PEAK WEEK, Day 76: Cardio Flow (aka The One Day At the Zoo You Might Enjoy)

This is the Cardio Flow workout you’ve been waiting for: The one you might enjoy.

Finally, FINALLY, Autumn takes away the stupid build-ups.

Instead, from the very beginning you go straight through the workout, four reps of 10 moves, all in a row. To refresh your memory, that means four reps each of:

  1. Inchworms;
  2. Spider push-ups;
  3. Diamond jumps;
  4. Flamingoes;
  5. Ducks;
  6. Gorillas;
  7. Step-throughs;
  8. Bears;
  9. Crabs; and
  10. Mule-to-Frogs.

I hate the build-up so I much prefer this set-up. Plus, Autumn keeps it interesting by challenging you – and her cast – to do as many rounds of all 10 exercises as possible.

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

You will do 10 rounds.

BUT, I will add that if you are feeling ambitious, it IS impossible to beat Autumn and the gang and squeeze out an extra round. I know because I got a wild hair to do that today. So I did. Eleven rounds, finished at the exact same time as Autumn and everyone else. Here is my face after:

Cardio Flow DONE.
I can’t smile my face hurts from Diamond Jumps.

It occurs to me that there are very few photos of me smiling after finishing a workout. Even though I feel great and love the endorphin rush, I’m pretty sure I look like I want to pass out in every post-workout photo.

I’m aware of this, I really am. And today I tried to change it up and smile.

I won’t post the photos. I looked like I was being tortured. All grimaces and teeth.

This too is another clue that I need a break because my first time through 80 Day Obsession, I was smiling HARD after finishing each and every workout in Peak Week because it meant the damn thing was FINALLY checked off the list. Hell, you’d think I’d muster up a grin today at having f-ing Cardio Flow out of the way.

Yet the best I can manage is a look of dazed bewilderment.

I know it’s time to switch things up when I’m not finding joy in the little things. ESPECIALLY in not having to do Cardio Flow again. I hate that workout. Seriously. I know I should be super positive and tell you to follow the plan to a T, but I swear to God if I do 80 Day Obsession again I’m gonna swap the damn thing out for a different cardio workout. I don’t like dreading a workout, yet Cardio Flow was this program’s dentist appointment: You know you have to do it because it’s good for you but you hate every second of it and spend the rest of the day sore and vowing to never to it again.

I guess the take-away is it’s okay to hate the workout (and your dentist) so long as you keep going back for more. Interesting side note: My dentist is my godfather. Yet I still hate going in for check-ups.

Sigh.

Sometimes you just have to appreciate the ends and not the means.

In the meantime, good luck with today’s workout. I hope you enjoy checking this one off your list. Should feel real good!

Link to more Beachbody stuff. Feel free to message me with your thoughts on the zoo or writing requests.

Yours in worms and diamonds,

Katie

Phase 3, Day 70: Cardio Flow (aka Thank God This is the Last One. Kinda)

Today’s Cardio Flow followed last week’s set-up where I opted for music instead of the workout video, hoping for extra inspiration.

It worked. Kinda. I wasn’t excited to do the workout, but I got it done. I also managed to keep track of the count, which is always a win. Plus, since I was working out outside, I didn’t care that sweat got all over. Which it did:

IMG_0670

PRO TIP #64: If you get sore knees, don’t do Cardio Flow on concrete.

I never remember how sore the concrete leaves my joints until I sit for awhile after having done Cardio Flow earlier in the day and then go to stand up; my knees literally CRRRREAK from the effort and feel as though it’s bone on bone. The next day, when I go to squat in the warm up (Y to T – WHY DO I DO THIS?!), my knees are still screaming at me, and it takes a solid first round with weights to chase the stiffness away.

To avoid moving like an old lady the day after Cardio Flow, make sure you’re doing the workout either on a rubber floor, or wood, or grass, or carpet. Something, anything, that is more forgiving than concrete. Your body will thank you.

Another body part that did not thank me today is my hands. In addition to giving me sore knees, it also seems as though the repeated inch worms on concrete gave me blisters on my palms. I shit you not. It’s all I can do to not pick at the dead skin instead of writing this blog.

For those of you who are dreading that final round of Cardio Flow during peak week, I’m gonna go ahead and let you know what to expect.

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

Next week, you don’t have to build the exercises one on top of the other. Thank god. Instead, you start out doing all 10 exercises in a row from the very start. Then, as Autumn puts it, you just “go for broke” and see how many rounds you can complete in 30 minutes. I think it evens out to about 10 or 12 rounds.

