PEAK WEEK, Day 75: AAA from Phase 1 (aka The One Where You Can Feel Yourself Shredding Out)

I came up with multiple aka’s for this program during the course of the workout:

  • The One Where You Can’t Stop Grabbing Your Ass In Public;
  • The One Where You Want to Run To the Nearest Mirror to Check Out Your Abs;
  • The One Where You Might Faceplant Because Your Arms Give Out.

Since nobody remembers this workout (so much has happened since then), here’s what you have to look forward to:

Three series of four exercises each.

Series 1: Upright Row, Bent Over Fly, Frog Sliders, Glute Bridge with Loop.

Series 2: Push-Up, Skull Crushers, Weighted Ab Sit-Up, Quad Ped Heel Press.

Series 3: Bent Over Row, Hammer Curl, Knee Tucks, Fire Hydrant.

The lift scheme is two sets of 15 reps, where you take it all a series at a time; that is, you do all exercises in a row for 15 reps each, then go back and repeat before moving on to the next series. As a result, the workout moves along nice, though still clocks in at 53 minutes.

Also as a result, you will get some booty pump and dead arms. I am having to take breaks as I type this to shake my arms out at my side to get the blood flowing. My biceps/triceps/shoulders literally start spasming if I keep my fingers on the keyboard for too long. It’s too much work for those tired muscles.

It’s not that these exercises are hard. They are. But the intensity is different. You’ll sweat, but nowhere near as much as you did in the Phase 3 AAA workout. You will also notice that there are almost no compound movements. For example, if you recall the last time we did skull crushers, we did them while up in a glute bridge and with loops around our thighs. You would think that without the loops and glute bridge, the move is therefore a lot easier.

My shaking arms stay otherwise.

Without the extra moves, you can focus in on one particular muscle group – triceps for the skull crushers – and try and lift a little heavier. Surprisingly, the static focus acts as a shock to the system. You get a good burn going; so good, in fact, that afterwards you’ll want to run to a mirror to see if your tricep muscle is popping because they are going to feel extra defined.

Same goes for your abs on the slider moves.

But the true test of strength, the real measure of how far you’ve come, is push-ups. I guarantee you that is why Autumn chose this workout. You might not be able to find your Phase 1 tracker sheets to see what you lifted at the end of that Phase; and, even if you find your tracker sheets, your weights today might differ from your weights back then. But when you do that first push-up, you’ll feel the difference.

Autumn will be calling out cues, and you’ll find you can follow along. Don’t let your back arch; head in a straight line; lift your butt and pelvis a bit more. Instead of dreading these normal push-ups, you’ll relish them. If you’ve made it this far in the program, this move, more than any other, will be the true testament to your progress. You’ll surprise yourself with how strong you feel, especially in the first few. You can actually LOWER yourself with some control and come up with some power. And you can do this for multiple reps! Sure, it gets a bit sloppy at the end, but remember when you FIRST did these push-ups? you were on your knees! Check out how far you’ve come. You might even feel good enough to go back and take a few photos to share:

Push-Up
Amazing how such a simple move can tell such an important story.

Aside from the push-ups, you will be afraid that your arms are going to give out during the quad ped moves and the fire hydrants and the knee tucks and the frog sliders. Don’t think this is just you. You are not alone. And it does not mean you are weak. It just means your body isn’t used to the workout and it’s a good wake-up call. Which is the whole point of PEAK WEEK, to shock your body off any plateau it might have reached.

It will also have you grabbing your ass a lot because of the focus on your glutes.

Again, when was the last time you did an exercise on your hands and knees, using the loops? Maybe Phase 2. Which is why when you do it during Peak Week, your ass can tell. It feels EXTRA big after all those reps, and I guarantee your hands will be wandering back to check and see how many sizes it grew during the exercise.

Regardless of the Booty gains made during this workout, it’s Day 75, and if you’re like me, you’re going to be happy to say goodbye to this workout. It’s nice to FINALLY have one in the books for good…until next time.

Get some sleep for Cardio Flow tomorrow. It’ll be fun for once, I swear.

Link to the Beachbody goods here. Message me with any thoughts or tips or hopes or dreams.

xo

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 1, Day 6: Cardio Flow (aka Just Another Day at the Zoo)

And just like that it’s over.

Week 1, that is.

Cardio Flow is a nice change-up from the rest of the week because it literally flows differently. In a nutshell, there are 10 different exercises. The first exercise is called inchworms, and you do four reps. Then, you do the next exercise, spider push-ups, also for four reps. Next, you go back and do four reps of inchworms, then four reps of spider push-ups, then four reps of diamond jumps (the worst). Go back to the beginning and repeat, adding a new exercise on at the end as you go. And so on and so forth. Here’s the full breakdown of exercises which will mean absolutely nothing until you do it all the way through:

  1. Inchworms
  2. Spider push-ups
  3. Diamond Jumps
  4. Flamingos
  5. Gorillas
  6. Step Throughs
  7. Bears
  8. Crabs
  9. Mule-to-Frog.

