PEAK WEEK, DAY 80: Booty from Phase 2 (aka YOU DID IT!)

A blog post isn’t enough today.

You deserve a parade, a special dinner, all the presents. Something, ANYthing, to commemorate the fact that you made it through a TOUGH 80-day workout schedule that pushed you both mentally and physically and that got you the results you always wanted but never knew how to obtain.

You made it through an exhausting Booty workout from Phase 2, where you pushed yourself with heavy weights for the three sets of 10 reps, done group by group (for a refresh of the exercises, click here). Today’s workout was hard enough to make you relieved that 80 Day Obsession was officially over. But it was also a great reminder of how far you’ve come. Remember those quad ped moves on your hands and knees? Where you started with a yellow? Now you’re repping with the green loops and keeping your knee up in the air like a pro:

Quad Ped Hamstring Curl
Definitely keeping my knee up!

Savor the fact that even though you struggled, you were so much stronger today than when you last did this workout in Phase 2. Physically, you were strong enough to lift the heavy weights; mentally, you were strong enough to finish the workout.

80 Day Obsession can change your life if you let it. If you cut through the bullshit and the excuses and just GET IT DONE and control the TWO things you can each and every day – what you put in your body, and how you move your body – you will emerge a different person.

This post rings hollow because there is not a lot I can add to what I hope you are already feeling. This program made me an Autumn Calabrese acolyte and a Beachbody convert. Say what you want about Autumn’s fashion choices, the woman can put together a damn good workout that gets the job done. And say what you want about Beachbody, they’ve put together a platform that allows you to workout whenever you want, wherever you want. Both changed my life, and I hope they changed yours.

It’s been a pleasure sharing this journey with you. If you struggled and had questions, I hope this blog offered a modicum of support. I hope my posts made these past 80 days just a little bit easier for that person who decided to go all in to see what he/she can do.

I’m not entirely sure where I will go from here, but I know I will continue to push play and eat right on a regular basis. Maybe I’ll continue to share my journey with you. Not because I’m perfect and want to tell you what to do and how to do it, but to let you know you are not alone when you struggle with consistency and having only one piece of your Aunt’s famous chocolate cake. Maybe if I keep sharing, it will help keep me accountable to ensure I continue building on the healthy habits I built during the last 160 days.

I hope so. Because I love how I feel right now. I’m living my best self, and more than anything, I hope you are doing the same.

Thanks for following. Watch this space for a slight change in topic in the near future, and good luck with your own fitness journey!

xme

 

p.s.: Link to the usual Beachbody goods here. Check it out to get started on your own 80 Day Obsession journey.

Phase 3, Day 69: AAA (aka The One Where Autumn is a Hot Mess)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that not every day will be perfect in an 80 day workout program.

So it is with 80 Day Obsession.

But there is a huge difference between being the hot mess yourself, and seeing a celebrity super trainer also struggle with hot-messy-itis just like a normal person.

Today’s workout finds you doing AAA for the last time in Phase 3, and the rep scheme is one that feels like it moves quickly, even though the workout still takes close to an hour (58 minutes). As previously described, there are three series of exercises, four exercises to a series, and this week you’ll do each series for two sets of 15 reps each, before moving on to the next series.

While you will enjoy pushing yourself with the weights with this workout, you will mostly enjoy watching Autumn struggle.

I don’t say that to be cruel. What I mean is that for the past 68 days, Autumn has been with you for every rep in every set. She has done every curl and every lunge, every jump and every squat. You see her sweat and see her have to go down in weights because her forearms can’t handle a heavy pair of dumbbells.  Through it all, amazingly, she talks. She calls out cues and counts and reminds you what you should be doing to lift safely and get the most out of the workout.

In short, she is superwoman.

Which is why on Day 69, it is refreshing to be reminded that she is also human.

Today, she will do the side lunges with only one dumbell instead of two, and have to make the correction for the second set.

She will grab loops and start to put them on when all she needs is a weight for twisting roll downs.

She will continuously grab the wrong weights for the exercise she is doing and have to switch them out right before she starts her countdown to begin.

You would think her messiness would be irritating; after all, she’s supposed to be leading the workout –you look to her for guidance and reassurance that you are moving in the right direction.

Yet it is exactly her hot messiness that is so reassuring. It’s those moments that remind us Autumn Calabrese is human, and if she can do these workouts when even she seems to be a step behind, then by God, the rest of us can as well.

