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!



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 63: AAA (aka The Countdown Begins…To The End)

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

Let that sink in for a moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work is showing in all the right places!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Phase 2, Day 35: Total Body Core (aka REFEED DAY)

If you are reading this right now with a splitting sugar headache, you did Refeed Day wrong.

To be fair, it was probably hard to control yourself. Because on this day, this holiest of holy days, when that purveyor of ass and abs, Autumn Calabrese, FINALLY gives you permission to eat chocolate and other high glycemic foods for the scientific purpose of replenishing your glycogen levels after weeks of deprivation, who are you to look a gift horse in the mouth? And yes, I know you are limited to a certain number of the dirty yellows which must be consumed at certain points during the day, but I know firsthand how hard it is to exercise self-control when that first rush of sugar hits the bloodstream. It’s like sharks to chum: Your brain gets a whiff of that shit and all bets are off.

But first you must struggle through Total Body Core. In this second week of Phase 2, you do each exercise for 10 reps; go through all the exercises a row, then repeat two more times for a total of 3 sets. Despite the workout running about an hour in length, you don’t notice the time. You move quickly from one exercise to another and before you know it, you’re going through your last rep.

I think the reason this workout flows so nicely is because of its pacing: You go from an exercise that kills you to one that still hurts, but not as badly. It’s structured to give you a bit more recovery time, even as it works a different muscle group. Here’s me working EVERY muscle group with squat row something something something:

Squat Row etc.
First exercise is also probably the hardest.

Case in point: The above exercise sucks. Your shoulder will burn, your core will burn, your legs will burn. But it is the very FIRST exercise of the workout, which means each time, you have enough energy to power through because you’re either starting fresh (set 1) or coming off a little break (sets 2 and 3). Again, as with most Beachbody workouts, Total Body Core is hard, but do-able.

Now let’s move on to the fun stuff: Refeed Day. My first Refeed Day, I made donut holes and flourless chocolate chickpea brownies. For my “breakfast,” I got to consume TWO dirty yellows, and allocated a single donut hole and brownie to have with my cup of tea.

Donut Holes and Flourless Chocolate Brownies
Who knew chickpeas could taste so good (apologies for the stapler cameo).

My secretary happened to walk in on me consuming these foods and told me the noises I was making were highly inappropriate for the workplace. I did not care.

I enjoyed these donut holes and brownies RESPONSIBLY throughout my first Refeed Day and the two Refeed Days after that. Again, my problem was not necessarily Refeed Day, but prepping for Refeed Day on Sunday, when I’d lick the bowls and taste test my wares. In essence, I got TWO Refeed Days a week, and as a result, I’m pretty sure my results were not as on point as they could be.

Similarly, this second time through 80 Day Obsession, I am not doing the Refeed Days because I spent all weekend consuming dirty yellows at a wedding. While I could chalk that up to failure, I prefer to think of it as replenishing those low glycogen stores…over the weekend….multiple times.

For those of you wondering which dirty yellows are good to try out, check out the food list from the 80 Day Obsession program materials. On page 3 at the bottom, there’s a list of Fixate dessert recipes for Refeed Day. I highly recommend the donut holes and flourless chocolate chickpea brownies. You will need a food processor, and you’re going to doubt the flavor of the brownies because they have CHICKPEAS in them for god’s sake. But so long as you don’t overcook the brownies, they will turn out ooey and gooey and delicious (though be sure to watch Autumn’s Fixate video for the tip on lining the baking dish with greased parchment paper before tipping the batter into the pan).

The donut holes are good too, though beware that the glaze will soak into the finished product. Not that that’s a bad thing, but if you make the holes on Sunday and eat them any later than Wednesday, chances are they could be real soggy and/or about to mold. I would not have kept mine later than Wednesday for that reason.

If you like to cook or bake, use Refeed Day as an excuse to try new recipes. Those brownies are already my go-to for family get-togethers and work parties, if only because I know I can have more than one and not feel too guilty because CHICKPEAS. ‘Nuf said.

