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 1, Day 26: Cardio Flow (aka One Down, Two to Go)

Today I got up at 4 am on a Saturday to get in my Cardio Flow before a road trip with my Dad.

You know you’re obsessed when you’re planning your day around your workout and proceed to pack 80 Day Obsession approved snacks for the road (read: Extra mini peppers and carrots because veggies are usually in short supply when eating out). At this point in the program, you have to be obsessed. You’re in it. You’ve made it this far, you’ve finished a full phase, you might as well keep it going and finish the rest.

So, first, CONGRATULATIONS! You did it! Phase 1 is in the books! Take a moment to recognize what you have accomplished. For the past four weeks, you have worked out according to plan and (hopefully) followed the timed nutrition plan to a T, or as closely are you are able. As someone who has started and stopped many a workout program, I know this is no small feat. Doing something for two days in a row, a week in a row, two weeks in a row, four weeks in a row, is difficult. Especially when it comes to exercise.

Which means if you have made it this far successfully, before embarking on the second phase of this journey, take a moment to reflect. Think about the past month. What worked for you? What didn’t work for you? Was it easier to work out at a particular time of the day? Were there any meals that were super easy to make that you enjoyed?

For me, I ended Phase 1 knowing that working out in the morning was essential to my success. And, in order to get up early before work to make that happen, I had to be in bed by 9:30 pm. In addition, I also ended Phase 1 knowing that I loved the FIXATE turkey sloppy joes and that that they were easy to make.

So, when I started Phase 2, I did so prepared to do what it took to get to bed early to ensure an early workout time, and with a weekly menu that inevitably involved turkey sloppy joes.

HOWEVER, despite my own reflection, there was one crucial error I made prior to starting Phase 2: I did not recalculate my caloric intake.

PRO TIP #34: RECALCULATE YOUR CALORIC INTAKE PRIOR TO STARTING PHASE 2.

If you have been keeping up to date with these posts, then you know that one issue I struggled with for about half the program was not eating enough. For weeks, I was tired in the evening, cranky, starving by 6 pm, and just not very pleasant to be around. Yet despite these warning signs, it didn’t occur to me to bump up my caloric intake because I thought what I was experiencing was just a natural side effect of cutting calories.

WRONG WRONG WRONG.

I wasn’t eating enough. And had I correctly followed the 80 Day Obsession starter guide, I would have realized this at the start of Phase 2 instead of weeks later.

If you read the starter guide, it tells you to recalculate your calories at the start of phases 2 and 3. Why? Because if Phase 1 was about building muscle and stamina, phases 2 and 3 are all about leaning and shredding out. To accomplish those goals, Autumn has put together some killer workouts that work multiple muscle groups at once thereby causing you to burn more calories than you did in Phase 1. Somewhat counter-intuitively for those of us who experienced the heroin chic phase of the 90s, this means you have to eat MORE to lean out, because your body needs more fuel to keep your metabolism high and thus burn more fat. I think. I’m not a nutritionist and I don’t play one on TV.

All I know is that you WILL need to eat more in Phases 2 and 3. Figure out exactly how much more by actually doing the calculations in the starter guide.

That is the best and most important advice I can give you at this juncture: Do the math and adjust your meal plan accordingly.

Other than that, I hope you continue to practice what worked for you in Phase 1. And I also hope you identified what DIDN’T work for you so you hopefully can avoid those problem areas in Phase 2. The next few weeks are going to be TOUGH, but know this: Every move in Phase 2 builds upon a move you already conquered in Phase 1. Which means you should KNOW you can do it. Just like you did in Phase 1, start with a manageable weight and go from there. Don’t try to kill yourself out the gate. Pay attention to your body and your form.

Most of all, enjoy how much stronger you feel. Because you WILL be stronger. And you’re about to get a whole lot stronger and see some real results.