I happened to switch on a teaser program for a new workout regime coming out this summer with a different celebrity super trainer, and as I watched him move around and critique form without lifting a weight himself, I admit that part of me switched off. I didn’t realize how much I liked seeing Autumn work out with us until I watched a different program where a trainer didn’t do the same. I remember that in 21 Day Fix, Autumn always at least started the exercise and did a few reps before moving about the room to correct form. With 80 Day Obsession, however, she starts every exercise with you, and she finishes every exercise with you.

I had no idea how motivating this would be until I tried watching another program.

I suspect it might be hard for me to start a new fitness journey with a different trainer who doesn’t acknowledge that the struggle is real. That is, by joining in herself, it’s almost as though Autumn is telling us is okay to struggle because this shit is HARD; after all, if it’s difficult for her, then it should be difficult for the rest of us!

So yeah. Enjoy today’s workout. Know you are not alone in your struggles or your journey. Know also that the journey is almost done and you have come pretty damn far. Enjoy these last two weeks and make them count!

Now for your moment of zen and the usual link:

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Phase 3, Day 66: Total Body Core (aka The One with Real Talk From Autumn Calabrese)

Full Disclosure: Last night’s post was so lackluster that I completely forgot this blog was a daily thing until just now.

But, better late than never, right?!

Also full disclosure: Yesterday’s post sucked because I replaced almost all of yesterday’s yellow containers with beer. And then apparently didn’t eat very much. See, here was yesterday’s view:

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It was a day at the ballpark courtesy of my boyfriend’s employer. Which means there was LOTS of free stuff. As in free food and free booze.

I love free things, especially at places like ball games where you have to trade your first born child for a Coors Light. Which is why, while I could have chosen to stick to the straight and narrow yesterday and drink only water….I didn’t really want to.

So, I compromised. I ate hot dogs without buns, brought my own veggies (cucumbers and carrots), and snacked lightly on the popcorn and peanuts. I also tried to do a 1:1 ratio with beer to water: One beer was followed immediately by a bottle of water.

The end result was that I had to pee several times throughout the game. And I somehow didn’t eat very much.

Which means that by about 7 pm last night, I was ready to pass out and STARVING. My boyfriend, god of my life, made me a chicken veggie bowl, reminded me to blog, then tucked me in to bed. It was a great day, but not conducive to blogging.

Today, however, very much is.

The scenery changed once again. Today I am in my happy place: Chelan. Here was my gym for today’s workout:

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I am proud of this set-up. Perhaps more than any other photo, this one speaks to how much my mindset has changed thanks to 80 Day Obsession.

I cannot tell you how often I packed workout clothes for our trips to Lake Chelan…and then never used them. I’d get here and succumb to the heat and the lake. I’d get a few drinks in me at night then want to sleep in past the opportune morning workout time. The Lake ennui would kick in and obliterate any intention to work out, no matter the streak I was riding when I first pulled into the parking lot.

Today, however, I couldn’t wait to work out. I planned my day and my meals around it. I packed the right clothes.

Part of my excited stemmed from wanting to use my latest workout toy:

Adjustable Weights
Now I literally have a gym in my fingertips and can work out in my car!

These bad boys are amazing, especially in a workout like Total Body Core, where for three sets of 10 reps, doing each series at a time, I was constantly having to change weights. Done and done. Super convenient.

But part of my excitement wasn’t really even just excitement, but just the drive to workout.

That’s still not explaining it right.

You know how you have to wear pants in public? That’s the best I can describe it. I HAD to workout. Just as it isn’t an option to go pants-less in public and remain a law-abiding citizen, it was not an option for me to skip today’s workout just because I was in a different locale.

I am pleased to report I am brainwashed to the point of WANTING to work out. It’s a joy and a challenge to push my body and see what it can do today. It’s also kinda fun to sweat all over the floor and not worry about anybody slipping in it.

PLUS, you do NOT want to miss today’s workout: Autumn gets real about her body and its substantial…augmentations.

As is quite obvious for those of you following along at home, Autumn has had work done: A boob job. I can only imagine she got really into bodybuilding and succumbed to the pressure to look more feminine while also maintaining an insanely low body fat. (Sadly, also reinforcing a body image the rest of us chase that is not totally obtainable without going under the knife, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Today, Autumn admits to having had work done. She talks about how it impacts her ability to perform push-ups; she makes a remark along the lines that she was young when she chose to have the augmentation.

