Phase 2, Day 32: Cardio Flow (aka Not My Favorite)

I have nothing to write about today’s workout. You do six reps of each move. It’s a slog.

But you can finish this workout because you’ve done four reps of each move before, so how hard is it to add another two reps?

With that out of the way, rather than recap my pathetic attempts at donkey/mules, I’d prefer to talk about something you probably have a lot of questions about: Refeed Day.

This next week, on Wednesday, Day 35, you will have your first Refeed Day. What, pray tell, is a Refeed Day? It’s when Autumn allows you to eat “Dirty Yellows” at different intervals throughout the day.

What is a “dirty yellow”? There’s a list included with the 80 Day Obsession program, and those dirty yellows consist of carbohydrates that contain more sugar than what we are usually allowed. For example, the dirty yellow could be fix-approved brownies, fix-approved donut holes, white bread, etc. The idea is that you are replenishing the glycogen in your system because it will have been at a deficit for the past few weeks; when you body gets that extra sugar/glycogen, it should translate to you feeling stronger and having a better workout and perhaps giving your metabolism an extra boost. When a cast member asked Autumn if he should do the refeed days because he only wanted to “maintain” and not lean out, Autumn’s response was yes, that he should participate in the refeed days so he could see how it would affect his body.

I didn’t like Refeed Days, and I struggled with them the entire program. My Achilles Heel was the spoon.

To explain: Autumn has a fix-approved recipe for flourless chocolate brownies which are AMAZING, and she and bro Bobby also came up with these delicious fix-approved donut holes. After over a month of no baked goods, the Sunday before my first Refeed Day in Round 1, I decided to treat myself and make BOTH the brownies and the donut holes. I did it on Sunday because I knew I wouldn’t have time to bake during the week, so I figured I might as well get it all done at once.

The problem with baking these treats at home is that inevitably, I HAVE to lick the spoon. You know, when you’re dumping the batter into the cake pan and/or into muffin tins and you may “accidentally” leave a little more than a spoonful stuck to the sides of the bowl so you have an excuse to clean up the mess with a good spatula and then your finger? Then, after the rigorous bowl-cleaning, after you pull everything out of the oven, well you HAVE to taste-test your goods! Otherwise, what if you get to the glorious Refeed Day and the first shot of chocolate you’ve enjoyed in over 30 days tastes like ass because it turns out you forgot to rinse the strainer before using it to drain the chickpeas for the brownies which means the brownies have taken on the taste of the artichoke hearts which were in the strainer before the chickpeas.

My point is that I would usually end up having TWO Refeed Days during Refeed Week: One on Sunday when I would invariably succumb to my own baking, and then on the actual Refeed Day when I was SUPPOSED to enjoy my own baking. As a result, I felt terrible during Refeed week. My system had a hard time adjusting to the added sugar and it really felt like I took a step back both in terms of my nutrition and my appearance. I never got the hang of finding the balance with Refeed Days.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Katie, instead of trying to avoid the temptation of your home kitchen, just buy your Dirty Yellows at the store and call it a day.”

So, I tried that. For one Refeed Day, I decided to treat myself to a delicious donut from Top Pot as two of my Dirty Yellows (yes you get two at once for one of your meals).

I literally blacked out and ate three donuts before I knew what was happening.

The leash on my self-control is tenuous at best. I keep trying to find a way around it being all or nothing, but to date, all or nothing seems to be the only course of action that actually WORKS for me. When I try to improvise with a Samoa donut from Top Pot, my mind seems to take that as a signal for a free-for-all and suddenly it’s all I can do to not eat my body weight in processed fat and sugar.

Even though I would end up having two Refeed Days, I had greater success making my dirty yellows at home: After I taste-tested a few and confirmed they weren’t terrible, I would portion out what I needed for Wednesday and then take the rest over to my Aunt’s house for Sunday dinner. That way, I didn’t have extra lying around the house. Even better, while I consistently over-ate the dirty yellows when making them, at least, by following fix-approved recipes, I could ensure I wasn’t putting the worst crap possible in my body; it was just crap.

I share this post because I want you to know that Refeed Days are difficult; they feel fun at first, but for me, they were a pain in the ass. If you find something that works for you, great. But if you are like me and know this day is going to present a problem for you, here’s a few tips to help get you through the day:

#1: Have a Plan.

