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

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

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

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

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

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

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

You will do 10 rounds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sigh.

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

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

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

Yours in worms and diamonds,

Katie

Phase 1, Day 20: Cardio Flow (aka Just Do It)

I go back and forth on Cardio Flow.

On the one hand, the workout feels mindlessly repetitive and it’s easy to get bored and zone out.

On the other hand, the workout feels mindlessly repetitive and it’s easy to let my body just go through the motions and zone out.

Either way, on Day 20 of Round 2 of 80 Day Obsession, my legs were tired. I was tired. It had been a long week and I was feeling it. I didn’t really want to work out, but I knew I would feel better once I started moving and worked some lactic acid out of my legs. The trick, however, was to get moving in the first place. Because an object in motion…stays in motion.

I’ve previously described Cardio Flow and its zoo full of moves and its rep scheme. Nothing changes in Phase 1. Everything stays the exact same. For reasons explained above, I both curse and love this set-up. By the time Saturday rolls around, I can tell I’ve been working hard all week, and my body is dying for the Sunday rest day. Yet HOW MANY INCHWORMS MUST A WOMAN DO TO EARN A DAY OF REST?!

Also, even though this is not my first rodeo, how is it possible for me to get SO SWEATY doing Cardio Flow? Picture posted below to demonstrate my point.

Flamingoes
A girl’s best friend in the Zoo are the flamingos

I finished today’s workout with drops of sweat littered on the floor. It was everywhere. It was gross. But admittedly, I love that feeling. That sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering something hard before you’ve even had breakfast.

I think that’s the secret behind Cardio flow: After you make it through the workout ONCE, you know you can do it every time. Because like I said, nothing changes. And when you struggle, you know you can keep pushing because you’ve done it before. Just one more rep; just one more jump. It’s not rocket science. It’s the simple act of setting your body in motion by pushing play and then keeping it in motion for the rest of the workout. There’s nothing pretty or earth-shattering. Case in point is me doing my least favorite move: Diamond Jumps.

Diamond Jumps
Nothing pretty here! Just lots of sweat and hard work.

I hate Diamond Jumps. I have done the math and know exactly how many I have to do in this damn workout (36). I count them down. Every time, regardless of how many times I’ve done the workout, my legs burn and I have focus on keeping my knees from knocking together. But every time, I get them done. I finish the workout.

Why?

Because I trust the process.

Because I just posted two photos of myself in nothing but a sports bra and workout shorts for all the world to see, even though these photos can be viewed by the people I work for and against (hello, btw).

Because at this point last year I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing that outfit at the gym, or sharing those photos.

But it’s amazing the changes that can be made in 80 days, both in terms of body composition and confidence. I have read reviews of 80 Day Obsession which complain that Cardio Flow is boring. And to a certain extent, it is. But on the last workout day of the week, when your body is tired and your mind is doubting whether you can make it to the end, Cardio Flow is the perfect way to finish. It reminds you of how much stronger you are since when you started, and it sets you up for success; it gives you a do-able challenge and allows you to plan for the next week on a high note.

More importantly, Cardio Flow fits nicely into the fitness puzzle that is 80 Day Obsession. It can be a rest day or a cardio day, depending on how you feel and how you look at it. At the very least, it’s the sort of workout that begs you to JUST DO IT, even though you are tired and sore and cranky.

I wish I had better words of wisdom to share. All I can say is that being on Day 20 for this second round of 80 Day Obsession feels just as good as it did the first time. And, I feel just as proud. I’m still sticking with my meal plan, though tonight might be a challenge as we are eating out at a different Mexican restaurant for the first time. I’ll share all about the experience tomorrow, including my meal plan set-up for Week 4.

I hope you finished Cardio Flow today and completed Week 3 on a high note. GREAT JOB! This shit isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday and I’ll catch you tomorrow in the same spot.

Link to the usual Beachbody stuff found here.

 

 

 

Phase 1, Day 13: Cardio Flow (aka Find That Balance)

Last night was a late post after a long drive to a different state to visit a good friend.

Today is another late post because I spent the day catching up with that good friend.

Heading into this weekend: I could micro-manage my meal plans to make sure I stayed on point by packing ALL my food, turning down the chance to eat out at good local joints, and sipping on tap water while my cohorts enjoyed some wine tasting.

OR: I could just bring my work out clothes, get my workout in, and spend the day being mindful of my meal plan but not a Nazi.

I went for Option B.

IF you are going through 80 Day Obsession for the first time, I would urge you to follow the timed nutrition as best you can. The reason being that if you don’t give this program your all, you’ll never truly know how much you can get out of it. You’ll never really know what your body is capable of if you feed it right and feed it often.

Which means my first time through 80 Day Obsession, I admit, I was something of a hermit. I can count on one hand the number of times I ate out, and when I did, it was with steely resolve and little joy.

As a result, at the end of the 80 days, I was happy with what I accomplished. But in the back of my head, I wondered if the timed nutrition was sustainable because it is so strict – was it something I could carry on in the face of a “normal” social life?

