Phase 3, Day 63: AAA (aka The Countdown Begins…To The End)

Reality Check: There are only THREE WEEKS left in 80 Day Obsession.

Let that sink in for a moment.

You have only 17 more workouts to get through before you finish the program. For every workout you do this week, you will only have to do it two more times.

At this point in my first 80 Day Obsession journey, I knew immediately I wanted to do it all again. I couldn’t imagine my life without the structure and discipline and challenging workouts.

Now, however, I am looking forward to taking a break. I want a break from the 1/2 Turkish Get-Up with Push-Up Hell. I don’t want to go to the damn zoo every week with Cardio Flow. (Seriously, if the workouts still came on DVDs, I would be burning the Cardio Flow DVD in a backyard bonfire to celebrate.)

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy today’s workout. I absolutely did. I think AAA in Phase 3 is not only my favorite AAA workout of the program, but also my favorite workout in Phase 3 period (though Leg Day runs a close second). Today, you do the three series, consisting of three exercises each, one series at at time for 3 sets of 10 reps each. The pace is quick but manageable. The moves burn in all the right place, and it’s easy to go up in weights if you need to. You even get to spend one entire series on the floor (though that certainly doesn’t mean it’s easy). All in all, AAA is a great way to start the week.

But after I finish these 80 days, I want to do something different. I need to mix it up so that I can come back to this program refreshed and not dreading an entire phase full of renegade rows with a twist.

So, in these final weeks, I’m not only counting down to the end, but I’m also counting down to my next workout program. I have to. What I love about 80 Day Obsession is that it flipped a switch in me so that my day is not complete WITHOUT A WORKOUT; I’m focused on eating right and in the correct portions and at the optimum times of the day. But to keep that momentum going, I have to have a plan. I’m gonna have to literally plan out the rest of my year with workout programs. If I don’t, it’s too easy for a week-long break to turn into “crap I haven’t worked out since August.” That is exactly what happened to me last year, and I ended up doughy around the middle by New Year’s as a result.

I don’t want to yo-yo this time. I want to be consistent. I want to keep building the booty gains I’ve been seeing in 80 Day Obsession. Exhibit A:

Bridge Lateral Press
What goes up goes down into the booty.

I want to continue to shred out and reveal the abs that are finally starting to peek through after a lifetime of hibernation:

PROGRESS
Work is showing in all the right places!

And while I know that 80 Day Obsession gets me results, I know that mentally I will need a break from it all when it’s done. Which is absolutely fine.

But I don’t know what that means for this blog or continuing to share my journey. I started this thing 60+ days ago because I was so impressed with what 80 Day Obsession did for me mentally and physically. I still am. The program saved me. It gave me structure when I needed it most; it allowed me to find a shred of victory when it felt like I was sleeping in the jaws of defeat. 80 Day Obsession gave me the feeling of control when everything was careening off the tracks. I know that when I am lacking that control in the future, be it in my personal life or my own health and fitness regime or whatever, I can turn to 80 Day Obsession and pick up the tools I need to right the ship.

I wanted to share that excitement with others, and provide something of a roadmap for those who will come after me. Plus, I was a newly minted Beachbody coach, and this seemed a good way to put myself out there and perhaps attract others who might need exactly what 80 Day Obsession has to offer.

The problem, I have learned, is that while I have no problem with coaching, I’m terrible at selling. Just awful. It’s not that I have a problem talking about 80 Day Obsession – I don’t. Or that I can’t answer questions about the nutrition – I can. It’s moreso that hawking this product feels like it cheapens what the program did for me. I don’t want to sell this program to make a commission or build my genealogical chart (no real idea what that is, btw); I want to sell it to someone like me who is at a point in their life when they need it.

I’m rambling, I know. And I know there are other coaches out there who would say there is an obligation to reach as many people as I can with this product to try and change lives for the better. I just haven’t figured out what works for me. This blog was fun, but I’m pretty sure no one reads it. It will likely just live on infamy, forgotten in the dusty corners of the internet with the millions of failed blogs that have come before it.