I much prefer this set-up because it cuts down on the worms, which I find get boring after awhile. You just GO right from the start and push yourself. It’s a good close to a workout I will probably be swapping out in the future for a different cardio routine when I tackle 80 Day Obsession again.

Not much to write about this time because I didn’t stick with the video. But I closed out Day 70.

Hope you are seeing great results and looking forward to slaying leg day tomorrow!

Usual link to the usual stuff.

Phase 3, Day 64: Cardio Flow (aka Screw the Video, Pump Up the Music)

PRO TIP #12: When fighting the drudgery that is Cardio Flow, swap the workout video for some great music and hit play.

I don’t know why it took me 144 days to figure this one out. By now, you know that Cardio Flow is my least favorite workout, especially in Phase 3. It seems to take forever and it’s boring. I also have a tendency to zone out and lose count, which is a pain in the ass.

But here’s the thing: We’re in the 11th week of this shit; you know the workout. You know that it’s four reps of each move and you have to build one on top of the other until you get to the frogs-to-mules, when you do everything altogether for another eight rounds. Even if you have trouble counting, like I sometimes do, you don’t need the video to tell you how to do the workout. You just have to keep track of the reps and the rounds.

So today I swapped Autumn and her workout cast for some workout tunes on Pandora…and life instantly got better. Whereas last week I hit a literal wall, this week I was pushing myself to finish a round before a song finished. While I still had to take a mini-break after four rounds of all the exercises, that’s way better than what I did last week, when I was requiring a break every two rounds.

All in all, I felt stronger. More importantly, I wasn’t bored. And, I was motivated to not only finish the workout, but kill the workout.

I’m proud to say I did. Check out this form:

Mule to Frog
Maybe the best Mule to Frog I’ve ever done, and I got it on tape!

I even got some hang time.

As you can see, if last week was the perfect storm for almost failing, this week was the perfect recipe for success: Blue skies, great tunes, and soft grass that didn’t leave me with blisters.

Your take-away: There are ways to spice up 80 Day Obsession, even when you’ve done everything more than once.

Pretty sure I can’t say much more given the above. That pic alone is worth a thousand words.

Enjoy the Fourth of July, and good luck managing the beer and BBQs while sticking to the timed nutrition! I’m heading to a Mariners game where my boyfriend’s employer has rented out Edgar’s Cantina and guaranteed each attendee two drink tickets. I’m still deciding how to structure my eating, and am coming close to settling on making two yellows tomorrow…two beers. Though I’m waiting to make it a game time decision as I’m not really looking to drink at the moment. Not like I’m avoiding it, but I just don’t need to do it to have a good time, and I feel pretty damn good when I don’t.

So tomorrow will be a good example of working the 80 Day Obsession meal plan into real life. Really, if I can avoid the excess sugar and garlic fries, it’ll be a win. I’ll keep you posted.

Link to the usual goods. Happy 4th!

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

I effing hate this workout.

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

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

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

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

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

It was the perfect storm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking for inspo? Link to Beachbody here.

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

Phase 3, Day 52: Cardio Flow (aka The One Where You Look Like You Just Climbed Out of a Pool)

So, I lied.

Yesterday’s blog post, I told you today’s Cardio Flow would be better than it was in the past because you wouldn’t have to build the exercises one on top of each other. Rather, you would just go straight through all the exercises for as many reps as you can in the allotted time, which totals about 8-10 rounds.

I got the 8 rounds right and everything else completely wrong.

For Phase 3, Autumn takes the zoo back to four reps for each exercise. But you still build one exercise on top of the other until you’ve built up to all 10 exercises. THEN, instead of doing an additional two rounds…you do an additional EIGHT. Yes. EIGHT ROUNDS.

The reason I misremembered this is because, like child birth, I’m pretty sure I blocked it out. Or rather, doing it the first time through just never registered with me. You can absolutely zone out and disassociate doing this workout. And then you look up and you’re on Round 7 of 8 and you have no idea where the time has gone. Pretty sure that’s what I did last time. I don’t remember doing this set-up because I didn’t remember doing the set-up the FIRST time around, which is pretty much the only way to survive. You have to focus on the moment, forget how many rounds you have left, and just know that at the very least, you are capable of accomplishing four reps of each exercise because that’s what you did all the way through Phase 1.

Regardless, even that strategy won’t stop you from sweating.

