PEAK WEEK, Day 78: Total Body Core from Phase 3 (aka The One You Just Did)

The only saving grace for today’s workout is the rep scheme: Two sets of 15 reps, where you do ALL the exercises in a row, then go back through and do them all again. This doesn’t make the workout feel shorter, but it at least makes it feel more do-able.

The other saving grace is today is the LAST time you will do the 1/2 modified Turkish get-up to a push-up move from hell. Put that on your list of things to celebrate on Day 80 (after your workout, of course).

I would lay out today’s moves, but you know them from having just completed Phase 3. There’s not a lot to add other than you’ll probably be a bit more tired, a bit more sore. For whatever reason, my shoulders were knotted in balls of tightness, and it wasn’t until I rolled them out on the foam roller AFTER the workout that it felt like anything got broken up. Which means I did not increase on the surrender to press up move weight-wise, but I DID increase my weight on the 1/2 modified Turkish hell move. THAT one I am proud of, if only because it was the hardest one to finish.

Truth be told, I’m finding this program a whole lot harder to finish this time around. Or rather, I’m simply not as motivated. I know this has a great deal to do with not getting enough sleep: It’s summer and it’s hot and it’s hard to get to bed early when it’s light out until 10 pm. As a result, I get to bed late and then spend the day cranky and tired and I’m probably retaining water and weight more than I normally would. Even though I was on an emotional rollercoaster my first time through 80 Day Obsession, I did a much better job of sticking to my schedule. I had to. It was my anchor, my sanity – the three things I could control at that point were what I ate, when I worked out, and what time I got to bed.

Funny, then, that when I have control back over the other aspects in my life, it is the motivation to workout that slips.

Which is why the below photo is so well-timed.

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Eight years and a lifetime apart.

Eight years ago to the day, I was traveling through Jordan. In the middle of the Wadi Rum, against the jaw-dropping background of red sand and granite, I attempted…some sort of athletic move. It has to be something like a donkey kick. I remember not being able to do it, as evidenced by the photo. But I wasn’t really bothered because I was there for the scenery, not a demonstration of my athletic prowess.

A few weeks ago, I attempted the same move on a grassy knoll at a park in my neighborhood. The result is on the right.

Eight years and 20 pounds separate those two photos. I wouldn’t change my 20s for a thing, but when I look back at the person I was almost a decade ago, I wish I knew some of what I know now about strength and patience and being consistent. I wish there had been an 80 Day Obsession for me to do prior to starting law school, or when I emerged three years later after being beaten down by the Bar. I can’t help but wonder how that might have shaped me.

All I know is I’m not going back. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m stronger than ever. I’m wearing clothes I never dreamed would ever fit me. But more importantly, I’m ready to take on the next phase in my professional life and my personal life. 80 Day Obsession certainly can’t give me a paycheck, but it can remind me that I can do hard things.

After all, if I killed those 1/2 modified turkish get-ups with a heavier weight than last week, what can’t I do?

As always, check out the usual link for Beachbody stuff. And, as always, feel free to email me for with questions or more tips and musings.

Almost there!

Phase 3, Days 72 & 73: Total Body Core and Cardio Core, respectively (aka I pull a Double Day)

The morning after my last post, I awoke nauseous. My stomach churned, my mouth watered, and I seriously considered kicking my boyfriend awake to demand he drag a trash can to my bedside in case I threw up.

If you remember, my last post focused almost exclusively on all the vomit-worthy occasions scattered throughout the Leg Day workout. Unfortunately, it seems the nausea was not limited to the exercise.

Also, I should back up a step. I was nauseous the entire day of my last post. After doing Leg Day in the morning and fighting back the vomit the entire time, I got home at 6:45 pm after a full day of work and crawled into bed, crashing into a deep sleep. I awoke at 8:45 pm, blogged, made myself eat something, and slept for another 12 hours.

Safe to say my body was fighting something. Probably food poisoning from the meats I dragged across the State.