I’m okay with that. If even one person out there has gotten something useful out of any of these posts, mission accomplished.

At the very least, this is the most consistently I have ever blogged. EVER. Just like 80 Day Obsession, I’ve stuck with it. That’s just another example of how 80 Day Obsession can change you for the better if you stick with it and work the program.

So even though we have 17 days left to go, if you’re reading this, thank you. I hope you’ve gotten something out of this. And if you didn’t but are wondering if other Beachbody products might be more your jam, check out the usual link.

 

Phase 3, Day 59: Legs (aka The One Where You Get Low To Go High)

I had a meeting last week with a girl who went to college with me. In fact, we played basketball together in college (and in high school!). She hadn’t seen me in awhile, and as we waited for our clients to arrive, she asked me what I was doing.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“THIS,” she said, gesturing to my body. “What are you doing to get THIS?? You’re skinnier than you ever were in college but I swear you somehow have a bigger butt!”

That was a pretty good note to hit prior to our meeting.

Since then, my butt has been front and center. I catch myself staring at it in the window as I walk by, showing it off to my boyfriend when he gets home, and choosing outfits that specifically accentuate its newfound shape.

That said, I did not feel so good about my butt the first time through 80 Day Obsession. I wasn’t seeing the gains Autumn did with her cast, and I couldn’t figure out why they were so excited about an asset that didn’t seem to want to grow for me.

I have a few hypotheses about why I might have struggled to make booty gains.

First, I suspect I wasn’t eating enough in Phases 1 and 2 to put on muscle. That time around, I was eating in Meal Plan B and miserable all the time. I don’t think I was getting enough protein to make a difference. I started this round of 80 Day Obsession in Meal Plan C, and believe it has made a huge difference in my mood and for my body.

Secondly, I don’t think I was strong enough to lift the weights I needed to MAKE substantial booty gains. I am currently lunging with about double the weight that I did during my first round of 80 Day Obsession: 25 pound dumbbells instead of 12.5s. But if I had gone to lift 25 pound dumbbells the first time thru, I likely would have hurt myself. As it is, on the forward slide lunge in today’s workout, I could feel my core and back engaging to keep everything tight; that sort of connectedness was lacking in round 1, when I was still building muscle and strength. It took 80 days to get strong enough to lift the weights I needed to add more muscle.

Lastly, I don’t think I was strong enough to hold the form necessary to make the booty gains. This is essentially the same point as number 2 above, but still worth making to point out that in order to make progress, you not only have to lift the right weight, but you also have to do it with the right form.

Case in point, check out my goblet squat form:

Goblet Squat
This one makes me sweat and want a drink.

I have NEVER gotten so low in a squat, or been able to keep my back so straight. I certainly wasn’t going that low the last time I hit Day 59 in 80 Day Obsession. And, I don’t think I could have squatted with that form last time either.

It’s all a process, and you have to adjust to what your body is capable of handling at the moment so you can make the most gains. In the exercise above, I’m only using a 25 pound dumbbell. Autumn, in the video, is using a 35 pounder. I thought about going up, but when I straightened up in the first set of 10 (that’s the set-up for this week, btw, all exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeat for two more rounds – it’s 3 sets of 10 reps total), I was able to get an extra good clench in my butt that really worked the muscle and my inner thighs. Everything was engaged, even with the lighter weight. So I stuck with the 25s but focused on form and keeping that engagement.

If you have been sticking to the timed nutrition and working out, your body will be changing. You will be losing inches or pounds or dress sizes; but you may still be frustrated that your booty isn’t growing as fast as you would like, or that your abs still have that layer of fat that obscures the 6-pack peeking through underneath. Don’t get upset and quit. Use that frustration to motivate yourself to finish 80 Day Obsession strong, and plan NOW to do another round. If you are really into the program, you are going to want to keep it going to ensure your lifestyle change continues.

I did. I did 80 Day Obsession again because I wanted to keep eating right and continue to have a reason to work out. I did not expect to see my booty grow like it has – I thought I just wasn’t that girl who could.