You need to know on Sunday what your Dirty Yellows are going to be. Are you going to buy them at the store? Treat yourself to an extra piece of white bread at lunch? Make fix-approved brownies at home? Just like with every other aspect of the timed nutrition, you need to plan this out. You need to know what you are going to eat to refeed yourself BEFORE dawn breaks on Refeed Day. If you don’t have a plan, that is a recipe for disaster, as the only thing that will fill the gap are terrible processed foods that are easy to grab and terrible for your overall results.

#2: Use the Fixate Recipes.

If you’re not like me and don’t have a problem with licking the spoon, then absolutely make a fix-approved dirty yellows from the comfort of your own home. There is no better way to guarantee that you are then putting into your body exactly what is recommended because you know what is in the food you are consuming. After all, you made it!

#3: Get the Extras Out of Your House.

If you are taking 80 Day Obsession seriously, then one of the first things you would have done before starting the program is cleared all the junk food and crap food out of your house.

With Refeed Day, however, it can feel like you suddenly have free rein to buy that crap food and put it back in your house. Don’t fall into this trap. First, don’t buy the food. BUT, if you do end up buying the food, then immediately portion out what you need and get rid of the rest.

I always did this with the fix-approved dirty yellows I would make on Sunday: I would set aside what I needed for Wednesday and package up the rest for family dinner. HOWEVER, there was one day where family dinner was cancelled, and so there was nowhere to take the leftovers on Sunday. Uh Oh.

Somehow, the brownies I did NOT need to eat ended up disappearing Sunday night. I kept seeing them and nibbling at them for “just a taste” and before I knew it they were gone. Not my proudest moment, but at least I know now I simply can’t have it in the house. Weirdly enough, there is a difference between portioning out brownies and setting them aside for a certain day, versus leaving the brownies in the pan for the week; the former causes me to stick to and follow the meal plan; the latter destroys any self-control I have and inevitably leads to a free-for-all.

#4: Don’t Be Afraid to Change It Up.

What I mean by this is that everyone is different, and everyone will react differently to Refeed Day. You’re going to have to pay attention to your body to figure out how to get the most out of this day. I felt like shit after most Refeed Days because I used all my Dirty Yellows as an excuse to have processed sugar.

There was one Refeed Day where I didn’t have time to make anything or buy anything, so I ended up having extra slices of Ezekiel’s bread and extra helpings of sweet potato. Surprise surprise, that Refeed Day, I felt the BEST I did all program. Unfortunately, that day came at the very end, so I have yet to see if it can be repeated. That I will find out this week.

I’m still learning this stuff, just like you. I’m still doing trial and error. You will too. Don’t let the learning part be used as an excuse to stray from the program; don’t lean more towards the “error” than the trial because it’s easier to throw in the towel than fix what’s broken.

Above all, if you have questions while going through this, ASK. It doesn’t have to be me, but feel free to drop me an email or a comment. I guarantee you won’t be the first one to wonder if you’re doing Refeed Day right or if there are ways you could be doing it better.

As always, feel free to click on the link to learn more about Beachbody stuff.

Tomorrow’s my day off from the blog, so good luck getting ready for Refeed Day, and again, let me know if you have any questions!


Phase 2 Day 31: AAA (aka You’re Going to Have to Struggle)

This is an earlier post than normal because I am out of my routine for the next few days.

See, I am currently in San Diego, celebrating the wedding of a dear friend. In the past, I would have used being away from home as an excuse to not workout, and to eat myself into oblivion while claiming to conduct a “cultural experiment.” That is, “Do tacos taste better in the Gaslamp Quarter or at Point Loma? Better try them all to make sure!”

This time, however, vacation feels different. Don’t get me wrong: I’m enjoying myself and not holding my diet to a Nazi standard when it comes to nutrition, but I’m also driven to find ways to comply with the 80 Day Obsession as much as possible. And miss a workout? NO fucking way.

Which means I was up at 8 this morning to eat and then workout in the hotel gym. Not the perfect set-up, and I had to alternate between the fitness room and the hallway outside in order to use my sliders on the tile floor, but I got it done. Which is saying something, considering today’s workout. It’s not easy, and it’s not like one you have ever done.

