Phase 2, Day 36: Legs (aka Sorry Not Sorry)

Last week I blogged about how this workout GETS THE JOB DONE.

This week, you do the same exercises as last week, but do all exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeat for another 2 sets for a total of 3 sets. There’s only five exercises with weights, and after each exercise you drop the weight and immediately go to burn out the muscle using the sliders.

To be clear, I was never a huge fan of leg day growing up. Leg day in college as part of the basketball workouts meant putting super heavy weight on my shoulders and attempting to squat it up and down. It meant attempting deadlifts with tires on the end of the bar and trying to avoid blowing out my back. It mean moving those tires on and off the bar as you shifted from lunges to good mornings and back again.

In short, leg day was hell. It was painful, lasted forever, and I never felt like I got that much stronger despite how much sweat I left on the floor behind me.

Thankfully, Leg Day in 80 Day Obsession has little in common with what I went through in college.

I wouldn’t say I’m yet a fan of Leg Day, but I can say that in Phase 2, at least, I look forward to the workouts. I look forward to targeting the muscle group each exercise is designed to work, burning it out, and then moving on. I like that I don’t have to struggle with super heavy weights and manhandle them off the rack and onto my back. I like being able to challenge myself with just these little plastic discs and booties that slide back and forth on the floor.

In the old days, if any sort of hiccup arose during Leg Day (SHIT the water fountain isn’t working! There’s a bee! I can’t find the 25 pound plate!) I would immediately use it as an excuse to end the workout early. ANYthing to get out of the gym.

Today, I could have gone down that same road. I could have chosen to use the obstacle presented to defeat me and use it as an excuse to go home.

I didn’t. Let’s discuss.

See, at my gym, the weight area floor is covered in rubber mats. This is great for your joints and the floor (when you drop weights on the latter), but not so great for the sliders which are required in Leg Day. Which means that when sliders are called for, I then have to put down my weights and run across the room to throw my sliders down on the tiles of the merchandise area. In the midst of hangers of clothes and shelves of protein powder, I then proceed to knock out 10 reps on the sliders. Then I have to run back to the weight area and move on to the next exercise with dumbbells.

When the focus is to truly burn out the muscle by keeping it under tension for as long as possible, the time necessary to run over to the merchandise area is not conducive to that goal.

So today, after having to hit pause a million times during the first round, I made the executive decision to move a couple of sets of weights, my mat, my sliders, my tracker sheet, and everything else to a tiled hallway off the entrance to my gym that almost no one uses at 6 in the morning. I mean, the hallway leads to the kids’ playroom which is closed at that hour, so I figured I would be out of everyone’s way.

Wrong. Apparently that hallway is also used by the gym staff to roll tubs of dirty towels in and out of the room with the washing machine. And apparently, 6 am is when they start their first load.

Which means that this morning, when the staffer with the mermaid colored hair went back to throw in that first load of stinky towels, there I was in her way, rocking out some pistol squats on the sliders.

INSERT CRINGEY-FACE EMOJI.

The dirty look she gave me caused me to mouth “I’m sorry!” with a deeply apologetic look on my sweaty face. When she later came out of the room rolling a tub of the day’s clean towels, I moved all my equipment against the wall and cringed.

But I didn’t stop. And to be honest, I wasn’t sorry.

You know you are truly obsessed with getting your workout in, be it 80 Day Obsession or otherwise, when you don’t let mermaids shooting daggers at your back stop you from finishing Leg Day. I could have allowed her obvious disapproval of my workout spot to halt my workout. Maybe I probably should have because I was a fire hazard. But until they tell me I can’t workout in that hallway, or the fire marshall taps me on the shoulder and tells me to move my ass back to the weight area, I’ll continue to do what I need to do to finish my workout for the day.

So yeah. Sorry not sorry.

I hope you are at the point now where you have the same mental fortitude about finishing your own workout(s). Because shit comes up. Rare is the day when we find ourselves WITHOUT a distraction in that half hour to hour-long spot we have allotted ourselves for active alone time. When those distractions rear their ugly heads, I hope your determination cuts it off at the root and you do what you need to do to get the job done.

Like Leg Day.

No pictures today, just a lot of words and a bit of attitude. And of course the usual link to some fun stuff.

 

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 29: Total Body Core (aka Thank God for Energize)

When I was in high school, a girl on my Varsity basketball team decided to amp herself up before a big game by drinking three Red Bulls. In a row. Without eating.