Turns out, I am. And you can be too. Just stick with it.

If you’re not seeing the results you want, or are curious about the program, message me. Or check out the usual link. Why put off being your best self if you have the tools to do it today?

Phase 2, Day 57: AAA (aka The One That Putzes Along Nicely)

Last week I ran through the different exercises found in AAA in Phase 3 of 80 Day Obsession.

I admit, with the lifting scheme shifting to three sets of 10 reps this week, where you do all the exercises in a row for 10 reps each, three times, I worried that the workout would stretch on FOREVER.

Surprisingly, that was not the case. Out of all the workouts we’ve done thus far in 80 Day Obsession, this one feels the most carefully planned. That is, the workouts transition nicely from one to the other. Have loops around your legs for side lunge, the last move in the first series? No sweat – keep those loops on for bridge pull over, the first move in series two.

Trying a 15 pound dumbbell for Camel Bicep Curl? Sweet! Stick with it for weighted twisting roll down.

Back to double or triple loops for marching bridge? Keep those babies on as you transition into bridge bilateral press.

There’s transitions, but none of the rushed scurrying around Autumn sometimes infuses into the workout, usually when she realizes she needs to cram 65 minutes of work into a 55 minute timeframe. I wasn’t running from the weight area to the tile floor in a rush to throw down my sliders and join for the first rep of abs. Speed walking, yes. But not the sprint I usually have to use to start on time.

All in all, this workout putzes along nicely. It gets the job done and you don’t feel as though you’ve been in the gym for an overly long period of time.

Also, SPOILER ALERT, don’t be surprised when Autumn throws in some weights for the last set of curtsy lunge pulses. She does. Just savor the burn and know that it’s building a full, round booty. Here’s me mid-burn:

Curtsy lunge pulses with weight.
I’m not a mouth breather unless I’m working out, I swear.

With the logistics out of the way, I have a pro tip to avoid a pet peeve of mine.

PRO TIP #2: DON’T LIFT IN FRONT OF THE WEIGHT RACK. YOU’RE BLOCKING THE WEIGHTS YOU ANNOYING DOUCHE.

For whatever reason, I have only ever seen men engage in this terrible weight room etiquette. Me, I hoard weights, yes. But if you were to approach me and ask to work in, I’d have no problem with that request.

BUT WHEN YOU STAND DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE WEIGHT RACK DOING YOUR DAMN LATERAL SHOULDER RAISES, YOU AND YOUR F-ING WING SPAN ARE MONOPOLIZING ALL THE WEIGHTS.

Again, this habit seems to be limited to MEN. I don’t know why. The thinking must be something like: I’m just gonna bang out a few reps and won’t be long so everyone can wait and admire my biceps as I sweat all over the free weights. Or maybe: THIS IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO STAND WHY IS NO ONE ELSE HERE?!

I imagine it has to be a mixture of the two. Regardless, don’t be that human diaper. Be mindful of others in the gym and make sure you are lifting far enough away from the weight rack so that if someone else wants to pick up or return a set of dumbbells, they can do so.

Also, PRO TIP #4: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY PLEASE GO EASY ON THE COLOGNE.

Seriously. This one should go without saying, but apparently needs repeating.

You can tell I’m low on sleep because it was all I could do tonight to not chew out the greaser with the slicked back hair who decided to do the majority of his weights in front of the weight rack while wearing an entire bottle of AX body spray. YES I WILL GLARE DAGGERS AT YOU AND THROW THE WEIGHTS DOWN FOR EMPHASIS.

I think I need some sleep.

So on that note, I hope you got your Week 2 off to a wicked start and your work week off to a jumping Monday. It’s summer and it’s Phase 3! Enjoy how far you’ve come and focus on making these last few weeks really count!

Link to the usual Beachbody goodies here.

 

Phase 3, Day 51: AAA (aka THERE’S AN EARTHQUAKE IN MY PANTS)

Get ready to love this workout.

