Phase 2, Day 44: Cardio Flow (aka The Zoo Gets Old)

I am starting to hate the zoo.

Saturday means 6 reps of 10 exercises named after a menagerie of animals (complete list found here). It’s not that I don’t like the workout. It’s just that after doing it for seven Saturdays in a row, it feels a bit tedious. I know what’s coming and it’s hard to keep track of the count (which as you all know, gets me into trouble).

Which is why today I switched it up and took the workout outside.

No filter all sweat.

I scraped up my palms some on the spider push-ups, but the workout was the perfect length to get me a little sunshine without the burn.

My sweat droplets also dried near instantaneously where they landed thanks to the warm concrete, a luxury I don’t otherwise have at the gym.

Saturdays are challenges all-around for me. The workout is not real inspiring, and I lose the benefit of having my weekly routine to keep me on the straight and narrow when it comes to the timed nutrition. The shake-up is made worse in that after a week of eating my pre-made meals out of Tupperware, I’m ready for a good meal out. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just somewhere where I don’t have to clean up.

If you just finished up Day 44, you might feel like me: Chafing at the bit for a good burger and maybe a guilt-laden snack. I’m not saying I want to go out and eat a pound of peanut butter filled pretzels from Trader Joe’s (though I totally could); I’m saying I want a treat. A little reward, as it were, for making it this far and following the nutrition plan about 95% of the time.

My first time through 80 Day Obsession, I fought hard against this craving. I really wanted to see what I could do if I stuck to the timed nutrition. But that meant finding a different reward following Day 44.

This is when I discovered Lorna Jane. And that for the first time in my life, I was a size small.

If you’ve been lusting after the workout clothes worn by Autumn Calabrese, most of them are made by Lorna Jane, an “athleisure” outfitter I’d never heard of until I started 80 Day Obsession. (I also had never heard of “athleisure” until I Googled why the hell anyone would want to wear workout tights with rips in them – c’mon Autumn.) Unbeknownst to me, there was a Lorna Jane store close to me. So on this Day 44 my first time through 80 Day Obsession, I set out to treat myself to a new sports bra.

Once at Lorna Jane, I explained to the sales lady what I was looking for and that I was between sizes, but that I was usually a large. She tsked and shook her head and said, “Honey, you’re a small now. Maybe a medium in certain styles but definitely a small.”

Even though it was this woman’s job to know her sizes, I didn’t believe her. I grabbed what I usually wore – larges, with a few mediums thrown in – and went back to the dressing room to try it all on.

None of it fit. All of it hung off me. Where the fabric should have been tight, it wrinkled like elephant skin, hanging loose.

When I pulled open the door, the saleslady was waiting outside with a stack of hangers in her hand. She looked me up and down. “A bit large?” She handed me the smalls and removed the useless pile I had accumulated in that room.

That day, I walked out a Lorna Jane convert and with sizes I had never dreamed of wearing. Here’s me in my size small athleisure outfit:

For when you’re not sure if you’re going to the gym or the airport or the grocery store.

Aside from some new clothes, my shopping trip taught me an invaluable lesson: Though the scale might not have moved much, I was losing some serious inches and my body was changing. But I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t found a new way to reward myself.

Furthermore, once I was wearing those new clothes, KNOWING I had made such progress was enough to curb the temptation of getting some sort of sweet treat. Instead, I settled for a decaf latte with coconut milk and called it good.

My point being, there will always be some days where it’s real hard to stick to the timed nutrition meal plan. And there will be days when you fail. But so long as you make those fail days few and far between, and remind yourself of your progress with photos or new outfits or whatever, you can keep being obsessed.

As I type this, I’m wearing a size small shirt and a pair of jeans with a waist in the 20s. I am going to have a burger tonight for dinner. And I’m going to enjoy it. But I’m going to get it wrapped in lettuce, maybe get a side salad for some extra veggies, and definitely steal some of my boyfriend’s truffle fries.

I’m human, not dead.

I hope by now you have figured out your own tips and tricks to keep your success going. And if you haven’t, take some time and think about what might work for you. The timed nutrition can get tough. It’s hard to be perfect all the time. So if you’re going to slip-up, at least try and plan it out so that it doesn’t do too much damage.