I can’t remember whether or not we won the game, but I remember the girl spent the next hour with heart palpitations so bad my coach had to be talked out of calling an ambulance. She was over-caffeinated to the point of uselessness and ended up not setting foot on the court, all thanks to an energy drink. Or three.

Combine that history with my body’s own…unique…reaction to stimulants, and I’m not a big fan. Depending on the type of caffeine, I tend to get jittery and my intestines go into overdrive. It’s not a pretty or comfortable experience.

You can imagine, then, my hesitation to try Energize, the energy powder in Beachbody’s Performance line. When you sign up for a challenge pack to do 80 Day Obsession, you can sign up to be sent Energize and Recover. As I had never tried either when I signed up, I figured why the hell not. Both arrived in the mail…and then I promptly forgot about them until about this point in the program my first time through.

At this time the last time ’round, my boyfriend had been in the hospital for a week, and I was prepping for trial at work while attending class at night Monday through Thursday. I was short on sleep and energy and it was becoming next to impossible to drag myself out of bed for my morning workouts.

I don’t know how I remembered it, but before Total Body Core in Week 1 of Phase 2, I decided to try Energize. I mixed a scoop into 8 ounces of water, shook it up, and drank it in the car on my way to the gym. Pretty sure the only thing that got me through the workout was that little scoop of powder.

Energize, I found, gave me the energy of a Red Bull but without the mental and physical jitters. It felt “clean,” like a good, clean “high.” I didn’t have heart palpitations, my intestines didn’t overact, and I didn’t get the caffeine sweats. Even better, I was able to power through the workout even though I could barely get out of bed.

Since then, I’ll drink Energize on the days when I know I’m low on sleep, and the workout is longer than 45 minutes. It’s like an ace in the back pocket which I can use at any time to pull one over on the House. Is part of its magic the placebo effect? Probably. Do I care? Nope. It tastes good and helps me get the job done. And when it comes to Total Body Core in Phase 2, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Here’s what you have in store for you: Five Series of exercises that each target a specific muscle group. Within each series are three exercises:

Series 1, Shoulders: Squat, Row, Twist, Row (yes that is all one move); Kneeling Lunge Clean & Press; Quad Ped Opposite Arm Knee Crunch.

Series 2, Chest: Chest Press to Half Turkish Get Up; Spider Man Push-ups; Frog Sliders.

Series 3, Back: “T” to Single-Leg Hip Hinge; Lat Pull Over w/Leg Raise; Weighted Plan Hip Drop.

Series 4, Biceps: Low Twisting Lunge Hammer Curl; Press Out to Curl; Weighted Standing Torso Rotation.

Series 5, Triceps: Crab Position Tricep Dip to Sit Through; Alternating Skull Crushers with Bicycle Legs; French Twist.

You can tell how hard this workout is by the fact that you can only get all exercises for ONE of the series on a single line. While each exercise purports to work a single muscle, the fact of the matter is that the exercise will work your whole body. Case in point: Kneeling Lunge Clean & Press. You start in a kneeling lunge with the weight held in one hand which is twisted OVER your kneeling leg. You then clean the weight up to shoulder height, stand up, then press the weight over your head. Come back down, lower weight back in a twist over the kneeling leg. Repeat. In Week 1, 15 reps, two sets.

Yes, it’s a lot. But even that move is nothing compared to the Half Turkish Get Ups. This picture says it all:

Half Turkish Get-ups: Before and After
WHAT JUST HAPPENED

You will hate Half Turkish Get Ups because they take FOREVER. It’s a move you can’t do quickly, and you have to do 15 reps on each side. Twice.

The good news is that I believe in Week 2, Autumn recognizes that this exercise lasts for an eternity and changes it so that you will only do 10 reps TOTAL, as opposed to 10 reps for EACH arm. Thank God.

All in all, prepare to sweat and swear. Total Body Core is a killer in this Phase. Did I take my Energize today before working out? Hell yes. Was I still cursing Autumn’s name as I struggled with low twisting lunge hammer curl? Yes. Just look at the damn things:

Low Twisting Lunge with Hammer Curl
The move is no better than its name. It’s a mouthful and a handful.

Nothing about this move is pleasant. Did I get the workout done? Yep. And you will too. Just don’t quit.