The basic set-up of AAA stays the same: You contract for three count, then release for one. Here’s what you can expect:

Series 1

Shoulders – Bilateral press; alternating unilateral press.

Delts – Lateral raise; “Y”.

Abs – Lat Side Bend; Standing Weighted Knee Driver.

Butt – Loop Standing Donkey; Forearm Plan Jumping Jacks.

Series 2

Chest – Chest Press; Fly.

Triceps – Kickback in plank; tricep push-up.

Abs – corkscrew; teaser.

Butt – 1st Position Bridge; Single-Leg Bridge w/Loop.

Series 3

Back – Pullovers; renegade row.

Biceps – Curls; Turned out Curl.

Abs – Loop Scissor Twist; V Leg Raises.

Butt – Narrow Bridge Clam; Straight Leg Circles.

I know i know, that list means nothing to you. Here’s how to decipher it. For the first move listed for each muscle group, in Week 1 of Phase 2, you do 15 reps in the usual AAA pattern: Contract for three count, release for 1 count. Immediately after the 15 reps, you go straight into the second-listed exercise for 15 reps at normal tempo. HOWEVER, you only do the second exercise in the FIRST set of 15. When you circle back through to do all the exercises for a second set, you drop that second exercise, which causes the last half of the workout to move a lot quicker than the first.

Even so, the quickened pace doesn’t stop this workout from being a beast. It’s a struggle. My notes for the corkscrew and teasers read simply: “SO HARD.” Why? Because you will have just done kickback in plank. Your new least fave exercise. Here’s a photo:

Kickbacks in Plank
F-ing hate this one.

You can tell from looking at the photo that this workout is a struggle. That said, it’s not so much that the moves are hard. They are. But it’s moreso that these challenging moves are stacked one on top of the other, so it’s hard for your muscles to catch a break. You go from barely making it through one exercise to struggling through the next.

And that, friends, is the key word for the day: Struggle. Even on my second time through 80 Day Obsession, this workout was a struggle for me. I almost started crying during the corkscrews. I had to go down in weight in the middle of bicep curls. I started with a lower weight in the first shoulder round. Today was one of those days when I felt nowhere near as strong as I did yesterday. Probably because my schedule is off. I had to hit pause a few times as I worked to pull the loops up over my thighs. Oh, and a loop snapped on me.

Goodbye, Loop
At least it snapped when I was pulling it on, and not mid-pull.

My point is that I had a lot going against me doing this workout, including shit that happened DURING the workout. The old me, especially the one studying for the Bar years ago, would have used these set-backs as an excuse to quit.

But not today, Satan. I don’t know if it’s 80 Day Obsession or age or a combination of the two, but today I just rolled with the punches and got it done. Some days, that’s all you can do. Don’t let the struggle stop you from finishing. It’s just part of the process. Embrace it and move on.

Now, as for food. Before reading this next section, for those of you doing 80 Day Obsession for the first time, DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO.

Did I have alcohol last night? Yup. Did I have some pizza? Oh yeah. Did I follow it all up with ice cream? Hell yeah. Did I feel guilty afterwards? Nope. Because I made sure to go a glass of water for every drink, I got my veggies in prior to having the pizza, and it was a nice walk to the ice cream place. I’m on vacation. I’d regret not living it up at least a little if I went home without sampling the local goods. But I didn’t go crazy. And today, I made a point to walk to Ralph’s to stock up on some hard-boiled eggs, mini peppers, and nanners, all so I can have some healthy snacks on hand later if/when I can’t find this particular combination of containers.

But EVEN BETTER, on my way to Ralph’s, I happened upon the BEST place for a superfood bowl: SD Discount Nutrition. I got the PowerMax Bowl post-workout, and I didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t this deliciousness:

IMG_0382I wasn’t even looking for it, and it was the perfect post-workout fuel, and it was all plant-based and low in sugar.

My point being, because I went out of my way to make an effort to eat at least semi-healthy, I ended up with this slice of heaven without even meaning to. It was like finding $10 in your pocket when you’re going to do laundry. Completely unexpected but absolutely welcome.

