Phase 3, Day 60: Total Body Core (aka The One Where You Realize You’ve Gotten a Lot Better at Tricep Push-Ups)

I work out at a gym.

I don’t know if I’ve told y’all that before, but I do. I realize this is somewhat unusual for a person who is following a Beachbody program, as part of Beachbody’s selling point is you can do the workout from the comfort of your own home. I can’t. I live on the third floor of an apartment building and there just isn’t enough space in our living room to do side lunges/back lunges, and I don’t want to give myself an excuse to not complete a workout because I keep banging my shin on the coffee table (been there, done that). Plus, I know my downstairs neighbors really don’t appreciate the early morning jumping required in a number of the workouts.

So, gym it is. In the weight-lifting area, I collect my weights, grab a mat, and push play. I navigate people jumping rope and idiots who block the weight rack. I go back and forth between the rubber mat of the weight area to the tiled floor of the merchandise area, and ignore the gawkers who spot me on my sliders doing tricep push-up pull-ins in front of the shelves of protein powder:

Tricep push-ups on Sliders
Don’t mind me as I sweat amongst the merchandise.

I share this because today’s Total Body Core workout will pretty much require you to have ALL the weights. Again. I commandeered everything from the 12.5 pound dumbbells, all the way up to the 20s. Yes, I was THAT bitch. And I don’t care.

Today’s workout will leave you with sweat rolling down your ankles and a burn in your shoulders that won’t quit. It’s three sets of 10 reps, where you go through all exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeat for another 2 rounds. It’s not my favorite set-up, but it gets the job done.

I will say, however, that the 10 reps really gives you the opportunity to measure your strength. That tricep push-up form above? Last week, I could barely do the 15 reps on my toes, and had to drop to my knees for the last few. But this week, I did all 10 on my toes. My back arched perhaps a bit too much, but I still managed to get a lot lower than I could in Phase 1. Even better, my push-up form in the 1/2 Turkish get-up from hell felt stronger, though I cursed Autumn’s name throughout the move.

My goal for next week is to continue this push-up triumph and try the slide-out push-ups on my toes as opposed to on my knees. I’ll keep you posted.

With my push-up notes out of the way, let’s turn to the two pro tips for today’s workout.

PRO TIP #101: If your loops are rolling on V Crunch to Scissor Crunch, you gotta double or triple loop.

I got new loops in the mail yesterday and eagerly put them to use in tonight’s workout. For the first time in awhile, I was able to double-loop with two blues. But to my dismay, I couldn’t get more than 2-3 reps done of V Crunch to Scissor Crunch without the damn things rolling up my thighs. I powered through only by constantly taking a moment to adjust the loops during my crunch up (an extra burn, so not unwelcome). So, in round 2, I added a green loop.

I found that the three loops would slide up my thighs a bit, but weren’t rolling, so they were easier to adjust. Don’t underestimate how much stronger your abs and legs are for this workout. Adjust accordingly.

PRO TIP #67: Clench your butt during Weighted Windmills.

This is one exercise where I’m never sure if I’m doing it right because I don’t do it in front of a mirror (next week, I think I will). On some reps I’ll feel a good contraction in my obliques, but in others I get nothing and I worry I’m kicking my hips out in the typewriter motion Autumn describes and warns against. Tonight, however, Autumn gave a good tip that instantly helped me lock my hips into place and focus in on my abs: Clench your butt. As you are sliding the weight down your leg, clench your butt muscles. This will keep your hips from sliding out, thereby ensuring it’s your obliques doing the work.

The instant I contracted my butt muscles, I finally felt the exercise in all the right places.

So, them’s my tips for the night.

Tomorrow I tackle Cardio Core before my soccer game, and I’m looking forward to getting a good sweat going before taking the field. Now if we could just get this weather to cooperate….

Check out the usual link if you need more loops, and feel free to email me with any questions. Almost done with Week 2 of Phase 3! Only 20 more workouts to go!

Phase 2, Day 37: AAA (aka The One With All The Weights)

I’ll be the first to admit it: I am a gym hypocrite. A big one.

I am the person who gives you death glares when you decide to do your bicep curls RIGHT IN FRONT of the weight rack, thereby making it impossible for others to access the dumbbells. I am the one who will interrupt you mid-lunge to ask if I can “work in” on the set of 20 pounders you haven’t used in the last half hour yet are hoarding in a sweaty corner. I will ask you to move out of the way when you block me from staring at myself in the mirror while shoulder-pressing.

I then turn right around and commit every single gym offense outlined above. And frankly, I don’t give a shit.

In AAA in Phase 2, you can’t care. This is the one that requires ALL THE WEIGHTS, ALL THE TIME. You work too many muscle groups in too short a time to not have a range of dumbbells to cover what you need.

Case in point, my workout area tonight:

All the Weights.

Just in case you can’t tell, I had out the following dumbbells: 8s, 10s, 12s, 15s, 20s, and 25s. Plus a mat, plus my sliders, tracker sheet, loops, water, towel, and warmup shirt. And I guarded that shit like Smaug did the Arkenstone.

See, AAA in Phase 2 requires quick transitions and a variety of weights. In Week 2, you will do all exercises for 10 reps. As explained last week, the workout includes both the usual contract for 3-count, release in one, followed immediately by an exercise that just does normal lifting. The set-up is what you have seen before: Go all the way through all exercises for 10 reps, then go back to the beginning and do it all again, then go back for a third round, for a total of three sets. The difference this time, however, is that on the very last set, you don’t do the normal single-count exercise; all you do is the lift where you go up for three, down for one (or whatever the case may be).

Which means that the first two rounds of AAA this week crawl like molasses. Autumn knows it too, as do her editors: Watch the video of the workout carefully and you can see where they had to make cuts to try and fit everything into their 60-minute timeframe. You can tell they cut out the cast screw-ups and a lot of the downtime that is otherwise required to swap weights for loops and loops for weights.

As a result, you literally need everything to-hand just to keep up. And even then, it’s real hard to do. Frankly, at one point in the workout, because I was so tired of having to hit pause, I had to fight the urge to chuck my phone across the room in a fit of frustration.

I didn’t. But it was close.

If I have any tips for this workout, it is as follows:

Pro TiP #75: F gym etiquette during Phase 2 AAA.

You’re going to have to fight through some dirty looks and do what you need to do to get the job done. You can’t cut corners on the workout, so sadly, you’ll have to cut corners on gym etiquette.

Don’t feel bad; feel the outline of those abs starting to poke through and let that transformation give you strength. Haters gonna hate anyway. Don’t let it keep you from your workout.

Be unapologetic and do you.

Besides, if they really want those weights, they can politely ask to “work in” and then try to work around your transitions.

That’s all I got. Cardio Flow tomorrow. Ugh.

Hang in there. Huzzah for Fri-yay. Enjoy the weekend!

Link to Beachbody stuff in case you’re interested.