Whelp, that’s all for now. I’m off to SoCal tomorrow for a wedding which means I need to pack and get some beauty sleep. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should add that the reason I was so tired this morning is because I’ve been doing the “deplete week” meal plan for Monday through Wednesday in an effort to look extra shredded at the wedding I will be attending on Friday. Will it work? No idea. I’ll let you know. But please, until you get through 80 Day Obsession, do as I say, not as I do. As today’s workout shows you, you need all the fuel you can get.

Phase 2, Day 28: Cardio Core (aka the Cardio with the Sliders AND the Loops)

You know it’s a good routine when you fear the “Core” in the title more than the “Cardio.”

Let’s discuss.

The format of Cardio Core in Phase 2 is the exact same as it was in Phase 1: 30 seconds of some sort of jump rope move followed by 30 seconds of some sort of high intensity interval training (“HIIT”) move; do for three rounds for a total of three minutes, then hit the ground for 10 reps of an ab exercise.

In Phase 1, I feared the standing mountain climbers because they always threatened to disturb my pre-workout meal. Between the reaching of the arms and the high knees, my breakfast was practically begging to come up.

In Phase 2, however, it’s the ab exercises that get you. If you don’t have to hit pause at least once during one of the ab routines the first time you do this workout, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

Why the difference?

Phase 1 abs consisted of simple linear movements: In and out for knee tucks; right knee to left elbow counted as one rep.

Phase 2, however, combines what feels like a bunch of different movements into what only counts as one rep. For example, you do knee tucks into a standing squat with an arm lift. The move takes focus, balance, and some serious core strength. AND it somehow manages to work your legs even though they need a serious break from the HIIT.

Or, you do a double leg pike followed by a single leg pike for a total of 12 reps. Here’s my pike form:

Double Leg Pike Into Single Leg Pike
Proud of that form!

(Side Note: Super proud of my pike form. Every time I do those things, I never feel like I get my ass high enough in the air to even come close to Autumn’s flexibility. However, this picture says otherwise. It definitely wasn’t like that when I first started, so I’m proud to see how far I’ve come.)

My point being, by the time you get to the LAST ab move, which requires loops, you can barely get the damn things on over your legs. You’re all sweaty so that you can’t good grip on the rubber when you pull the loops up over your thighs, and your arms are shaking too hard to pull them up on the first try. It’s a disaster. It takes all your energy just to get the damn things on, and then you’re expected to sit back in a sort of boat pose as you lift and open your legs then lift and close your legs…10 times. Here’s what that particular mode of torture looks like:

Ferry Ride From Hell
No idea what this is called. I only know the noise I make as I struggle through.

If I am focusing on the ab exercises instead of the cardio, it’s for a good reason. There is something demoralizing about making it through 3 minutes of sweat-inducing cardio…only to have to hit pause during the ab series, which is supposed to be your “rest.” I am including this detail to let you know that this is normal. It will be normal for you to barely be able to finish the ab portion(s) of the workout. It will be normal for you to have to push pause in the middle of single-leg/double-leg pike. It will be normal for you to have to hit pause to allow you time to get the loops on your legs in the last exercise, even though Autumn and co. will seem to breeze through such an endeavor with ease. It will be normal for you to want to quit because it will feel like you need a rest you don’t get, and you will doubt whether you can finish.

Don’t quit.

Hit pause all you want. Take a moment to catch your breath and drink some water.

But don’t quit.

Because as hard as these ab exercises are, know that it is their very level of difficulty which guarantees results.

You signed up for this program probably because you were lured by the promise of a sculpted booty and shredded abs. The great thing about Cardio Core in Phase 2 is you can actually FEEL the ab exercises shredding out your abs. After all, the moves are so difficult, how could they not?

When it hurts and you doubt and you can’t breathe and your arms are shaking, embrace the pain. This is what you signed up for and this is how you know the program is working; that it’s doing its job. If you WEREN’T feeling this way, you should wonder if 80 Day Obsession is everything it’s cracked up to be and whether it’s getting the job done.

There will be no wonder in Phases 2 and 3. The shit gets hard, but it is absolutely worth it. Just don’t give in when the going gets tough. Dig in and push through.

If you still have doubts after reading this post, message me. Or check out the usual link.

Just finish the workout. Finish the workout and aim to push pause one less time next week. Baby steps, friends. You got this.

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…

PRO TIP #3: CHECK YOUR LOOPS FOR TEARS AND WEAK POINTS BEFORE STARTING EVERY WORKOUT.

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 23: Cardio Core (aka The One Where I Found My Why)

For weeks now I’ve been teasing this particular day.