I include these details so that you know 80 Day Obsession IS sustainable, even in the face of life and all its pleasures. Still doubt? Well, the wedding is today, which means tomorrow’s post will be a true testament as to how to manage a semblance of the nutrition plan in the face of champagne, bite-sized appetizers, and wedding cake. I will let you know how it goes!

Phase 1, Day 20: Cardio Flow (aka Just Do It)

I go back and forth on Cardio Flow.

On the one hand, the workout feels mindlessly repetitive and it’s easy to get bored and zone out.

On the other hand, the workout feels mindlessly repetitive and it’s easy to let my body just go through the motions and zone out.

Either way, on Day 20 of Round 2 of 80 Day Obsession, my legs were tired. I was tired. It had been a long week and I was feeling it. I didn’t really want to work out, but I knew I would feel better once I started moving and worked some lactic acid out of my legs. The trick, however, was to get moving in the first place. Because an object in motion…stays in motion.

I’ve previously described Cardio Flow and its zoo full of moves and its rep scheme. Nothing changes in Phase 1. Everything stays the exact same. For reasons explained above, I both curse and love this set-up. By the time Saturday rolls around, I can tell I’ve been working hard all week, and my body is dying for the Sunday rest day. Yet HOW MANY INCHWORMS MUST A WOMAN DO TO EARN A DAY OF REST?!

Also, even though this is not my first rodeo, how is it possible for me to get SO SWEATY doing Cardio Flow? Picture posted below to demonstrate my point.

A girl’s best friend in the Zoo are the flamingos

I finished today’s workout with drops of sweat littered on the floor. It was everywhere. It was gross. But admittedly, I love that feeling. That sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering something hard before you’ve even had breakfast.

I think that’s the secret behind Cardio flow: After you make it through the workout ONCE, you know you can do it every time. Because like I said, nothing changes. And when you struggle, you know you can keep pushing because you’ve done it before. Just one more rep; just one more jump. It’s not rocket science. It’s the simple act of setting your body in motion by pushing play and then keeping it in motion for the rest of the workout. There’s nothing pretty or earth-shattering. Case in point is me doing my least favorite move: Diamond Jumps.

Diamond Jumps
Nothing pretty here! Just lots of sweat and hard work.

I hate Diamond Jumps. I have done the math and know exactly how many I have to do in this damn workout (36). I count them down. Every time, regardless of how many times I’ve done the workout, my legs burn and I have focus on keeping my knees from knocking together. But every time, I get them done. I finish the workout.


Because I trust the process.

Because I just posted two photos of myself in nothing but a sports bra and workout shorts for all the world to see, even though these photos can be viewed by the people I work for and against (hello, btw).

Because at this point last year I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing that outfit at the gym, or sharing those photos.

But it’s amazing the changes that can be made in 80 days, both in terms of body composition and confidence. I have read reviews of 80 Day Obsession which complain that Cardio Flow is boring. And to a certain extent, it is. But on the last workout day of the week, when your body is tired and your mind is doubting whether you can make it to the end, Cardio Flow is the perfect way to finish. It reminds you of how much stronger you are since when you started, and it sets you up for success; it gives you a do-able challenge and allows you to plan for the next week on a high note.

More importantly, Cardio Flow fits nicely into the fitness puzzle that is 80 Day Obsession. It can be a rest day or a cardio day, depending on how you feel and how you look at it. At the very least, it’s the sort of workout that begs you to JUST DO IT, even though you are tired and sore and cranky.

I wish I had better words of wisdom to share. All I can say is that being on Day 20 for this second round of 80 Day Obsession feels just as good as it did the first time. And, I feel just as proud. I’m still sticking with my meal plan, though tonight might be a challenge as we are eating out at a different Mexican restaurant for the first time. I’ll share all about the experience tomorrow, including my meal plan set-up for Week 4.

I hope you finished Cardio Flow today and completed Week 3 on a high note. GREAT JOB! This shit isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday and I’ll catch you tomorrow in the same spot.

Link to the usual Beachbody stuff found here.




Phase 1, Day 16: Booty (aka Big Booty Pump)

Last week I blogged about the trouble with Booty day: There are times when you’re not sure if you’re doing the exercises right, or getting the most out of them.