That’s what I’ve been experimenting with this time around: How sustainable is the 80 Day Obsession timed nutrition in the life of a busy 30-something professional with a social life?

The answer varies, and really has more to do with using the meal plan as guidance as opposed to gospel.

As an example, here was my day today: Wake up. Catch up with good friend over coffee, scrambled eggs with peppers and black beans, and a bowl of oatmeal. Catch up some more. Go work out. (Cardio Flow today – not much to report other than if you are reading this and sticking with the program, you should feel a bit stronger in Cardio Flow this second time through. I will also add, if at any time in the program you start to doubt you can finish Cardio Flow, tell yourself this: I KNOW I CAN DO EACH AND EVERY MOVE. I KNOW I CAN DO AT LEAST 4 OF THE MOVES IN A ROW. I AM CAPABLE OF FINISHING THE WORKOUT. I can’t tell you how many times this mantra helped me, especially when I grew tired of those damn inchworms.)  Get ready to assist with some errands. Make a shake with chocolate Shakeology, some PB fit and cashew milk, eat 5 mini peppers, and have another bowl of oatmeal. Run errands. Get snacks at Starbucks consisting of an Americano and their “snack bowl” of carrots, cucumbers, string cheese, and apples. Go wine tasting. Get an early dinner of a chicken chipotle salad. Walk to nearby cafe and enjoy cupcakes. Go home and drink lots of water.

As I’m typing this, I’m super full. Not as uncomfortably full as I was earlier in the night, but full nonetheless. But for the first time in awhile, I’m not upset with myself for not eating perfectly according to the plan. And I think it’s because I went into today with a plan to relax the plan: I made an effort to eat every two to three hours, I tried my best to get in the veggies and protein and otherwise meet the containers as called for, but I also let myself go with the flow.

Which means I had alcohol. In the past, drinking was my third weakness (after Sunday dinner and home baked goods).

Saturday Wine Tasting
Who can resist a New Zealand Pinot Noir?

Again, my first time through 80 Day Obsession, I didn’t drink at ALL. This was not a problem and I did not miss it, except for those few times I went out to dinner. When I did, I would inevitably crave a cocktail, not because I really wanted one, but because I wanted the EXPERIENCE of having a cocktail with dinner.

On the day I officially finished 80 Day Obsession, I went out to a nice dinner with my boyfriend and had a glass of wine and a cocktail and felt….nothing. No rush or relief or vindication. It was almost a let-down. Since then, I’ve felt no compulsion to order a drink when eating out and have been sticking with soda water.

Today, though, it’s hard to stick to soda water in the heart of wine country. But I didn’t go crazy. I enjoyed myself but also made sure to have plenty of water between tastes, and refused a second pour when the bottle was passed around. When we walked to dinner, I got a cocktail and felt no need for a second.

The balance that I am searching for means drinking responsibly. I had a good time, but not a rager. If you’re raging that’s not balance. I drank plenty of water, and I actually refused seconds.

Again, if I was trying to get the best results possible from 80 Day Obsession, I would not have drank at all and I would have brought my foods along to ensure 100% compliance. But that’s not how I want to live. I don’t want to be that person who breaks out her own tupperware at a nice restaurant – I mean, I have no problem with bringing my containers to portion out the mashed potatoes, but I’m not gonna bring my own meat.

My meandering point in all this is I went into today with something of a plan and the mindset that I would not punish myself for not being perfect. I went into today prepared to offer myself some grace. Which means when I ate the two cupcakes at the cafe, I savored every bite. And though I am still real full, strangely enough, for the first time in awhile, I don’t feel guilty for the detour. I know it is temporary and that tomorrow I can hop back on the horse and rein it back in.

I hope this post isn’t taken as a license to eat whatever and drink whenever while doing 80 Day Obsession. Obviously, if you want the best results possible, you’ll stick as closely as possible to the timed nutrition plan. I offer this post only to show it is capable to live life while being obsessed with the details (in a good way) so that you can still enjoy wine tasting and meals out with friends. It helps to have a plan, and it helps to drink a lot of water. But more importantly, it helps to give yourself some grace and know that even if today wasn’t your best, tomorrow is another opportunity to do better.

I will also add this: If you find you are missing alcohol, find some sort of “treat” to replace it with. For me, that meant cracking open a La Croix after a long hard day and savoring it like I would a fine wine. Sometimes I’d have two. And if that still wasn’t enough, I’d make myself a cup of tea after dinner. Do what works for you. Most importantly, enjoy the clarity that comes with taking a break from alcohol. Also, there is something freeing about being out with friends and having an excuse not to drink: “Sorry, I’m on this meal plan. No alcohol for me for 80 days.” It sounds enough like Lent that people usually don’t bat an eye.

Regardless, I hope you’re sticking with it and that you’ve successfully finished Week 2 of 80 Day Obsession! Next week gets better, I promise.

Link to the usual Beachbody goods.

 

 

Phase 1, Day 6: Cardio Flow (aka Just Another Day at the Zoo)

And just like that it’s over.

Week 1, that is.