Like I said on Saturday, make sure you take note of how you feel after consuming those dirty yellows. Especially take stock prior to and during tomorrow’s Leg Day. Did you have more energy than normal? Did you feel sluggish? Again, depending on how you feel, adjust what you do next time to optimize your results. This is a process. I guarantee you will not get it right the first time. But don’t use that as an excuse to quit or not try again. I WILL participate in Refeed Day next time. And I believe I WILL make either brownies or donut holes. The true test will be keeping myself on a leash while making the damn things.

But hey, progress not perfection, right?

Bon appetit! Usual Link to Beachbody to learn more – especially useful if you want to learn more about Fixate, which you can get through Beachbody On Demand.

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 27: Booty (aka Now the Fun Begins)

At last! A new workout scheme and regime to blog about!

Gone are the days when you could do your Booty workout from the comfort of your own home with nothing but your resistance loops and sweat for comfort. In the Phase 2 Booty workouts, you get to add in weights WITH the loops and you spend nowhere near as much time on the floor. Let’s go through the fun stuff.

Phase 2 has four series with three exercises each. Here’s how they shake out:

Series 1, Standing: Squat to Hinge, Curtsy Lunge Lift, Rotating Back Side Lunge.

Series 2, Quad Ped: Heel Press Up on Angle, Single-leg Hamstring Curl, Bear Fire Hydrant.

Series 3, Weighted: Kettlebell swings, Sumo Hinge, Reverse Lunge.

Series 4, Floor Weighted: Single-Leg Bridge, Press Up & Over, Camels.

In Week 1,  you go through all 12 moves for 15 reps each, then go back through and do it all again for 15 reps each (i.e. it’s 2 sets of 15 reps).

Fave Move: Curtsy Lunge Lift (I’m not crazy – more on why this is my fave after the break).

Least fave move: Bear Fire Hydrant (i.e. MY NEW NEMESIS). Here is what bear fire hydrant looks like:

Bear Fire Hydrant
The move is nowhere near as cute as it sounds

I hate this move because it makes everything burn while I wonder the whole time if I’m going to dislocate my elbow. You hold yourself up in bear, then lift your leg up in fire hydrant. Instead of cute peeing animals coming to mind while doing the move, all I can think about is how I want to rip the head off of one of those animals IF ONLY IT WILL STOP THE BURNING.

That said, here’s the one good thing about this move: You can do it. How do I know? Well, in Phase 1, you did bear every week in Cardio Flow. You know you can do those because you did a bazillion (a technical term) of them for the past 4 weeks. And, you know you can do fire hydrants, because you did them every week in AAA, when they sucked way more because you had to slowly bring the leg down for a three count. So what you should be telling yourself when your body starts to shake on the second rep is YOU CAN DO THIS because you have done BOTH moves before for a ton of reps, and now the only thing that has changed is you are doing them together…for half the amount of reps. That should remove any doubt as to your ability to complete the round.

This mindset leads neatly into an explanation for why curtsy lunge lift was my favorite today. Here’s the set-up: You hold the weight in, say, your right hand, at shoulder height; your left leg then reaches back into a curtsy lunge across and behind your right leg; then you straighten up, but instead of bringing your left back to the front, you lift it out to the side like you did with the leg press sides from Phase 1 in Booty.

My first time through 80 Day Obsession, I HATED this move. Hated it with a passion. It felt super awkward and my “lift” was more of a weak kick. To be honest, I expected to feel that weak when I did the move today, and I was prepared to hate every second of the exercise –I knew I could DO it, it’s just that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it.

I was wrong. To my surprise, my left leg went back and across the right without my right knee wobbling over my foot; when I rose up into the side lift, I felt strong and smooth and balanced; I wasn’t limply kicking my foot out, but rather, actually lifting it up in a controlled move.

