Phase 3, Day 66: Total Body Core (aka The One with Real Talk From Autumn Calabrese)

Full Disclosure: Last night’s post was so lackluster that I completely forgot this blog was a daily thing until just now.

But, better late than never, right?!

Also full disclosure: Yesterday’s post sucked because I replaced almost all of yesterday’s yellow containers with beer. And then apparently didn’t eat very much. See, here was yesterday’s view:


It was a day at the ballpark courtesy of my boyfriend’s employer. Which means there was LOTS of free stuff. As in free food and free booze.

I love free things, especially at places like ball games where you have to trade your first born child for a Coors Light. Which is why, while I could have chosen to stick to the straight and narrow yesterday and drink only water….I didn’t really want to.

So, I compromised. I ate hot dogs without buns, brought my own veggies (cucumbers and carrots), and snacked lightly on the popcorn and peanuts. I also tried to do a 1:1 ratio with beer to water: One beer was followed immediately by a bottle of water.

The end result was that I had to pee several times throughout the game. And I somehow didn’t eat very much.

Which means that by about 7 pm last night, I was ready to pass out and STARVING. My boyfriend, god of my life, made me a chicken veggie bowl, reminded me to blog, then tucked me in to bed. It was a great day, but not conducive to blogging.

Today, however, very much is.

The scenery changed once again. Today I am in my happy place: Chelan. Here was my gym for today’s workout:


I am proud of this set-up. Perhaps more than any other photo, this one speaks to how much my mindset has changed thanks to 80 Day Obsession.

I cannot tell you how often I packed workout clothes for our trips to Lake Chelan…and then never used them. I’d get here and succumb to the heat and the lake. I’d get a few drinks in me at night then want to sleep in past the opportune morning workout time. The Lake ennui would kick in and obliterate any intention to work out, no matter the streak I was riding when I first pulled into the parking lot.

Today, however, I couldn’t wait to work out. I planned my day and my meals around it. I packed the right clothes.

Part of my excited stemmed from wanting to use my latest workout toy:

Adjustable Weights
Now I literally have a gym in my fingertips and can work out in my car!

These bad boys are amazing, especially in a workout like Total Body Core, where for three sets of 10 reps, doing each series at a time, I was constantly having to change weights. Done and done. Super convenient.

But part of my excitement wasn’t really even just excitement, but just the drive to workout.

That’s still not explaining it right.

You know how you have to wear pants in public? That’s the best I can describe it. I HAD to workout. Just as it isn’t an option to go pants-less in public and remain a law-abiding citizen, it was not an option for me to skip today’s workout just because I was in a different locale.

I am pleased to report I am brainwashed to the point of WANTING to work out. It’s a joy and a challenge to push my body and see what it can do today. It’s also kinda fun to sweat all over the floor and not worry about anybody slipping in it.

PLUS, you do NOT want to miss today’s workout: Autumn gets real about her body and its substantial…augmentations.

As is quite obvious for those of you following along at home, Autumn has had work done: A boob job. I can only imagine she got really into bodybuilding and succumbed to the pressure to look more feminine while also maintaining an insanely low body fat. (Sadly, also reinforcing a body image the rest of us chase that is not totally obtainable without going under the knife, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Today, Autumn admits to having had work done. She talks about how it impacts her ability to perform push-ups; she makes a remark along the lines that she was young when she chose to have the augmentation.

Say what you want about the choice to have this particular surgery, but hot damn Autumn are you my new best friend for your honesty.

There’s a reason this program is inspiring millions of followers and a cult-like devotion: Over 80 days, you really do get to know Autumn and her cast. Sure, there are days where you want to shove them all off a cliff; but then there are others where their stories and groans are all that get you through those modified 1/2 Turkish pushup whatevers, and afterwards all you want to do is invite them all over for a drink to marvel at how you all survived. I mean, what other personal trainer is gonna talk about her own breast augmentation while filming a live workout for repeat use by a fitness conglomerate? That takes balls.

So make sure you press play today. You won’t regret it.

Also, I think I know what workout program I’m doing next. Stay tuned and keep reading my next few posts to find out where my head’s at!

Link to some possible options here. Stay cool mes amigos!

Phase 3, Day 62: Booty (aka The One Where You Don’t Stop Sweating)

There is a condition called hyperhidrosis. It’s street name is excessive sweating.

