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 39: Booty (aka I Can’t Feel My Legs)

If you’re wondering whether it’s normal for your legs to go numb during the first round of exercises in Booty this week….

Yes. Yes it is.

This week we enter my favorite rep scheme: Three sets of 10, where you go through each round for  three sets of 10, kill it, then move on to the next round.  This feels like the most efficient set-up to me. You get a good burn on, struggle, and then just when you think you can’t do another rep…move on to the next set of exercises.

The problem, however, is that in that first standing series (described better here), you are going to be a lot stronger. You are going to know you’re a lot stronger because you are going to try all three exercises (squat to hinge, cursty lunge lift, and rotating back side lunge) with a single loop and it will do nothing but roll up your legs to your hips. Like a belt.

Then, you are going to double-loop with a blue and a yellow, and the resistance will be mildly better, but still result in the damn things rolling up mid-thigh.

Then, finally, you’ll try a blue and a green; or better yet, a blue and a blue. And lo and behold, just like Baby Bear’s porridge, it’ll be jussssssst right.

Except the double loops will also proceed to cut into your thighs and slowly strangle the circulation to your legs.

That’s the one not-so-great thing about this workout: Assuming you are double-looping, you will literally lose feeling in your legs in that first set because you keep the loops on the ENTIRE time. And after you stretch those things out for the back side lunges, you’ll be in for some bruises.

Think of it as war paint. That fades over time. Into different shades of green and yellow. Like a putrid sunset. So pretty.

I’m struggling here, in case you can’t tell. I just don’t have much to share about this workout. You get in, get it done, get out. Case closed.

I don’t even have much to say about today’s picture except it looks as though I need to take the strain out of my neck:

img_0447.jpg
RELAX THE NECK

Though I am pleased that the arch in my back is not so bad. I’m getting better!

Look, at the end of the day, this is Week 3. It feels long, and you’ll know the exercises. Maybe it all won’t feel so new and you won’t be as interested or as motivated to finish every rep. Maybe you’ll think you don’t have to bump up in weight because you already did so last week.

Wrong.

This is where you start to make it count. Phases 2 and 3 are where the shredding happens, but only if you push yourself. That means challenging yourself to focus on perfect form. That means challenging yourself with a heavy weight; one that you couldn’t lift for a single rep at the beginning of the program, but which now has you pumping out three sets of frickin 10.

Tomorrow, we are halfway through the program. YOU WILL HAVE MADE IT TO DAY 40. Think about that. When was the last time you worked out for 40 days in a row? When was the last time you stuck to a meal plan for 40 days in a row?

If you did both, what you are seeing in the mirror and how you are feeling will both have you so excited for what’s to come.

It gets so good. I promise.

 

Phase 2, Day 38: Cardio Flow (aka I Hate the Zoo)

I feel like this post-workout photo of me explains it all:

The Aftermath of Cardio Flow
Just Another Day at the Pool. I mean Zoo.

Something about the six reps of each exercise in Cardio Flow releases the sweat like no other. It was POURING off me today. I was thankful for the rubber floor as it meant I didn’t have to worry about slipping on the pools of sweat which formed with every push-up, jump, and flamingo.

I would like to think that every time I do Cardio Flow, I get a little stronger. And I’m sure I do. But nothing about getting stronger translates into the damn workout getting EASIER, which is what I want to happen. Frankly, it’s a little demoralizing to be on Day 38 and feel like you’re still struggling through a workout that hasn’t changed much in six weeks.

Also, as you’re going through today’s video, you’re going to hear Autumn talk about a “tip” for those f-ing diamond jumps: If you jump extra high, your legs get a little bit longer break, which make it just a little easier.

It’s not that Autumn is lying, it’s just that if you’re going through 80 Day Obsession for the first time, I can guarantee that getting EXTRA HIGH on those diamond jumps will be the last thing on your mind. I only just figured out how to do it – i.e. I only just got in good enough shape to jump that extra bit – last week. Realize that when Autumn gives this “tip,” it’s in response to a question/comment from cast member Jazmyne, who is easily in the best shape of the entire group. OF COURSE she can jump extra high her first time through Phase 2. Have you SEEN her abs??