And remember, there’s always Lorna Jane!

Check out the link if you need more ideas. Or message or email me! Otherwise, enjoy your day off and get ready for another Refeed Day next week!

Phase 1, Day 21: Total Body Core (aka I Can’t Fix My Hair)

Bet you thought I forgot about this, huh?

If you were one of my zillions of followers (read: 25), you might have tuned in last night expecting yet another daily post chronicling my second journey through 80 Day Obsession. In which case, you would have been sorely disappointed with yesterday’s blog…because there wasn’t one.

Thank god.

As seems to be the usual, I ate WAYYYY too much at my Aunt’s house last night for Sunday/Mother’s Day dinner and when I got home the only thing I wanted to do was lose myself in “The Office” and weep silent tears of shame.

See? Despite my best efforts, I have bad days too.

Regardless, I realized that if I blogged yesterday, I would be off on today’s schedule in terms of the day count, and we simply can’t have that. So I took the night off and now here we are.

Frankly, I could have used another day off, because after today’s workout, I can barely type this.

Here’s the deal with today’s Total Body Core workout. You go in thinking, “ya know, I’ve done this all before, BORING! It’s old hat. Let’s move on.” But then you realize that you should really push yourself, especially since Autumn has you going through each series of exercises for two sets of 15 reps at a time, which means you can absolutely burn out the muscle before moving on. So you check you tracker sheets and see if you can lift last week’s 10 rep weight for 15 reps.

Which means, friends, that by the end of the second series of exercises, you can’t even lift your hand to push your hair out of your face.

No joke, today’s exercise got me. I had to push pause and catch my breath and get my arms to stop shaking. Here’s me doing the C curve extension with surprisingly good form given my fatigue:

Weighted C Curve with Bicep Extension
So hard.

Full disclosure: My form is that good because this is me using a lighter weight at the end of the workout to do a single rep for the photo op. (The things I do for you guys!)

However, even with the wobbles and the panting and the sweat, I was stoked to see how much stronger I was compared to Week 1. For almost every single exercise, I was lifting more weights in this week’s Total Body Core than I did when I started. And, because of my tracker sheets, I was able to actually appreciate this progress because I could see it – it was right there on the page in front of me.

I could also feel it. As I’m typing this, I feel compelled to tell you that I made the conscious decision to move my hair-washing to tomorrow morning because I’m fairly certain I can’t lift my hands higher than shoulder-height for more than 2 seconds at a time at the moment. I am hoping to recover enough to actually shampoo and condition in the shower tomorrow, but things aren’t looking too promising at the moment.

Regardless, my progress is marked by my tracker sheets, my tired muscles, and also my clothes–four weeks into 80 Day Obsession my first time through, my clothes fit me as well as shapeless burlap sacks.

Which brings me to yet another pro tip for 80 Day Obsession, because I know I will not be alone in this clothes phenomenon.


This was a big one for me. As I’ve previously explained, in my family, we are cake people. You make it another year to your birthday, you get cake. You get a job promotion, you get cake. You finish school, you get cake. Thus, like Pavlov’s dog, whenever my life is marked by accomplishment, my salivary glands start watering for–you guessed it–cake. Which would be fine if I was capable of eating only one piece. But I’m not. It’s either all or nothing. And on 80 Day Obsession, following this meal plan as well as I want to, it HAS to be nothing.

So when I was reaching the end of Phase 1 my first time through 80 Day Obsession, along with an overwhelming sense of pride, I also started to feel an all-consuming need for cake. Or some other home baked good to earmark my progress. I figured out pretty quickly that if I didn’t find a substitute for cake, I was going to have an issue.

My solution? New workout gear.

If you are reading this and if you have been following the program and avoiding my own pitfalls of struggling with Sunday dinners with the fam, then at this point, you will have noticed that your clothes are fitting differently. Maybe your pants are looser or your bra cups are emptier. Either way, what will be frustrating is that these ill-fitting clothes will not be adequately showing off all the hard work you’ve been putting in for the past 4 WEEKS.

