apartment building and there just isn’t enough space in our living room to do side lunges/back lunges, and I don’t want to give myself an excuse to not complete a workout because I keep banging my shin on the coffee table (been there, done that). Plus, I know my downstairs neighbors really don’t appreciate the early morning jumping required in a number of the workouts.

So, gym it is. In the weight-lifting area, I collect my weights, grab a mat, and push play. I navigate people jumping rope and idiots who block the weight rack. I go back and forth between the rubber mat of the weight area to the tiled floor of the merchandise area, and ignore the gawkers who spot me on my sliders doing tricep push-up pull-ins in front of the shelves of protein powder:

Tricep push-ups on Sliders
Don’t mind me as I sweat amongst the merchandise.

I share this because today’s Total Body Core workout will pretty much require you to have ALL the weights. Again. I commandeered everything from the 12.5 pound dumbbells, all the way up to the 20s. Yes, I was THAT bitch. And I don’t care.

Today’s workout will leave you with sweat rolling down your ankles and a burn in your shoulders that won’t quit. It’s three sets of 10 reps, where you go through all exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeat for another 2 rounds. It’s not my favorite set-up, but it gets the job done.

I will say, however, that the 10 reps really gives you the opportunity to measure your strength. That tricep push-up form above? Last week, I could barely do the 15 reps on my toes, and had to drop to my knees for the last few. But this week, I did all 10 on my toes. My back arched perhaps a bit too much, but I still managed to get a lot lower than I could in Phase 1. Even better, my push-up form in the 1/2 Turkish get-up from hell felt stronger, though I cursed Autumn’s name throughout the move.

My goal for next week is to continue this push-up triumph and try the slide-out push-ups on my toes as opposed to on my knees. I’ll keep you posted.

With my push-up notes out of the way, let’s turn to the two pro tips for today’s workout.

PRO TIP #101: If your loops are rolling on V Crunch to Scissor Crunch, you gotta double or triple loop.

I got new loops in the mail yesterday and eagerly put them to use in tonight’s workout. For the first time in awhile, I was able to double-loop with two blues. But to my dismay, I couldn’t get more than 2-3 reps done of V Crunch to Scissor Crunch without the damn things rolling up my thighs. I powered through only by constantly taking a moment to adjust the loops during my crunch up (an extra burn, so not unwelcome). So, in round 2, I added a green loop.

I found that the three loops would slide up my thighs a bit, but weren’t rolling, so they were easier to adjust. Don’t underestimate how much stronger your abs and legs are for this workout. Adjust accordingly.

PRO TIP #67: Clench your butt during Weighted Windmills.

This is one exercise where I’m never sure if I’m doing it right because I don’t do it in front of a mirror (next week, I think I will). On some reps I’ll feel a good contraction in my obliques, but in others I get nothing and I worry I’m kicking my hips out in the typewriter motion Autumn describes and warns against. Tonight, however, Autumn gave a good tip that instantly helped me lock my hips into place and focus in on my abs: Clench your butt. As you are sliding the weight down your leg, clench your butt muscles. This will keep your hips from sliding out, thereby ensuring it’s your obliques doing the work.

The instant I contracted my butt muscles, I finally felt the exercise in all the right places.

So, them’s my tips for the night.

Tomorrow I tackle Cardio Core before my soccer game, and I’m looking forward to getting a good sweat going before taking the field. Now if we could just get this weather to cooperate….

Check out the usual link if you need more loops, and feel free to email me with any questions. Almost done with Week 2 of Phase 3! Only 20 more workouts to go!

Phase 3, Day 59: Legs (aka The One Where You Get Low To Go High)

I had a meeting last week with a girl who went to college with me. In fact, we played basketball together in college (and in high school!). She hadn’t seen me in awhile, and as we waited for our clients to arrive, she asked me what I was doing.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“THIS,” she said, gesturing to my body. “What are you doing to get THIS?? You’re skinnier than you ever were in college but I swear you somehow have a bigger butt!”

That was a pretty good note to hit prior to our meeting.

Since then, my butt has been front and center. I catch myself staring at it in the window as I walk by, showing it off to my boyfriend when he gets home, and choosing outfits that specifically accentuate its newfound shape.

That said, I did not feel so good about my butt the first time through 80 Day Obsession. I wasn’t seeing the gains Autumn did with her cast, and I couldn’t figure out why they were so excited about an asset that didn’t seem to want to grow for me.

I have a few hypotheses about why I might have struggled to make booty gains.

First, I suspect I wasn’t eating enough in Phases 1 and 2 to put on muscle. That time around, I was eating in Meal Plan B and miserable all the time. I don’t think I was getting enough protein to make a difference. I started this round of 80 Day Obsession in Meal Plan C, and believe it has made a huge difference in my mood and for my body.

Secondly, I don’t think I was strong enough to lift the weights I needed to MAKE substantial booty gains. I am currently lunging with about double the weight that I did during my first round of 80 Day Obsession: 25 pound dumbbells instead of 12.5s. But if I had gone to lift 25 pound dumbbells the first time thru, I likely would have hurt myself. As it is, on the forward slide lunge in today’s workout, I could feel my core and back engaging to keep everything tight; that sort of connectedness was lacking in round 1, when I was still building muscle and strength. It took 80 days to get strong enough to lift the weights I needed to add more muscle.

Lastly, I don’t think I was strong enough to hold the form necessary to make the booty gains. This is essentially the same point as number 2 above, but still worth making to point out that in order to make progress, you not only have to lift the right weight, but you also have to do it with the right form.

Case in point, check out my goblet squat form:

Goblet Squat
This one makes me sweat and want a drink.

I have NEVER gotten so low in a squat, or been able to keep my back so straight. I certainly wasn’t going that low the last time I hit Day 59 in 80 Day Obsession. And, I don’t think I could have squatted with that form last time either.

It’s all a process, and you have to adjust to what your body is capable of handling at the moment so you can make the most gains. In the exercise above, I’m only using a 25 pound dumbbell. Autumn, in the video, is using a 35 pounder. I thought about going up, but when I straightened up in the first set of 10 (that’s the set-up for this week, btw, all exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeat for two more rounds – it’s 3 sets of 10 reps total), I was able to get an extra good clench in my butt that really worked the muscle and my inner thighs. Everything was engaged, even with the lighter weight. So I stuck with the 25s but focused on form and keeping that engagement.

If you have been sticking to the timed nutrition and working out, your body will be changing. You will be losing inches or pounds or dress sizes; but you may still be frustrated that your booty isn’t growing as fast as you would like, or that your abs still have that layer of fat that obscures the 6-pack peeking through underneath. Don’t get upset and quit. Use that frustration to motivate yourself to finish 80 Day Obsession strong, and plan NOW to do another round. If you are really into the program, you are going to want to keep it going to ensure your lifestyle change continues.

I did. I did 80 Day Obsession again because I wanted to keep eating right and continue to have a reason to work out. I did not expect to see my booty grow like it has – I thought I just wasn’t that girl who could.

Turns out, I am. And you can be too. Just stick with it.

If you’re not seeing the results you want, or are curious about the program, message me. Or check out the usual link. Why put off being your best self if you have the tools to do it today?