Which brings me to my next point: Pictures. If you are doing this program correctly by committing to the workouts and the timed nutrition plan, you will be seeing results. You will also be growing in confidence. You may not realize it, but you will be growing more confident both mentally, and about your physical appearance. As a result, pictures will get easier to take. That is, instead of being dissatisfied with every photo, you’re going to find yourself in a “one and done” situation: Instead of deleting that first attempt and insisting that multiple snaps be taken “just in case,” you’re going to be pleased with how you look from the get-go.

It wasn’t until I looked back through my own camera roll that I saw this happening. See, when I first started 80 Day Obsession in January 2018, whenever I’d go out and take pics with my boyfriend or friends, there would be multiple clumps of pictures of me in the same pose with the same people. I remember having my phone handed back to me after a photo was taken, reviewing the image, crinkling my nose in disgust, and handing my phone back to the poor passer-by for one more attempt at an IG-worthy post.

But by the end of February 2018, those clumps of photos had decreased substantially. Instead of multiple attempts, there was just one photo per occasion. Even better, when I look back through those photos now….I’m happy with what I see. I’m happy with how I look. And when you see me smiling in those photos, you can tell that in that moment, I was happy with how I looked too.

Life throws you multiple opportunities to feel confident. But if you don’t feel confident about how you look, it’s amazing how that tends to impact every aspect of your life. 80 Day Obsession is the first time in my life where I truly feel confident about how I look, and how strong I am. That, more than anything, is why I became a Beachbody Coach and started this blog. Sure, I dropped inches and pounds during the program. But 80 Day Obsession got me on the road to being my best self. To quote a good friend of mine, I now feel as though I am living my best life.

Which means that even though I had to start the morning off at the zoo, and hate it, I still did it. What’s 38 minutes of sweat compared to feeling confident walking around town in summer clothes?

If you want to know how 80 Day Obsession can help you live your best life, message me. Or check out the link to see what other options there are. But don’t stay stuck. You don’t have to. There are things you can do, programs you can try to get UNSTUCK. I did. And I’m staying unstuck. And I’m loving every minute of it.

Phase 2, Day 37: AAA (aka The One With All The Weights)

I’ll be the first to admit it: I am a gym hypocrite. A big one.

I am the person who gives you death glares when you decide to do your bicep curls RIGHT IN FRONT of the weight rack, thereby making it impossible for others to access the dumbbells. I am the one who will interrupt you mid-lunge to ask if I can “work in” on the set of 20 pounders you haven’t used in the last half hour yet are hoarding in a sweaty corner. I will ask you to move out of the way when you block me from staring at myself in the mirror while shoulder-pressing.

I then turn right around and commit every single gym offense outlined above. And frankly, I don’t give a shit.

In AAA in Phase 2, you can’t care. This is the one that requires ALL THE WEIGHTS, ALL THE TIME. You work too many muscle groups in too short a time to not have a range of dumbbells to cover what you need.

Case in point, my workout area tonight:

AAA
All the Weights.

Just in case you can’t tell, I had out the following dumbbells: 8s, 10s, 12s, 15s, 20s, and 25s. Plus a mat, plus my sliders, tracker sheet, loops, water, towel, and warmup shirt. And I guarded that shit like Smaug did the Arkenstone.

See, AAA in Phase 2 requires quick transitions and a variety of weights. In Week 2, you will do all exercises for 10 reps. As explained last week, the workout includes both the usual contract for 3-count, release in one, followed immediately by an exercise that just does normal lifting. The set-up is what you have seen before: Go all the way through all exercises for 10 reps, then go back to the beginning and do it all again, then go back for a third round, for a total of three sets. The difference this time, however, is that on the very last set, you don’t do the normal single-count exercise; all you do is the lift where you go up for three, down for one (or whatever the case may be).

Which means that the first two rounds of AAA this week crawl like molasses. Autumn knows it too, as do her editors: Watch the video of the workout carefully and you can see where they had to make cuts to try and fit everything into their 60-minute timeframe. You can tell they cut out the cast screw-ups and a lot of the downtime that is otherwise required to swap weights for loops and loops for weights.

