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 14: Stretch & Release (aka Keep It Loose)

Congrats on finishing Week 2!

As you prep for Week 3, I hope you have your meals prepped and your body feels loose. Because I was on the road all day today, I’m simply doing the same menu this week that I had last week. Mostly because I have some leftovers and don’t have the energy to cook up something new.

Which is a point I’ve made before: Know your strengths. Mine is not cooking on the fly. Or really, cooking in general. So why make things hard on myself by not taking advantage of what I have in the fridge when meal prepping for the week? Exactly.

Also on that note, your body. If it doesn’t feel loose, or if you still feel tight or sore, I highly recommend taking time out of of your day to stretch. Especially use Autumn’s stretch and release video. It’s a good 15 minutes video to loosen you up. Do it in the morning, if you can. Then, at night, take another 10 minutes to stretch out. Or, at least, drop to your knee to keep those hip flexors loose. If you have to focus on one muscle group to keep from tightening up, the hip flexors would be it.

We do a lot of squatting and jumping and lunging and if your hip flexors are tight they could pull on your quads or hammies or back and before you know it you’re going to tweak something. If you do nothing else, do the runner’s lunge stretch in the morning and at night. Hold for 10-12 seconds each leg, then repeat.

At this point in the program, even if your body is sore, I hope you realize you CAN do it. You can do each and every exercise and complete each and every workout. You’ve already done it for two weeks. And you’re stronger now than when you started. So there’s no reason why you can’t finish it.

Keep that in mind as you start Week 3.

That’s all I got.

Click on Link for the usual deets.


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 7: Roll & Release (aka Meet Your New Best Friend)

Roll and Release: Roll around on a foam roller for 15 minutes and give yourself the massage you never knew you could.

The new best friend reference, btw, is not to the “workout” (fear not, it’s not a workout), but rather to the foam roller. If you don’t have one, get one. Seriously, it’s life-changing. You know when you come home from those long days hunched over your computer at work and you have those unreachable knots bunched up under your shoulder blade? Spend a few minutes on the foam roller and you can roll that shit into oblivion. It gives your body the release you never thought you could get without being on a massage table.

I have, incidentally, walked out into the living room to find that my boyfriend has fallen asleep atop the foam roller. It’s that good.

But more importantly than making it to Day 7 and foam rolling the shit out of your body, you have finished Week 1 of 80 Day Obsession! Feel good about this accomplishment! And, remember this when the going gets tough in the rest of Phase 1:


There are going to be days up ahead where you are going to be tired. You won’t have slept the night before or you’ll be drained from work or you and your boyfriend will be going through some shit, and everything will ball up and make that workout you have to do seem insurmountable. You have to handle life AND those renegade rows with a twist and a GD resistance loop?

But here’s the deal. Even if you’re doubting whether you can handle the rest of the shit life will throw at you, KNOW you can handle the workout. You are not going to see ANYTHING new in Phase 1 from this point forward. The only thing that changes is the amount of times you do the exercise. Which means all you have to focus on doing is completing one rep at a time of an exercise you KNOW you CAN complete. You’ve done it before. You can push it to make it happen again.

I’ve hinted at it in other posts, but towards the end of Phase 1, I had some shit go down that made me doubt not only whether I could finish 80 Day Obsession, but make it through the day. The only thing that got me through the workout (Cardio Core) was knowing that I had done the workout before. It wasn’t rocket science. I wasn’t learning a foreign language. All I was doing was something I KNEW I could do. So I kept jumping and kept moving because I knew that’s what had worked for me in the past and that it would get me through this tough spot. And it did.

So yeah, when you think you can’t push through, remember you can because you JUST DID. Take a page out of Nike’s book and JUST DO IT.

With the exercise portion out of the way, let’s switch briefly to nutrition. Here’s my meal plan for the week:

Round 2 - Week 2
Menu for Week 2

This week, it will be a lot less assembling and prep for me on the weeknights, because with the exception of the skewers, I portion everything out into a separate container immediately after making it. As a result, here’s what a full day of food looks like for me, absent my shake, banana, and pre-workout meal:

Week 2 foods
Nomz Peanut Butter

Some day, I will learn better photog skillz with the iPhone. But that day is not today.