Well, I’m happy to report that today’s booty workout kicked my ass.

What did I do differently? I double-banded with blue loops.

Let’s recap: Last week I talked about how if you didn’t feel as though the booty exercises were challenging enough, then it was up to you to either perfect your form or add another resistance loop. I wrote that post because I spent most of last week’s workout wondering if I should add another resistance loop to make it harder.

Which means that prior to today’s workout, I was looking over my tracking sheets and realized I had room for improvement. As this week’s booty workout focuses on one muscle group at a time, doing three sets of 10 before moving on to the next muscle group, I decided to go for it. I decided to double-band with blue loops.

First, whoever says you can’t get a workout with these loops has obviously never double-banded with blue loops and then tried to do clams. That shit is HARD.

Secondly, I knew I had finally found the right resistance when I was barely able to make it through the second set of each exercise. You know you have the right resistance/weight when you barely finish round two, but can feel your body has enough left in the tank for round three.

Here is me doing duck walks with double-banded blues:

Duck walk it out
Hate these things.

Are the bands too high up my thighs? Yes. And I had to pause the damn workout to readjust. But I didn’t STOP the damn workout.

Did I at one point worry I was going to have permanent bruises on my thighs thanks to the double bands during the last “moving” round? Yes. I absolutely thought I was about to have permanent loop tattoos. But I didn’t QUIT.

I find that booty workouts test my mind as much as my body because I have to really focus in on the area of my body I’m working, and in this Phase 1, I have to ignore the urge to just stop the workout because it gets a bit boring.

There, I said it: This one gets a bit boring. While I appreciate the opportunity to do half the workout on the ground, all the transitions and double-looping and unlooping make for some tediousness. Plus, I get tired. It’s amazing how even though this is a pure body workout, at one point, I almost threw in the towel because my arms were shaking too much to get the damn loops off my thighs. The workout feels long, there’s not enough movement in the exercises for me to be distracted by Donald’s hair, and loss of circulation is a constant fear.

But I have to tell you, when you make it through that final round of side lunges and sit down to take off the loops, it feels like you’re sitting on a basketball. Your ass feels HUGE, and just as they note in the video, you will spend the rest of the day checking out your backside in the mirror because it FEELS bigger. It feels like you got some big booty pump.

So if you’re still doubting whether this workout works for you. Throw on another resistance loop. Throw on ALL the loops. The burn is out there, but it’s up to you to chase it.

Speaking of the pursuit of happiness, let’s switch focus briefly and talk about nutrition. Tonight was a great test for the timed nutrition meal plan: I had dinner with my boyfriend at my parents’. My mom got this instapot and made this turkey tikka masala with brown rice and a green salad. I admit, I am lucky in that I was raised to eat healthy as a kid: The food my Mom made was low in fat, low in salt, and low in flavor.

However, even with my mother’s conscientious attention to what went into the food, no attention was ever paid to HOW MUCH we ate. I would say portions were an afterthought, but they actually weren’t a thought at all. We ate until we were full and then we ate another serving or four.

So tonight, I planned ahead. I brought my green, red, and yellow containers with me to portion out the food for my Meal Option 5 (last meal of the day). Thank God I did. There is something about seeing people in front of you scoop food onto their plate that makes it impossible to judge the size of what should go on your own. The portion of brown rice that fit into my yellow looked tiny compared to everyone else’s; same with the tikka masala and the salad. But because I actually filled up my containers then dumped the food on my plate, I knew exactly how much of each food I was eating. Which means I absolutely enjoyed my meal without worrying about overeating.

Did my parents make a comment about the containers? Yes, but only because they were curious about what a “proper” portion size looked like. Then they went back to enjoying the quadruple portions on their plates.

Don’t be afraid to plan ahead and pack what you need to succeed when it comes to food and this program; or really, when it comes to food and LIFE. I know I’m terrible at controlling my portions, so I removed the guesswork from the equation and made sure I had my containers handy so I wouldn’t overeat. I will tell you that if we eat out at a restaurant I’ve not been to before, the containers will likely make an appearance. Or at least, they will hitch a ride in my purse. Even just being able to eyeball a yellow as it sits in my hand is enough to remind me of what a portion size looks like. But for that to happen, I need to have it with me.