Say what you want about the choice to have this particular surgery, but hot damn Autumn are you my new best friend for your honesty.

There’s a reason this program is inspiring millions of followers and a cult-like devotion: Over 80 days, you really do get to know Autumn and her cast. Sure, there are days where you want to shove them all off a cliff; but then there are others where their stories and groans are all that get you through those modified 1/2 Turkish pushup whatevers, and afterwards all you want to do is invite them all over for a drink to marvel at how you all survived. I mean, what other personal trainer is gonna talk about her own breast augmentation while filming a live workout for repeat use by a fitness conglomerate? That takes balls.

So make sure you press play today. You won’t regret it.

Also, I think I know what workout program I’m doing next. Stay tuned and keep reading my next few posts to find out where my head’s at!

Link to some possible options here. Stay cool mes amigos!

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?

Phase 3, Day 58: Cardio Flow (aka The One Where You Reach For Fifth Gear and Get….Nothing)

I effing hate this workout.

I hate the build-up of exercises. I hate diamond jumps. I hate mules to frogs because I feel so damn uncoordinated doing them and like I’m water-boarding myself with all the sweat.

I can’t really even zone out during this workout because I have to keep track of the count.

The only thing I like about this workout is FINISHING it. That feels damn good….until I remember I have to do it again a week from now.

So, this morning I dragged myself out of bed and to the gym at 6 am, even though I had just worked out at 8 pm the night before. That’s not even a 12-hour break, people, and I was running on less than six hours’ sleep.

So I had that going for me. I was already unmotivated to do the workout, and I was tired.

It was the perfect storm.

I got all the way through building up the exercises. Then I made it through the first of the eight rounds and gave myself a two-second towel break so I could see.

I started the second round, and by the time I got to spider push-ups, something was off. Not like something was wrong, but it was as though my arms stopped working. I lurched my way through four reps, then stood up for diamond jumps.

At that point, I had a semi-out-of-body experience. I knew I had to do a diamond jump; I knew how to do a diamond jump; I knew the effort required and how low I wanted to get and how high I wanted to spring; but in that moment, it was as though my body simply went, “NOPE. Dial that shit back about six inches.”

The best I can describe it, it was like standing on an open air elevator platform being lowered slowly into the earth, and looking up and seeing my Stamina standing on the edge of the pit, smiling and waving cheerfully as I sink into the darkness. In that moment, my stamina said goodbye.

And suddenly I realized I wasn’t just sweating, I was DROWNING in sweat. I couldn’t breathe. My heart was beating too fast. I managed to somehow limp through the remaining diamond jumps and take a few deep breaths doing flamingos; but the sense of drowning returned full-force in mules to frogs when it felt as though the sweat was flooding my nose and mouth and blocking my ability to inhale.

In essence, I was on the verge of losing my shit.

I somehow got through the round, hit “pause,” and took a moment to calm the fuck down. I wiped the sweat from my face and drank some water. I hit “play,” but then immediately hit “pause” again. The thought of having to go another six rounds in a row had my heart racing. I don’t know if it was a mental block or my body not being fully recovered from the night before or a heady combo of the two, but suffice it to say, I didn’t have it. I was missing that GRIT that usually had me gutting it out through the most difficult reps at the end of the workout. Instead, I felt tired and worn down and a little hopeless, to be honest.

So I made myself a deal. I didn’t have six rounds left; I just had two rounds. I’d do two rounds in a row without a break, then hit the “30 second repeat” button on my phone to give myself a 30-second towel and water break. I’d get 30 seconds to gather myself and my strength. Did it somewhat cut against the gist of the workout, which is to do it all without stopping? Yes. But I wasn’t really stopping. I was just taking extended pauses. And I wasn’t quitting.

By breaking it down into sets of two, I got that shit done. It wasn’t perfect, and it certainly wasn’t pretty, but apparently that’s all my body could handle today. I just didn’t have it.

I could be beating myself up right now, angry that I didn’t complete the workout the way Autumn intended, bummed that I didn’t make the most of this morning’s opportunity to take a step towards that fabled six-pack.

But I’m not. More than anything, I’m focused on the fact that I need more sleep. I need to be in bed within the hour, and I need to get some much needed Zzzzzzzs so my body can repair.