I know this because I just looked it up to see if I have a problem. Today was one of those days where I finished my workout in a pool of sweat and it wouldn’t stop pouring down my face. I was in a rush to get out of the gym, and for once, I had to change and shower before doing so. I could not, repeat, COULD NOT, take off my leggings; rather, I had to SHUCK them off me with a wet, squelching noise, like one does a wet suit, because they were completely soaked. To top it off, I was able to wring an actual stream of sweat from a different article of clothing.

Now, don’t get me wrong, today’s Booty workout will trigger all the sweat and all the burns. It’s three sets of 10 reps, where you do all the exercises in a row for 10 reps each, then repeat for another 2 rounds.

But I swear I wasn’t sweating this much last week. It’s like we hit summer and a dam broke within my internal controls so that the only way for me to self-cool is to drown in my own sweat.

Which means I spent the majority of the day feeling super dehydrated.

It’s hard to describe. I was drinking a lot of water, but even as I was inhaling fluids, it felt like it simply wasn’t…sticking. Like it was just passing through without being absorbed by my deflated cells. As a result, I was tired, extra sore, and a bit crabby.

I was also STARVING.

All in all, I’m not sure how pleasant I was to be around today. That was not helpful for the trip my boyfriend and I took to Ikea.

But, I turned it around tonight at dinner, when I had a beer. And then a juicy burger with cheese and bacon all wrapped up in lettuce. And thoroughly enjoyed the onion rings served with my boyfriend’s burger.

The fact that it was the beer that well and truly brought me back to life tells me that my body didn’t need water today so much as it did salt and electrolytes. So I made sure I got that and then some.

I share this because that meal was not really fix-approved for 80 Day Obsession. What I should have done was mixed myself up a shake and eaten some sweet potatoes. That would have been the extra clean, extra healthy option.

And I would have resented every moment of it.

Sometimes you just need a big burger and beer to get the nutrients you need. And sometimes it’s not about replacing the nutrients, but simply about ENJOYING a meal out with your SO without worrying about the meal plan.

My body needed tonight. I needed tonight. Which means that instead of kicking myself for going overboard and hating this slightly overly full feeling, I’m not bothered. It was the right meal for me in the moment, and it was the first cheat meal all week.

I savored every moment but now am already looking forward to a good breakfast tomorrow morning of greek yogurt and fruit and some cacao nibs.

I’ll handle Sunday dinner when we get there. Knowing now that I can’t eat eggs without having a reaction has been helping with avoiding those foods which trigger my lack of self-control. If I want to replace those baked goods with the meat sweats, that’s fine with me.

After all, my doctor said I could stand to eat a bit more bacon.

No pics today because I was in a rush to leave the gym, and I actually couldn’t get my phone to work because my fingers were too sweaty immediately following my workout. So check out the usual link if you want a visual, and hit me up if you’re searching for inspo.

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.


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.


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.


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 55: Cardio Core (aka My Body Hurts)

Full disclosure: The full body pain stems not from Cardio Core, but rather from the soccer game I played in immediately after the workout.

Everything hurts right now. I took a header weird so I have a headache. My toenails are too long so my toes hurt. My lower back is sore from God only knows what. Probably throw-ins. Which would explain why my triceps and shoulders are also screaming.

Just about the only thing that feels okay are my fingers, but even they feel sausage-like as they plumb their way across the keys.

Truth be told, Cardio Core was the perfect workout to do before soccer. It got EVERYTHING warm, but without demoralizing me.

It’s the usual set-up: 30 seconds of some sort of jumping, followed by 30 seconds of a high intensity interval training move, such as step-throughs (you know, the move from Cardio Flow? Move #7?); repeat for three rounds, then do an ab exercise. Repeat for approximately 5 rounds, then go back through and do all the ab exercises in a row.

Forgive me, but I’m not gonna bother with naming the jumping and HIIT exercises. Just know that they are leg focused, but NOT as hard as it was in Round 2. That is, there’s no mountain climbers on the ground or high knees jump rope.

Even the ab exercises feel a little bit easier, though this is probably because every ab move is one you have done before. There’s the bottom leg swing-through on the sliders; there’s the mountain climbers with loops around the feet; there’s the circle over teasers with a french twist. And then there’s this lovely move. I don’t know it’s name; I only know the sound of the whimper I make as I try to get my feet above my head:

V Sit-ups?
I’ve come a long way since phase 1!

You do the V-up, then go down and pull your top leg into your chest:

Salute your shorts
Love that my default hand position appears to be THUMBS UP.