Day 23 of 80 Day Obsession will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was the day I found my WHY; i.e., “WHY” I was taking this journey in the first place, and “WHY” I would complete it.

(Briefly, a note on logistics: Week 4 is the same as Week 1 of Cardio Core, except you should be stronger and capable of going longer without any breaks. Not much else to say except I hope you enjoyed it.)

Last time, the night before Day 23, I was in the hospital with my boyfriend until 1 in the morning. He went to Urgent Care at about 5 in the evening for severe stomach pain, was referred to the Emergency Room, and by the time I arrived at 8:30 pm, he had been admitted to the ER and was lying in a hospital bed hooked up to IVs.

We wouldn’t know what was truly wrong with him for another day or so, and once we did, he would begin the long road of treatment. Thankfully, he’s better today than he was then, but I didn’t know that the day before Day 23 last time. All I knew was that he was in pain, the doctors didn’t know what was wrong, and there was nothing I could do.

That night, I left the hospital exhausted and starving. I wasn’t in bed until 1:30 am, and when I set my alarm that night, I had to make a choice: I could either set my alarm for 5:30 am, pull myself out of bed for Cardio Core before work, and face my day knowing I had got my workout in, or I could let myself sleep in an extra two hours, slog thru the work day and God knows what else was waiting for me, and hope there was enough time at the end of it all to sweat it out at the gym before bed.

Had it been any workout other than Cardio Core, I probably would have slept in. But the beauty of Cardio Core was that I knew I could do it. Even running on only a few hours’ sleep, I knew I could finish the workout. I’d done it before.

So, I made myself a deal: I would set my alarm for 5:30 am, and in return, my only expectation of Cardio Core was that I would finish it. It was not a day for squeezing in an extra number of squat jumps or getting extra low on popcorn or reaching extra high on mountain climbers. It was a day of pure survival.

When my alarm went off at 5:30, I set my intention for the day: Finish the Workout. I had no idea what else awaited me; no idea how work would go or how my boyfriend was doing or what the doctors would say. But I knew I could finish Cardio Core, damnit. And I knew I could finish the rest of the workouts in Phase 1 because I’d technically done them all before, too! On Day 23 I set my intention to not only finish Cardio Core, but against all odds, to finish 80 Day Obsession.

For me, Day 23 was when 80 Day Obsession went from being an exercise program to a lifestyle choice. Day 23 gave me a new perspective on the workouts. Finishing a workout was the ONLY part of my day I could control; it was the ONLY part of my day where I knew I could push myself and do well and see positive results. Everything else in my life was literally up in the air. But 80 Day Obsession was my anchor. It allowed me to start each day with a sense of accomplishment; it gave me do-able goals to achieve even when everything else in life seemed impossible; it gave me a sense of control when I had none.

I am proud to report that I carried on with 80 Day Obsession despite multiple trips down to California to visit my boyfriend, while working full-time and finishing up my master’s degree in Taxation. My workout was the one part of my day that was non-negotiable. I even went so far as to ensure that the motel I booked down in Cali came with a workout room with free weights so I could get in my Total Body Core Workout in Phase 3. And in the end, when my boyfriend came home, he did so to a newly confident significant other who’d dropped weight and inches while cleaning up her lifestyle.

So. What is my WHY? WHY do I do this, and WHY have I continued with this obsession long after that initial 80 days ended?

Because I am the one thing in life I can control. What I put into my body and how I move it is solely up to me. By claiming my health and fitness I claim control of my life, which means that even on the shittiest of days, I am reminded of my own power and capability.

It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve been happy with how I look as a result of the program. But I didn’t become a Beachbody coach during this process because I was starting to develop abs for the first time in my life (which I was). I became a coach because 80 Day Obsession was a candle in the dark: I followed it out of hell into the light, somehow stronger and more resilient, despite LIFE. I had to share my experience, if only to let others know that if the program worked for me at the lowest point in my life, then it could help them.

So if you took the time to read this and are going through your own personal hell at the moment, I urge you to consider doing something to give you control back over your life. If you’re ready for 80 Day Obsession, bite the bullet and get it started. If you’re not, start with something else, something that’s manageable for you at this point in your life. But start with SOMEthing. And if you need help or recommendations, let me know. I can point you to the ever present link with Beachbody info, or offer a suggestion or two.

At the end of the day, I hope you find your WHY. It helps. Not just in workouts or at home but in EVERYTHING. It took me 23 days + 34 years to find mine. But now that I have, there’s no turning back.