Which means you need to TREAT YO’SELF. Be it to a new sports bra or new jeans or a new top, buy yourself something nice. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or even clothes. But it should be something you can’t eat and which makes you feel good about yourself.

Full disclosure: As a result of this TREAT YO’SELF mentality, I developed an obsession with Autumn’s fave athleisure wear, Lorna Jane. Apologies in advance for getting you hooked. I get paid nothing for writing about this. I’m simply a huge fan, mostly because it was while buying a Lorna Jane sports bra that I had the sales lady look at me like I’d grown a third head when I said I needed a large; “Honey,” she corrected me, “you will need, at most, a small.” And, whelp, she was right.

So plan NOW. Plan on buying something nice for yourself on Saturday afternoon, after you have that warm, sweaty glow from completing Cardio Flow. Show yourself some appreciation for FINISHING Phase 1 that has nothing to do with food. Get used to rewarding yourself with something other than calories.

This has been a hard habit for me to break, and it’s one I still am working on. But I took my first step during 80 Day Obsession, and though I slip up from time-to-time, I haven’t looked back.

If you need ideas on what to get yourself, I’m all ears. Or, wanna let me know what you went with? Drop me a line. Either way, I hope you push hard through this last week and make it count.

Check out the link for the usual Beachbody shenanigans.




T-1 Days: 80 Day Obsession Starts Tomorrow!

I’ve realized I probably can’t count.

My header should probably be at T-0, as 80 Day Obsession officially kicks off tomorrow. But in my head, if I’m at “0” days until something begins, that means the thing has essentially started. There’s no day between countdown and rocket lift-off. It just…happens.

Which means I have very little time to continue to share my nuggets of experience before you start your own journey. So let’s blast off!

Pro Tip #A: FUEL UP.

Yup, we are back on the whole “FOOD IS FUEL” train. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to hammer this home yet again because I cannot stress enough its importance. I especially want to underscore the importance of making sure you EAT before working out.

For me, this means I need to eat at least 45 minutes to an hour before a workout. And the meal cannot be super heavy, thus my pre-workout meal of 2 hard-boiled eggs, 10 baby carrots, and rice quinoa porridge with a teaspoon of peanut butter. The meal is substantial enough to power me through a workout, but not so heavy that I will throw up.

Fun fact about me: When I started 80 Day Obsession the first time, I worried about eating that much food prior to my workout, and so I swapped my pre-workout meal with meal option 1, which means I was eating half a banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter, and 2 hard-boiled eggs before my workout. I changed it up about halfway through Phase 2 because I wasn’t having trouble keeping food down, so I thought I’d actually follow the program as written…and I was fine. Though I had a few moments where my food might have threatened to come up, it never actually did. And really, that was only because of the jumping involved (you’ll see).

What this all means, however, is that because I work out in the morning, I have to budget an extra hour in which to eat and semi-digest my food. My first time through 80 Day Obsession, I had days when that meant setting the alarm for 4 am to ensure I was at the gym by 5:15 to make sure I was in the office by 7:30. I had to plan the timing of my meals just as thoroughly as I did my workouts, often one in conjunction with the other.

Which is all to say, when you are planning your menu and workout schedule for the week, don’t forget to allow time to eat AND digest.

PRO TIP #B: Winners Wear Pants

What are you wearing for your first workout tomorrow? Have you laid out your outfit? I have! Here it is:

Thank you, Lorna Jane.

If I am overly excited about these clothes, it is for a reason to be discussed in a later post, and it is also because of my newfound obsession with Lorna Jane (thanks, Autumn).

But the real reason for the photo is to point out the material of my workout pants: Notice how it looks shiny? The material feels smooth and silky. This makes for chafe-free walking, but is also slightly problematic when using the 80 Day Obsession resistance loops for the first time.

The loops will often go around your thighs or ankles during an exercise. If you are wearing super shiny/silky exercise pants, or no pants at all, the loops will roll and cut into your skin and you will get frustrated, especially if it’s your first time, because it will make the exercise harder, if not impossible, to do.