AAA in Phase 3 is the right length, the right combo of moves, and comes with the right tag line: THERE’S AN EARTHQUAKE IN MY PANTS! Thank you, Autumn.

Let’s go through the logistics.

Three series, consisting of four exercises in each series. Of those four exercises, two work your upper body, one works your core, and one works your glutes. Here’s how it breaks down:

SERIES 1: Czech press, front raise, slider windshield wipers, and side lunge hold.

SERIES 2: Bridge pull over, camel bicep curl, weighted twisting roll down, and marching bridge.

SERIES 3: Bridge bilateral press, tricep kickback in lunge, weighted knee drops, and curtsy lunge pulse.

As with the usual AAA set-up, for all exercises EXCEPT the glute moves, you press up or contract for a three count, release in a one count.

For the glute moves, you do either a three-second isometric hold, or pulses on the slider. That is, for the side lunge hold, you lunge to the side…and hold it for three seconds. For the marching bridge, you bridge up on one leg….and hold it for three seconds.

But for the curtsy lunge pulses….you pulse for a three count then come up in a one count. This is the exercise you will hate.

BUT, that said, there is not an exercise here you will loathe. There’s no plank tricep kickbacks or lunging bicep curls or whatever else you dreaded in previous AAA workouts. Even those curtsy lunge pulses, while shit-tay, fly by and are not done with weight.

Even better, the workout will keep your attention because every move works a variety of different muscles. I mean, you can tell from the names: Camel Bicep Curl.

Camel Bicep Curl.
Yay summer! Yay shorts! Yay for 80 Day Obsession for making my legs look good in shorts!

Do a camel while doing a bicep curl at the same time. In so doing, you will work not only your biceps, but also your core, quads, butt and hamstrings.

Another example: Bridge Bilateral Press.

Bridge bilateral press
Good form.

Hold a bridge while you do chest press.

THIS exercise is about when Autumn squeals during the workout: “THERE’S AN EARTHQUAKE IN MY PANTS!”

She’s not wrong. Almost every exercise targets your glutes, even if it’s in a roundabout fashion. Series 2 sneaks up on your ass; you don’t realize how much glute work you get in until you’re on the last five reps of marching bridge and find your supporting leg shaking.

Which leads me to another pro tip.

PRO TIP #333: YOU SHOULD BE DOUBLE-LOOPING EVERYTHING.

Do not underestimate how much stronger you have become in the last 51 days.  As a result, even though you might have started out doing exercises with the yellow loop (the easiest one), believe it is time to upgrade to double loops. Even if it’s just a blue loop and a yellow. Push yourself. It is time. Plus, if you don’t double loop, that shit will roll. Trust that you have gotten stronger and that you are capable of at least double-looping, if only to ensure your loops stay in place.

I hope you enjoyed this workout as much as I did. I loved all the exercises, revelled in the fact that we didn’t have to do push-ups, and felt super strong. This AAA is a great start to Phase 3 because it reminds you of how far you’ve come. Yeah, you may have an earthquake in your pants, but believe you will still get that last rep in. Plus, how good does it feel to sweat? It’s summer! The heat is here and thanks to 80 Day Obsession, it’s time to enjoy shorts and tank tops – gotta show off all that lunge and shoulder work.

The only bad thing about today’s workout? It’s followed by Cardio Flow tomorrow. Yuck. But at least it’s only 4 reps. You’ll see. Autumn changes it up, thank God, otherwise I don’t think I could have handled 8 reps. The only reason I’m looking forward to Cardio Flow tomorrow night is it’s about to be 80+ degrees and I’m a walk up to that park and conquer that shit in the evening sun on my grassy knoll.

Shhh don’t tell. Summer in the PNW is the best kept secret.

I mean, it’s raining. All the time. Stay away.

Link to Beachbody products here. Any comments or thoughts about today’s program, let me know. Or, if you want to drop some knowledge bombs, those are welcome too.

Regardless, push play and slay today!

Phase 2, Day 36: Legs (aka Sorry Not Sorry)

Last week I blogged about how this workout GETS THE JOB DONE.