I hope at this point you are realizing your pressure points with the timed nutrition. Maybe it’s late night cravings or eating out; maybe it’s having to deal with working lunches; maybe it’s related to figuring out your pre-workout meal. Any way you cut it, I hope you are using these opportunities to find solutions instead of dwelling on the problem. If it means success, I hope you are the girl who brings her containers to the working lunch: “Yes sir, I am serious about eating healthy, which is why I brought my containers; imagine that same laser focus directed at helping you grow your business and you can see why I’m the perfect fit for the job.”

Figure out what works for you then go for it. Make no apologies. This is your life and your body and it’s your time to own it, damn it. Ride that big booty pump throughout the day and do what you need to do to make “it” happen.

Okay, that’s me off my soapbox. Tune in tomorrow for some more thoughts on cardio core. I, for one, am excited to see my progress.

Click on the link for the usual trove of Beachbody products.

Phase 1, Day 15: Total Body Core (aka No Shame in My Pushup Game)

I love Week 3 workouts in 80 Day Obsession.

Instead of doing ALL the exercises in a row three times, you group the exercises into their muscle groups and do three sets of 10 reps, one muscle group at a time. So, for example, in Series 1, you do 10 reps of squat rotating shoulder press, then 10 reps of lateral bear crawl, then 10 reps of spider loops. Repeat twice more, 10 reps every time.

The end result is you burn out the muscle group before moving on. But, more importantly, because you are focusing on one muscle group at a time, you can also focus on bumping up the weight to lift extra heavy.

Week 3 is where you push yourself to see how much stronger you are, even from the week before. Even if it’s only for one set, for example if you do 2 rounds of squat rotating shoulder press with 12 pound dumbbells, but then bump up to 15s for the last round, that counts as getting stronger. The best part is that if, after the first round in the series, you feel like you could have done more reps, then you bump up for the next round. I love this week because it’s easy to adjust your weights to go as heavy – or as light – as you need to.

Plus, the workout flies by with this rep scheme.

So, to briefly recap: This week it is easy to push yourself, and you can get it done in what feels like record time.

But that said, sometimes the progress you make isn’t measured by how much you’re lifting, but in form, and in how strong you feel doing the exercise. I had two such breakthroughs TODAY on two different exercises.

The first was on those GD renegade rows with a twist.

I have blogged previously about this exercise. It is not my favorite. I literally count down the number of reps (30) I have left in this Phase before I can say goodbye to the damn things (until my next time through). I hate renegade rows with a twist because I don’t feel strong doing them. I wobble. I jiggle. I have moments where I’m afraid my elbow will dislocate.

Which is why today, two reps into the exercise, it took me a moment to realize why this time felt different: I felt steady. Normally, when I swing my leg through for the twist, it’s a half swing/half fall into position. This time, however, I was actually CONTROLLING my leg as it came through and PLACING my foot on the ground – normally the foot lands with a crash and it’s all I can do to keep my balance. Yet with each rep, I realized that I was in control. I was controlling my movements, and for once, my movements were very deliberate. All this, EVEN THOUGH I had bumped up to using the green band.

The steadiness lasted for ALL of the three rounds. And while it got messy towards the end, this was the first time I felt strong doing the exercise; the first time I could say with 100% certainty that I had improved. That was my first major victory, and I celebrated it even though it had nothing to do with lifting heavy.

The second victory was with tricep push-ups, the very last move of the workout.

Autumn urges you to do as many of the tricep push-ups as you can on your toes. I did this in the first round, doing them all on my toes. But my form felt off.  I struggled. I wasn’t able to get very low, and something about my form had me feel as though my back was taking most of the weight instead of my triceps. Not a good feeling. As a result, for the last two rounds, even though I knew I was “capable” of doing all the reps on my feet, I took it down to my knees. I modified the exercise, not because I wasn’t feeling strong, but because I just wasn’t feeling it where I thought I should. My form sucked on my toes, and I didn’t want to push through and do 20 more reps on my toes if it came at the expense of not actually working the muscles I should.