That’s just how it goes. Today wasn’t a good day. I can’t win them all. But I can make sure I don’t quit. I didn’t quit. Which means I’m quietly celebrating completing Day 58 for the second time in this 80 Day Obsession journey. I’m relishing the fact that this is the best workout streak I’ve ever had. And I’m already planning on kicking ass in tomorrow’s workout to make up for today.

Some days, you’ll reach for fifth gear and find you can barely get into third. That’s normal. But don’t let it become the norm. Accept it for the day, roll with the punches, and move on to the next workout. Be nice to yourself about it. Figure out what went wrong and address the issue. Get more sleep or get back on the eating plan or drink more water. There’s always SOMEthing.

Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged and quit. Because that’s so much harder to come back from than a quick towel and water break.

I hope you read this and know the struggle is real. I couldn’t feel my quads in the duck walks, pictured below:

Duck Walk
I’m in a tiny house and it sucks.

I had no idea how close my knee was to the ground. As far as I could tell, I was barely getting down there; I had no body-mind connection today.

Turns out, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Which is my last point: Even when it feels terrible and you can’t get low or push through that extra rep, things aren’t as bad as you think. Guaranteed.

So take a moment, wipe off that sweat, take a drink of water, then finish the workout in whatever way you can that day. It’ll get better.

Looking for inspo? Link to Beachbody here.

I’m off to bed to gear up for Leg Day tomorrow. It’s gonna be good.

Phase 2, Day 49: AAA (aka The One Where You Hate Autumn)

I have nothing good to say about this workout other than I did it.

It’s long: 62 minutes to be exact.

It’s hard: I was constantly lightening up my weights in the middle of the single-tempo set because my shoulders were about to give out (always the shoulders).

It’s not fun: I effing hate the plank kickbacks.

It’s the perfect storm of terror that has you cursing Autumn’s name by the end of it.

And maybe because it’s Friday and I was tired from the long week and knew I had to go play soccer right after the workout I wasn’t my usual positive can-do self. But this time after the workout, I didn’t have that sweet sweet sense of accomplishment that normally floods my veins. I just wanted to cry that it was over and get the hell out of the gym.

While this workout feels like an adventure at the beginning Phase 2, by Week 4, it’s just a slog. It’s two sets of 15 where you go through each series twice for 15 reps before moving on to the next series. BUT, this time, instead of only doing one rep of single-tempo burnouts, there’s a burnout round after every three-count exercise.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this previous post for more info.

As with a few other workouts, I found this one slightly demoralizing. Yes, I did it. And yes, I was stronger on a few of the exercises. But I didn’t FEEL strong. My arms were shaking and I wasn’t able to power through with the same set of weights and I felt so weak on the sliders.

I share this because this is my second time through 80 Day Obsession. And for whatever reason, this shit doesn’t get easier. It feels just as hard now as it did the first time around. I suppose, then, that the only thing I have going for me is I KNOW I can do it at this point, because I did it before. That mental certainty is sometimes all that keeps me going as I grit my teeth and hold back the tears and eke out another rep.

Which is all to say, if you felt the same way today, you’re not alone. It’s normal to hate Autumn for causing you to faceplant after you arm gives out in the weighted plank kickbacks. It’s completely acceptable to swear up a storm when you’re f-ing triple loops roll down your legs during the scissor kicks in the third series BECAUSE THAT EXERCISE JUST DOESN’T WORK WELL WITH LOOPS. It’s cool to draw dirty looks because you are squirreling away all the free weights in your small sweaty corner of the gym.

Just go with it. And when you feel like you can’t take it anymore, step outside yourself and look at the workout as a means to an end. That’s what I ended up doing tonight. My workout went from being me doing 80 Day Obsession, to me looking at it as a super good warmup before tonight’s soccer match:

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At least I felt strong and smooth while running. Which at the very least, tells me AAA did the job and ended up being worth the pain and struggle. It got my muscles and joints all lubed up so I hopefully didn’t pull anything.

Hang in there. You’ve made it this far and we are about to get to the fun stuff in Phase 3, where we tackle even more complex moves but with slightly lighter weights. You’ll do stuff you haven’t seen, stuff that you’ll love, and stuff that I swear will make you hate Autumn just a little bit more. Even as you begrudgingly thank her for whipping your ass into shape.

