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 2, Day 27: Booty (aka Now the Fun Begins)

At last! A new workout scheme and regime to blog about!

Gone are the days when you could do your Booty workout from the comfort of your own home with nothing but your resistance loops and sweat for comfort. In the Phase 2 Booty workouts, you get to add in weights WITH the loops and you spend nowhere near as much time on the floor. Let’s go through the fun stuff.

Phase 2 has four series with three exercises each. Here’s how they shake out:

Series 1, Standing: Squat to Hinge, Curtsy Lunge Lift, Rotating Back Side Lunge.

Series 2, Quad Ped: Heel Press Up on Angle, Single-leg Hamstring Curl, Bear Fire Hydrant.

Series 3, Weighted: Kettlebell swings, Sumo Hinge, Reverse Lunge.

Series 4, Floor Weighted: Single-Leg Bridge, Press Up & Over, Camels.

In Week 1,  you go through all 12 moves for 15 reps each, then go back through and do it all again for 15 reps each (i.e. it’s 2 sets of 15 reps).

Fave Move: Curtsy Lunge Lift (I’m not crazy – more on why this is my fave after the break).

Least fave move: Bear Fire Hydrant (i.e. MY NEW NEMESIS). Here is what bear fire hydrant looks like:

Bear Fire Hydrant
The move is nowhere near as cute as it sounds

I hate this move because it makes everything burn while I wonder the whole time if I’m going to dislocate my elbow. You hold yourself up in bear, then lift your leg up in fire hydrant. Instead of cute peeing animals coming to mind while doing the move, all I can think about is how I want to rip the head off of one of those animals IF ONLY IT WILL STOP THE BURNING.

That said, here’s the one good thing about this move: You can do it. How do I know? Well, in Phase 1, you did bear every week in Cardio Flow. You know you can do those because you did a bazillion (a technical term) of them for the past 4 weeks. And, you know you can do fire hydrants, because you did them every week in AAA, when they sucked way more because you had to slowly bring the leg down for a three count. So what you should be telling yourself when your body starts to shake on the second rep is YOU CAN DO THIS because you have done BOTH moves before for a ton of reps, and now the only thing that has changed is you are doing them together…for half the amount of reps. That should remove any doubt as to your ability to complete the round.

This mindset leads neatly into an explanation for why curtsy lunge lift was my favorite today. Here’s the set-up: You hold the weight in, say, your right hand, at shoulder height; your left leg then reaches back into a curtsy lunge across and behind your right leg; then you straighten up, but instead of bringing your left back to the front, you lift it out to the side like you did with the leg press sides from Phase 1 in Booty.

My first time through 80 Day Obsession, I HATED this move. Hated it with a passion. It felt super awkward and my “lift” was more of a weak kick. To be honest, I expected to feel that weak when I did the move today, and I was prepared to hate every second of the exercise –I knew I could DO it, it’s just that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it.

I was wrong. To my surprise, my left leg went back and across the right without my right knee wobbling over my foot; when I rose up into the side lift, I felt strong and smooth and balanced; I wasn’t limply kicking my foot out, but rather, actually lifting it up in a controlled move.

I got stronger. And suddenly my nemesis wasn’t even an annoyance. It was a victory. I loaded up the weight on curtsy lunges in Phase 1, and double-looped it for those side lifts. I didn’t know it would help when I brought the two moves together this time around, but it did. Which means I wasn’t just doing the moves, I was KILLING them.

See, when I say that “the fun begins” in Phase 1, what I mean is that THIS is when you start to see progress. This is when you start to see how far you’ve come not only in strength and mindset, but also, if you’ve been following the timed nutrition, in physical results. This is when it all starts to come together. You build on the foundational moves you learned in Phase 1, and you add them together to work even more muscles at the same time, thereby torching even more calories in Phase 2. And while the exercises are harder, you also go into them KNOWING they are absolutely do-able. After all, you’ve done them each on their own. Now you’re just doing the moves together. Think about it: You’re essentially getting the two exercises done in half the time. It’s a twofer!

Because we will be doing so many more compound movements, the workouts get a lot more interesting. You will find some of the exercises use loops and weights, or sliders and weights, or even loops and weights AND sliders! For that reason…

PRO TIP #3: CHECK YOUR LOOPS FOR TEARS AND WEAK POINTS BEFORE STARTING EVERY WORKOUT.