This week, you do the same exercises as last week, but do all exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeat for another 2 sets for a total of 3 sets. There’s only five exercises with weights, and after each exercise you drop the weight and immediately go to burn out the muscle using the sliders.

To be clear, I was never a huge fan of leg day growing up. Leg day in college as part of the basketball workouts meant putting super heavy weight on my shoulders and attempting to squat it up and down. It meant attempting deadlifts with tires on the end of the bar and trying to avoid blowing out my back. It mean moving those tires on and off the bar as you shifted from lunges to good mornings and back again.

In short, leg day was hell. It was painful, lasted forever, and I never felt like I got that much stronger despite how much sweat I left on the floor behind me.

Thankfully, Leg Day in 80 Day Obsession has little in common with what I went through in college.

I wouldn’t say I’m yet a fan of Leg Day, but I can say that in Phase 2, at least, I look forward to the workouts. I look forward to targeting the muscle group each exercise is designed to work, burning it out, and then moving on. I like that I don’t have to struggle with super heavy weights and manhandle them off the rack and onto my back. I like being able to challenge myself with just these little plastic discs and booties that slide back and forth on the floor.

In the old days, if any sort of hiccup arose during Leg Day (SHIT the water fountain isn’t working! There’s a bee! I can’t find the 25 pound plate!) I would immediately use it as an excuse to end the workout early. ANYthing to get out of the gym.

Today, I could have gone down that same road. I could have chosen to use the obstacle presented to defeat me and use it as an excuse to go home.

I didn’t. Let’s discuss.

See, at my gym, the weight area floor is covered in rubber mats. This is great for your joints and the floor (when you drop weights on the latter), but not so great for the sliders which are required in Leg Day. Which means that when sliders are called for, I then have to put down my weights and run across the room to throw my sliders down on the tiles of the merchandise area. In the midst of hangers of clothes and shelves of protein powder, I then proceed to knock out 10 reps on the sliders. Then I have to run back to the weight area and move on to the next exercise with dumbbells.

When the focus is to truly burn out the muscle by keeping it under tension for as long as possible, the time necessary to run over to the merchandise area is not conducive to that goal.

So today, after having to hit pause a million times during the first round, I made the executive decision to move a couple of sets of weights, my mat, my sliders, my tracker sheet, and everything else to a tiled hallway off the entrance to my gym that almost no one uses at 6 in the morning. I mean, the hallway leads to the kids’ playroom which is closed at that hour, so I figured I would be out of everyone’s way.

Wrong. Apparently that hallway is also used by the gym staff to roll tubs of dirty towels in and out of the room with the washing machine. And apparently, 6 am is when they start their first load.

Which means that this morning, when the staffer with the mermaid colored hair went back to throw in that first load of stinky towels, there I was in her way, rocking out some pistol squats on the sliders.

INSERT CRINGEY-FACE EMOJI.

The dirty look she gave me caused me to mouth “I’m sorry!” with a deeply apologetic look on my sweaty face. When she later came out of the room rolling a tub of the day’s clean towels, I moved all my equipment against the wall and cringed.

But I didn’t stop. And to be honest, I wasn’t sorry.

You know you are truly obsessed with getting your workout in, be it 80 Day Obsession or otherwise, when you don’t let mermaids shooting daggers at your back stop you from finishing Leg Day. I could have allowed her obvious disapproval of my workout spot to halt my workout. Maybe I probably should have because I was a fire hazard. But until they tell me I can’t workout in that hallway, or the fire marshall taps me on the shoulder and tells me to move my ass back to the weight area, I’ll continue to do what I need to do to finish my workout for the day.

So yeah. Sorry not sorry.

I hope you are at the point now where you have the same mental fortitude about finishing your own workout(s). Because shit comes up. Rare is the day when we find ourselves WITHOUT a distraction in that half hour to hour-long spot we have allotted ourselves for active alone time. When those distractions rear their ugly heads, I hope your determination cuts it off at the root and you do what you need to do to get the job done.