Your obliques burn, but not so bad that you want to cry or throw up or quit like you do in the first two Phases.

As a result, even though it’s not easy, you do come away from this workout feeling stronger. Which is probably the whole point. Autumn knows what she’s doing. And she doesn’t want to kill you before Booty day tomorrow, which, from memory, is literally a pain in the ass.

So that’s all for me. I’m going to contemplate taking a second epsom salt bath and scheduling a massage for tomorrow. Self-care, people. Self-care.

Here’s to finishing out Week 1 of Phase 3! Almost there!

Link to the Beachbody goods. Love!

Phase 3, Day 53: Legs (aka STILL SWEATING)

I don’t remember sweating this much my first time through Phase 3 of 80 Day Obsession.

Maybe it’s because the outside temperature barely got above freezing during that time period. Maybe it’s because I was wearing leggings which absorbed all the sweat so I didn’t notice. Either way, I’m hot and noticing now.

The dam continues to break on Day 53 as we get into Leg Day. Lots going on, and lots of tips, so let’s get crackin’.

This time, there are four series in Leg Day, comprised of three exercises each. In each series, the first exercise is done with weights on the sliders; the second exercise is some form of jumping with weights; and the third exercise is done “only” with weights. Here’s how it breaks down:

SERIES 1: Side-to-side squat, alt. weighted squat jump, figure 4 squat.

SERIES 2: Slider side lunge, half skater lunge jump, low rocking side lunge.

SERIES 3: Slide front diagonal lunge, split squat jump, Buddha squat.

SERIES 4: Sumo double slide in, sumo cross jump, goblet sumo squat.

FAVORITE MOVE: Figure 4 squat.

LEAST FAVORITE MOVE: Sumo cross jump.

Some of these moves are familiar, or you can figure out what they are from the title. Side-to-side squat, for example, is done with toes on the sliders and a single weight at your chest. Keeping your toes pointed straight ahead, you drop into a squat, then slide your left foot out to just past the width of your shoulders; while staying in the squat, you slide your right foot together to your left; then slide your right foot out to just past the width of your shoulders, stay in your squat, and slide your left foot together to your right. 16 reps in Week 1 of Phase 3.

Some moves are unfamiliar, but not in a bad way. My fave, the figure 4 squat, for example, is new, but a welcome change. Here’s what it looks like:

Figure 4 Squat
How long can you go.

I like this exercise because of the stretch you will get in the leg that is crossed over your supporting leg. I will add that it is normal to wonder if you are getting low enough to make the exercise count. So long as you can feel the burn in your supporting leg by the 10th rep, then yes, you are getting low enough. If you’re not getting that burn, consider loading up with a bit more weight. BUT, before you do, consider the all important pro tip below.


This is a tricky one to follow because you have just spent the first two Phases building up your weight. Shouldn’t you be lunging with at least what you handled in Leg Day at the end of Phase 2?

In a word, NO. Phase 3 is all about shredding out, and as Autumn explains, you need slightly lighter weights to do that. This is especially true on all the jumping moves, as the focus should be on getting lower and jumping higher, not necessarily on using the heaviest weight possible.

Still, it’s hard to resist the urge to test yourself. As always, listen to your body and go from there.

BUT, PLEASE, heed this next pro tip above all else.


If you scoff at my advice to start light with the weight, please at least follow it for this ONE exercise. The reason being is that low rocking side lunge puts a slow burn on your lower back if you’re not careful, and if your weight is too heavy, you could hurt yourself just from standing up.

Here’s what low rocking side lunge looks like:

low rocking side lunge
look up!

From that position, you then rock back to the middle, then out over the other leg. You NEVER come up from that low hinge, which means your lower back is engaged whether you like it or not.

For me, I didn’t realize how hard my body was working to protect my lower back until I realized I was working my ABS; that is, by rep 11, my abs were tired from being held tight to protect my lower back. Had I been lifting anything heavier than 15s, I probably would have hurt myself. As it is, I don’t plan to increase the weight for this exercise to anything more than 20 pound dumbbells, and even that might be pushing it.

To give you an idea of what my weights looked like, I pretty much stuck with 15 pound dumbbells for ALL exercises, which the exception of the sumo double slide in (I did 20 pounds instead), and goblet sumo squat (22.5 pounds). This was probably a bit too heavy for the jumps, but I was able to complete them all with good form so I think I started at about the right place.