ALSO, when you watch Weekly Obsession this week, Autumn is going to talk about those magical “refeed days.” What exactly those days are will be better explained in several of the upcoming posts. I have my own thoughts on the matter, which I will detail in those posts. All I will say at the moment is the approach I’m going to take to refeed days this time around is a little different from the one advocated by Autumn, mostly because I already did the program and I know what worked (and didn’t work) for me.  I’m going to try and make some adjustments.

But in the meantime, again, enjoy your accomplishment! Reflect on what you did well in Phase 1 and how you’re going to make sure you continue to be successful in Phase 2. Plan your menus and your workout times and continue to kick ass.

At this point, more than anything, I hope you are enjoying the program and are able to see what I got so obsessed. Why I am so obsessed. I hope you are feeling a change not only physically, but mentally. If you are, feel free to share. If you’re not, feel free to let me know. Shoot me a message or an email. Or click on the usual link to connect to more Beachbody stuff.

Shit’s about to get real good, so buckle up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duck walk it out
Hate these things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phase 1, Day 9: Booty (aka Here We Go Again)

Mid-way through today’s workout I was ready for it to be over.

Not because it was hard or because I thought I might die or because my legs hurt so bad I wanted to stop.

No, I was ready for it to be over because today’s workout just felt LONG. Where you get done with the first round of exercises and realize you STILL have two more rounds to go.

Booty this week is the exact same exercises from last week, but instead of doing 2 sets of 15 reps, you do all exercises for 10 reps, then go through and do them all again, then go through and do them all again. 3 sets of 10 reps. And with this set-up, it feels like it takes FOREVER.

This will probably be a recurring theme throughout this week: The workouts feel slightly tedious.

So, let’s talk about something that is probably a bit more relevant: Those damn resistance loops.

I guarantee that if you went through today’s workout, you were hating the loops. You might also have been wondering if you were getting a good workout, or if you were doing it right because you weren’t really feeling it where Autumn said you should. My first time through, I struggled to know if I was getting the most out of the loops, because I wasn’t sure if it was hard enough. Was I getting the most out of the workout?

Here’s the deal. If you are doing the exercises with the loops and you aren’t feeling it, you either don’t have the loop placed correctly on your leg, or you need to increase the resistance loop. If you have the loop too high up your thighs, it offers no resistance so everything feels real easy. You want the loop placed about two inches above your knees, but you’re going to have to experiment with what position works best for you. The problem with that, of course, is that even though today’s workout feels like it takes FOREVER, Autumn actually moves you pretty quickly from one exercise to another, so it’s hard to find the time to adjust your loops. But do it. Hit pause, and adjust. Even if it means you have to spend the rest of the workout dealing with a big PAUSE sign on the TV (my morning), it will be worth it to get the loops placed properly.

How do you know if you should increase the loop resistance? Well, if you’re using a yellow and aren’t feeling anything, bump up to a green. If you’re using a green and aren’t feeling it, bump up to a blue. And if you’re already on blue, double-loop it and add a yellow.

Yes, to those of you joining us for the first time, double-looping is a thing, and it does work. But don’t go crazy with it. Especially, don’t go for a double blue loop right out of the gate. Trust me, that shit is hard, and unless your glutes are super ripped, you won’t be able to do double blues while maintaining the right form.

PRO TIP TO DOUBLE-LOOPING: PUT ON ONE LOOP AT A TIME. MAKE SURE THE LOOP IS IN PLACE AND LYING FLAT AGAINST YOUR SKIN BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO PUT THE SECOND LOOP ON OVER IT.

IF you are between loops – that is, if a blue feels too light, but you’re not sure whether you’re ready to try double-looping, then really focus on engaging the muscle that should be working. For example, there is an exercise called “clam,” where you lie on your side with your knees stacked on top of one another at a 90 degree angle, loops around your thighs, and you then proceed to open and close your knees like a clam (terrible description, but bear with me). The exercise works a VERY tiny muscle. For me to work that muscle, I have to really slow down and focus not only on that tiny muscle, but also on keeping my core tight so I don’t rock back. If my core is loose, I rock back which causes another part of my butt to engage, thereby ensuring I don’t work the right muscle. So even though I fall behind, I have to go slow to make sure I work what I am supposed to be working. Replace that extra resistance loop with careful focus, and you can make the workout work for you.