And now, your moment of zen:

Knee Tucks on the Sliders
Gettin’ it done.

Phase 1, Day 17: Cardio Core (aka My Fave)

There’s no getting around it. This is my favorite cardio workout.

I’ve done 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Master’s Hammer and Chisel, P903x, and a host of my own made-up HIIT workouts. I cannot say that I looked forward to a single cardio workout in any of those routines. Cardio day was something to get through; a slog to endure; a necessary evil to survive.

But with 80 Day Obsession Cardio Core, I actually woke up this morning LOOKING FORWARD to my cardio workout. Who the F ever wakes up and says, “you know, I can’t wait to do some squat jumps!”

But that was me this morning.

NEXT WEEK, watch this space, because I will be taking a deep personal turn and explain why Cardio Core will always hold a special place in my heart.

For now, suffice it to say that I enjoy Cardio Core for three reasons: 1) The routine keeps me interested; 2) There’s a lot of ab work; and 3) Just when you think you can’t keep going, the HIIT interval ends.

Take, for example, round 2 in Cardio Core. You spend the first 30 seconds doing heel jump ropes, then 30 seconds doing pepper step; then 30 seconds doing heel jump ropes; 30 more seconds of pepper step; last 30 seconds of heel jump ropes; last 30 seconds of pepper step. In the beginning, the heel jump ropes aren’t too bad – they’re a good breather, and the more you focus on getting your heels out to the side and in front of you, the better you can also work your abs. But those pepper steps…they sound cute but can’t be attractive. Everything jiggles. Everything burns. It’s the strangest feeling to be forcing your feet to move so fast that at a certain point you wonder if they’re even moving at all. Regardless, in both exercises, you get to the point where you KNOW you can’t go a single second more…and the exercise stops. BOOM it’s over and you’re on to the what’s next: An ab exercise that allows you to catch your breath.

Cardio Core is intimidating the first time you do it because it has “cardio” in the title and you don’t know what to expect. But after that first time, you KNOW what’s to come. And like I’ve blogged before, you start to focus on whether or not you can do one more rep instead of the pain.

Also, in case you’re wondering whether you can get a good workout only doing 30 second HIIT (high intensity interval training) intervals, YES. YES YOU CAN. Here’s me immediately following the workout:

Troll Hair Don't Care
That was a Doozy

I know this is an extreme close-up of all things unattractive. But I post it to show the workout WORKS. Plus, I’m pretty damn proud of that sweat. I’m proud I dragged my ass out of bed this morning, went to the gym, and made the decision to press play on a workout that has “cardio” in its title.

I’m proud of how low I got in these jump squats:

Jump Squats
No idea I could get that low!

And I’m proud of following my timed nutrition meal plan to a T, including consuming my delicious post-workout shake (aka breakfast):

Breakfast!
Breakfast of Champions.

My point is, you might be reading this and thinking, “Well F you, Katie. Of course it’s easy for you. You’ve done this all before.”

And to a certain extent, that’s true. Except that at one point, I was right where you were. I was on Day 17 and dreading the workout and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into, that I had 63 more days of this thing. I wasn’t excited to work out. I wasn’t sure I was seeing results. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going.

The peeps in Beachbody preach about finding your “why”: Why are you doing this? Why did you sign up for the program and push play in the first place?

In the beginning, my “why” was simply that I wanted to lose weight and tone up and look good. And that was a great goal for me to START 80 Day Obsession. But it would not have been enough to keep me going. It would not have sustained me throughout the entire 80 days. And I can tell you that if your “why” is currently similar to mine, that was a great reason to start 80 Day Obsession, but you’re going to need to dig deeper to find why you will FINISH the program.

On Day 23 of my first round, I found my “why.” It was forced upon me, and was completely unexpected. Yet when it happened, I had a choice: I could either keep doing 80 Day Obsession because I “had” to, or I could keep doing 80 Day Obsession because I CHOSE to.

I chose to continue and finish 80 Day Obsession on Day 23 of my first round. It was the best decision I could have made, and I can’t wait to tell you more in my blog next week.

For now, if you’re struggling, think about your why: WHY are you doing this? WHY did you press play in the first place? WHY did you want to do 80 Day Obsession? WHY did you do the first 18 days?

I hope your answers lead you somewhere good. Message me if you want to share. And check out my Instagram (@fitluddy) if you want to see more sweaty selfies. Usual link to the usual Beachbody stuff.

Yours in sweat and unicorns,

Katie