Day 50 tomorrow. If you’re in need of more loops, check out the usual link. Otherwise, catch you on the flip side for another day at the zoo.

Phase 2, Day 33: Booty (aka Never Miss a Monday)

It’s not that I didn’t want to workout today. It’s moreso that my body is still in vacation mode, and taking a day off, like TRULY taking a day off from life and work and eating right, sounded right up my alley.

Truth be told, that probably would have happened had I not happened to check Autumn’s Instagram while lying in bed this morning. “Never miss a Monday,” she posted. Even though today didn’t feel like a Monday, even though I was still in the holiday zone, I rolled out of bed, ate my pre-workout meal, and got my ass to the gym.

It wasn’t pretty, but I got it done.

Booty. Boo-TAY. An almost hour-long workout this week doing the rep scheme I hate: Three sets of 10 reps, but where you go through the entire workout three times, doing each exercise for 10 reps. I hate it because it takes forever. The workouts don’t change, but that doesn’t make them easy.

Also, I can’t remember if I stressed this last week, but I do have a pro-tip for the Quad-Ped series.

PRO-TIP #44: LIGHTEN UP.

It is very easy to do the quad ped exercises (heel press up on the angle, single-leg hamstring curl, and bear fire hydrant) WRONG. Why? Because if you let your knee drop when you fully extend your leg, you’re taking the movement out of your butt and into your quad.

As Autumn points out with a cast member, if you can’t keep your knee UP during these moves, you might have to lighten up on the resistance loop. That cast member, Jazmyne, is RIPPED. Seriously, she started 80 Day Obsession already shredded, yet somehow managed to carve her abs and triceps out even more over the course of the program. And, her ass is #buttgoals.

But despite her pre-conditioning, she struggled with the quad ped series because of her tight hip flexors. As a result, she eventually ended up not using a band at ALL for the heel press up on the angle and single-leg hamstring curl because she could not do either without keeping her knee up. What was most important was her form, and given how her body was wired, she could not keep perfect form and work the muscle that needed to be worked: Her glutes.

I am sharing this because if you are anything like me, you will be frustrated with the quad ped series. I alternate between wanting to challenge myself with a heavier resistance loop, and watching my form. My problem is that my back tends to arch, which means I feel it more in my lower back than in my butt. Case in point:

Heel Press Up on Angle
WAYYYY too much lower back action here.

You can see I put on a blue loop for this exercise. After I snapped this photo, for the next round, I swapped out the blue for the green and managed to tuck my tailbone and lose the arch.

My point being that this week will press some buttons. The rep scheme will feel wrong, you might not increase the weight as much as you like, and all of it tends to come to a head in a cloud of frustration that makes it hard to be motivated to workout. Honestly, the only thing that got me through today was Autumn’s mantra, which I HAPPENED to stumble across: “Never Miss a Monday.” That was the only thing that kept me going.

I knew that after the celebratory, holiday weekend I enjoyed in San Diego, I was in need of a good workout to get keyed back in to the 80 Day Obsession plan. AND, I knew that if I worked out, I would be more likely to get back on the timed nutrition trian.

For the most part, my morning workout set me on the path of eating right….Except for the fact that dinner at my Aunt’s house was moved to tonight. AND WHO CAN SAY NO TO HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY PIE. IT’S JUST RUDE.

However, I only had one slice. And I swapped out my hamburger bun for some bibb lettuce and only had one helping of everything, even though I desperately wanted a second half ear of corn. I’m typing this now feeling full, but not obscenely so – a marked change from what I usually experience most nights after family dinner. So, I suppose I will take it as a win and use the rest of the week to get back on the straight and narrow. But I am NOT going to punish myself and use my less-than-perfect day as an excuse to throw the rest of the meal plans out for the week and eat garbage instead. No. I’ll just eat better tomorrow than I did today. Progress not perfection. That’s all I can do.

At the very least, I got my Monday workout in. I pushed play and have now set the tone for the rest of the week. And that tone says I WILL work out according to schedule.

All because I didn’t miss a Monday.

So, don’t miss a Monday. For most of you, it’s not too late. But, if you’re really struggling, hit me up. I might be able to help. Or, check out the usual link for ways the Beachbody shenanigans could help you.

After all, even if you miss a Monday, it doesn’t mean you have to miss the next.