Right around this time is when I ordered new loops while going through 80 Day Obsession the first time. Why? Because I found a tiny tear during a pre-workout inspection. With the amount the loops are used in Phase 2, there’s no way that loop would have made it without snapping on me, especially when doing side lunges with the damn things. (Have you seen how far the loop has to stretch when you use the loops for rotating back side lunge? Part of me wants to wear goggles just in case the loop does decide to snap.) Accept it. Even though the loops are high quality (believe me, I’ve tried others, and they are), the program uses them too much and with too much intensity for the loops to last the entire program. If yours do, great. But be prepared and order a new set so that WHEN your loop snaps, or you notice a tear, you can still go on with your workout for the day.

With that PSA out of the way, I do hope today gave you a taste of what’s to come. The moves speed up, get more complicated, and work a lot more muscles at once. But even with this added level of difficulty, the workouts remain the best of that Beachbody trait: Do-able.

If you have any questions after today, message me. Or, if you want to buy more loops, check out the link. Otherwise, kick some ass and enjoy the ride – it’s gonna be a good one.

Phase 1, Day 26: Cardio Flow (aka One Down, Two to Go)

Today I got up at 4 am on a Saturday to get in my Cardio Flow before a road trip with my Dad.

You know you’re obsessed when you’re planning your day around your workout and proceed to pack 80 Day Obsession approved snacks for the road (read: Extra mini peppers and carrots because veggies are usually in short supply when eating out). At this point in the program, you have to be obsessed. You’re in it. You’ve made it this far, you’ve finished a full phase, you might as well keep it going and finish the rest.

So, first, CONGRATULATIONS! You did it! Phase 1 is in the books! Take a moment to recognize what you have accomplished. For the past four weeks, you have worked out according to plan and (hopefully) followed the timed nutrition plan to a T, or as closely are you are able. As someone who has started and stopped many a workout program, I know this is no small feat. Doing something for two days in a row, a week in a row, two weeks in a row, four weeks in a row, is difficult. Especially when it comes to exercise.

Which means if you have made it this far successfully, before embarking on the second phase of this journey, take a moment to reflect. Think about the past month. What worked for you? What didn’t work for you? Was it easier to work out at a particular time of the day? Were there any meals that were super easy to make that you enjoyed?

For me, I ended Phase 1 knowing that working out in the morning was essential to my success. And, in order to get up early before work to make that happen, I had to be in bed by 9:30 pm. In addition, I also ended Phase 1 knowing that I loved the FIXATE turkey sloppy joes and that that they were easy to make.

So, when I started Phase 2, I did so prepared to do what it took to get to bed early to ensure an early workout time, and with a weekly menu that inevitably involved turkey sloppy joes.

HOWEVER, despite my own reflection, there was one crucial error I made prior to starting Phase 2: I did not recalculate my caloric intake.

PRO TIP #34: RECALCULATE YOUR CALORIC INTAKE PRIOR TO STARTING PHASE 2.

If you have been keeping up to date with these posts, then you know that one issue I struggled with for about half the program was not eating enough. For weeks, I was tired in the evening, cranky, starving by 6 pm, and just not very pleasant to be around. Yet despite these warning signs, it didn’t occur to me to bump up my caloric intake because I thought what I was experiencing was just a natural side effect of cutting calories.

WRONG WRONG WRONG.

I wasn’t eating enough. And had I correctly followed the 80 Day Obsession starter guide, I would have realized this at the start of Phase 2 instead of weeks later.

If you read the starter guide, it tells you to recalculate your calories at the start of phases 2 and 3. Why? Because if Phase 1 was about building muscle and stamina, phases 2 and 3 are all about leaning and shredding out. To accomplish those goals, Autumn has put together some killer workouts that work multiple muscle groups at once thereby causing you to burn more calories than you did in Phase 1. Somewhat counter-intuitively for those of us who experienced the heroin chic phase of the 90s, this means you have to eat MORE to lean out, because your body needs more fuel to keep your metabolism high and thus burn more fat. I think. I’m not a nutritionist and I don’t play one on TV.

All I know is that you WILL need to eat more in Phases 2 and 3. Figure out exactly how much more by actually doing the calculations in the starter guide.

That is the best and most important advice I can give you at this juncture: Do the math and adjust your meal plan accordingly.

Other than that, I hope you continue to practice what worked for you in Phase 1. And I also hope you identified what DIDN’T work for you so you hopefully can avoid those problem areas in Phase 2. The next few weeks are going to be TOUGH, but know this: Every move in Phase 2 builds upon a move you already conquered in Phase 1. Which means you should KNOW you can do it. Just like you did in Phase 1, start with a manageable weight and go from there. Don’t try to kill yourself out the gate. Pay attention to your body and your form.

