Phase 1, Day 17: Cardio Core (aka My Fave)

There’s no getting around it. This is my favorite cardio workout.

I’ve done 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Master’s Hammer and Chisel, P903x, and a host of my own made-up HIIT workouts. I cannot say that I looked forward to a single cardio workout in any of those routines. Cardio day was something to get through; a slog to endure; a necessary evil to survive.

But with 80 Day Obsession Cardio Core, I actually woke up this morning LOOKING FORWARD to my cardio workout. Who the F ever wakes up and says, “you know, I can’t wait to do some squat jumps!”

But that was me this morning.

NEXT WEEK, watch this space, because I will be taking a deep personal turn and explain why Cardio Core will always hold a special place in my heart.

For now, suffice it to say that I enjoy Cardio Core for three reasons: 1) The routine keeps me interested; 2) There’s a lot of ab work; and 3) Just when you think you can’t keep going, the HIIT interval ends.

Take, for example, round 2 in Cardio Core. You spend the first 30 seconds doing heel jump ropes, then 30 seconds doing pepper step; then 30 seconds doing heel jump ropes; 30 more seconds of pepper step; last 30 seconds of heel jump ropes; last 30 seconds of pepper step. In the beginning, the heel jump ropes aren’t too bad – they’re a good breather, and the more you focus on getting your heels out to the side and in front of you, the better you can also work your abs. But those pepper steps…they sound cute but can’t be attractive. Everything jiggles. Everything burns. It’s the strangest feeling to be forcing your feet to move so fast that at a certain point you wonder if they’re even moving at all. Regardless, in both exercises, you get to the point where you KNOW you can’t go a single second more…and the exercise stops. BOOM it’s over and you’re on to the what’s next: An ab exercise that allows you to catch your breath.

Cardio Core is intimidating the first time you do it because it has “cardio” in the title and you don’t know what to expect. But after that first time, you KNOW what’s to come. And like I’ve blogged before, you start to focus on whether or not you can do one more rep instead of the pain.

Also, in case you’re wondering whether you can get a good workout only doing 30 second HIIT (high intensity interval training) intervals, YES. YES YOU CAN. Here’s me immediately following the workout:

Troll Hair Don't Care
That was a Doozy

I know this is an extreme close-up of all things unattractive. But I post it to show the workout WORKS. Plus, I’m pretty damn proud of that sweat. I’m proud I dragged my ass out of bed this morning, went to the gym, and made the decision to press play on a workout that has “cardio” in its title.

I’m proud of how low I got in these jump squats:

Jump Squats
No idea I could get that low!

And I’m proud of following my timed nutrition meal plan to a T, including consuming my delicious post-workout shake (aka breakfast):

Breakfast of Champions.

My point is, you might be reading this and thinking, “Well F you, Katie. Of course it’s easy for you. You’ve done this all before.”

And to a certain extent, that’s true. Except that at one point, I was right where you were. I was on Day 17 and dreading the workout and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into, that I had 63 more days of this thing. I wasn’t excited to work out. I wasn’t sure I was seeing results. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going.

The peeps in Beachbody preach about finding your “why”: Why are you doing this? Why did you sign up for the program and push play in the first place?

In the beginning, my “why” was simply that I wanted to lose weight and tone up and look good. And that was a great goal for me to START 80 Day Obsession. But it would not have been enough to keep me going. It would not have sustained me throughout the entire 80 days. And I can tell you that if your “why” is currently similar to mine, that was a great reason to start 80 Day Obsession, but you’re going to need to dig deeper to find why you will FINISH the program.

On Day 23 of my first round, I found my “why.” It was forced upon me, and was completely unexpected. Yet when it happened, I had a choice: I could either keep doing 80 Day Obsession because I “had” to, or I could keep doing 80 Day Obsession because I CHOSE to.

I chose to continue and finish 80 Day Obsession on Day 23 of my first round. It was the best decision I could have made, and I can’t wait to tell you more in my blog next week.

For now, if you’re struggling, think about your why: WHY are you doing this? WHY did you press play in the first place? WHY did you want to do 80 Day Obsession? WHY did you do the first 18 days?

I hope your answers lead you somewhere good. Message me if you want to share. And check out my Instagram (@fitluddy) if you want to see more sweaty selfies. Usual link to the usual Beachbody stuff.

Yours in sweat and unicorns,



Phase 1, Day 16: Booty (aka Big Booty Pump)

Last week I blogged about the trouble with Booty day: There are times when you’re not sure if you’re doing the exercises right, or getting the most out of them.

Well, I’m happy to report that today’s booty workout kicked my ass.

What did I do differently? I double-banded with blue loops.

Let’s recap: Last week I talked about how if you didn’t feel as though the booty exercises were challenging enough, then it was up to you to either perfect your form or add another resistance loop. I wrote that post because I spent most of last week’s workout wondering if I should add another resistance loop to make it harder.

