Phase 1, Day 15: Total Body Core (aka No Shame in My Pushup Game)

I love Week 3 workouts in 80 Day Obsession.

Instead of doing ALL the exercises in a row three times, you group the exercises into their muscle groups and do three sets of 10 reps, one muscle group at a time. So, for example, in Series 1, you do 10 reps of squat rotating shoulder press, then 10 reps of lateral bear crawl, then 10 reps of spider loops. Repeat twice more, 10 reps every time.

The end result is you burn out the muscle group before moving on. But, more importantly, because you are focusing on one muscle group at a time, you can also focus on bumping up the weight to lift extra heavy.

Week 3 is where you push yourself to see how much stronger you are, even from the week before. Even if it’s only for one set, for example if you do 2 rounds of squat rotating shoulder press with 12 pound dumbbells, but then bump up to 15s for the last round, that counts as getting stronger. The best part is that if, after the first round in the series, you feel like you could have done more reps, then you bump up for the next round. I love this week because it’s easy to adjust your weights to go as heavy – or as light – as you need to.

Plus, the workout flies by with this rep scheme.

So, to briefly recap: This week it is easy to push yourself, and you can get it done in what feels like record time.

But that said, sometimes the progress you make isn’t measured by how much you’re lifting, but in form, and in how strong you feel doing the exercise. I had two such breakthroughs TODAY on two different exercises.

The first was on those GD renegade rows with a twist.

I have blogged previously about this exercise. It is not my favorite. I literally count down the number of reps (30) I have left in this Phase before I can say goodbye to the damn things (until my next time through). I hate renegade rows with a twist because I don’t feel strong doing them. I wobble. I jiggle. I have moments where I’m afraid my elbow will dislocate.

Which is why today, two reps into the exercise, it took me a moment to realize why this time felt different: I felt steady. Normally, when I swing my leg through for the twist, it’s a half swing/half fall into position. This time, however, I was actually CONTROLLING my leg as it came through and PLACING my foot on the ground – normally the foot lands with a crash and it’s all I can do to keep my balance. Yet with each rep, I realized that I was in control. I was controlling my movements, and for once, my movements were very deliberate. All this, EVEN THOUGH I had bumped up to using the green band.

The steadiness lasted for ALL of the three rounds. And while it got messy towards the end, this was the first time I felt strong doing the exercise; the first time I could say with 100% certainty that I had improved. That was my first major victory, and I celebrated it even though it had nothing to do with lifting heavy.

The second victory was with tricep push-ups, the very last move of the workout.

Autumn urges you to do as many of the tricep push-ups as you can on your toes. I did this in the first round, doing them all on my toes. But my form felt off.  I struggled. I wasn’t able to get very low, and something about my form had me feel as though my back was taking most of the weight instead of my triceps. Not a good feeling. As a result, for the last two rounds, even though I knew I was “capable” of doing all the reps on my feet, I took it down to my knees. I modified the exercise, not because I wasn’t feeling strong, but because I just wasn’t feeling it where I thought I should. My form sucked on my toes, and I didn’t want to push through and do 20 more reps on my toes if it came at the expense of not actually working the muscles I should.

The first tricep push-up I did on my knees felt AMAZING. I got lower than I ever thought I could, and my form felt GOOD. Still, it wasn’t until I took a picture of myself actually performing the exercise that I realized the progress I had made:

Tricep Pushup
No Shame in this Pushup Game!

I have never, ever, EVER in a million years thought I could get my upper arm parallel to my body like that. And my back is straight. And my core is tight. This picture, more than any other I have shared, makes me proud of my progress and tells me how far I have come.

Even though I am technically modifying the exercise, I don’t care. Today, my body needed the modification. And by modifying tricep pushups, I got the most out of it. Instead of being ashamed, I am absolutely elated. DO YOU SEE MY FORM?! That’s why there is no shame in my push-up game. Sure, I could have done these on my toes. But I guarantee I would not now be posting a photo telling you how proud I am of my form.

My point is this: Don’t get caught up in tracking your progress solely by how heavy you’re lifting, or by the numbers on the scale, or the size of your pants. Sometimes the only way to measure your success is impossible to quantify. It’s in how you feel or the way you kept your core tight the entire time or how you kept your back straight. Every single one of those intangible victories is still a victory. It’s just one that only you can see. Which means that when it happens, you MUST make sure you celebrate it. Because no one else will.

So if you are reading this after having had to modify any of the exercises today, I salute you. I salute you for choosing form over substance and recognizing that the modification was what your body needed to get the most out of your workout. I hope you are still proud of the work you put in, and are already looking forward to how you can take another step towards improvement the next time through.

After all, there’s only one more Total Body Core workout with these exercises left in Phase 1. After that, we get a brand new set of exercises to torture us. I mean improve upon.

In case you can’t tell, I truly love this whole 80 Day Obsession thing. I love how it challenges me but is still so do-able. I love that it gives me a timed nutrition plan that fuels me up and makes it easy for me to follow.

But most importantly, I love how what started with an 80 Day Obsession has turned into a lifestyle I intend to last well beyond those 80 days.

As always, any questions, let me know. Or if you’re curious about any of this and want to learn more, email me. I’d love to help you get started on your own journey to live the best you. That is what I feel 80 Day Obsession helped me do: Get started down the path of living and being the best me. It’s a path that takes work to walk every day, but I am so happy I get to walk it.

