PEAK WEEK, Day 77: Legs from Phase 1 (aka The One That Requires Strength)

Strength is a funny thing.

There’s physical strength: CAN I LIFT THIS CAR OFF THIS BABY.

There’s mental strength: CAN I STAY AWAKE A LITTLE BIT LONGER TO FINISH THIS ASSIGNMENT.

There’s emotional strength: CAN I BE THE BIGGER PERSON AND NOT TAKE OFFENSE AT MY PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE AUNT.

And there’s what I call social strength: CAN I RESIST THE URGE TO FOLLOW THE HERD WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT.

In my experience, these strengths are all intrinsically tied to one another –if you improve one strength, it usually has the net effect of improving a strength in a different area.

Nowhere have I found this to be more true than in 80 Day Obsession, which is why I love the program so damn much.

To build your physical strength, you necessarily have to build your mental strength (I CAN DO IT! JUST ONE MORE REP!) and your social strength (SORRY I CAN’T GO OUT I HAVE TO GO TO THE GYM). You also have to build some emotional strength (SORRY NOT SORRY FOR HOARDING ALL THE WEIGHTS). Somehow, though you probably didn’t expect it, strength is a package deal with 80 Day Obsession.

You may have started the program to shred out your abs and get a booty. I did. I wanted a six-pack for summer. I kinda have one. Or, at least, it’s the closest I’ve ever been to having one.

I didn’t start 80 Day Obsession because I wanted to become stronger mentally. But I got stronger mentally. It just happened. Probably because as you prove to yourself with each workout that you can do hard things, that carries over to work and family and everything else and you end up reminding yourself, when faced when an otherwise insurmountable task, that you can do hard things.

The same goes for your emotional and social strengths. A million bucks says each have improved during this program (provided, of course, you have actually followed the program).

As a result, you will be ending 80 Day Obsession a different person than when you started. A much stronger person in body and mind and spirit.

I bring all this up because today’s Leg Day is a good reminder of your new and improved strength. The workout is hard: Three sets of 10 reps, where you do the rep scheme a group of exercises at a time.

SERIES 1: Reverse lunges, squats, curtsy lunges.

SERIES 2: Sumo squats, front diagonal lunges, twisting back angle lunge.

SERIES 3: Single-leg good morning, hip hinge, buddha squats.

Because this exercise is from Phase 1, if you recall, the emphasis was on lifting heavy weights. So it is today. But because you will not have lifted truly heavy weights for about four weeks – as Phase 3 was about jumping with a lighter weight – you will struggle today. This is doubly so because Autumn gives minimal rest going from one leg to another within a move; that is, when you finish up the right leg on reverse lunges, you go immediately to your left.

PRO TIP #321: START THE FIRST SET IN SERIES 1 WITH A LIGHTER WEIGHT TO WARM UP.

You will need the warm-up round. When I ended Phase 1 eons ago, I was lifting 25 pound dumbbells for each move. But after the warm-up today, I could feel my body was nowhere near warm enough to start with those 25s. So, I started with 20s. I used the 20s for the first set of reverse lunges, squats, and curtsy lunges. It wasn’t until that second set of reverse lunges that my body felt limber enough to handle the 25s. I knew I was warmed up when my knee banged against the floor on the first lunge, whereas I could barely bend the damn thing in the first set.

More so than my physical strength, however, the workout tested my mental strength. On Day 77, the workout felt long. And I was tired. And I am ready for a break after 77 days.

But here is where that newly developed mental fortitude kicked in. Instead of doubting whether I could finish the move or the workout, I reminded myself I already did – I’d finished it four times before in Phase 1. I could CERTAINLY power through this final round in PEAK WEEK.

To ensure I powered through, I took shorter rest breaks than Autumn and the cast; I knew if I stayed still for too long, I might not get started back up again. Don’t be afraid to start early if this is you. Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to get the job done, ESPECIALLY in Peak Week.

My mind reminded my body it could do this workout. As a result, I have officially checked off yet another workout in 80 Day Obsession. GOODBYE LEG DAY.

But more importantly, I was reminded, yet again, that I can do hard things.

