Phase 2, Day 40: Cardio Core (aka You’re Halfway There!)

It may not feel like it, but you’re halfway there!

Today is Day 40. You will have just done Cardio Core for the seventh time. You have seven more weeks to go. Take a moment and realize what you have accomplished: 40 straight days of hardcore workouts and eating right. Even if you were a college athlete, it’s doubtful you ate as well or worked out as hard as you have these past few weeks. It’s been hard and challenging and a shit-ton of sweat, but it’s been worth it. You’re seeing results. You’re loving how you’re feeling, and you’re excited to conquer the last 40 days.

But there’s also this little niggle of fear in the back of your mind: What will you do after these 80 days are over? What do you do next? Can you keep this success up after that 80th workout?

Yes. Yes you can.

I am proof you can. But the key is, you have to have a plan. Just like how in 80 Day Obsession you’ve been planning out your meals and workout schedule, you’re gonna have to plan now what to do after 80 Day Obsession ends. Because you are not going to want it to end: How good you feel, how small your pants are, how you like looking in the mirror. You are going to want to keep that going for as long as possible, and to do that, you are going to have to continue your commitment to healthy eating and exercise.

I am bringing this up NOW to help you address that niggle of fear; so you can fight the start of that anxiety by knowing what you are going to do next. For me, I knew that after I finished 80 Day Obsession….I wanted to do it again. I wanted to keep the streak alive. So I took a week off, did some yoga, let my body recover, loosened the reins on the eating….and then dove back in. It wasn’t hard to do so because I had a plan. And after 80 Day Obsession, I had the discipline to follow through.

That said, even though I decided to do 80 Day Obsession for a second round, that doesn’t mean the workouts have gotten any easier. Case in point, today’s Cardio Core workout. You’d think it’d get easier. You’d think you wouldn’t sweat as much. You’d think you wouldn’t be shaking by the last core exercise. After all, how many times have you done the damn thing?

Wrong on all counts.

PRO TIP #6: GET OUTSIDE. REMEMBER A TOWEL.

Today was a beautiful day in the pacific Northwest, so I took the workout outside:

IMG_0456

Gotta love the view. Of the city, I mean. Not my sweaty ass.

Picture this scene: A foursome engages in a friendly tennis match in the warm evening air. Suddenly, the thump of their tennis balls is interrupted by the scratch of sliders on concrete, and the grunt of a dying animal. All heads whip to the far corner of the tennis court, where a lone girl twirls an invisible jump rope, occasionally hitting the ground for pushups and some sort of exercise with loops.

They realize it’s not a dying animal but her, and go back to their game.

That was pretty much my workout. It was under a beautiful blue sky at the perfect temperature…and it still wasn’t easy. I still needed the towel I remembered at the last moment. And I still was gasping for breath.

But I pushed through. I went for that extra rep and extra height and extra jump. Which is probably why there was extra sweat.

My point is, the workout doesn’t get easier, but like Autumn says, you get stronger. It gets easier to FIGHT; easier to push yourself; easier to get a good sweat on. More than the changes you are seeing in the mirror or on the scale, these are the changes that matter most, because they will stick with you for long after this program ends.

So, as you build that mental fortitude, savor the fact that you are halfway there. You’re doing it!

Also take the time to look back and really think about what has worked for you these last 40 days. Are you doing well working out at home? Are the times you’re working out the most conducive to getting it done? Have you had trouble sticking to the timed nutrition? When have you had the most trouble?

Reflect. Now’s the time to make adjustments to really set yourself up for success in the last half of the program.

At the very least, I hope you are now feeling confident to take that workout outside and maybe do a few exercises with your shirt off.

Just remember to put on the sunscreen!

If you’re looking for inspiration after that 80th day, hit me up. Or check out the usual link to see what else Beachbody has to offer.

Phase 2, Day 38: Cardio Flow (aka I Hate the Zoo)

I feel like this post-workout photo of me explains it all:

The Aftermath of Cardio Flow
Just Another Day at the Pool. I mean Zoo.