This one is self-explanatory. Don’t be THAT GIRL who doesn’t clean up after herself at the gym. At least my shirt caught most of my mess!

Gray is not a good color for me right now.

Which leads into my last pro tip.


Last night, I blogged about the insane amount of sweat I generated doing Cardio Flow. After that workout, I downed two 24 ounce water bottles, three cups of herbal tea, and another 16 oz cup of water. This was on TOP of the water I’d already consumed during the day before my workout.

Even with this excess water intake, I woke up down more than pound and a half. I would be ecstatic but for the fact I know that “weight loss” was really just water loss, and that despite my best efforts, my body still needs to replenish fluids. I know this because of the…color, and….timing…of certain…..bodily functions throughout the day.

And, after the performance my sweat glands put in this morning at the gym, I am again pounding water and tea to make sure I stay hydrated.

Again, if you are sweating a good deal more than normal in Phase 3, you need to make sure you are drinking more water. Your body (and its functions) will thank you.

Well, that’s me for the night. Hope you found this helpful and that you’re loving Phase 3. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love how much stronger I feel, but I hate some of the moves. BUT, I have to add that I do love how quickly the exercises seem to go. So far, the workouts in Phase 3 seem to be the best laid out in that they flow nicely from one to another so you don’t spend the whole time thinking you have another set to complete.

Of course, I say that now. Tomorrow, we have stupid modified 1/2 Turkish push-up, so I’m sure I’ll change my tune. Watch the video in advance for a sneak peek of what I’m talking about.

Or, message or email me for further deets. The usual goods found at the usual link.

Rest up! Tomorrow’s gonna be a doozy.

Phase 3, Day 52: Cardio Flow (aka The One Where You Look Like You Just Climbed Out of a Pool)

So, I lied.

Yesterday’s blog post, I told you today’s Cardio Flow would be better than it was in the past because you wouldn’t have to build the exercises one on top of each other. Rather, you would just go straight through all the exercises for as many reps as you can in the allotted time, which totals about 8-10 rounds.

I got the 8 rounds right and everything else completely wrong.

For Phase 3, Autumn takes the zoo back to four reps for each exercise. But you still build one exercise on top of the other until you’ve built up to all 10 exercises. THEN, instead of doing an additional two rounds…you do an additional EIGHT. Yes. EIGHT ROUNDS.

The reason I misremembered this is because, like child birth, I’m pretty sure I blocked it out. Or rather, doing it the first time through just never registered with me. You can absolutely zone out and disassociate doing this workout. And then you look up and you’re on Round 7 of 8 and you have no idea where the time has gone. Pretty sure that’s what I did last time. I don’t remember doing this set-up because I didn’t remember doing the set-up the FIRST time around, which is pretty much the only way to survive. You have to focus on the moment, forget how many rounds you have left, and just know that at the very least, you are capable of accomplishing four reps of each exercise because that’s what you did all the way through Phase 1.

Regardless, even that strategy won’t stop you from sweating.

Buckets of sweat that go flying with each diamond jump; rivers of sweat that course down your legs and soak your socks and shoes; a thin sheen of sweat that coats your entire body and attracts blades of grass like kids to pointy objects. Here’s me in the aftermath of all this sweating:

All the sweat.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED. My socks are squishing in my shoes and I can’t feel my face and yes that’s grass on my forehead.

Now, was part of this sweating due to working out in the balmy PNW heat we’re enjoying on the cusp of summer? Absolutely. But part of it is also just me.

I’m a sweater. Always have been. And this workout reminded me of that and also of the pure volume of sweat I can produce when pushed, especially in the heat.

In case you also produced an obscene amount of sweat during this workout, here’s an anecdote to make you feel better about yourself.

Two weeks after graduating from college, my best friend and I hopped on a plane to New Zealand for a 15 day excursion around the North Island. At the end of those 15 days, my best friend left, as scheduled, and I stayed….for two and a half years. During that time, I joined a basketball team (old habits die hard) which eventually had the honor of traveling to Fiji to play their National Team to help them prepare for the 2008 summer Olympics.

The Fiji that we visited, the main island of Suva, was NOT what one pictures when summoning pristine images of the island nation. While the people were amazing and their hospitality unbeatable, the infrastructure was solidly third world, and it extended to their basketball gym.