The first tricep push-up I did on my knees felt AMAZING. I got lower than I ever thought I could, and my form felt GOOD. Still, it wasn’t until I took a picture of myself actually performing the exercise that I realized the progress I had made:

Tricep Pushup
No Shame in this Pushup Game!

I have never, ever, EVER in a million years thought I could get my upper arm parallel to my body like that. And my back is straight. And my core is tight. This picture, more than any other I have shared, makes me proud of my progress and tells me how far I have come.

Even though I am technically modifying the exercise, I don’t care. Today, my body needed the modification. And by modifying tricep pushups, I got the most out of it. Instead of being ashamed, I am absolutely elated. DO YOU SEE MY FORM?! That’s why there is no shame in my push-up game. Sure, I could have done these on my toes. But I guarantee I would not now be posting a photo telling you how proud I am of my form.

My point is this: Don’t get caught up in tracking your progress solely by how heavy you’re lifting, or by the numbers on the scale, or the size of your pants. Sometimes the only way to measure your success is impossible to quantify. It’s in how you feel or the way you kept your core tight the entire time or how you kept your back straight. Every single one of those intangible victories is still a victory. It’s just one that only you can see. Which means that when it happens, you MUST make sure you celebrate it. Because no one else will.

So if you are reading this after having had to modify any of the exercises today, I salute you. I salute you for choosing form over substance and recognizing that the modification was what your body needed to get the most out of your workout. I hope you are still proud of the work you put in, and are already looking forward to how you can take another step towards improvement the next time through.

After all, there’s only one more Total Body Core workout with these exercises left in Phase 1. After that, we get a brand new set of exercises to torture us. I mean improve upon.

In case you can’t tell, I truly love this whole 80 Day Obsession thing. I love how it challenges me but is still so do-able. I love that it gives me a timed nutrition plan that fuels me up and makes it easy for me to follow.

But most importantly, I love how what started with an 80 Day Obsession has turned into a lifestyle I intend to last well beyond those 80 days.

As always, any questions, let me know. Or if you’re curious about any of this and want to learn more, email me. I’d love to help you get started on your own journey to live the best you. That is what I feel 80 Day Obsession helped me do: Get started down the path of living and being the best me. It’s a path that takes work to walk every day, but I am so happy I get to walk it.

Let me know if you need help getting started down your own path, or per usual, click the link to learn more about Beachbody stuff.

Yours in modified tricep pushups,



Phase 1, Day 13: Cardio Flow (aka Find That Balance)

Last night was a late post after a long drive to a different state to visit a good friend.

Today is another late post because I spent the day catching up with that good friend.

Heading into this weekend: I could micro-manage my meal plans to make sure I stayed on point by packing ALL my food, turning down the chance to eat out at good local joints, and sipping on tap water while my cohorts enjoyed some wine tasting.

OR: I could just bring my work out clothes, get my workout in, and spend the day being mindful of my meal plan but not a Nazi.

I went for Option B.

IF you are going through 80 Day Obsession for the first time, I would urge you to follow the timed nutrition as best you can. The reason being that if you don’t give this program your all, you’ll never truly know how much you can get out of it. You’ll never really know what your body is capable of if you feed it right and feed it often.

Which means my first time through 80 Day Obsession, I admit, I was something of a hermit. I can count on one hand the number of times I ate out, and when I did, it was with steely resolve and little joy.

As a result, at the end of the 80 days, I was happy with what I accomplished. But in the back of my head, I wondered if the timed nutrition was sustainable because it is so strict – was it something I could carry on in the face of a “normal” social life?

That’s what I’ve been experimenting with this time around: How sustainable is the 80 Day Obsession timed nutrition in the life of a busy 30-something professional with a social life?

The answer varies, and really has more to do with using the meal plan as guidance as opposed to gospel.