Cardio Flow is a nice change-up from the rest of the week because it literally flows differently. In a nutshell, there are 10 different exercises. The first exercise is called inchworms, and you do four reps. Then, you do the next exercise, spider push-ups, also for four reps. Next, you go back and do four reps of inchworms, then four reps of spider push-ups, then four reps of diamond jumps (the worst). Go back to the beginning and repeat, adding a new exercise on at the end as you go. And so on and so forth. Here’s the full breakdown of exercises which will mean absolutely nothing until you do it all the way through:

  1. Inchworms
  2. Spider push-ups
  3. Diamond Jumps
  4. Flamingos
  5. Gorillas
  6. Step Throughs
  7. Bears
  8. Crabs
  9. Mule-to-Frog.

Once you get through Mule-to-Frog, you get a rest. Then you go through and do everything for 4 reps in a row for 2 more rounds.

I guarantee, the first time through, you will feel lost, especially as fatigue starts to set in. Also, you’ll start to wonder why the hell they call the damn thing “diamond jumps” when they make you look so ugly with all that sweat (probably just me).

The nice thing about Cardio Flow, however, is there is no warmup, so the pace feels different right from the get-go. Even better, between the repeated rounds of inchworms and spider push-ups, you get a good stretch on. Here’s me in full spider position:

Spider Push-Up
Keepin’ an eye out for the spider I saw on my towel before I started.

My point is this: When you get to the end of Week 1, you will need that stretch. You will also feel a huge sense of accomplishment. You did it! You made it through a week of workouts that I guarantee were nothing like you’ve done before. AND, if you stuck with the time nutrition, you will be seeing results.

However, that’s just Week 1 down; there’s still 12 to go. Which means you have to start planning for next week, now.

When I first started, this was a huge pain in my ass. I wouldn’t start to think about what to eat for the next week until Sunday afternoon, and then it was a rush to grocery shop and cook and portion everything out. I pretty much ate the same thing for three weeks in a row because I couldn’t be bothered to come up with anything new.

But by the end, I had the hang of it. And strangely enough, I kinda started to enjoy it. Now, when Thursday hits, I’m already looking forward to meal planning for the next week: What foods will I have leftover? What am I tired of? Will I have any lunches or dinners out that might require me to make smaller portions? Now I’ve spaced it out so that on Friday, I’m writing out my menu; Saturday, I’m grocery shopping; and Sunday, I’m cooking. Except for today, when I know tomorrow will be an office day. In which case, the cooking is already part-way done. Turkey sloppy joes are all set for the week:

IMG_0267

Email me for the recipe. It’s off Fixate and it’s one of my faves.

Don’t be fooled: I hate cooking. I’m not good at it. But I hate feeling like shit even more. And I like how I feel after I eat food that I make that I know is in the right size and has the right stuff to fuel me for the day. So I make it happen.

Like Autumn says, pick your hard. I would rather the hard of cooking and working out than the hard of not feeling good about myself.

Which is why tomorrow is so tough for me. It’s when I have to face one of my three weakness: Home Baked Goods.

Previously, I’ve written about my struggle with eating out. I’m proud to report (and as you well know if you read my blog post on it) I successfully dealt with that struggle earlier in the week. Tomorrow is another test when I go to my Aunt’s house for Sunday dinner with the rest of the fam.

The test is resisting going back for seconds on her succulent slow-cooked ribs, and the temptation of taking more than one of the world’s best ever sugar cookies (they seriously are; that’s literally what the recipe is called).

I don’t know why, but whenever I go over there, my self-control goes out the window and it’s as if I have to have ALL THE FOODS. I suspect it has something to do with eating to feel like I belong, which is weird, because it’s family. But regardless, I know it’s something I have to get under control because I do way too well during the week to have Sunday dinner throw everything else off.

I’ve tried eating before I go over there in the hope I’ll eat less because I won’t be hungry.

Just ate double.

I’ve tried bringing my portion containers to measure out what I eat.

Doesn’t work when I go back for seconds and thirds.

I have literally tried chewing my food a ridiculous amount of times to see if that had any effect.

Nope, just made me the slowest eater at the table.

So my hope is when I blog at around this time tomorrow, I will be reporting on a technique that finally works.

I hope. Watch this space. If it doesn’t, I suspect I will probably have to check out Beachbody’s latest nutrition only offering, 2B Mindset. I’m not entirely sure what it is yet, but I know it actually addresses the emotional side of eating, which I’m pretty sure is my problem with Sunday Dinner. (To play psychologist for a moment: I eat a lot to make sure my Aunt knows I enjoy her cooking and my family knows I enjoy spending time with them. Maybe I should just bring a bunch of Starbucks gift cards to show my love instead?) I’m looking forward to learning more about 2B Mindset if only because I think it will at least give me that tool in my food tool box to feel like I have more control over my food. Don’t worry, millions of readers of mine, as I learn more, so will you.

In the meantime, get those menus done and rest. Listen to your body and enjoy the day off. You’ll need it.

Link below for the usual Beachbody plug.

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