As a result, you literally need everything to-hand just to keep up. And even then, it’s real hard to do. Frankly, at one point in the workout, because I was so tired of having to hit pause, I had to fight the urge to chuck my phone across the room in a fit of frustration.

I didn’t. But it was close.

If I have any tips for this workout, it is as follows:

Pro TiP #75: F gym etiquette during Phase 2 AAA.

You’re going to have to fight through some dirty looks and do what you need to do to get the job done. You can’t cut corners on the workout, so sadly, you’ll have to cut corners on gym etiquette.

Don’t feel bad; feel the outline of those abs starting to poke through and let that transformation give you strength. Haters gonna hate anyway. Don’t let it keep you from your workout.

Be unapologetic and do you.

Besides, if they really want those weights, they can politely ask to “work in” and then try to work around your transitions.

That’s all I got. Cardio Flow tomorrow. Ugh.

Hang in there. Huzzah for Fri-yay. Enjoy the weekend!

Link to Beachbody stuff in case you’re interested.

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 35: Total Body Core (aka REFEED DAY)

If you are reading this right now with a splitting sugar headache, you did Refeed Day wrong.

To be fair, it was probably hard to control yourself. Because on this day, this holiest of holy days, when that purveyor of ass and abs, Autumn Calabrese, FINALLY gives you permission to eat chocolate and other high glycemic foods for the scientific purpose of replenishing your glycogen levels after weeks of deprivation, who are you to look a gift horse in the mouth? And yes, I know you are limited to a certain number of the dirty yellows which must be consumed at certain points during the day, but I know firsthand how hard it is to exercise self-control when that first rush of sugar hits the bloodstream. It’s like sharks to chum: Your brain gets a whiff of that shit and all bets are off.

But first you must struggle through Total Body Core. In this second week of Phase 2, you do each exercise for 10 reps; go through all the exercises a row, then repeat two more times for a total of 3 sets. Despite the workout running about an hour in length, you don’t notice the time. You move quickly from one exercise to another and before you know it, you’re going through your last rep.

I think the reason this workout flows so nicely is because of its pacing: You go from an exercise that kills you to one that still hurts, but not as badly. It’s structured to give you a bit more recovery time, even as it works a different muscle group. Here’s me working EVERY muscle group with squat row something something something:

Squat Row etc.
First exercise is also probably the hardest.

Case in point: The above exercise sucks. Your shoulder will burn, your core will burn, your legs will burn. But it is the very FIRST exercise of the workout, which means each time, you have enough energy to power through because you’re either starting fresh (set 1) or coming off a little break (sets 2 and 3). Again, as with most Beachbody workouts, Total Body Core is hard, but do-able.

Now let’s move on to the fun stuff: Refeed Day. My first Refeed Day, I made donut holes and flourless chocolate chickpea brownies. For my “breakfast,” I got to consume TWO dirty yellows, and allocated a single donut hole and brownie to have with my cup of tea.

Donut Holes and Flourless Chocolate Brownies
Who knew chickpeas could taste so good (apologies for the stapler cameo).

My secretary happened to walk in on me consuming these foods and told me the noises I was making were highly inappropriate for the workplace. I did not care.

I enjoyed these donut holes and brownies RESPONSIBLY throughout my first Refeed Day and the two Refeed Days after that. Again, my problem was not necessarily Refeed Day, but prepping for Refeed Day on Sunday, when I’d lick the bowls and taste test my wares. In essence, I got TWO Refeed Days a week, and as a result, I’m pretty sure my results were not as on point as they could be.

Similarly, this second time through 80 Day Obsession, I am not doing the Refeed Days because I spent all weekend consuming dirty yellows at a wedding. While I could chalk that up to failure, I prefer to think of it as replenishing those low glycogen stores…over the weekend….multiple times.

For those of you wondering which dirty yellows are good to try out, check out the food list from the 80 Day Obsession program materials. On page 3 at the bottom, there’s a list of Fixate dessert recipes for Refeed Day. I highly recommend the donut holes and flourless chocolate chickpea brownies. You will need a food processor, and you’re going to doubt the flavor of the brownies because they have CHICKPEAS in them for god’s sake. But so long as you don’t overcook the brownies, they will turn out ooey and gooey and delicious (though be sure to watch Autumn’s Fixate video for the tip on lining the baking dish with greased parchment paper before tipping the batter into the pan).