Here’s me doing my favorite exercise of the day:

Side Lunge, Double-Looped
Side lunge, double-looped. I had to pause halfway through because the loops started to go too far up my thighs

This was my fave exercise because it was the LAST exercise. Thank God.

So that’s me bitching about Booty Day. Trust me, Booty day gets a LOT more interesting, and moves WAY quicker after this week. This was a workout you just have to slog through.

Before turning in for the night, I want to touch briefly on the nutrition plan. IF you are reading this and wondering if it’s weird that you’re still hungry all the time, the answer is YES, IT IS. If, after a full 10 days, you are barely making it to the two-hour mark between meals before your stomach starts growling loud enough for others to hear, you need to bump up meal plans.

At this point last time, I was eating in Meal Plan B, and hating life. My energy was low, I was crabby when I came home, and I was having a really, REALLY hard time resisting temptation. I was managing it only because I would come straight home, brush my teeth, and put my retainers in…at 6:30 pm to keep from eating anything else later in the night.

It took me awhile to cotton on to the fact that I needed to bump up to Meal Plan C – I didn’t figure that out and actually do it until mid-way through Phase 2. And I will tell you that a big reason I started this blog is because I wanted to know if anyone else was feeling like me, and the Google machine wasn’t helping.

Look, it’s natural in the first week to feel a bit crabby and tired and to crave foods you normally eat – that’s your body adjusting. But if those symptoms persist, there’s something else going on. Such as: You need to eat more food. For me, I was working full-time then doing night classes. That made for a long day with me not getting home until after 8 pm. Yet I was barely able to push my last meal to 5:30 pm because I would get so hungry by 4:30 pm I couldn’t focus for the last hour at work.

When I bumped up from Meal Plan B to C, I was able to make it comfortably to 6:30 pm before eating my last meal. More importantly, I had more energy and was a LOT more pleasant to be around.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: You need to eat to fuel your body. Don’t think that just because you bump up a meal plan, you will bulk up or gain weight. If you’re eating clean and working out, you won’t. If you doubt me, know this: Autumn Calabrese, the diminutive sprite with the killer abs who created 80 Day Obsession and probably barely weighs 100 pounds soaking wet, eats out of Meal Plan C.

Just like working with the resistance loops, you will have to experiment with the meal plan in terms of what works for you. BUT, don’t take that as free license to experiment with substituting a whole cake for one yellow. Save that shit for refeed day.

You’ll see what I mean.

For now, I will leave you with the usual link to Beachbody, and this picture of the mouth-watering steak I enjoyed tonight, courtesy of the boyfriend. See how well you can eat in 80 Day Obsession?!

BEEF: It's what's for dinner...
…when the boyfriend cooks

 

Phase 1, Day 8: Total Body Core. Again. (aka There is Nothing Pretty About This)

You know when you do an exercise that feels AMAZING so you think you MUST look good while doing it? That is, you feel so strong, that surely that strength carries over into a picture of you performing the exercise such that the photo exudes confidence and can-do and charisma.

Yeah, not so much.

At least, not so much with any exercise in Total Body Core. Case in point below:

Boat Pose with Loop.
Yep, that’s me. Looking like it’s a Monday morning at the gym.

That’s me in boat pose with resistance loop. In my head, my legs were far out in front of me, my back was nearly touching the floor, and my head was in line with my spine.

As you can see, none of those things are actually true.

And really, that’s what Week 2 is all about: You feel stronger than you did in Week 1, but also nothing really looks good this week. That is, you’ll be a little bit sore, a little bit tired, and starting to wonder if 72 more days of this shit is worth it.

To that I answer YES, it is.