You can too. Check out the link if you want to get started on your own path to 80 Day Obsession. Or email me with questions or for more details. Whatever you do, I hope you are finding your own way to improve your own strengths and live your best life.

After all, why settle for anything less?

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 67: Cardio Core (aka WEAR SUNSCREEN)

As previously blogged, Lake Chelan is my happy place.

It is also the place of some truly epic, terrible sunburns.

When I was in 8th grade, I decided to disregard my mother’s advice to a) avoid the sun, and b) WEAR SUNSCREEN, and instead laid out for three hours wearing nothing but…baby oil.

I’m cringing as I write this. As I do, the scars on my chest from my blistering sunburn tingle just a bit to remind me of my stupidity.

You would think that with that disaster under my belt, I would have learned my lesson.

You would think.

I worked out today at about 10 am. Here was my set-up:

IMG_0563
Note the blue sky and utter lack of shade.

My philosophy is that if I am working out in the sun before 11 am or after 4:30 pm, the only part of my body I really need to ensure has sunscreen is my face and perhaps the top of my shoulders.

Rarely, if ever, do I pay attention to my legs. My thinking is that they spend most of the time under me and therefore don’t get too much sun exposure.

Today’s workout was Cardio Core. It’s the same workout you did last week and the week before that. It’s 30 seconds of some sort of jumping exercise, followed by 30 seconds of a high intensity interval training (“HIIT”) move; repeat for a total of 3 rounds (i.e. 3 minutes total), then do an ab exercise.

Here’s some of the HIIT moves: Saddle jumps, where your legs are in sumo squat position and you jump; burpee popcorn (or whatever it’s called), where you do a half burpee and then pop up into a squat; and step-throughs, your good ol’ friend from Cardio Flow.

Think about your leg position for all of these moves; instead of your legs churning the ground directly beneath you, somewhat sheltered from the sun by the shade of your upper body, your legs are instead either out to the side of you or out straight behind you.

Now think through the ab exercises: Every one of them has your legs stretched out either in front of you or behind you.

My point is, there’s a lot more leg exposure in these workouts than you realize. Which in turn means there’s more sun exposure.

Which means this is the current color of my legs:

Sun Burn
The fingerprint is to demonstrate the redness. Whoops.

I am a grown ass woman who has suffered some horrific sunburns, and yet I STILL allow shit like this to happen. WTF is wrong with me?? I KNOW I can’t go out into the sun unprotected and yet I STILL do it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is the very definition of insanity.

If I sound perplexed it’s because this is not the only area in my life where I struggle to learn from my past mistakes; the other, most obviously, is staying consistent with workout out and eating right. Inevitably, I hit a wall or something happens and I go three or four months without breaking a sweat which enjoying every crumb and cookie along the way. For example, last year I felt GREAT after completing Hammer and Chisel, then multiple rounds of 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme. Then I started Tony Horton’s P90X3 (or whatever it’s called where you work out in 30 minutes and do a shit ton of pushups and pullups) the same week as Labor Day when my boyfriend and I went to visit some good friends in Bend, Oregon, for beer, wine, fried food, and giggles. After the weekend, the only thing consistent for the next few months, until I started 80 Day Obsession on January 15, 2018, was the beer, wine, fried food, and giggles.

So it worries me when I have an incident like today. What guarantee do I have that I won’t fall off on the wagon in the future? All I had to do today was WEAR SUNSCREEN, something that I know is for my own good. But I still didn’t.

How do I know that as good as I feel right now, working out and eating right, I won’t have a weekend down the road that completely throws off my game and sets me back a week? A month? A YEAR? (YES, after studying for (and passing!) the Bar, I didn’t work out for two years. I don’t know what happened. I don’t have an explanation. I think the Bar simply broke something inside of me and it took that long to heal.)

I guess the short answer is: I don’t have an answer. As much as I try to prepare for those Doomsday moments, I don’t really know what will happen until they occur.

If I had one piece of advice for myself, it would be this: Don’t focus on making it up the mountain; just focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Focus on the here and now and what you need to do TODAY to overcome your obstacle and get back on track.

