PEAK WEEK, Day 77: Legs from Phase 1 (aka The One That Requires Strength)

Strength is a funny thing.

There’s physical strength: CAN I LIFT THIS CAR OFF THIS BABY.

There’s mental strength: CAN I STAY AWAKE A LITTLE BIT LONGER TO FINISH THIS ASSIGNMENT.

There’s emotional strength: CAN I BE THE BIGGER PERSON AND NOT TAKE OFFENSE AT MY PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE AUNT.

And there’s what I call social strength: CAN I RESIST THE URGE TO FOLLOW THE HERD WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT.

In my experience, these strengths are all intrinsically tied to one another –if you improve one strength, it usually has the net effect of improving a strength in a different area.

Nowhere have I found this to be more true than in 80 Day Obsession, which is why I love the program so damn much.

To build your physical strength, you necessarily have to build your mental strength (I CAN DO IT! JUST ONE MORE REP!) and your social strength (SORRY I CAN’T GO OUT I HAVE TO GO TO THE GYM). You also have to build some emotional strength (SORRY NOT SORRY FOR HOARDING ALL THE WEIGHTS). Somehow, though you probably didn’t expect it, strength is a package deal with 80 Day Obsession.

You may have started the program to shred out your abs and get a booty. I did. I wanted a six-pack for summer. I kinda have one. Or, at least, it’s the closest I’ve ever been to having one.

I didn’t start 80 Day Obsession because I wanted to become stronger mentally. But I got stronger mentally. It just happened. Probably because as you prove to yourself with each workout that you can do hard things, that carries over to work and family and everything else and you end up reminding yourself, when faced when an otherwise insurmountable task, that you can do hard things.

The same goes for your emotional and social strengths. A million bucks says each have improved during this program (provided, of course, you have actually followed the program).

As a result, you will be ending 80 Day Obsession a different person than when you started. A much stronger person in body and mind and spirit.

I bring all this up because today’s Leg Day is a good reminder of your new and improved strength. The workout is hard: Three sets of 10 reps, where you do the rep scheme a group of exercises at a time.

SERIES 1: Reverse lunges, squats, curtsy lunges.

SERIES 2: Sumo squats, front diagonal lunges, twisting back angle lunge.

SERIES 3: Single-leg good morning, hip hinge, buddha squats.

Because this exercise is from Phase 1, if you recall, the emphasis was on lifting heavy weights. So it is today. But because you will not have lifted truly heavy weights for about four weeks – as Phase 3 was about jumping with a lighter weight – you will struggle today. This is doubly so because Autumn gives minimal rest going from one leg to another within a move; that is, when you finish up the right leg on reverse lunges, you go immediately to your left.

PRO TIP #321: START THE FIRST SET IN SERIES 1 WITH A LIGHTER WEIGHT TO WARM UP.

You will need the warm-up round. When I ended Phase 1 eons ago, I was lifting 25 pound dumbbells for each move. But after the warm-up today, I could feel my body was nowhere near warm enough to start with those 25s. So, I started with 20s. I used the 20s for the first set of reverse lunges, squats, and curtsy lunges. It wasn’t until that second set of reverse lunges that my body felt limber enough to handle the 25s. I knew I was warmed up when my knee banged against the floor on the first lunge, whereas I could barely bend the damn thing in the first set.

More so than my physical strength, however, the workout tested my mental strength. On Day 77, the workout felt long. And I was tired. And I am ready for a break after 77 days.

But here is where that newly developed mental fortitude kicked in. Instead of doubting whether I could finish the move or the workout, I reminded myself I already did – I’d finished it four times before in Phase 1. I could CERTAINLY power through this final round in PEAK WEEK.

To ensure I powered through, I took shorter rest breaks than Autumn and the cast; I knew if I stayed still for too long, I might not get started back up again. Don’t be afraid to start early if this is you. Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to get the job done, ESPECIALLY in Peak Week.

My mind reminded my body it could do this workout. As a result, I have officially checked off yet another workout in 80 Day Obsession. GOODBYE LEG DAY.

But more importantly, I was reminded, yet again, that I can do hard things.

You can too. Check out the link if you want to get started on your own path to 80 Day Obsession. Or email me with questions or for more details. Whatever you do, I hope you are finding your own way to improve your own strengths and live your best life.

After all, why settle for anything less?

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?