And, also, this is the worst week in any Phase. Week 2, that is. The reason being you do all the exercises in a row for 10 reps; then go back through and do them all for 10 reps again; then go back through and do them all for 10 reps again for the 3rd and final time. I hate this rep scheme because it feels like it takes FOREVER. There’s none of the WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM that comes with doing 3 sets of 10 for a group of exercises, then moving on to the next. Instead, you have to struggle through an exercise (cough, renegade rows, cough), then know you have to go all the way through the ENTIRE workout before coming back to it. Time goes real slow in this one.

All I can say is: STICK WITH IT. It does get better, I promise.

Wondering how to make it get better, faster? Now’s the time for one of my trademark pro tips!

Pro Tip #14: STRETCH. Stretch in the morning when you get up, at night when you go to bed, and drop into a runner’s lunge for a few seconds at work, just to keep it all loose.

If you are anything like me, you are sore right now. Even though I’ve already gone through this whole 80 Day Obsession thing, it still gets me, mostly because I have bumped up my weights, and I decided to try and play soccer even though I don’t run on a regular basis. I then proceed to sit at a desk at work for 8 hours a day before heading home to stare at the computer screen for another hour while I blog (YOU’RE WELCOME).

If I don’t stretch, my hip flexors get so tight that it starts to pull on my hamstrings, which in turn makes it more likely I’ll pull a muscle just walking (been there, done that). So I always spend an extra 12 minutes stretching after my workout in the morning. Then, at night, before I go to bed, I do the same 12-minute routine.

Recently, I’ve added just dropping into a random runner’s lunge stretch at work for 10 seconds at a time, just to try and keep things extra loose. Because I have been sitting WAY too much for comfort.

If you’re wondering what stretch I’m talking about, here it is:

lunge.jpg
That’s not me. But you get the idea.

I try to do that stretch a few times at work throughout the day, holding for 8-10 seconds at a time. If I don’t, I can’t squat or lunge as low, and chances are good I’ll pull something.

I’m trying to think what else you might want to know about this workout, but really, I think all you’ll want to know is that YES IT DOES END. And, YES YOU CAN DO IT. But it’s not a pretty “hey look at me” sort of workout day.

It’s a grit your teeth, suck it in to keep your core tight, make all sorts of animalistic grunting noises kind of workout day. So just own it and go with it. Because soon those grunts will be coming from one strong animal.

Yeah, it’s definitely Monday.

Link HERE to learn more at Beachbody.

 

Phase 1, Day 7: Roll & Release (aka Meet Your New Best Friend)

Roll and Release: Roll around on a foam roller for 15 minutes and give yourself the massage you never knew you could.

The new best friend reference, btw, is not to the “workout” (fear not, it’s not a workout), but rather to the foam roller. If you don’t have one, get one. Seriously, it’s life-changing. You know when you come home from those long days hunched over your computer at work and you have those unreachable knots bunched up under your shoulder blade? Spend a few minutes on the foam roller and you can roll that shit into oblivion. It gives your body the release you never thought you could get without being on a massage table.

I have, incidentally, walked out into the living room to find that my boyfriend has fallen asleep atop the foam roller. It’s that good.

But more importantly than making it to Day 7 and foam rolling the shit out of your body, you have finished Week 1 of 80 Day Obsession! Feel good about this accomplishment! And, remember this when the going gets tough in the rest of Phase 1:

YOU CAN DO EVERY MOVE IN PHASE 1. YOU ALREADY HAVE. SO KNOW YOU CAN DO IT.

There are going to be days up ahead where you are going to be tired. You won’t have slept the night before or you’ll be drained from work or you and your boyfriend will be going through some shit, and everything will ball up and make that workout you have to do seem insurmountable. You have to handle life AND those renegade rows with a twist and a GD resistance loop?

But here’s the deal. Even if you’re doubting whether you can handle the rest of the shit life will throw at you, KNOW you can handle the workout. You are not going to see ANYTHING new in Phase 1 from this point forward. The only thing that changes is the amount of times you do the exercise. Which means all you have to focus on doing is completing one rep at a time of an exercise you KNOW you CAN complete. You’ve done it before. You can push it to make it happen again.