Let me know if you need help getting started down your own path, or per usual, click the link to learn more about Beachbody stuff.

Yours in modified tricep pushups,



Phase 1, Day 1: Total Body Core (aka the one with the move I hate)

Day 1 of 80 Day Obsession is in the books. Let’s discuss.

First, some logistics: Day 1 is Total Body Core, a routine that will be repeated every Monday in Phase 1. The workout consists of 5 series, and on Day 1, you have 15 reps for each exercise; you go all the way through all the series, then go back through and do it all again.

Series 1: Shoulders.

Series 2: Back.

Series 3: Chest.

Series 4: Biceps.

Series 5: Triceps.

Equipment: Weights and resistance bands. Autumn used 8-pound and 10-pound dumbbells, and that’s what I used my first time through. Today, however, I am proud to report my weights had bumped up to 12s, 15s, and 22.5s.


Also, don’t think that just because the series have a defined “muscle” they “work” in that series, that the exercises are super boring. The beauty of these exercises is that the muscle listed is really just the primary muscle worked. For example, in addition to your chest being worked in the exercise called “Push-Up Leg Lift with Loop,” yes, you are working your chest. But you’re also working your ass, your core, pretty much your everything. You have to focus on lowering your body, clenching your butt to raise your leg, and keeping your core tight to ensure you don’t get that gruesome dip in your back at the bottom of the push-up.

It is, to quote the Bard, “Hard as fuck.”

BUT, crucially, it is also VERY DO-ABLE.

Herein lies the secret to Beachbody workouts: They are meant to be completed. They are meant to be do-able. Not effortlessly do-able, but do-able nonetheless after you throw in some sweat and tears.

Think about it. If they made their workouts TOO hard, NO ONE would do them. We want to battle in the gym, not succumb to all-out nuclear war.

I bring this up to point out that IF you struggled with Day 1 and wondered if you can complete the next few workouts, the answer is simple: YES YOU CAN. I like to think of these workouts as being manufactured to apply to the lowest common denominator that guarantees the highest rate of success. Just when you think you can’t do one more rep, the exercise is over. Or just when you think you need an extra second to rest, good ol’ Donald in Autumn’s background cast struggles with getting his loop on over his thighs which gives you another breathe to inhale. These programs have been tested to within an inch of their lives to ensure they a) work, and b) are hard, but do-able, to ensure you keep coming back for more.

Which brings me to my next point: Pacing. Going through 80 Day Obsession for the second time, I admire how Autumn got the pacing of the program right. Going through the 5 series for the first-time, Autumn gives you plenty of time to figure out your weights, get into position, and adjust your loops. All of that adds up to having more time to recover, which is much-needed regardless of how many times you’ve gone through the program. Because the fact of the matter is, you need more than a deep breath to recover from my nemesis exercise, One hand Renegade Row Twist with Loop (pic below). I hate that damn exercise. I hate it because even after one round, I feel like I still suck at it.

One Hand Renegade Row Twist with Loop makes me Hulk Smash Angry.

BUT, again, thanks to pacing, I don’t spend the whole workout doing the Exercise Which Shall Not Be Named. Thank God. That would be enough to make me not work out.

Instead, inevitably, after an exercise you loathe, you do an exercise which either isn’t too bad, or one that you feel halfway competent completing. Case in point below:

Chest Fly with Leg Lift

This is a terrible picture, but I post it because I am proud of my form. See how my back is flat along the ground, even though my legs are (kinda) going down? When I started 80 Day Obsession, my core wasn’t strong enough to keep my back on the ground, which means my back would arch up to compensate for my weak abs. Now, I am strong enough to press my back into the ground, even if that means I can’t yet get my legs lowered down very far. It’s progress, and I feel strong. So you’re welcome.

And that brings me to my last point: Strength. This program is not about getting skinny or fitting into a new pair of jeans, or dropping inches or pounds. I mean, that will happen if you stick to it. But inevitably, what this program is about is getting strong. Physically, mentally, emotionally. And what I love about the strength aspect, is there is ALWAYS room for improvement. You never just get to the end and think, “You know, I’m good now, no more strength for me!” No, you just keep going. You keep testing your resolve and building your strength.

But for that to happen, you have to leave room for improvement. You can’t just jump into hiking at altitude without allowing your body to get acclimated (been there, done that, it hurts). When you start this program, especially on Day 1 of ANY phase, cut yourself some slack. You won’t be an expert the first time you do this, and you won’t be lifting as heavy as you eventually will. But that’s the point: Eventually, you will. But first you have to figure out where to start and then improve incrementally from that point forward. It’s all about the Kaizen.

So, after completing Day 1 of 80 Day Obsession, you know you can do it. And you know that every Monday for the next 4 weeks in Phase 1, you will be doing those f-ing renegade rows. And those glorious chest flies. More importantly, you will be working your “Total Body Core,” and if you do it right, you will figure out how to hone in on working your core in each and every exercise (hint: You do that by focusing on keeping your core tight).

For now, it’s past my bedtime, and I gotta get a good night’s sleep before tomorrow’s Booty workout. BUT, the good news is (SPOILER ALERT) tomorrow’s workout is all about the loops and can be done from the comfort of my living room, which means I can get a precious extra half hour of sleep.

As always, hit me up with any questions or comments, or checkout the link below for more Beachbody products.

Keep it up!