Something about the six reps of each exercise in Cardio Flow releases the sweat like no other. It was POURING off me today. I was thankful for the rubber floor as it meant I didn’t have to worry about slipping on the pools of sweat which formed with every push-up, jump, and flamingo.

I would like to think that every time I do Cardio Flow, I get a little stronger. And I’m sure I do. But nothing about getting stronger translates into the damn workout getting EASIER, which is what I want to happen. Frankly, it’s a little demoralizing to be on Day 38 and feel like you’re still struggling through a workout that hasn’t changed much in six weeks.

Also, as you’re going through today’s video, you’re going to hear Autumn talk about a “tip” for those f-ing diamond jumps: If you jump extra high, your legs get a little bit longer break, which make it just a little easier.

It’s not that Autumn is lying, it’s just that if you’re going through 80 Day Obsession for the first time, I can guarantee that getting EXTRA HIGH on those diamond jumps will be the last thing on your mind. I only just figured out how to do it – i.e. I only just got in good enough shape to jump that extra bit – last week. Realize that when Autumn gives this “tip,” it’s in response to a question/comment from cast member Jazmyne, who is easily in the best shape of the entire group. OF COURSE she can jump extra high her first time through Phase 2. Have you SEEN her abs??

Which brings me to my next point: Pictures. If you are doing this program correctly by committing to the workouts and the timed nutrition plan, you will be seeing results. You will also be growing in confidence. You may not realize it, but you will be growing more confident both mentally, and about your physical appearance. As a result, pictures will get easier to take. That is, instead of being dissatisfied with every photo, you’re going to find yourself in a “one and done” situation: Instead of deleting that first attempt and insisting that multiple snaps be taken “just in case,” you’re going to be pleased with how you look from the get-go.

It wasn’t until I looked back through my own camera roll that I saw this happening. See, when I first started 80 Day Obsession in January 2018, whenever I’d go out and take pics with my boyfriend or friends, there would be multiple clumps of pictures of me in the same pose with the same people. I remember having my phone handed back to me after a photo was taken, reviewing the image, crinkling my nose in disgust, and handing my phone back to the poor passer-by for one more attempt at an IG-worthy post.

But by the end of February 2018, those clumps of photos had decreased substantially. Instead of multiple attempts, there was just one photo per occasion. Even better, when I look back through those photos now….I’m happy with what I see. I’m happy with how I look. And when you see me smiling in those photos, you can tell that in that moment, I was happy with how I looked too.

Life throws you multiple opportunities to feel confident. But if you don’t feel confident about how you look, it’s amazing how that tends to impact every aspect of your life. 80 Day Obsession is the first time in my life where I truly feel confident about how I look, and how strong I am. That, more than anything, is why I became a Beachbody Coach and started this blog. Sure, I dropped inches and pounds during the program. But 80 Day Obsession got me on the road to being my best self. To quote a good friend of mine, I now feel as though I am living my best life.

Which means that even though I had to start the morning off at the zoo, and hate it, I still did it. What’s 38 minutes of sweat compared to feeling confident walking around town in summer clothes?

If you want to know how 80 Day Obsession can help you live your best life, message me. Or check out the link to see what other options there are. But don’t stay stuck. You don’t have to. There are things you can do, programs you can try to get UNSTUCK. I did. And I’m staying unstuck. And I’m loving every minute of it.

Phase 1, Day 24: AAA (aka The One I Really Didn’t Want To Do)

I have previously documented my issues with Thursdays. It’s not Friday, I’m tired from the week, and the workout feels like a slog. This photo pretty much sums up my attitude:

AAA
What I’d rather be doing with those loops than those damn fire hydrants.

(Logistics: Week 4 of Phase 1 has you doing two sets of 15 reps in AAA, except you do everything a round at a time instead of going through all exercises then repeating. If you’ve been sticking with the workouts thus far, then you know the drill.)

I wish I could tell you that if you were to start 80 Day Obsession that any aversion you have to exercise will disappear; that 80 Day Obsession is that magic pixie dust that suddenly gets you motivated to slay every workout with all the energy in the world.

I’d be lying. As great as 80 Day Obsession is, you will still have days where you just don’t want to work out. Where, even though you know how much better you will feel after doing so, the last thing you want to do is lift something heavy when your mind has been doing mental push-ups all day.