My point being, I didn’t work out yesterday. And while it caused me some anxiety because it threw off my schedule, I know that I was truly not well because my worry was not deeply rooted. Instead of spiraling me into a deep depression that made me doubt whether I would finish this second round of 80 Day Obsession, the missed workout was merely a gnat to be brushed from the shoulder and forgotten in lieu of getting my health back and getting back on schedule.

Which is why I pulled a Double Day today.

Oh Double Days. Where you cram two workouts into a single day and hope for the best.

In college, these Double Days were notorious. They usually hit right at the beginning of the “official” start to basketball season, and then also at Christmas upon return from our 2-3 day break. My coach liked to use Double Days as a “motivator”; after a particularly gruesome loss to University of Nevada at Reno my freshman year, a game which we should have easily won, my coach promised we would return from Christmas break to Double Days, and warned us to not enjoy ourselves too much over the holiday lest we throw up Christmas ham all over the gym floor.

She wasn’t kidding.

I caught a 5 am flight out of Seattle on December 26th so I could make an 11 am practice in Moraga, California later in the day; after three hours on the court, we took a break, ate, lifted some weights…and came back at 7 pm for another 2 hours.

Surprisingly, my team wasn’t very good in college. Fear is simply not that great a motivator when it comes to collegiate athletics.

But I digress.

The point is, I knew today I had to pull a Double Day. Thankfully, I could not have picked two better workouts: Total Body Core and Cardio Core.

Total Body Core this week consists of two sets of 15 reps, where you do each series at a time for the 2 x 15 rep scheme before moving on to the next series.

I will warn you now: You will hear a lot of complaints from the cast both before and during this workout, and these complaints will mirror your own thoughts: Why are there so many GD pushups? Who made up this Turkish get-up move from hell? How the F can we do 15 reps of tricep push-ups after EVERYTHING ELSE in the workout??

I took comfort in these complaints because they told me I was not alone.

That said, the only way I was able to complete this workout is because I was finally able to take my own advice: LIGHTEN UP.

Seriously. Had I gone for broke and tried do lift the same weights I did last week, the workout probably would have been too hard, and I probably would have quit; ESPECIALLY in light of the fact I knew I was gonna have to fit two workouts into the day.

While part of me was disappointed that I was lifting the same weight I did when I started Phase 3, the larger part of me told that little voice to SHUT UP and do what I needed to do to get the job done. Because I just didn’t have it. I could feel it. Even if I had wanted to increase the weights, I’m not sure I could have. Whether I was still fighting the stomach issues or was affected by not eating as much as I normally do the day before, my energy and strength were not at full power. I was operating at about 80%.

Which worked, but not for an increase in weights. Here’s me praying to a higher power mid-workout:

The Day After Sickness
I needed all the help I could get.

Regardless, I got the workout DONE.

Then I went home, showered, packed my meals for the day, and got myself to work.

I left at 5 pm to return home and pack what I needed for the gym AND my soccer game.

Yes. Today was not only a Double Day; today was really a TRIPLE DAY.

I love Cardio Core because you can push yourself to whatever limit you’re at for the day. My limit today was shorter than normal: I had to take a few moments after jumping to clear the air with some burps, otherwise I was gonna throw up my pre-workout meal (I was still fighting some nausea, apparently). But even with those throat-clearing breaths, I still got a great workout. I just did what I needed to do to finish the workout before I had to leave for soccer.

I don’t have many notes to add about Cardio Core because the workout remains unchanged from what you faced in Week 1 of Phase 3. All I will say is that even though it was my second workout of the day, I felt strong enough to start the ab exercises even when Autumn was still pulling up her loops or joking with the cast. I was on a deadline, after all – I had to get to my soccer game on time!

So it was after Cardio Core that I proceeded to Perrigo Field to sweat it out for 90 minutes in the dying of the light with my soccer team.