So, especially for those workouts where you know you’ll be using resistance loops, consider your choice of clothing. First, try and wear workout pants or capris or something longer than volleyball shorts. Secondly, ensure the material is more cloth-based than…shiny-based. The best test is to feel the material: If the material feels smooth and silky to the touch, try instead to wear those leggings that have more of a cloth-like consistency, like a yoga pants feel, for those days when you use the loops, at least for the beginning of 80 Day Obsession. Once you get used to the loops, swap out those yoga aroma pants for some cool silky-smooth jazzy leggings. But when you’re starting out, give yourself every chance to succeed, including wearing the right pants.

PRO TIP #C: Set Your Intention Every Day When You Wake Up.

I can’t take credit for this one – it is all Autumn Calabrese. But the reason I’m putting it here, at T-1 days, is because I don’t think Autumn says this for a few workouts.

I’m saying it now because sometimes this mantra was the only thing that got me thru the workout, and I want you to have this tool in your workout arsenal as early as possible because I want you to have every chance to be successful.

For reasons to be explained later, when I hit Day 23 in February 2018, I had some insanely good reasons to quit the program; to stop the 80 Days altogether and chalk it all up to bad luck and bad timing. The ONLY thing that kept me going was this saying by Autumn: “Set your intention.” When I woke up on Day 23 after three hours of sleep, I knew I was in for a shitty day and a shitty workout. When my alarm went off at 4:30 am and I lay in bed debating whether or not to get up, Autumn’s words popped into my head: “Set your intention.” At that point, I could either roll with the punches and be flexible, or I could just roll over.

I chose to set my intention. My only intention for Day 23: “Finish the workout.”

It didn’t have to be pretty and it didn’t have to be good. But I did have to finish the workout. That was my only goal.

I got my ass to the gym for Cardio Core and I finished that damn workout.

I will tell you, if my intention was instead, “go for a new personal best” or “do an extra set of reps just for the hell of it,” I would have given up. I was not in the head space to set a new personal best or do an extra set of anything. On other days I would be, but not on Day 23. My sole thought on Day 23 was to simply survive.

You will have days like that, I promise you. Plan for it. And when those days come, be nice to yourself. Set your intention so that you have a chance to accomplish it. Because when you do, you will be that much stronger and that much closer to making this obsession a lifestyle.

PRO TIP #D: Spread the Love.

If you follow this program, from the workouts to the meal plan, you will see results within the first week. If you stick with it for two weeks, your clothes will fit differently. After four weeks, people will start to notice and ask you what you are doing. And that’s just PHASE ONE.

While I have to give the disclaimer that results will vary and results are not guaranteed, IF you make this program your obsession the way it is intended to be, you are going to want to share your progress with others. How could you not? You will be seeing changes to your body you either never thought possible, or that you have never seen before. You can’t keep that bottled up inside. You need to tell someone. ANY one. Because the sweat and tears and blood you are going to put in on this journey, others need to know about, damn it!

So now, RIGHT NOW, before Day 1 starts tomorrow, tell someone what you’re doing. Tell someone what you’re starting. It could be a significant other or a family member or a best friend or a co-worker. Text them and announce what you are starting tomorrow. Then, when you are a few days into the program, tell them how you are doing. Keep it going through the first week weeks of Phase 1. Give them an update when you start Phase 2.

These regular updates will help keep you accountable for your own journey, but I guarantee, when these loved ones and friends and co-workers see how hard you are working and what it is doing for you, their support will help push you towards the finish line. While they may wonder why they got that first “I’M DOING 80 DAY OBSESSION STARTING TOMORROW” text from you, after 80 Days, their “why” will change to “HOW??”

And, if you don’t feel you have that sort of personal network or tribe yet, leverage your social media account. Create a new Instagram just to track this journey. Because again, if you stick with it, you WILL be SO PROUD of what you accomplish, and you are going to want to share. I did (hello, blog).

If you need help with that first step, or still don’t know who to text or email or message, let me know. Follow me on Instagram (FitLuddy), or shoot me a message on my contact page. This journey is way more fun when you find your tribe, and I can help you do that.

SO, with that in mind, I hope you KILL IT tomorrow! I’ll be coming to you after tomorrow’s workout with a blog on my thoughts and tips and how this second time through differs from the first round.

You got this. Tomorrow is Day 1 of 80 Day Obsession. Get Excited for what’s to come!