Most of all, enjoy how much stronger you feel. Because you WILL be stronger. And you’re about to get a whole lot stronger and see some real results.

ALSO, when you watch Weekly Obsession this week, Autumn is going to talk about those magical “refeed days.” What exactly those days are will be better explained in several of the upcoming posts. I have my own thoughts on the matter, which I will detail in those posts. All I will say at the moment is the approach I’m going to take to refeed days this time around is a little different from the one advocated by Autumn, mostly because I already did the program and I know what worked (and didn’t work) for me.  I’m going to try and make some adjustments.

But in the meantime, again, enjoy your accomplishment! Reflect on what you did well in Phase 1 and how you’re going to make sure you continue to be successful in Phase 2. Plan your menus and your workout times and continue to kick ass.

At this point, more than anything, I hope you are enjoying the program and are able to see what I got so obsessed. Why I am so obsessed. I hope you are feeling a change not only physically, but mentally. If you are, feel free to share. If you’re not, feel free to let me know. Shoot me a message or an email. Or click on the usual link to connect to more Beachbody stuff.

Shit’s about to get real good, so buckle up!

Phase 1, Day 20: Cardio Flow (aka Just Do It)

I go back and forth on Cardio Flow.

On the one hand, the workout feels mindlessly repetitive and it’s easy to get bored and zone out.

On the other hand, the workout feels mindlessly repetitive and it’s easy to let my body just go through the motions and zone out.

Either way, on Day 20 of Round 2 of 80 Day Obsession, my legs were tired. I was tired. It had been a long week and I was feeling it. I didn’t really want to work out, but I knew I would feel better once I started moving and worked some lactic acid out of my legs. The trick, however, was to get moving in the first place. Because an object in motion…stays in motion.

I’ve previously described Cardio Flow and its zoo full of moves and its rep scheme. Nothing changes in Phase 1. Everything stays the exact same. For reasons explained above, I both curse and love this set-up. By the time Saturday rolls around, I can tell I’ve been working hard all week, and my body is dying for the Sunday rest day. Yet HOW MANY INCHWORMS MUST A WOMAN DO TO EARN A DAY OF REST?!

Also, even though this is not my first rodeo, how is it possible for me to get SO SWEATY doing Cardio Flow? Picture posted below to demonstrate my point.

Flamingoes
A girl’s best friend in the Zoo are the flamingos

I finished today’s workout with drops of sweat littered on the floor. It was everywhere. It was gross. But admittedly, I love that feeling. That sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering something hard before you’ve even had breakfast.

I think that’s the secret behind Cardio flow: After you make it through the workout ONCE, you know you can do it every time. Because like I said, nothing changes. And when you struggle, you know you can keep pushing because you’ve done it before. Just one more rep; just one more jump. It’s not rocket science. It’s the simple act of setting your body in motion by pushing play and then keeping it in motion for the rest of the workout. There’s nothing pretty or earth-shattering. Case in point is me doing my least favorite move: Diamond Jumps.

Diamond Jumps
Nothing pretty here! Just lots of sweat and hard work.

I hate Diamond Jumps. I have done the math and know exactly how many I have to do in this damn workout (36). I count them down. Every time, regardless of how many times I’ve done the workout, my legs burn and I have focus on keeping my knees from knocking together. But every time, I get them done. I finish the workout.

Why?

Because I trust the process.

Because I just posted two photos of myself in nothing but a sports bra and workout shorts for all the world to see, even though these photos can be viewed by the people I work for and against (hello, btw).

Because at this point last year I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing that outfit at the gym, or sharing those photos.

But it’s amazing the changes that can be made in 80 days, both in terms of body composition and confidence. I have read reviews of 80 Day Obsession which complain that Cardio Flow is boring. And to a certain extent, it is. But on the last workout day of the week, when your body is tired and your mind is doubting whether you can make it to the end, Cardio Flow is the perfect way to finish. It reminds you of how much stronger you are since when you started, and it sets you up for success; it gives you a do-able challenge and allows you to plan for the next week on a high note.

More importantly, Cardio Flow fits nicely into the fitness puzzle that is 80 Day Obsession. It can be a rest day or a cardio day, depending on how you feel and how you look at it. At the very least, it’s the sort of workout that begs you to JUST DO IT, even though you are tired and sore and cranky.

I wish I had better words of wisdom to share. All I can say is that being on Day 20 for this second round of 80 Day Obsession feels just as good as it did the first time. And, I feel just as proud. I’m still sticking with my meal plan, though tonight might be a challenge as we are eating out at a different Mexican restaurant for the first time. I’ll share all about the experience tomorrow, including my meal plan set-up for Week 4.