I’ve hinted at it in other posts, but towards the end of Phase 1, I had some shit go down that made me doubt not only whether I could finish 80 Day Obsession, but make it through the day. The only thing that got me through the workout (Cardio Core) was knowing that I had done the workout before. It wasn’t rocket science. I wasn’t learning a foreign language. All I was doing was something I KNEW I could do. So I kept jumping and kept moving because I knew that’s what had worked for me in the past and that it would get me through this tough spot. And it did.

So yeah, when you think you can’t push through, remember you can because you JUST DID. Take a page out of Nike’s book and JUST DO IT.

With the exercise portion out of the way, let’s switch briefly to nutrition. Here’s my meal plan for the week:

Round 2 - Week 2
Menu for Week 2

This week, it will be a lot less assembling and prep for me on the weeknights, because with the exception of the skewers, I portion everything out into a separate container immediately after making it. As a result, here’s what a full day of food looks like for me, absent my shake, banana, and pre-workout meal:

Week 2 foods
Nomz Peanut Butter

Some day, I will learn better photog skillz with the iPhone. But that day is not today.

And, today is not the day when I conquer eating Home Baked Goods at my aunt’s house. I talked about this last night, how I struggle with sticking to my timed nutrition plan when I head to my aunt’s house for Sunday dinner.

Tonight, strangely enough, perhaps as a result of that blog, or as a result of eating at just the right time (hour and 15 minutes) prior to heading to her place, I felt really good about surviving the evening unscathed. I felt strong and wasn’t getting the urge to pig out like I normally do.

And in fact, I portioned stuff out on to my plate in acceptable sizes: Chicken Marabella – enough to fit one red; white rice – a little less than a yellow; green salad with vinaigrette beforehand – enough to fit a green; a small slice of home baked bread to round out the rest of the yellow. I savored it and ate it all and actually felt pretty good.

And then I saw my cousin going back to seconds, and it was like a tether snapped on my self control. Suddenly, the need to EAT ALL THE FOODZ was back and I was all in for more chicken and rice and bread. Then came dessert and I was all about that plum cake with ice cream. Two slices AND two scoops please! Fucking delicious.

So, my timed nutrition plan tanked for Sunday night. Again. But this time around, I’m trying to give myself a bit more grace. See, I know I didn’t stick to the plan. But at the same time, because I had two meals left in the day to eat, I kinda figure that from a caloric standpoint, I got roughly the same amount of calories as I should, just not at the right time. And as for the plum cake…well shit happens. And next time I should really only do one slice.

I’m including this not so that you think you have free license to eat anything and everything. If you do that, 80 Day Obsession won’t work for you.

I’m including this tidbit so you know the struggle is real. This is my second time through and I’m STILL trying to figure out how to get the most out of this program. Yeah, I had a bad night. But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up, or that I’m throwing the rest of the meal plan for the week to the wind. It just means that I will have to figure out something new for Sunday dinner next week. I’m not going to let that one failure ruin the rest of the week. And really, I’m not sure I would call it a failure, because it was good food surrounded by good people. So sorry, not sorry.

When you screw up – because you will – go easy on yourself. Try and figure out why the screw-up happened, then try and address the issue so it doesn’t happen again in the future. Or so it doesn’t happen so bad. But don’t stop. Don’t give up. What you’ll get out this program AND life is too good to let one set-back dictate how the rest of everything should go.

For me, I’m hoping that the 2B Mindset program will help with my self-control on these Sunday night dinners. I need that extra little boost to make it through. I need to figure out a way to enjoy myself without over-eating or going back for seconds or thirds or fourths. Because I don’t need those extra helpings. I’m eating enough during the day and getting plenty of good fuel. So something else is going on. I’m hopeful 2B Mindset can help get to the root of it.

Somehow, I managed to type over 1200 words on a rest day. TL;DR. I know I know.

Get some sleep and get ready for Week 2, starting tomorrow! And if you want to know more about 2B Mindset, check out the link below for more info.

https://mysite.coach.teambeachbody.com?coachId=1603264&locale=en_US