Like Leg Day.

No pictures today, just a lot of words and a bit of attitude. And of course the usual link to some fun stuff.

 

Phase 2, Day 28: Cardio Core (aka the Cardio with the Sliders AND the Loops)

You know it’s a good routine when you fear the “Core” in the title more than the “Cardio.”

Let’s discuss.

The format of Cardio Core in Phase 2 is the exact same as it was in Phase 1: 30 seconds of some sort of jump rope move followed by 30 seconds of some sort of high intensity interval training (“HIIT”) move; do for three rounds for a total of three minutes, then hit the ground for 10 reps of an ab exercise.

In Phase 1, I feared the standing mountain climbers because they always threatened to disturb my pre-workout meal. Between the reaching of the arms and the high knees, my breakfast was practically begging to come up.

In Phase 2, however, it’s the ab exercises that get you. If you don’t have to hit pause at least once during one of the ab routines the first time you do this workout, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

Why the difference?

Phase 1 abs consisted of simple linear movements: In and out for knee tucks; right knee to left elbow counted as one rep.

Phase 2, however, combines what feels like a bunch of different movements into what only counts as one rep. For example, you do knee tucks into a standing squat with an arm lift. The move takes focus, balance, and some serious core strength. AND it somehow manages to work your legs even though they need a serious break from the HIIT.

Or, you do a double leg pike followed by a single leg pike for a total of 12 reps. Here’s my pike form:

Double Leg Pike Into Single Leg Pike
Proud of that form!

(Side Note: Super proud of my pike form. Every time I do those things, I never feel like I get my ass high enough in the air to even come close to Autumn’s flexibility. However, this picture says otherwise. It definitely wasn’t like that when I first started, so I’m proud to see how far I’ve come.)

My point being, by the time you get to the LAST ab move, which requires loops, you can barely get the damn things on over your legs. You’re all sweaty so that you can’t good grip on the rubber when you pull the loops up over your thighs, and your arms are shaking too hard to pull them up on the first try. It’s a disaster. It takes all your energy just to get the damn things on, and then you’re expected to sit back in a sort of boat pose as you lift and open your legs then lift and close your legs…10 times. Here’s what that particular mode of torture looks like:

Ferry Ride From Hell
No idea what this is called. I only know the noise I make as I struggle through.

If I am focusing on the ab exercises instead of the cardio, it’s for a good reason. There is something demoralizing about making it through 3 minutes of sweat-inducing cardio…only to have to hit pause during the ab series, which is supposed to be your “rest.” I am including this detail to let you know that this is normal. It will be normal for you to barely be able to finish the ab portion(s) of the workout. It will be normal for you to have to push pause in the middle of single-leg/double-leg pike. It will be normal for you to have to hit pause to allow you time to get the loops on your legs in the last exercise, even though Autumn and co. will seem to breeze through such an endeavor with ease. It will be normal for you to want to quit because it will feel like you need a rest you don’t get, and you will doubt whether you can finish.

Don’t quit.

Hit pause all you want. Take a moment to catch your breath and drink some water.

But don’t quit.

Because as hard as these ab exercises are, know that it is their very level of difficulty which guarantees results.

You signed up for this program probably because you were lured by the promise of a sculpted booty and shredded abs. The great thing about Cardio Core in Phase 2 is you can actually FEEL the ab exercises shredding out your abs. After all, the moves are so difficult, how could they not?

When it hurts and you doubt and you can’t breathe and your arms are shaking, embrace the pain. This is what you signed up for and this is how you know the program is working; that it’s doing its job. If you WEREN’T feeling this way, you should wonder if 80 Day Obsession is everything it’s cracked up to be and whether it’s getting the job done.

There will be no wonder in Phases 2 and 3. The shit gets hard, but it is absolutely worth it. Just don’t give in when the going gets tough. Dig in and push through.

If you still have doubts after reading this post, message me. Or check out the usual link.

Just finish the workout. Finish the workout and aim to push pause one less time next week. Baby steps, friends. You got this.