At some point in the last 30 years, the gym had been brand new, and probably had air conditioning that worked. But by the time we arrived in early 2008, neither was true. The “air conditioning” was simply leaving all doors open to the 90 degree heat with 100% humidity and hoping for the best. As a result, the gym floor had warped. There were dead spots in the floor that made dribbling impossible. The basketball went down…and did not come back up.

But the heat…I’m from the Pacific Northwest. And while I love me some heat, I’m not built for humidity. I’ll overheat like a Husky in Hawaii. Which means that during our practices in Fiji, I didn’t sweat. I melted. I wore spandex shorts under my mesh basketball shorts. I sweated so much that I not only sweated through my spandex shorts, but also through my mesh shorts. And when I say “sweated through,” I mean that after our two hour practice, I was able to wring sweat out of BOTH sets of shorts. To this day, I have yet to participate in another activity that had me wringing sweat out of my BOTTOM wear; sports bra, yes. But shorts? F no.

Until today. Today came close. Had the workout lasted for a full hour, I likely would have approached the sweat level experienced in Fiji.

As it was, I was so sweaty, that at the end of the workout, on my walk back to my apartment, I passed a group of millennials who, upon checking out my wet appearance, started asking one another, “Is there a pool around here?”

No. No there is no pool. There is just Cardio Flow.

So now I’m hydrating with copious amounts of turmeric tea and water, all so I can get my muscles ready for the quick turn-around time that will be Leg Day in less than 12 hours. Wish me luck.

Link here for Beachbody shenanigans, including towels.  May your sweat run hot and your water stay cold.

Good luck!


Phase 2, Day 49: AAA (aka The One Where You Hate Autumn)

I have nothing good to say about this workout other than I did it.

It’s long: 62 minutes to be exact.

It’s hard: I was constantly lightening up my weights in the middle of the single-tempo set because my shoulders were about to give out (always the shoulders).

It’s not fun: I effing hate the plank kickbacks.

It’s the perfect storm of terror that has you cursing Autumn’s name by the end of it.

And maybe because it’s Friday and I was tired from the long week and knew I had to go play soccer right after the workout I wasn’t my usual positive can-do self. But this time after the workout, I didn’t have that sweet sweet sense of accomplishment that normally floods my veins. I just wanted to cry that it was over and get the hell out of the gym.

While this workout feels like an adventure at the beginning Phase 2, by Week 4, it’s just a slog. It’s two sets of 15 where you go through each series twice for 15 reps before moving on to the next series. BUT, this time, instead of only doing one rep of single-tempo burnouts, there’s a burnout round after every three-count exercise.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this previous post for more info.

As with a few other workouts, I found this one slightly demoralizing. Yes, I did it. And yes, I was stronger on a few of the exercises. But I didn’t FEEL strong. My arms were shaking and I wasn’t able to power through with the same set of weights and I felt so weak on the sliders.

I share this because this is my second time through 80 Day Obsession. And for whatever reason, this shit doesn’t get easier. It feels just as hard now as it did the first time around. I suppose, then, that the only thing I have going for me is I KNOW I can do it at this point, because I did it before. That mental certainty is sometimes all that keeps me going as I grit my teeth and hold back the tears and eke out another rep.

Which is all to say, if you felt the same way today, you’re not alone. It’s normal to hate Autumn for causing you to faceplant after you arm gives out in the weighted plank kickbacks. It’s completely acceptable to swear up a storm when you’re f-ing triple loops roll down your legs during the scissor kicks in the third series BECAUSE THAT EXERCISE JUST DOESN’T WORK WELL WITH LOOPS. It’s cool to draw dirty looks because you are squirreling away all the free weights in your small sweaty corner of the gym.

Just go with it. And when you feel like you can’t take it anymore, step outside yourself and look at the workout as a means to an end. That’s what I ended up doing tonight. My workout went from being me doing 80 Day Obsession, to me looking at it as a super good warmup before tonight’s soccer match:


At least I felt strong and smooth while running. Which at the very least, tells me AAA did the job and ended up being worth the pain and struggle. It got my muscles and joints all lubed up so I hopefully didn’t pull anything.

Hang in there. You’ve made it this far and we are about to get to the fun stuff in Phase 3, where we tackle even more complex moves but with slightly lighter weights. You’ll do stuff you haven’t seen, stuff that you’ll love, and stuff that I swear will make you hate Autumn just a little bit more. Even as you begrudgingly thank her for whipping your ass into shape.

Day 50 tomorrow. If you’re in need of more loops, check out the usual link. Otherwise, catch you on the flip side for another day at the zoo.