I got stronger. And suddenly my nemesis wasn’t even an annoyance. It was a victory. I loaded up the weight on curtsy lunges in Phase 1, and double-looped it for those side lifts. I didn’t know it would help when I brought the two moves together this time around, but it did. Which means I wasn’t just doing the moves, I was KILLING them.

See, when I say that “the fun begins” in Phase 1, what I mean is that THIS is when you start to see progress. This is when you start to see how far you’ve come not only in strength and mindset, but also, if you’ve been following the timed nutrition, in physical results. This is when it all starts to come together. You build on the foundational moves you learned in Phase 1, and you add them together to work even more muscles at the same time, thereby torching even more calories in Phase 2. And while the exercises are harder, you also go into them KNOWING they are absolutely do-able. After all, you’ve done them each on their own. Now you’re just doing the moves together. Think about it: You’re essentially getting the two exercises done in half the time. It’s a twofer!

Because we will be doing so many more compound movements, the workouts get a lot more interesting. You will find some of the exercises use loops and weights, or sliders and weights, or even loops and weights AND sliders! For that reason…


Right around this time is when I ordered new loops while going through 80 Day Obsession the first time. Why? Because I found a tiny tear during a pre-workout inspection. With the amount the loops are used in Phase 2, there’s no way that loop would have made it without snapping on me, especially when doing side lunges with the damn things. (Have you seen how far the loop has to stretch when you use the loops for rotating back side lunge? Part of me wants to wear goggles just in case the loop does decide to snap.) Accept it. Even though the loops are high quality (believe me, I’ve tried others, and they are), the program uses them too much and with too much intensity for the loops to last the entire program. If yours do, great. But be prepared and order a new set so that WHEN your loop snaps, or you notice a tear, you can still go on with your workout for the day.

With that PSA out of the way, I do hope today gave you a taste of what’s to come. The moves speed up, get more complicated, and work a lot more muscles at once. But even with this added level of difficulty, the workouts remain the best of that Beachbody trait: Do-able.

If you have any questions after today, message me. Or, if you want to buy more loops, check out the link. Otherwise, kick some ass and enjoy the ride – it’s gonna be a good one.

Phase 1, Day 11: AAA (aka Choose Your Hard)

Hello, Thursday.

For me, Thursdays are all about survival. It lacks the sense of accomplishment that accompanies Wednesday, and it certainly doesn’t carry itself with Friday’s proud excitement. Thursday is just kinda sandwiched in there like limp lettuce: You need it for a bit of green but it doesn’t bring much flavor-wise to the table.

I have the hardest time getting out of bed on Thursdays. It’s when my mind tells my body to stay in bed longer because it’s ALMOST Friday, which is good enough.

Except, when I do that, I usually spend the rest of the day stressing about whether or not I’ll get my workout in. Because I’ve been working some long days lately, and I need to know when I head out the door in the morning what time I will be working out so I can plan my meals accordingly.

Which is why today, it was imperative I get out of bed without snoozing into a mandatory lie-in. I had to get my workout in before work, because I knew it was going to be a late night. So when my alarm went off at 5 am this morning…I chose my hard. I chose to get out of bed and roll to the gym at the crack of dawn because I knew it would be easier than trying to head to the gym at 9 o’clock at night after a long day at the office. I knew I would focus better if I got an early morning sweat on and didn’t have to worry so much about when to eat. And, I knew my anxiety overall would go down knowing I had accomplished one thing today before heading into work: AAA.

Autumn will remind you today to Choose Your Hard. I like that saying. It’s powerful. It reminds us we have a choice, even when making difficult decisions. Especially when making difficult decisions.

I also like the AAA workout in Phase 1. It flows nicely, works different muscle groups, and doesn’t feel long. I can’t remember what I described last week, but suffice it to say that this week in AAA, you’re doing all the exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeating for another 2 sets for 3 sets total. Within those sets, there’s three rounds of 4 exercises each. Exercise 1 works your shoulders or back; exercise two works your shoulders or back or biceps or triceps; exercise three works your abs; and exercise four works your butt. It’s a good mix. You work the e-centric (sp?) contraction, meaning you keep the muscle under tension for a three count, pulling it in, then release in one.