And, today is not the day when I conquer eating Home Baked Goods at my aunt’s house. I talked about this last night, how I struggle with sticking to my timed nutrition plan when I head to my aunt’s house for Sunday dinner.

Tonight, strangely enough, perhaps as a result of that blog, or as a result of eating at just the right time (hour and 15 minutes) prior to heading to her place, I felt really good about surviving the evening unscathed. I felt strong and wasn’t getting the urge to pig out like I normally do.

And in fact, I portioned stuff out on to my plate in acceptable sizes: Chicken Marabella – enough to fit one red; white rice – a little less than a yellow; green salad with vinaigrette beforehand – enough to fit a green; a small slice of home baked bread to round out the rest of the yellow. I savored it and ate it all and actually felt pretty good.

And then I saw my cousin going back to seconds, and it was like a tether snapped on my self control. Suddenly, the need to EAT ALL THE FOODZ was back and I was all in for more chicken and rice and bread. Then came dessert and I was all about that plum cake with ice cream. Two slices AND two scoops please! Fucking delicious.

So, my timed nutrition plan tanked for Sunday night. Again. But this time around, I’m trying to give myself a bit more grace. See, I know I didn’t stick to the plan. But at the same time, because I had two meals left in the day to eat, I kinda figure that from a caloric standpoint, I got roughly the same amount of calories as I should, just not at the right time. And as for the plum cake…well shit happens. And next time I should really only do one slice.

I’m including this not so that you think you have free license to eat anything and everything. If you do that, 80 Day Obsession won’t work for you.

I’m including this tidbit so you know the struggle is real. This is my second time through and I’m STILL trying to figure out how to get the most out of this program. Yeah, I had a bad night. But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up, or that I’m throwing the rest of the meal plan for the week to the wind. It just means that I will have to figure out something new for Sunday dinner next week. I’m not going to let that one failure ruin the rest of the week. And really, I’m not sure I would call it a failure, because it was good food surrounded by good people. So sorry, not sorry.

When you screw up – because you will – go easy on yourself. Try and figure out why the screw-up happened, then try and address the issue so it doesn’t happen again in the future. Or so it doesn’t happen so bad. But don’t stop. Don’t give up. What you’ll get out this program AND life is too good to let one set-back dictate how the rest of everything should go.

For me, I’m hoping that the 2B Mindset program will help with my self-control on these Sunday night dinners. I need that extra little boost to make it through. I need to figure out a way to enjoy myself without over-eating or going back for seconds or thirds or fourths. Because I don’t need those extra helpings. I’m eating enough during the day and getting plenty of good fuel. So something else is going on. I’m hopeful 2B Mindset can help get to the root of it.

Somehow, I managed to type over 1200 words on a rest day. TL;DR. I know I know.

Get some sleep and get ready for Week 2, starting tomorrow! And if you want to know more about 2B Mindset, check out the link below for more info.

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:


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.

Phase 1, Day 5: Legs (aka Do As I Say Not As I Do)

So, I’m an idiot.

I am very good at giving advice but not necessarily at taking it.

Here is the build-up: It is almost the end of Week 1; your body is going to be sore; you are going to be mentally exhausted; these workouts, on top of everything else you have going on in your life, are going to make it feel as though your cup runneth over.

Here is my advice: Listen to your body. Don’t try and kill yourself with super heavy weights because you think you should. Check in with your muscles and joints and see how everything is feeling, and only bump up weights if you are feeling strong. See how you are feeling afterwards. Stretch extra. Maybe schedule a massage. Take an epsom salt bath. All in all, pay attention to how you are feeling and don’t push it. This is a 13 week program. Don’t blow your load in Week 1.