Buckets of sweat that go flying with each diamond jump; rivers of sweat that course down your legs and soak your socks and shoes; a thin sheen of sweat that coats your entire body and attracts blades of grass like kids to pointy objects. Here’s me in the aftermath of all this sweating:

All the sweat.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED. My socks are squishing in my shoes and I can’t feel my face and yes that’s grass on my forehead.

Now, was part of this sweating due to working out in the balmy PNW heat we’re enjoying on the cusp of summer? Absolutely. But part of it is also just me.

I’m a sweater. Always have been. And this workout reminded me of that and also of the pure volume of sweat I can produce when pushed, especially in the heat.

In case you also produced an obscene amount of sweat during this workout, here’s an anecdote to make you feel better about yourself.

Two weeks after graduating from college, my best friend and I hopped on a plane to New Zealand for a 15 day excursion around the North Island. At the end of those 15 days, my best friend left, as scheduled, and I stayed….for two and a half years. During that time, I joined a basketball team (old habits die hard) which eventually had the honor of traveling to Fiji to play their National Team to help them prepare for the 2008 summer Olympics.

The Fiji that we visited, the main island of Suva, was NOT what one pictures when summoning pristine images of the island nation. While the people were amazing and their hospitality unbeatable, the infrastructure was solidly third world, and it extended to their basketball gym.

At some point in the last 30 years, the gym had been brand new, and probably had air conditioning that worked. But by the time we arrived in early 2008, neither was true. The “air conditioning” was simply leaving all doors open to the 90 degree heat with 100% humidity and hoping for the best. As a result, the gym floor had warped. There were dead spots in the floor that made dribbling impossible. The basketball went down…and did not come back up.

But the heat…I’m from the Pacific Northwest. And while I love me some heat, I’m not built for humidity. I’ll overheat like a Husky in Hawaii. Which means that during our practices in Fiji, I didn’t sweat. I melted. I wore spandex shorts under my mesh basketball shorts. I sweated so much that I not only sweated through my spandex shorts, but also through my mesh shorts. And when I say “sweated through,” I mean that after our two hour practice, I was able to wring sweat out of BOTH sets of shorts. To this day, I have yet to participate in another activity that had me wringing sweat out of my BOTTOM wear; sports bra, yes. But shorts? F no.

Until today. Today came close. Had the workout lasted for a full hour, I likely would have approached the sweat level experienced in Fiji.

As it was, I was so sweaty, that at the end of the workout, on my walk back to my apartment, I passed a group of millennials who, upon checking out my wet appearance, started asking one another, “Is there a pool around here?”

No. No there is no pool. There is just Cardio Flow.

So now I’m hydrating with copious amounts of turmeric tea and water, all so I can get my muscles ready for the quick turn-around time that will be Leg Day in less than 12 hours. Wish me luck.

Link here for Beachbody shenanigans, including towels.  May your sweat run hot and your water stay cold.

Good luck!

 

Phase 2, Day 50: Cardio Flow (aka The One with Sun and Soreness)

Some days, you just gotta let the scenery do the work.

img_0488.jpg
Couldn’t have framed this any better myself.

Today I did Cardio Flow atop a grassy knoll in a park close to my house.

I spent the majority of the workout on the lookout for errant pieces of dog shit so as to not plant my hand in it during spider push-ups. Thankfully, I chose well and avoided that mishap.

But I still didn’t enjoy Cardio Flow.

Also, for those of you who are like me and were dreading having to do eight reps of each exercise in Phase 3, *SPOILER ALERT* Autumn changes it up at the last minute. She takes it down to four reps of each exercise, but instead of building each exercise on top of the other, you go for broke each time and do anywhere from 8-10 reps of the ENTIRE 10 exercises together.

So, it’s been awhile, but I have a pro tip that may be helpful:
PRO TIP #41: IF YOU ARE SORE, TRY TAKING TURMERIC CAPSULES.

Last night I played soccer. For the past few months, every time I play on Friday night, I feel fine on Saturday, but come Sunday and Monday, I can barely walk and am wondering if I tore both quads and hamstrings. Yet I am still able to workout, so it’s obviously not tears.

Today, I learned about something called delayed onset of muscle soreness (“DOMS”). Google it. Sadly, scientists still don’t know a lot about it, or how to treat it. But a promising avenue of treatment may be curcumin, which is found in turmeric.

So yesterday, I bought a tub of those capsules at Costco and started doping up (according to the directions). Can’t tell yet if it will help with DOMS, but I’m hoping it means I can walk on Monday and still have a good workout. I will keep you posted.

This is a short post because it’s Saturday night. So stop reading this, get off your duff, and do something fun. Or go to bed. Same thing, really, when you hit your 30s.