(I’m realizing now I probably left that description out of last week’s post. oops.)

I’m tired, so I’ll keep this short and hopefully interesting. The first exercise in round 2 is push-ups. Good ol’ fashioned push-ups. Lower yourself down for a three count, push up in a one count.

My first time through 80 Day Obsession, I had to do all of these on my knees. I have always sucked at push-ups. I have a lanky six foot frame and my arms have never been up to the task of raising it off the ground in any sort of athletic fashion (neither have my legs, frankly, though that’s another story). Gradually, however, by the end of my first Phase 1, I was doing at least one set completely on my feet, with only a few reps here and there on my knees.

This time, today, I did all three sets of 10 reps on my feet. Victory! Improvement! I was so proud of myself I almost called my 70+ year old Dad over in the gym to take a picture of my form. (Yes, I go to the same gym as my parents. At the same time. Also another story.) Maybe next time I’ll get him to do it.

Which is all to say, if you’re doing 80 Day Obsession or any other workout program, and you feel frustrated because it feels like the pounds aren’t falling off, or you aren’t seeing any difference, look for these non-scale victories: Can you do more push-ups on your feet than you did last week? Can you do more push-ups in a row without resting? Sometimes those tell a better story of our progress than a scale ever could. Plus, if you do your workout first thing in the morning, these non-scale victories will give you a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning. You did 10 push-ups in a row on your feet for the first time; what else can you do today??

For me, I rode that wave of well-being into the workplace and got done what needed to get done today. And now I’m tired so it’s bedtime.

Sorry for the lack of pictures. I’ll get my Dad on it, next time.

In the meantime, click on the link to see a pic of me whitewater rafting and to learn more about Beachbody.


Phase 1, Day 10: Cardio Core (aka Get in the Zone)

I greeted Day 10, Cardio Core, like I would an old friend: With a warm hug and a little trepidation that I might throw up in my mouth.

My fears were misplaced, however, as I made it through the workout without incident. In fact, I rather enjoyed myself.

Once you get over your initial fear of the title, you settle into the groove of trying to improve every week in Cardio Core. Even better, the workout is structured so that it’s easy to tell if you’re making progress. That’s because the workout doesn’t change from week-to-week: You do the same exercises in the same order for the same amount of time. The only thing that changes is your stamina and strength. And, admittedly, the amount of rest time Autumn gives you in between.

Which means instead of focusing on what’s to come, you can focus on trying to do one more rep, or sinking that much lower into a squat. Or, if you’re me, you pretty much just zone out. It’s great. Unlike Cardio Flow where I have to think about what number and exercise I’m on, Cardio Core makes it easy to get in the zone and stay in the zone. Autumn tells you what to do and when, and you just have to make sure you don’t quit or throw up during the intervals.

So that’s the second vomit reference this post. Was I queasy this morning? No. But I did definitely feel my pre-workout meal for a few of the jumps. I mean, when you’re holding yourself up on one hand, crunching your stomach for 10 reps, all while sweeping the leg (“SWEEP THE LEG, JOHNNY”), and then go immediately into faux jump-roping, it’s hard to not get the stomach contents all jumbled. Here’s me pushing through even though I can taste what I had for brekkie:

All the tricep definition!

Yes. I posted this photo because even though I look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I’m super proud of that tricep definition. Thanks, 80 Day Obsession!

Also, the first time I did the move pictured above, I had to hit pause and rest after 5 reps to catch my breath. By the time I hit the final ab round that first time, I had to sit on my knees for a full 30 seconds before starting. And then I had to take a knee in the middle of circle-over-teasers. That was Week 1. It wasn’t good.

But I set a small goal for myself: In Week 2, I would take one less break than I did in Week 1. I did – I made it through the sweeps without the break.