As an example, here was my day today: Wake up. Catch up with good friend over coffee, scrambled eggs with peppers and black beans, and a bowl of oatmeal. Catch up some more. Go work out. (Cardio Flow today – not much to report other than if you are reading this and sticking with the program, you should feel a bit stronger in Cardio Flow this second time through. I will also add, if at any time in the program you start to doubt you can finish Cardio Flow, tell yourself this: I KNOW I CAN DO EACH AND EVERY MOVE. I KNOW I CAN DO AT LEAST 4 OF THE MOVES IN A ROW. I AM CAPABLE OF FINISHING THE WORKOUT. I can’t tell you how many times this mantra helped me, especially when I grew tired of those damn inchworms.)  Get ready to assist with some errands. Make a shake with chocolate Shakeology, some PB fit and cashew milk, eat 5 mini peppers, and have another bowl of oatmeal. Run errands. Get snacks at Starbucks consisting of an Americano and their “snack bowl” of carrots, cucumbers, string cheese, and apples. Go wine tasting. Get an early dinner of a chicken chipotle salad. Walk to nearby cafe and enjoy cupcakes. Go home and drink lots of water.

As I’m typing this, I’m super full. Not as uncomfortably full as I was earlier in the night, but full nonetheless. But for the first time in awhile, I’m not upset with myself for not eating perfectly according to the plan. And I think it’s because I went into today with a plan to relax the plan: I made an effort to eat every two to three hours, I tried my best to get in the veggies and protein and otherwise meet the containers as called for, but I also let myself go with the flow.

Which means I had alcohol. In the past, drinking was my third weakness (after Sunday dinner and home baked goods).

Saturday Wine Tasting
Who can resist a New Zealand Pinot Noir?

Again, my first time through 80 Day Obsession, I didn’t drink at ALL. This was not a problem and I did not miss it, except for those few times I went out to dinner. When I did, I would inevitably crave a cocktail, not because I really wanted one, but because I wanted the EXPERIENCE of having a cocktail with dinner.

On the day I officially finished 80 Day Obsession, I went out to a nice dinner with my boyfriend and had a glass of wine and a cocktail and felt….nothing. No rush or relief or vindication. It was almost a let-down. Since then, I’ve felt no compulsion to order a drink when eating out and have been sticking with soda water.

Today, though, it’s hard to stick to soda water in the heart of wine country. But I didn’t go crazy. I enjoyed myself but also made sure to have plenty of water between tastes, and refused a second pour when the bottle was passed around. When we walked to dinner, I got a cocktail and felt no need for a second.

The balance that I am searching for means drinking responsibly. I had a good time, but not a rager. If you’re raging that’s not balance. I drank plenty of water, and I actually refused seconds.

Again, if I was trying to get the best results possible from 80 Day Obsession, I would not have drank at all and I would have brought my foods along to ensure 100% compliance. But that’s not how I want to live. I don’t want to be that person who breaks out her own tupperware at a nice restaurant – I mean, I have no problem with bringing my containers to portion out the mashed potatoes, but I’m not gonna bring my own meat.

My meandering point in all this is I went into today with something of a plan and the mindset that I would not punish myself for not being perfect. I went into today prepared to offer myself some grace. Which means when I ate the two cupcakes at the cafe, I savored every bite. And though I am still real full, strangely enough, for the first time in awhile, I don’t feel guilty for the detour. I know it is temporary and that tomorrow I can hop back on the horse and rein it back in.

I hope this post isn’t taken as a license to eat whatever and drink whenever while doing 80 Day Obsession. Obviously, if you want the best results possible, you’ll stick as closely as possible to the timed nutrition plan. I offer this post only to show it is capable to live life while being obsessed with the details (in a good way) so that you can still enjoy wine tasting and meals out with friends. It helps to have a plan, and it helps to drink a lot of water. But more importantly, it helps to give yourself some grace and know that even if today wasn’t your best, tomorrow is another opportunity to do better.

I will also add this: If you find you are missing alcohol, find some sort of “treat” to replace it with. For me, that meant cracking open a La Croix after a long hard day and savoring it like I would a fine wine. Sometimes I’d have two. And if that still wasn’t enough, I’d make myself a cup of tea after dinner. Do what works for you. Most importantly, enjoy the clarity that comes with taking a break from alcohol. Also, there is something freeing about being out with friends and having an excuse not to drink: “Sorry, I’m on this meal plan. No alcohol for me for 80 days.” It sounds enough like Lent that people usually don’t bat an eye.

Regardless, I hope you’re sticking with it and that you’ve successfully finished Week 2 of 80 Day Obsession! Next week gets better, I promise.

Link to the usual Beachbody goods.