These summer night on the soccer pitch are what I live for. This is why I signed up in the first place. When it’s 80 degrees out with a slight breeze and the sun lights up the sky until 10 o’clock at night. I live for that shit.

Which is all to say, I felt pretty good playing soccer, if only because I made sure I didn’t stop sweating.

PRO TIP #5: IF EVER YOU STOP SWEATING DURING A WORKOUT, IMMEDIATELY DRINK SOME GATORADE AND A SHIT-TON OF WATER.

I knew the instant I stopped sweating I would be on a one-way ticket to Cramp Town. That’s my tell. When, despite the heat, my body stops producing moisture and my shirt dries. I know at that point that I’m in trouble and am probably about to crash.

Tonight, however, I had the foresight to pack a banana and pick up a Gatorade at the gym. While I’m not a fan of sports drinks, by the time the final whistle blew, I was out of both water and my blue Gatorade…and I was still sweating. Mission accomplished.

Afterwards, I treated myself to a victory beer-and-a-half with my teammates at a local pub, got a burger wrapped in lettuce with a side salad, and then drove home to an epsom salt bath which had been thoughtfully drawn by my better half.

Which is all to say, you CAN do Double Days; you can even do Triple Days. But you have to plan for it. You have to eat right and stay hydrated and schedule your activities accordingly.

But assuming you tick all the boxes, you can get back on track even after a sick day.

For more info on the usual Beachbody shenanigans, check out the link. Otherwise, message me with any questions about Double Days or your own sick days, and how to handle them.

Knowing when to take a day off is tough, especially in the midst of a regimented workout like 80 Day Obsession. But knowing you can keep going, even in the face of something that feels like a huge set-back, is just another part of making this 80 day program a lifestyle.

If you ran into your own obstacles following the program, I hope you conquered them. And if you are having issues, hit me up. You’re not alone.

Yours in Doubles and Triples,

FitLuddy.

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:

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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:

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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 60: Total Body Core (aka The One Where You Realize You’ve Gotten a Lot Better at Tricep Push-Ups)

I work out at a gym.

I don’t know if I’ve told y’all that before, but I do. I realize this is somewhat unusual for a person who is following a Beachbody program, as part of Beachbody’s selling point is you can do the workout from the comfort of your own home. I can’t. I live on the third floor of an apartment building and there just isn’t enough space in our living room to do side lunges/back lunges, and I don’t want to give myself an excuse to not complete a workout because I keep banging my shin on the coffee table (been there, done that). Plus, I know my downstairs neighbors really don’t appreciate the early morning jumping required in a number of the workouts.

So, gym it is. In the weight-lifting area, I collect my weights, grab a mat, and push play. I navigate people jumping rope and idiots who block the weight rack. I go back and forth between the rubber mat of the weight area to the tiled floor of the merchandise area, and ignore the gawkers who spot me on my sliders doing tricep push-up pull-ins in front of the shelves of protein powder:

Tricep push-ups on Sliders
Don’t mind me as I sweat amongst the merchandise.

I share this because today’s Total Body Core workout will pretty much require you to have ALL the weights. Again. I commandeered everything from the 12.5 pound dumbbells, all the way up to the 20s. Yes, I was THAT bitch. And I don’t care.

Today’s workout will leave you with sweat rolling down your ankles and a burn in your shoulders that won’t quit. It’s three sets of 10 reps, where you go through all exercises in a row for 10 reps, then repeat for another 2 rounds. It’s not my favorite set-up, but it gets the job done.

I will say, however, that the 10 reps really gives you the opportunity to measure your strength. That tricep push-up form above? Last week, I could barely do the 15 reps on my toes, and had to drop to my knees for the last few. But this week, I did all 10 on my toes. My back arched perhaps a bit too much, but I still managed to get a lot lower than I could in Phase 1. Even better, my push-up form in the 1/2 Turkish get-up from hell felt stronger, though I cursed Autumn’s name throughout the move.

