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

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

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

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

Three series of four exercises each.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My shaking arms stay otherwise.

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

Same goes for your abs on the slider moves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xo

Phase 3, Day 68: Booty (aka The One With All the Lunges. Again.)

When you are almost through the second series of exercises in the Phase 3 Booty workout, you hit the half hour mark. GREAT! You think. I’M FLYING!

And then you get to the front lunge side lunge exercise sandwiched between the rocking toe squats and side lunge curtsy sliders in series 3, and the workout hits a wall. Even the lifting scheme of three sets of 10 reps, where you do the exercises a series at a time for 3 sets of 10, can’t salvage the forever feeling of the front lunge side lunge move. The interminable feeling stems from a single rep consisting of two lunges: Front lunge + side lunge = ONE.

The good news, however, is that because of the plethora of lunges, you can be guaranteed your ass gets a workout. How can it not? Today, your right leg alone will do a total of 60 lunges. Try and do those many lunges and NOT feel your booty swell.

So, since it started with booty pump, today was a good day. Especially since it STARTED in the shade, and I was inspired to finish my workout as quickly as possible so as to not end up in the sun.

Case in point, this was my gym for the morning:

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I SWEAR WHEN I STARTED I WAS IN THE SHADE. As you know from yesterday’s post, that was a priority of mine. Still, it was a race against the sun. When I started, the shade was well past the white line shown above in the photo. When I finished, well, this is what I was left with:

Hip Hinge with Loop
It’s hard to concentrate when you’re afraid you might brain yourself on a concrete wall

All in all, it was a great start to the day.

And then I went up-lake to Stehekin with some family friends. For those of you not familiar with the Pacific Northwest, Stehekin is a tiny village nestled at the northern tip of Lake Chelan. Stehekin is where Lake Chelan “starts,” as that is where the Stehekin River flows down the valley to begin its 50+ mile journey south, meandering through the steep gorge and picking up glacier water that drains into its icy depths along the way.

Stehekin is home to gorgeous scenery, the smell of mountain air….and a bakery. A renowned bakery, actually. With a sterling reputation that comes from either being the only one within a 50-mile radius, or the server of hearty sandwiches to starving backpackers who make it in from their jaunts in the surrounding woods. Either way, the bakery is a must-see for those who spend more than an hour on a boat to discover the source of Chelan.

IMG_0631

On this trip with me were three other adults and three children. I brought a snack-pack of my own making, complete with baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, and mini peppers. I also brought a full water bottle and two La Croix.

The good news is I wasn’t much tempted by any of the snacks on the boat, and I was well-prepared by my choice of dress (both literally and figuratively speaking).

The bad news is I wasn’t tempted because I knew I would probably go overboard at the Bakery and I was saving myself. Which I did.

I didn’t take a picture of the food because there’s no point in recapping what I ate. I can still feel it. Let’s just say I gave the kids a run for their money.

But as bad as I feel right now, as I look back through the pictures I took today, I can’t help but cut myself some slack. Because we were on a boat in the sun, I wore a bathing suit under a sun dress and a zip-up hoodie, with a floppy hat. When we got to Stehekin, the only change I made was to swap my flip flops for running shoes since we were going to be renting bikes for the ride to the Bakery, and I was likely going to be making a quick trip to Rainbow Falls.

Which means I spent all day riding a bike in a bathing suit and sundress.

And while I might have felt what I ate (I still do), I wasn’t bothered by the amount of skin I was showing. I wasn’t embarrassed by what I was wearing. I didn’t shy away from taking pictures.

Rainbow Falls
Yes, that is a Fanny Pack.

While not entirely pleased with what I consumed today, I still KNEW that it would not detract from the progress I have made since January 15, 2018, when I started 80 Day Obsession for the first time. I knew my eating was not ideal, but that it was not going to destroy the progress I have made on the definition in my legs and arms.

More importantly, I didn’t waste my time clicking through the photos my friend took to make sure she removed the “bad” ones (though I probably should have as it would have been nice to get a fully monty of the waterfall). I may not be happy with how I ate, but I am happy with how I look. I otherwise feel good. I was happy to be with friends today in a beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest, and I was proud I felt comfortable not only in my own skin, but in the clothes I wore.

Lakes and Mountains
Sun shining, Stehekin in the background

I wish I had felt that way in my 20s. Don’t get me wrong, I made the most out of that decade, but I also spent a lot of time about 50-60 pounds overweight. If I’d known where to look or known the right people, Beachbody would have been available to me as a workout option even back then. But frankly, I’m not sure I would have had much success with the program. Would I have followed through? Taken the time to meal prep? Followed the workout schedule and timed nutrition plan? Part of me knows I would have, as I lost about 30 pounds in the months leading up to my return to the States for the last time.

But part of me also suspects I probably would have thrown in the towel on this hard work in favor of some quick fix: A beet root cleanse or a weight loss pill or a sweat lodge routine.

Because make no mistake, this shit is hard. My failure today in the eating department is living proof of that.