Which means that prior to today’s workout, I was looking over my tracking sheets and realized I had room for improvement. As this week’s booty workout focuses on one muscle group at a time, doing three sets of 10 before moving on to the next muscle group, I decided to go for it. I decided to double-band with blue loops.

First, whoever says you can’t get a workout with these loops has obviously never double-banded with blue loops and then tried to do clams. That shit is HARD.

Secondly, I knew I had finally found the right resistance when I was barely able to make it through the second set of each exercise. You know you have the right resistance/weight when you barely finish round two, but can feel your body has enough left in the tank for round three.

Here is me doing duck walks with double-banded blues:

Duck walk it out
Hate these things.

Are the bands too high up my thighs? Yes. And I had to pause the damn workout to readjust. But I didn’t STOP the damn workout.

Did I at one point worry I was going to have permanent bruises on my thighs thanks to the double bands during the last “moving” round? Yes. I absolutely thought I was about to have permanent loop tattoos. But I didn’t QUIT.

I find that booty workouts test my mind as much as my body because I have to really focus in on the area of my body I’m working, and in this Phase 1, I have to ignore the urge to just stop the workout because it gets a bit boring.

There, I said it: This one gets a bit boring. While I appreciate the opportunity to do half the workout on the ground, all the transitions and double-looping and unlooping make for some tediousness. Plus, I get tired. It’s amazing how even though this is a pure body workout, at one point, I almost threw in the towel because my arms were shaking too much to get the damn loops off my thighs. The workout feels long, there’s not enough movement in the exercises for me to be distracted by Donald’s hair, and loss of circulation is a constant fear.

But I have to tell you, when you make it through that final round of side lunges and sit down to take off the loops, it feels like you’re sitting on a basketball. Your ass feels HUGE, and just as they note in the video, you will spend the rest of the day checking out your backside in the mirror because it FEELS bigger. It feels like you got some big booty pump.

So if you’re still doubting whether this workout works for you. Throw on another resistance loop. Throw on ALL the loops. The burn is out there, but it’s up to you to chase it.

Speaking of the pursuit of happiness, let’s switch focus briefly and talk about nutrition. Tonight was a great test for the timed nutrition meal plan: I had dinner with my boyfriend at my parents’. My mom got this instapot and made this turkey tikka masala with brown rice and a green salad. I admit, I am lucky in that I was raised to eat healthy as a kid: The food my Mom made was low in fat, low in salt, and low in flavor.

However, even with my mother’s conscientious attention to what went into the food, no attention was ever paid to HOW MUCH we ate. I would say portions were an afterthought, but they actually weren’t a thought at all. We ate until we were full and then we ate another serving or four.

So tonight, I planned ahead. I brought my green, red, and yellow containers with me to portion out the food for my Meal Option 5 (last meal of the day). Thank God I did. There is something about seeing people in front of you scoop food onto their plate that makes it impossible to judge the size of what should go on your own. The portion of brown rice that fit into my yellow looked tiny compared to everyone else’s; same with the tikka masala and the salad. But because I actually filled up my containers then dumped the food on my plate, I knew exactly how much of each food I was eating. Which means I absolutely enjoyed my meal without worrying about overeating.

Did my parents make a comment about the containers? Yes, but only because they were curious about what a “proper” portion size looked like. Then they went back to enjoying the quadruple portions on their plates.

Don’t be afraid to plan ahead and pack what you need to succeed when it comes to food and this program; or really, when it comes to food and LIFE. I know I’m terrible at controlling my portions, so I removed the guesswork from the equation and made sure I had my containers handy so I wouldn’t overeat. I will tell you that if we eat out at a restaurant I’ve not been to before, the containers will likely make an appearance. Or at least, they will hitch a ride in my purse. Even just being able to eyeball a yellow as it sits in my hand is enough to remind me of what a portion size looks like. But for that to happen, I need to have it with me.

I hope at this point you are realizing your pressure points with the timed nutrition. Maybe it’s late night cravings or eating out; maybe it’s having to deal with working lunches; maybe it’s related to figuring out your pre-workout meal. Any way you cut it, I hope you are using these opportunities to find solutions instead of dwelling on the problem. If it means success, I hope you are the girl who brings her containers to the working lunch: “Yes sir, I am serious about eating healthy, which is why I brought my containers; imagine that same laser focus directed at helping you grow your business and you can see why I’m the perfect fit for the job.”

Figure out what works for you then go for it. Make no apologies. This is your life and your body and it’s your time to own it, damn it. Ride that big booty pump throughout the day and do what you need to do to make “it” happen.

Okay, that’s me off my soapbox. Tune in tomorrow for some more thoughts on cardio core. I, for one, am excited to see my progress.

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