My goal for next week is to continue this push-up triumph and try the slide-out push-ups on my toes as opposed to on my knees. I’ll keep you posted.

With my push-up notes out of the way, let’s turn to the two pro tips for today’s workout.

PRO TIP #101: If your loops are rolling on V Crunch to Scissor Crunch, you gotta double or triple loop.

I got new loops in the mail yesterday and eagerly put them to use in tonight’s workout. For the first time in awhile, I was able to double-loop with two blues. But to my dismay, I couldn’t get more than 2-3 reps done of V Crunch to Scissor Crunch without the damn things rolling up my thighs. I powered through only by constantly taking a moment to adjust the loops during my crunch up (an extra burn, so not unwelcome). So, in round 2, I added a green loop.

I found that the three loops would slide up my thighs a bit, but weren’t rolling, so they were easier to adjust. Don’t underestimate how much stronger your abs and legs are for this workout. Adjust accordingly.

PRO TIP #67: Clench your butt during Weighted Windmills.

This is one exercise where I’m never sure if I’m doing it right because I don’t do it in front of a mirror (next week, I think I will). On some reps I’ll feel a good contraction in my obliques, but in others I get nothing and I worry I’m kicking my hips out in the typewriter motion Autumn describes and warns against. Tonight, however, Autumn gave a good tip that instantly helped me lock my hips into place and focus in on my abs: Clench your butt. As you are sliding the weight down your leg, clench your butt muscles. This will keep your hips from sliding out, thereby ensuring it’s your obliques doing the work.

The instant I contracted my butt muscles, I finally felt the exercise in all the right places.

So, them’s my tips for the night.

Tomorrow I tackle Cardio Core before my soccer game, and I’m looking forward to getting a good sweat going before taking the field. Now if we could just get this weather to cooperate….

Check out the usual link if you need more loops, and feel free to email me with any questions. Almost done with Week 2 of Phase 3! Only 20 more workouts to go!

Phase 2, Day 47: Total Body Core (aka Don’t Look Ahead)

Prior to Monday’s workout, I made the mistake of looking ahead to what awaited me this week:

59 minutes of Booty;

57 minutes of Cardio Core;

62 minutes of AAA.

As I struggled with weights that got me swole, a little voice in the back of my mind reminded me how much worse the week was going to get when it came to the 57 minutes of Total Body Core.

When I gassed myself during Cardio Core last night, and I came home remarking to my bf how tired my arms were even though the workout involved no direct upper body work, I knew tonight’s workout was going to get me good.

Because I looked ahead, I started today’s Total Body Core with a certain amount of dread. I knew I wasn’t going to be knocking out the workout in a brisk 30 minutes, or hammering out 3 rounds of 10 in a neat 50 minutes.

No.

I was going to have to slog 2 rounds of 15 reps in 57 minutes.

Maybe it was the rep scheme. Maybe it was the fact that I made a point to push myself and up my weights. Maybe it’s that I didn’t get enough sleep last night.

Whatever the case, my upper body was dead by the time I finished the first round of shoulders.

By the time I got to crab position tricep dip to sit through (say that 10 times fast), my arms were shaking and I worried my joints were going to give out and cause me to dislocate an elbow.

Crab Position Tricep Dip to Sit Through
How creepy is this pose? No I’m not possessed. Just workin’ the triceps.

I enjoyed nothing about the above exercise. I hated every second of it and fought back tears. I hate feeling like my arms are so tired I’m on the verge of hurting myself or not finishing the rep (priorities, people).

I also hated every second of foam rolling afterwards, when I still had to use my tri’s to support myself and once again risk dislocation:

Foam Roller.
I’m not pissed. I’m just fighting back tears.