I hope you finished Cardio Flow today and completed Week 3 on a high note. GREAT JOB! This shit isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday and I’ll catch you tomorrow in the same spot.

Link to the usual Beachbody stuff found here.

 

 

 

Phase 1, Day 18: AAA (aka The Strong One)

One round into today’s workout, I realized I was sweating profusely.

And not in a cute glow kind of way.

I mean in a leave a trail of sweat drops behind you as you go to swap out your weights on the rack at the gym and get disgusted looks from the people next to you at what you’re getting on the floor kind of way.

It was that kind of workout day. Which was awesome.

I was sweating hard because I had increased the weight in almost all the exercises, and my body noticed. It responded by getting my heart rate up and making it look like I took a shower in the middle of the gym. I love getting this sort of sweat on without spending an hour on a treadmill, or doing cardio.

To briefly recap AAA: You work the negative. That is, to get technical, you work the “eccentric contraction,” i.e., you load up the muscle while it’s lengthening. For example, in round 3 of AAA, you do hammer curls. You curl the weight up in a one count, then slowly lower the weight back down in a three count. Do this 10 times. Repeat for 3 sets.

If you want a more indepth look at the moves, check out my first blog on the subject.

I like AAA because the workout is so different from any of the others in 80 Day Obsession; really, it’s different from any other workout I’ve done, what with the focus on the negative. It also allows you to play around with the weights. Not sure you started out with a heavy enough weight? Load it up in the second set. Think you went too hard and can’t sustain it through the last set? Lighten it up.

Last week in AAA, I managed to bump up my weights for a few exercises, but only in the last set. So my goal for today’s workout was to start with that heavier weight in the first set to see if I could carry it through.

I made it! I struggled, and my form started to go and in the skull crushers I was worried I was going to drop the weights on my head, but I did it. Probably should have lightened up a little, but not today, Satan.

That said, there was one exercise where I did NOT increase the weight: Bent over rows.

Real talk: My lower back likes to say hi sometimes. Like a, “hey remember me? Don’t go TOO heavy.” My back punctuates this hello with a slight twinge.

Tonight, when I bent over to row with my 25 pound dumbbells, wondering if I should bump up to 27.5s, my lower back spoke up. So, instead of increasing the weight, I tucked my tailbone, sank into my heels, and focused on keeping the obscene arch out of my lower back. Suddenly, for the first time, I felt my glutes AND my back engage, just like Autumn said they should. Go figure. So I stuck with the weight and focused on my form.

My point being that even though I talk about using this week to test your strength and lift heavy, listen to your body. I guarantee that if you have been following this program, you WILL feel stronger. You WILL be able to lift heavier. But if you’re starting to get weird twinges, slow it down and consider lightening up. Don’t sacrifice safety for a higher weight on your tracker sheet (which I hope you’re using btw – I am this time around and it’s a total game changer).

Case in point, the knee plank heel press. Here is my form:

Knee Plank Heel Press
Gotta watch that form.

I’m happy I took the picture so I can see what I was doing, because this was another one of those exercises where I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.

PRO TIP #48: IF IN DOUBT YOU’RE DOING AN EXERCISE CORRECTLY, TAKE A PICTURE OR VIDEO OF YOURSELF DOING THE EXERCISE.

I finally took my own advice, and the picture above tells me I need to tuck my tailbone. If I do that, I know I will feel it more in my ass, which is just as it should be. Ignore my form and that terrible curve in my lower back. Looking at it, you can see why my lower back likes to talk.

So, lesson for the day is to listen to your body. And if you’re not feeling an exercise in the muscle Autumn says you should be working, be proactive and record yourself doing the move. I guarantee that if you do this, you will be able to spot what you’re doing wrong, correct the problem, and then get the most out of the exercise.

I’ll close with a picture of one more move I did where I know now what I need to do to improve my form.

Yay pushups
Almost there, but not quite

I gotta get my head in line with my spine. Once I do that, I will get the most out of this simple move.

Side note: I blame that neck position on the basketball coach I had in high school who would insist that we touch our nose to the floor in pushups. I never had great upper body strength, so what I lacked in strength I made up for with neck extensions. The bad habit has carried over, unfortunately. Now I have to imagine how much stronger I would have been had I done 80 Day Obsession in high school. I guess we’ll never know.

Hope you know how much stronger you’re getting. Get ready to test your newfound strength again tomorrow during Leg Day!

 

 

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!
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,

Katie

 

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.