Link for more Beachbody stuff. Enjoy your day off!

Phase 2, Day 44: Cardio Flow (aka The Zoo Gets Old)

I am starting to hate the zoo.

Saturday means 6 reps of 10 exercises named after a menagerie of animals (complete list found here). It’s not that I don’t like the workout. It’s just that after doing it for seven Saturdays in a row, it feels a bit tedious. I know what’s coming and it’s hard to keep track of the count (which as you all know, gets me into trouble).

Which is why today I switched it up and took the workout outside.

Flamingo
No filter all sweat.

I scraped up my palms some on the spider push-ups, but the workout was the perfect length to get me a little sunshine without the burn.

My sweat droplets also dried near instantaneously where they landed thanks to the warm concrete, a luxury I don’t otherwise have at the gym.

Saturdays are challenges all-around for me. The workout is not real inspiring, and I lose the benefit of having my weekly routine to keep me on the straight and narrow when it comes to the timed nutrition. The shake-up is made worse in that after a week of eating my pre-made meals out of Tupperware, I’m ready for a good meal out. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just somewhere where I don’t have to clean up.

If you just finished up Day 44, you might feel like me: Chafing at the bit for a good burger and maybe a guilt-laden snack. I’m not saying I want to go out and eat a pound of peanut butter filled pretzels from Trader Joe’s (though I totally could); I’m saying I want a treat. A little reward, as it were, for making it this far and following the nutrition plan about 95% of the time.

My first time through 80 Day Obsession, I fought hard against this craving. I really wanted to see what I could do if I stuck to the timed nutrition. But that meant finding a different reward following Day 44.

This is when I discovered Lorna Jane. And that for the first time in my life, I was a size small.

If you’ve been lusting after the workout clothes worn by Autumn Calabrese, most of them are made by Lorna Jane, an “athleisure” outfitter I’d never heard of until I started 80 Day Obsession. (I also had never heard of “athleisure” until I Googled why the hell anyone would want to wear workout tights with rips in them – c’mon Autumn.) Unbeknownst to me, there was a Lorna Jane store close to me. So on this Day 44 my first time through 80 Day Obsession, I set out to treat myself to a new sports bra.

Once at Lorna Jane, I explained to the sales lady what I was looking for and that I was between sizes, but that I was usually a large. She tsked and shook her head and said, “Honey, you’re a small now. Maybe a medium in certain styles but definitely a small.”

Even though it was this woman’s job to know her sizes, I didn’t believe her. I grabbed what I usually wore – larges, with a few mediums thrown in – and went back to the dressing room to try it all on.

None of it fit. All of it hung off me. Where the fabric should have been tight, it wrinkled like elephant skin, hanging loose.

When I pulled open the door, the saleslady was waiting outside with a stack of hangers in her hand. She looked me up and down. “A bit large?” She handed me the smalls and removed the useless pile I had accumulated in that room.

That day, I walked out a Lorna Jane convert and with sizes I had never dreamed of wearing. Here’s me in my size small athleisure outfit:

Athleisure
For when you’re not sure if you’re going to the gym or the airport or the grocery store.

Aside from some new clothes, my shopping trip taught me an invaluable lesson: Though the scale might not have moved much, I was losing some serious inches and my body was changing. But I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t found a new way to reward myself.

Furthermore, once I was wearing those new clothes, KNOWING I had made such progress was enough to curb the temptation of getting some sort of sweet treat. Instead, I settled for a decaf latte with coconut milk and called it good.

My point being, there will always be some days where it’s real hard to stick to the timed nutrition meal plan. And there will be days when you fail. But so long as you make those fail days few and far between, and remind yourself of your progress with photos or new outfits or whatever, you can keep being obsessed.

As I type this, I’m wearing a size small shirt and a pair of jeans with a waist in the 20s. I am going to have a burger tonight for dinner. And I’m going to enjoy it. But I’m going to get it wrapped in lettuce, maybe get a side salad for some extra veggies, and definitely steal some of my boyfriend’s truffle fries.

I’m human, not dead.

I hope by now you have figured out your own tips and tricks to keep your success going. And if you haven’t, take some time and think about what might work for you. The timed nutrition can get tough. It’s hard to be perfect all the time. So if you’re going to slip-up, at least try and plan it out so that it doesn’t do too much damage.

And remember, there’s always Lorna Jane!

Check out the link if you need more ideas. Or message or email me! Otherwise, enjoy your day off and get ready for another Refeed Day next week!