The only saving grace is that by the time you are on one of those co-ed teams in your mid-30s, one of your teammates is a massage therapist and can get you in for an appointment first thing Sunday morning. Thank God.

But in all seriousness, leg day comes at the end of a long week. But the good news is the workout flies by. It’s three rounds of three exercises, and in Week 1 you will go all the way through all the workouts for 15 reps each, then go back through and repeat. Compared to the other workouts, this one is quick.

Pro Tip: When doing lunges, focus on engaging your core, in addition to your legs. You’d be surprised how focusing on keeping the core tight can help engage your lower body.

As always, also make sure you track your weights, because you will see substantial gains in your legs as this program goes on. But for this first week, again, don’t go for the super heavy weights until the second round. Rather, go all the way through using a weight you know won’t kill you. If, by the time you get to the 15 rep, you feel as though you could do another few reps, then bump the weight up for the next round. But if you are dying, maybe keep it the same or bump it down.

That’s me for the night. I already rolled out the hammie on a baseball and foam roller and did extra stretching and took an epsom salt bath with a hint of baking soda. I am hoping a good night’s sleep will have me ready for Cardio Flow tomorrow, which I know will loosen everything up. But first, I have to actually make it to bed….

Beachbody details in the link below. Epsom salt bath not included.


Phase 1, Day 3: Cardio Core (aka “I’m Not Going to Kill You”)


I remember the night before Day 3, Cardio Core, when I was doing 80 Day Obsession for the first time. For whatever reason, I was nervous. Out of all the workouts during the week, Cardio Core was the one that had me wondering if I would be able to finish the workout. Or, really, wondering if I would be able to finish the workout without puking up my guts.

I think it’s because of the name: “Cardio Core” sounds like something you will barely survive, whereas “Cardo Flow” brings to mind some sort of fast-paced yoga.

I remember I even had butterflies before I hit play for the first time.

But, I did it. And I finished the workout. Barely.

And while the workout was hard, I didn’t die. As Autumn reminds us halfway through: “I’m not going to kill you!”

Here’s the dealio. Cardio Core is made up of, I believe (I can’t remember for sure – it’s been a long day) 5 rounds. Each round consists of 3 one-minute sets. Each one-minute set is comprised of 30 seconds of some sort of jumping plyometric that mimics a jump rope, followed immediately by 30 seconds of a high intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise. You do the three sets without any rest. Then after your third set, you go immediately into an ab exercise of 10 reps that use the sliders. The sliders look like this:

Strength Slides and Booties

After you get through the 5 rounds, you immediately go through and do all the ab exercises in a row, 10 reps for each exercise.

If you are still reading this and I haven’t scared you away yet, great! Because here’s the best part:

The first time doing Cardio Core, Autumn gives you, on average, 30 seconds to rest.

This does not mean the workout is easy. Far from it. But what this does mean is that the exercise is absolutely DO-ABLE. Again, they got the pacing on this exercise just right, because just when you think you can’t carry on, you get 30 seconds to catch your breath.

My first time, I needed every bit of those 30 seconds. And even then, it wasn’t until I was on Week 4 of Phase 1 that I was able to make it all the way through the workout without hitting pause. What killed me most were not necessarily the HIIT intervals or the jumping, but rather, the ab exercises.

See, with the jumping and HIIT, you can modify if you get super tired. You can either step it out or slow down. But with the ab exercises, you either keep up or get left behind. And it took me 4 weeks to not…I won’t say keep up (because that took another month), but at least, not get left behind.


I was reminded of this in the middle of doing jumping cross-overs today. Because there is so much up and down in this workout, all the contents of your stomach get shaken like a milkshake. Or a salt shaker. Or a tail feather. You get the picture. The end result is that if you haven’t allowed yourself enough time to digest, or if you ate a super heavy pre-workout meal, there is a good chance you’re going to be making very good friends with your semi-digested foods. So, if you are worried about eating too much, or wondering whether your foods will stay down, this is the one day of the week where I absolutely recommend swapping out the pre-workout meal for the lighter Meal Option 1 (for those of you on the timed nutrition plan, you know what I’m talking about).  Once you know you can make it through with a happy tum-tum, make the switch back. But again, until you know how your body will react, if you are worried about it, proceed cautiously to give yourself every chance to succeed.