But today, I still have my results. My stomach may not be happy with me, but I still FEEL strong. I can still look in the mirror and know that today was temporary but my biceps are forever so long as I continue to work out and eat right MOST of the time.

80 Day Obsession got me here, but it’s gonna be up to me to keep going. The program can do the same for you.

If you want to learn more, either about 80 Day Obsession or my own journey, check out the usual link or shoot me a message.

Just, don’t stay stuck. You don’t have to. You just have to decide to take that first step.

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 2, Day 45: Booty (aka Weights Get You Swole)

I came up with a plethora of names as I struggled through today’s workout:

“Another One Bites The Dust.”

“Don’t Look Ahead.”

“Being Strong Is Hard.”

But the one I settled on, the one in the title of this post, says what I’ve always known, but never truly experienced in the butt area: Weights Get You Swole.

My first time through 80 Day Obsession, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was doing something wrong because I wasn’t seeing the booty gains the rest of the cast seemed to be enjoying. Sure, there was a little lifting going on in the glute area, but nothing dramatic; I wasn’t walking by mirrors and stopping to check myself out. When I got together with friends who hadn’t seen me for awhile, they remarked on my overall toned arms and lost inches, not on my derriere. Was I not lifting hard enough? Should I have been double looping the entire time? Why was I not making gains when others were?

There’s no easy answer to why I didn’t see the booty gains I wanted in my first round of 80 Day Obsession. But in retrospect, I think my lack of progress stemmed from a) not tracking my weights, and b) not lifting hard enough. Because I didn’t track my weights, I had no way of knowing what was a heavier weight for me from week-to-week; I had no way of measuring my progress or of pushing myself because I didn’t record what I did the week before, so could not remember what weight to push myself from. This recording failure led to me lifting lighter than I otherwise could.

However, even if I had successfully recorded my weights, I have to wonder if, my first time through, I would have been strong enough to make the booty gains I am seeing now. See, my arms ache while typing this, even though today’s workout was called “Booty.” My arms are sore from holding 25 pound dumbbells at my shoulders, and hip hinging 35 pound weights. I finally understand what Autumn meant when she kept talking about her grip strength failing her in week 1 of Phase 2.

Based on how the rest of my body feels after today’s workout, I don’t think that back in January I could have safely lifted the weights I did today even if I had tracked my weights correctly through the first round of 80 Day Obsession. I could not have hip hinged 35 pounds. It’s almost as if I had to build up my strength to be able to lift the weights that would finally make a difference in my booty gains; it was only when I could consistently lunge with 25 pound dumbbells that I took a step forward.

I could NOT have lunged with a 25 pound dumbbell way back in my very first Week 1. No way. I did not have the core strength to protect my back. It’s only now, on Week 8 of my second round, that I feel strong enough – and therefore safe enough – to lift heavy. And I guess it therefore makes sense that I’m only now seeing the booty gains I wanted to see the first time through.

My point is this: You will not get the ass you want by taking it easy in the weight room. But you won’t be able to seriously hit the weights until you build up your overall strength and stamina to handle the heavier dumbbells. Which means you’re gonna have to be patient with the booty gains.

If you want to see faster progress, lift heavier. But don’t sacrifice your form or safety to do so. Lift hard, but smart. Push yourself, but not further than what your body is prepared to do. There’s a difference between challenging yourself and pushing too hard.

I bring all this up because it was not until this weekend that I finally had that moment of, “DAMN is that MY butt?” as I was walking by a downtown store window. There, in the mirrored glass of the laundromat, I finally saw what I had been hoping to see since I started 80 Day Obsession: A booty that was high, tight, and right. And that looked damn good in my athleisure pants (thank you, Lorna Jane). It took awhile, but what I saw was worth every damn bear fire hydrant I suffered through in today’s workout.

A good thing too, because today I burned through another blue:

Goodbye, Friend
Another One Bites the Dust

The only saving grace in this debacle was that the loop snapped when it was double-looped with another blue during bear fire hydrant. AND, it was the inner loop that snapped; i.e., the one directly against my legs. Which means no other gym-goers were injured in the making of my ass today.

The worst part, however, was that as I was pulling that loop on, I noticed it seemed especially worn and that it looked like a little chip had formed right at the spot where the loop seemed most tired. No surprise, really, that the damn thing snapped in half. As with most things in my life, I should have paid attention to the warning signs and thrown the loop away before it did some real damage. I’m lucky it didn’t.

Which is all to say, you’re on Day 45: CHECK YOUR LOOPS.

If you need another set, order them. It’s well worth having an extra set or two on hand so then you’re not throwing ALL the loops on to try and accomplish what two blues would. Spares can be found at the usual link with all the fun Beachbody stuff.

Regardless, if you’re reading this and feeling swole from today’s booty gains, rock on. And if you’re reading this and wondering why the eff you don’t feel the same, don’t worry, your time will come. Maybe not tomorrow or next week, but definitely during the next round with heavier weights. Trust the process and be patient and keep at it. Booty gains reward the persistent!