Today, was one of those days. Pretty much the only thing that got me to the gym was changing into my gear at work. Once that happened, the only reason I headed to the gym was because I figured I was already in my gear so I might as well see how I felt once I got there. Once I got there, the only thing that had me pushing play was knowing I had committed to blogging about this journey for my zillions of loyal followers.

However, once I stopped procrastinating and actually pushed play, the hard part was over; I was pushing myself with heavier weights and getting a good sweat on, and with the exception of almost DYING during fire hydrants, I rather enjoyed myself. I always know it’s a good workout when I struggle to get the loops off at the very end. Where my arms are shaking so bad that the only thing I can do for a minute or two is lie there and hope no one makes me into a meme. Exhibit A:

The End
Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret. I mean Katie.

Similarly, you would think that the longer you eat healthy and clean, the easier it gets to eat healthy and clean, and the less cravings you would have for that which is not healthy and clean. EXCEPT THEN WHY WAS I CRAVING A MAPLE BAR FROM TOP POT DONUT ALL DAMN DAY. I didn’t have one, but damn did it sound good. I tried to trick myself into thinking my cinnamon seasoned mashed sweet potato was donut-like…surprise surprise it didn’t work.

Yet what always gets me is how easy it is to slide off the wagon. Even though you KNOW working out is good for you and you KNOW you’ll feel great after, if you miss that one workout, suddenly it’s New Year’s and you haven’t worked out in 7 months (yes, I have done this before). Even though you KNOW your body responds best to eating lots of veggies and fruits and protein and good carbs, if you go away for that wine tasting weekend with girlfriends suddenly it’s Christmas and you realize you’ve been having pizza for breakfast for the majority of your weekend mornings since Labor day (also done that).

My point is this: Why oh why, when we know what’s good for us, do our minds naturally incline towards doing what is so BAD for us? And I’m not talking about the super-willed creatures like my parents who never seem to be phased by home baked goods or Turkey feasts or mulled wine. I’m talking about the rest of us, who struggle with consistency every damn day.

I don’t have an answer. And even though this is the second time I’ve walked this 80 Day Obsession tightrope, sometimes I feel as though I’m one donut away from succumbing to my fat kid urges and eating my way through the summer. I have days where I literally don’t want to do what I’ve been doing since January 15, 2018.

So how do I fight it?

I make ridiculous commitments that force me to stay on track. Like writing this blog and journaling my journey (this is as much for me as it is for you, ya know).

I force myself to pack my workout clothes and put them on, even when (especially when) I don’t want to workout. Something about swapping my pumps for sneakers always reminds me how much better I feel after some physical activity.

But most importantly, I forgive myself when I fuck up. Because it happens. It’s life. It’ll happen a lot.

The difference is that these days, when I screw up, I give myself some grace and then move on. I don’t let it pollute the rest of my day or week. Which is a huge shift from the old me, when I’d use a fuck-up as an excuse to throw in the towel on the entire day/week/month/year: “Whelp I managed to eat that whole cake, so there goes the diet. Might as well close the books on 2018!”

If you are like me and struggle with maintaining consistency, first, as much as you can, make it a habit to exercise and eat right. Find what works for you. Figure out your tricks. If it’s putting on your gym clothes or laying them out the night before or packing your lunch the night before, do it.

And when you don’t do it and there’s a screw up, you can be disappointed in yourself, but don’t get mad. Just move on. Nobody’s perfect. Choose to measure your success by how you bounce back from your screw-up, not by the screw-up itself.

Once you do that, you will be strong enough to push play on those days when you really don’t want to. Like I did today.

That said, if you’re lacking motivation or need a kick in the ass, message me, or check out the usual link to Beachbody stuff to see if something there inspires you.

At the very least, know you’re not alone in this particular struggle. But choose to fight through. Choose to get ‘er done. The results will be worth it, I promise.

Phase 1, Day 23: Cardio Core (aka The One Where I Found My Why)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now, your moment of zen:

Knee Tucks on the Sliders
Gettin’ it done.