For me, I think that will mean simply choosing a workout and DOING it. Even if it’s just yoga or something where I stare at Chalean’s ridiculous thigh-high workout boots (yes that’s a thing, I’m not making it up). If I move my body, the eating right will follow because it is a LOT harder to want to put french fries in your body after a good sweat sesh.

Don’t focus on the war, just the battle.

So I guess tomorrow it means my workout will be happening closer to 9 am IN THE SHADE, and I will be covering myself up with sunscreen AND a towel when I head up-lake on a friend’s boat.

I suppose even an old dog learns new tricks. Or can remember old tricks. Who knows. Just keep learning, damn it.

Check out the usual link for more program info, and above all, PLEASE, WEAR SUNSCREEN.

 

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 2, Day 57: AAA (aka The One That Putzes Along Nicely)

Last week I ran through the different exercises found in AAA in Phase 3 of 80 Day Obsession.

I admit, with the lifting scheme shifting to three sets of 10 reps this week, where you do all the exercises in a row for 10 reps each, three times, I worried that the workout would stretch on FOREVER.

Surprisingly, that was not the case. Out of all the workouts we’ve done thus far in 80 Day Obsession, this one feels the most carefully planned. That is, the workouts transition nicely from one to the other. Have loops around your legs for side lunge, the last move in the first series? No sweat – keep those loops on for bridge pull over, the first move in series two.

Trying a 15 pound dumbbell for Camel Bicep Curl? Sweet! Stick with it for weighted twisting roll down.

Back to double or triple loops for marching bridge? Keep those babies on as you transition into bridge bilateral press.

There’s transitions, but none of the rushed scurrying around Autumn sometimes infuses into the workout, usually when she realizes she needs to cram 65 minutes of work into a 55 minute timeframe. I wasn’t running from the weight area to the tile floor in a rush to throw down my sliders and join for the first rep of abs. Speed walking, yes. But not the sprint I usually have to use to start on time.

All in all, this workout putzes along nicely. It gets the job done and you don’t feel as though you’ve been in the gym for an overly long period of time.

Also, SPOILER ALERT, don’t be surprised when Autumn throws in some weights for the last set of curtsy lunge pulses. She does. Just savor the burn and know that it’s building a full, round booty. Here’s me mid-burn:

Curtsy lunge pulses with weight.
I’m not a mouth breather unless I’m working out, I swear.

With the logistics out of the way, I have a pro tip to avoid a pet peeve of mine.

PRO TIP #2: DON’T LIFT IN FRONT OF THE WEIGHT RACK. YOU’RE BLOCKING THE WEIGHTS YOU ANNOYING DOUCHE.

For whatever reason, I have only ever seen men engage in this terrible weight room etiquette. Me, I hoard weights, yes. But if you were to approach me and ask to work in, I’d have no problem with that request.

BUT WHEN YOU STAND DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE WEIGHT RACK DOING YOUR DAMN LATERAL SHOULDER RAISES, YOU AND YOUR F-ING WING SPAN ARE MONOPOLIZING ALL THE WEIGHTS.

Again, this habit seems to be limited to MEN. I don’t know why. The thinking must be something like: I’m just gonna bang out a few reps and won’t be long so everyone can wait and admire my biceps as I sweat all over the free weights. Or maybe: THIS IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO STAND WHY IS NO ONE ELSE HERE?!

I imagine it has to be a mixture of the two. Regardless, don’t be that human diaper. Be mindful of others in the gym and make sure you are lifting far enough away from the weight rack so that if someone else wants to pick up or return a set of dumbbells, they can do so.

Also, PRO TIP #4: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY PLEASE GO EASY ON THE COLOGNE.

Seriously. This one should go without saying, but apparently needs repeating.

You can tell I’m low on sleep because it was all I could do tonight to not chew out the greaser with the slicked back hair who decided to do the majority of his weights in front of the weight rack while wearing an entire bottle of AX body spray. YES I WILL GLARE DAGGERS AT YOU AND THROW THE WEIGHTS DOWN FOR EMPHASIS.

I think I need some sleep.

So on that note, I hope you got your Week 2 off to a wicked start and your work week off to a jumping Monday. It’s summer and it’s Phase 3! Enjoy how far you’ve come and focus on making these last few weeks really count!

Link to the usual Beachbody goodies here.