The donut holes are good too, though beware that the glaze will soak into the finished product. Not that that’s a bad thing, but if you make the holes on Sunday and eat them any later than Wednesday, chances are they could be real soggy and/or about to mold. I would not have kept mine later than Wednesday for that reason.

If you like to cook or bake, use Refeed Day as an excuse to try new recipes. Those brownies are already my go-to for family get-togethers and work parties, if only because I know I can have more than one and not feel too guilty because CHICKPEAS. ‘Nuf said.

Like I said on Saturday, make sure you take note of how you feel after consuming those dirty yellows. Especially take stock prior to and during tomorrow’s Leg Day. Did you have more energy than normal? Did you feel sluggish? Again, depending on how you feel, adjust what you do next time to optimize your results. This is a process. I guarantee you will not get it right the first time. But don’t use that as an excuse to quit or not try again. I WILL participate in Refeed Day next time. And I believe I WILL make either brownies or donut holes. The true test will be keeping myself on a leash while making the damn things.

But hey, progress not perfection, right?

Bon appetit! Usual Link to Beachbody to learn more – especially useful if you want to learn more about Fixate, which you can get through Beachbody On Demand.

Phase 2, Day 34: Cardio Core (aka the Day Before Refeed Day)

Mood today:

Cardio Core done.
Moody AF.

The pic pretty much says it all.

Today wasn’t easy for me. I’m running low on sleep from the holiday weekend, I’m eating cobbled together meals that consist pretty much entirely of chicken breast, cucumbers, and Ezekiel’s Toast, and I keep banging my elbows on shit, like my body is too fatigued to retain any semblance of muscle control.

My alarm went off at 6 am. I rolled over, reset it to 8, and adapted my day to plan for an evening workout.

Pretty much the only thing that got me to the gym was my Energize. It gave me the clean boost of energy that I needed to put one foot in front of the other and press play.

I have nothing new to share about Cardio Core as the workout remains the same from last week. As with previous iterations about Cardio Core, the only thing I like about this workout is it allows me to zone out, push myself, and occasionally fight down the last meal I ate. In other words, I kinda just stare straight ahead, try to do one more rep than last time, and hope for the best.

Besides, the exciting thing about today is not Cardio Core, it’s the fact that this is the DAY BEFORE REFEED DAY! Which I’m not doing this time around. But if you are doing 80 Day Obsession for the first time, you ABSOLUTELY should be doing Refeed Day, if only because you can finally have chocolate and other “dirty yellows.”

To succeed on Refeed Day, you need to have a plan. That is, you need to know what dirty yellows you are going to eat, and when. If you leave this organization to the last minute, you are going to end up scarfing down an entire bag of potato chips and thereby miss the whole point of the replenishing glycogen stuff. My lack of a plan is how I ended up in donut hell, blacking out at mid-day and shoving an entire week’s worth of dirty yellows into a single sitting filled with maple bars.

Okay okay, it wasn’t that bad. But you get the picture. It could have been better.

Regardless, just as with your workouts, monitor how you feel with Refeed Day. Do you find that you feel good? Bad? Indifferent? If you end the day with a searing headache, chances are you overdid it on the sugar (just like me). In which case, change up the dirty yellows next time and go for something cleaner.

But if you somehow hit that magic combo of clean dirty yellows that both satisfies your sweet tooths while not spiking your blood sugar to abnormal heights, then ride that wave, note what you did, and repeat the next time around.

Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to use tomorrow as a free-for-all. There is a time and a place for that, and it is after you finish 80 Day Obsession. It is not in the middle of Phase 2. Think of it this way: Now, at this point in time, you are in the midst of seeing what exactly your body can accomplish when it is fed properly and moved regularly. Don’t you want to see what happens when you maximize your results?

80 Days. That’s all this is. Stick it out for 80 Days and make the most of it. I guarantee if you can stick to this mindset, you will not only be successful during the program, but you will have also instilled a lifestyle change that will carry you on into the foreseeable future.

That’s all I got, I’m afraid. Carry on and enjoy those dirty yellows. And as per usual, check out the link if you want more Beachbody info.