I have no good way to segue from stomach issues to the food plan in general, but here goes.

I started this blog because I thought it might be helpful to those Obsessors who come after me who have questions and aren’t sure where to look. One question I heard today that I thought a lot about as I went through 80 Day Obsession the first time, was whether the timed nutrition program is sustainable.

This question resonated with me because I had so much success with the timed nutrition program the first time around. My body responds really well to eating before and after workouts, and then eating three meals spaced out 2-3 hours apart after my workout block. And, as is perhaps expected, I (and my body) do very well eating relatively clean. That is, non-processed carbs, lean proteins, and lots of veggies and fruits. One reason 80 Day Obsession works for me is because I respond very well to that structure: Tell me what to eat and when and I am a happy clam.

But where I get into trouble is when I step outside my comfort zone into 3 problem areas: 1) Eating out, 2) Home Baked goods, and 3) Alcohol.

My problem with eating out is portion control: I know the combination of foods I should be eating; the problem is that most restaurants serve double or even triple the portion size I should be consuming. Plus, I was raised to clean my plate. This all combines for disastrous meals out, where I know what I should be eating and how much, but by the end of the meal I’m usually licking my plate and trying real hard to not order dessert.

Which is why, last night, when my boyfriend suggested we eat out to celebrate our last night of freedom before he returned to work today, I resisted. I didn’t want to leave my containers and the dinner I knew I had carefully portioned out and waiting for me in the fridge. But then I realized this was the perfect opportunity to see if the timed nutrition program WAS sustainable, and I wasn’t going to get any better at this eating out thing unless I actually practiced.

So, we went out. We walked down the street to Mexican food. My choice.

The good news about my choice is that I had gone to the same restaurant in Phase 2 with my parents and bf, and knew the steak fajitas fit perfectly into my red and green containers. I knew this because I brought said containers with me to the restaurant and to my boyfriend’s undying horror, then proceeded to separate the meat from the veg into their plastic counterparts. LIke I said, they fit perfectly.

The bad news is that the Mexican food, as per usual, came with a limitless supply of hot tortilla chips and salsa. WHO CAN RESIST HOT TORTILLA CHIPS AND SALSA?!?!?

Still, I took it as a challenge. Could I do this eating out thing AND 80 Day Obsession at the same time?

When we sat down, I allowed myself 10 chips. That was it. 10. (I chose that number because I had it in my head that you get 10 tortilla chips on refeed day, so that seemed a safe number to go with. More on refeed day in a later post!) I guzzled down my soda water with lime so that I wouldn’t notice it wasn’t a margarita (that didn’t work at all, but you gotta do what you gotta do).

And then our food arrived. And I had somehow only consumed 6 chips. Victory!

I didn’t have to worry about portioning out the dinner, because I knew it would fit. I did have to avoid the sour cream and guacamole, as delicious as they were, because it wasn’t time to have those macros in my diet. But you can bet I ladled on the salsa and enjoyed every bite of my fix-approved Mexican dinner out.

When we finished, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time, if ever, after leaving a Mexican restaurant: Not gross. Seriously, normally I leave having eaten my weight in tortilla chips and beans and rice. The end result is not pleasant for me in that moment, or anyone within a 10 foot radius a half hour later.

Even better, I had my first answer about the sustainability of the program in the face of one of my weaknesses: I can adapt the damn thing to eating out, but it does take practice and careful planning. And, let’s be honest, will power and avoidance.

Those last two strengths will be discussed further when I dive into addressing my other two weaknesses of home baked goods and alcohol. But I think that’s enough for tonight.

I hope, if you have made it to the end of this post, you finish it knowing you can do Cardio Core. But if you still have questions or doubts, ask me. Or per the norm, check out the link below for further details on the program.

Love and unicorns,