In Week 3, I set a similar goal; same with Week 4. But the time I hit the end of Phase 1, I was able to do all the ab exercises without stopping. It wasn’t easy, but it allowed me to measure my progress. I KNEW I was getting stronger because I was capable of pushing through and finishing a workout that I couldn’t 4 weeks earlier.

That’s why I love Cardio Core: It gives you a sense of accomplishment without having to track your weights. You can measure your success by how hard you push and whether you have to take a break. And, the Phase 1 is short enough that you can actually REMEMBER how hard it was in the beginning and therefore RECOGNIZE your progress.

So, give yourself some credit. If you are reading this after making it through Cardio Core today, I hope you pushed a little bit harder than last time; I hope you did one extra rep of frog jumps with a twist; I hope you took one less rest break.

All those little improvements add up, so savor the victory and prepare for tomorrow. Because AAA is a BEAST!

That’s the workout. Now on, briefly, to nutrition. I neglected to write about something that came up for me yesterday, and might be relevant for those of you following the timed nutrition plan for the first time. Here’s what happened:

I had my meals planned out so that my last meal, dinner, would occur at about 6:15 pm. My boyfriend, the chef, offered to cook steak. So I trundled home from the office, ready to eat at around 6:20 pm…only to find that the bf had yet to start cooking.

Well, between baking the tater and roasting the asparagus and grilling the steak, dinner wasn’t ready until 7:45. And I have to tell you, I was RAVENOUS. Once I passed the three-hour mark without eating at 6:15 pm, it was as though an alarm bell started going off in my body and I had to have ALL THE FOODZ. ALL THE FOODZ NOW. It was all I could do to keep from rooting around in the fridge for something, ANYthing to curb my appetite. The fact there is still a bag of those pretzel chips from Costco on top of the fridge blows my mind, because I was damn close to busting it open and finishing it off. Really, the only thing that saved me was cracking open a La Croix, telling myself it was champagne, and then helping myself to a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter as an appetizer. (Yes, your concept of fine dining starts to change in this program. It’s a necessity.)

When we finally sat down to eat, I hoovered down my food and felt…not satiated. I had half a baked potato, the right portion size of steak, and 11 spears of asparagus. Normally, my last meal of the day fills me right up and cures me of the need to look for more food.

But last night, I finished my plate and then realized I was staring longingly at what remained on my boyfriend’s. I didn’t feel full. I could have eaten everything on his plate, in addition to mine, and STILL cracked open that bag of pretzel chips.

I had to sit there for a moment and think about what was going on. I was eating exactly what I was supposed to, but because my body had shifted to “starvation mode,” it seemed as though it thought it needed more food than it did. That is, because I missed the timed nutrition window to eat my last meal of the day, it was having a terrible effect on my appetite.

What did I do? I drank a shit ton of water and had 2 cups of herbal tea to fill me up, and that did the trick. I also started blogging, which took my mind off the emptiness, so that by the time I went to bed, I felt fine.

But my point is this: If you aren’t eating within the 2-3 hour window as designated by your meal plan, you are probably feeling ravenously hungry at different parts throughout the day. And when that happens, what you do eat, even if it’s perfectly portioned out, probably isn’t satiating you, which may be leading you down the path of tempting food cravings.

So, in 80 Day Obsession, just as important as what you put in your body is WHEN you put it in your body. Make an effort to eat every 2-3 hours, even if you don’t feel that hungry. 80 Day Obsession is designed to get your metabolism up, and to keep it up, you have to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. If you don’t, your body throws a tantrum and it will be real hard to resist those pretzel chips. Or dessert. Or home baked goods. Nomz.

I hope this tip helps. It took me awhile to figure it out. But once I did, and stuck religiously to the eating windows, it got a lot easier to control my cravings. I hope you can say the same.

Anywho, all’s well that ends well! Peruse the link for the usual Beachbody offerings, and the brand new program which launched today, 2B Mindset! Still not sure what it’s about, but watch this space.