Once you get through Mule-to-Frog, you get a rest. Then you go through and do everything for 4 reps in a row for 2 more rounds.

I guarantee, the first time through, you will feel lost, especially as fatigue starts to set in. Also, you’ll start to wonder why the hell they call the damn thing “diamond jumps” when they make you look so ugly with all that sweat (probably just me).

The nice thing about Cardio Flow, however, is there is no warmup, so the pace feels different right from the get-go. Even better, between the repeated rounds of inchworms and spider push-ups, you get a good stretch on. Here’s me in full spider position:

Spider Push-Up
Keepin’ an eye out for the spider I saw on my towel before I started.

My point is this: When you get to the end of Week 1, you will need that stretch. You will also feel a huge sense of accomplishment. You did it! You made it through a week of workouts that I guarantee were nothing like you’ve done before. AND, if you stuck with the time nutrition, you will be seeing results.

However, that’s just Week 1 down; there’s still 12 to go. Which means you have to start planning for next week, now.

When I first started, this was a huge pain in my ass. I wouldn’t start to think about what to eat for the next week until Sunday afternoon, and then it was a rush to grocery shop and cook and portion everything out. I pretty much ate the same thing for three weeks in a row because I couldn’t be bothered to come up with anything new.

But by the end, I had the hang of it. And strangely enough, I kinda started to enjoy it. Now, when Thursday hits, I’m already looking forward to meal planning for the next week: What foods will I have leftover? What am I tired of? Will I have any lunches or dinners out that might require me to make smaller portions? Now I’ve spaced it out so that on Friday, I’m writing out my menu; Saturday, I’m grocery shopping; and Sunday, I’m cooking. Except for today, when I know tomorrow will be an office day. In which case, the cooking is already part-way done. Turkey sloppy joes are all set for the week:

IMG_0267

Email me for the recipe. It’s off Fixate and it’s one of my faves.

Don’t be fooled: I hate cooking. I’m not good at it. But I hate feeling like shit even more. And I like how I feel after I eat food that I make that I know is in the right size and has the right stuff to fuel me for the day. So I make it happen.

Like Autumn says, pick your hard. I would rather the hard of cooking and working out than the hard of not feeling good about myself.

Which is why tomorrow is so tough for me. It’s when I have to face one of my three weakness: Home Baked Goods.

Previously, I’ve written about my struggle with eating out. I’m proud to report (and as you well know if you read my blog post on it) I successfully dealt with that struggle earlier in the week. Tomorrow is another test when I go to my Aunt’s house for Sunday dinner with the rest of the fam.

The test is resisting going back for seconds on her succulent slow-cooked ribs, and the temptation of taking more than one of the world’s best ever sugar cookies (they seriously are; that’s literally what the recipe is called).

I don’t know why, but whenever I go over there, my self-control goes out the window and it’s as if I have to have ALL THE FOODS. I suspect it has something to do with eating to feel like I belong, which is weird, because it’s family. But regardless, I know it’s something I have to get under control because I do way too well during the week to have Sunday dinner throw everything else off.

I’ve tried eating before I go over there in the hope I’ll eat less because I won’t be hungry.

Just ate double.

I’ve tried bringing my portion containers to measure out what I eat.

Doesn’t work when I go back for seconds and thirds.

I have literally tried chewing my food a ridiculous amount of times to see if that had any effect.

Nope, just made me the slowest eater at the table.

So my hope is when I blog at around this time tomorrow, I will be reporting on a technique that finally works.

I hope. Watch this space. If it doesn’t, I suspect I will probably have to check out Beachbody’s latest nutrition only offering, 2B Mindset. I’m not entirely sure what it is yet, but I know it actually addresses the emotional side of eating, which I’m pretty sure is my problem with Sunday Dinner. (To play psychologist for a moment: I eat a lot to make sure my Aunt knows I enjoy her cooking and my family knows I enjoy spending time with them. Maybe I should just bring a bunch of Starbucks gift cards to show my love instead?) I’m looking forward to learning more about 2B Mindset if only because I think it will at least give me that tool in my food tool box to feel like I have more control over my food. Don’t worry, millions of readers of mine, as I learn more, so will you.

In the meantime, get those menus done and rest. Listen to your body and enjoy the day off. You’ll need it.

Link below for the usual Beachbody plug.

https://mysite.coach.teambeachbody.com?coachId=1603264&locale=en_US