Phase 3, Day 64: Cardio Flow (aka Screw the Video, Pump Up the Music)

PRO TIP #12: When fighting the drudgery that is Cardio Flow, swap the workout video for some great music and hit play.

I don’t know why it took me 144 days to figure this one out. By now, you know that Cardio Flow is my least favorite workout, especially in Phase 3. It seems to take forever and it’s boring. I also have a tendency to zone out and lose count, which is a pain in the ass.

But here’s the thing: We’re in the 11th week of this shit; you know the workout. You know that it’s four reps of each move and you have to build one on top of the other until you get to the frogs-to-mules, when you do everything altogether for another eight rounds. Even if you have trouble counting, like I sometimes do, you don’t need the video to tell you how to do the workout. You just have to keep track of the reps and the rounds.

So today I swapped Autumn and her workout cast for some workout tunes on Pandora…and life instantly got better. Whereas last week I hit a literal wall, this week I was pushing myself to finish a round before a song finished. While I still had to take a mini-break after four rounds of all the exercises, that’s way better than what I did last week, when I was requiring a break every two rounds.

All in all, I felt stronger. More importantly, I wasn’t bored. And, I was motivated to not only finish the workout, but kill the workout.

I’m proud to say I did. Check out this form:

Mule to Frog
Maybe the best Mule to Frog I’ve ever done, and I got it on tape!

I even got some hang time.

As you can see, if last week was the perfect storm for almost failing, this week was the perfect recipe for success: Blue skies, great tunes, and soft grass that didn’t leave me with blisters.

Your take-away: There are ways to spice up 80 Day Obsession, even when you’ve done everything more than once.

Pretty sure I can’t say much more given the above. That pic alone is worth a thousand words.

Enjoy the Fourth of July, and good luck managing the beer and BBQs while sticking to the timed nutrition! I’m heading to a Mariners game where my boyfriend’s employer has rented out Edgar’s Cantina and guaranteed each attendee two drink tickets. I’m still deciding how to structure my eating, and am coming close to settling on making two yellows tomorrow…two beers. Though I’m waiting to make it a game time decision as I’m not really looking to drink at the moment. Not like I’m avoiding it, but I just don’t need to do it to have a good time, and I feel pretty damn good when I don’t.

So tomorrow will be a good example of working the 80 Day Obsession meal plan into real life. Really, if I can avoid the excess sugar and garlic fries, it’ll be a win. I’ll keep you posted.

Link to the usual goods. Happy 4th!

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 58: Cardio Flow (aka The One Where You Reach For Fifth Gear and Get….Nothing)

I effing hate this workout.

I hate the build-up of exercises. I hate diamond jumps. I hate mules to frogs because I feel so damn uncoordinated doing them and like I’m water-boarding myself with all the sweat.

I can’t really even zone out during this workout because I have to keep track of the count.

The only thing I like about this workout is FINISHING it. That feels damn good….until I remember I have to do it again a week from now.

So, this morning I dragged myself out of bed and to the gym at 6 am, even though I had just worked out at 8 pm the night before. That’s not even a 12-hour break, people, and I was running on less than six hours’ sleep.

So I had that going for me. I was already unmotivated to do the workout, and I was tired.

It was the perfect storm.

I got all the way through building up the exercises. Then I made it through the first of the eight rounds and gave myself a two-second towel break so I could see.

I started the second round, and by the time I got to spider push-ups, something was off. Not like something was wrong, but it was as though my arms stopped working. I lurched my way through four reps, then stood up for diamond jumps.

At that point, I had a semi-out-of-body experience. I knew I had to do a diamond jump; I knew how to do a diamond jump; I knew the effort required and how low I wanted to get and how high I wanted to spring; but in that moment, it was as though my body simply went, “NOPE. Dial that shit back about six inches.”

The best I can describe it, it was like standing on an open air elevator platform being lowered slowly into the earth, and looking up and seeing my Stamina standing on the edge of the pit, smiling and waving cheerfully as I sink into the darkness. In that moment, my stamina said goodbye.

And suddenly I realized I wasn’t just sweating, I was DROWNING in sweat. I couldn’t breathe. My heart was beating too fast. I managed to somehow limp through the remaining diamond jumps and take a few deep breaths doing flamingos; but the sense of drowning returned full-force in mules to frogs when it felt as though the sweat was flooding my nose and mouth and blocking my ability to inhale.

In essence, I was on the verge of losing my shit.

I somehow got through the round, hit “pause,” and took a moment to calm the fuck down. I wiped the sweat from my face and drank some water. I hit “play,” but then immediately hit “pause” again. The thought of having to go another six rounds in a row had my heart racing. I don’t know if it was a mental block or my body not being fully recovered from the night before or a heady combo of the two, but suffice it to say, I didn’t have it. I was missing that GRIT that usually had me gutting it out through the most difficult reps at the end of the workout. Instead, I felt tired and worn down and a little hopeless, to be honest.

So I made myself a deal. I didn’t have six rounds left; I just had two rounds. I’d do two rounds in a row without a break, then hit the “30 second repeat” button on my phone to give myself a 30-second towel and water break. I’d get 30 seconds to gather myself and my strength. Did it somewhat cut against the gist of the workout, which is to do it all without stopping? Yes. But I wasn’t really stopping. I was just taking extended pauses. And I wasn’t quitting.

By breaking it down into sets of two, I got that shit done. It wasn’t perfect, and it certainly wasn’t pretty, but apparently that’s all my body could handle today. I just didn’t have it.

I could be beating myself up right now, angry that I didn’t complete the workout the way Autumn intended, bummed that I didn’t make the most of this morning’s opportunity to take a step towards that fabled six-pack.

But I’m not. More than anything, I’m focused on the fact that I need more sleep. I need to be in bed within the hour, and I need to get some much needed Zzzzzzzs so my body can repair.

That’s just how it goes. Today wasn’t a good day. I can’t win them all. But I can make sure I don’t quit. I didn’t quit. Which means I’m quietly celebrating completing Day 58 for the second time in this 80 Day Obsession journey. I’m relishing the fact that this is the best workout streak I’ve ever had. And I’m already planning on kicking ass in tomorrow’s workout to make up for today.

Some days, you’ll reach for fifth gear and find you can barely get into third. That’s normal. But don’t let it become the norm. Accept it for the day, roll with the punches, and move on to the next workout. Be nice to yourself about it. Figure out what went wrong and address the issue. Get more sleep or get back on the eating plan or drink more water. There’s always SOMEthing.

Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged and quit. Because that’s so much harder to come back from than a quick towel and water break.

I hope you read this and know the struggle is real. I couldn’t feel my quads in the duck walks, pictured below:

Duck Walk
I’m in a tiny house and it sucks.

I had no idea how close my knee was to the ground. As far as I could tell, I was barely getting down there; I had no body-mind connection today.

Turns out, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Which is my last point: Even when it feels terrible and you can’t get low or push through that extra rep, things aren’t as bad as you think. Guaranteed.

So take a moment, wipe off that sweat, take a drink of water, then finish the workout in whatever way you can that day. It’ll get better.

Looking for inspo? Link to Beachbody here.

I’m off to bed to gear up for Leg Day tomorrow. It’s gonna be good.