Even as I type this, I am constantly shifting back and forth in my seat to try and get comfortable. I go from shoving my computer as far out in front of me as I can to ensure my forearms rest on the table so I don’t have to support myself, to then giving my forearms a break and pulling my computer back to the edge of the table to let my elbows dangle at my side as I gingerly peck at the keyboard in danger of falling to the ground. My boyfriend is giving me looks like I’m groaning while doing this, too, which is never a good look at a coffee shop.

I just feel….tired. I have energy at work and I think I’m getting enough sleep, but between the increase of weights and the rep scheme, my body is feeling slow to recover and quick to fatigue. I’d like to tell you this is something you will avoid as you journey through 80 Day Obsession, but I think I also felt this way my first time through. You will have been hitting it hard in the gym for two months, with only one rest day in there to refresh your body. Perhaps it’s not surprising that your body feels tired.

Which is why it’s important to not look ahead. Don’t scan through the rest of the workouts to see how long they will take or how hard they will be. You will psych yourself out.

Focus instead on the challenge right in front of you: the Total Body Core workout that begins with just one rep of squat-row-twist-row, which you then follow up with a second rep, then a third, and a fourth, until you’ve knocked out 15. When you find you are struggling with motivation, just focus on the task at hand. Don’t think about getting to the gym. Just focus on pulling your socks on, one by one. Then put on your shoes and lace them up. Boil the movements down to the base fundamentals: One foot in front of the other; one lift at a time. Even though you have 57 minutes to get through, keeping it simple allows you to compartmentalize and think only about what you need to do to get through the current exercise. The next exercise and what you’ll lift and whether you need a mat, all that can wait. All that matters is what’s in front of you. Don’t look ahead. Don’t look back. Focus on being in the moment and on pushing as hard as you can from second to second.

A brief anecdote on this before I sign off for the night. When I was in college, my basketball team would travel within the West Coast Conference to play away games. One such away game was at the University of San Diego. On game day, teams don’t practice beforehand; rather, each team is entitled to exactly one hour on the basketball court for “shoot-around,” where the idea is you walk through the plays you’re going to run, briefly practice defending against what the other team is going to run, and get a lot of shots up so you can get used to the lighting in the gym and the tightness of the rim.

On this particular day, the three freshmen – of which I was one – screwed up. My other freshman roommate and I were late down to the vans to take us to the gym for the shoot-around. Then while everyone was lacing up at the gym, the third freshman made the mistake of making her first shot a half court shot for shits and giggles.

My coach was not impressed. Pissed would have been an understatement.

The instant she saw we all had our shoes and braces on, she blew her whistle and screamed for us to GET ON THE LINE (the four worst words in the English language for a college athlete). She told us we obviously weren’t focused on a shoot-around, so maybe a suicide (described better in this blog post) would get our attention.

So, barely warmed up, we all staggered through the suicide.

The situation went from bad to worse.

“PUT 10 MINUTES ON THE CLOCK,” our Coach ordered an Assistant.

We then ran 10 suicides in 10 minutes, as the precious minutes on our shoot-around ticked by.

The only thing that got me through those 10 suicides was watching a teammate as she ran in front of me, and telling myself that so long as her legs moved, mine would too.

The running became primitive; I focused solely on picking up one foot and putting it in front of the other; right-left-right-left-right-left. I couldn’t focus on there being nine suicides left, or four left, or one left. I knew only the sound of my footsteps on the hardwood floor and the raspiness of my breathing.

I got through that impromptu 10 in 10 because I stopped thinking about the future and focused solely on the present. If you are feeling overwhelmed or tired, I suggest you do the same.

Message me for further thoughts, or check out the usual link for further details.

Put above all, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep pushing play. And I guarantee that this too shall pass.

 

 

Phase 2, Day 41: Total Body Core (aka The One Where You Feel Strong)

My freshman year in college, the conditioning test every player on my Division I basketball team had to pass was the 20 in 20: Run 20 suicides in 20 minutes.

[Suicide: Start on baseline of basketball court and run to free throw line and back; then to half court line and back; then to other free throw line and back; then to the other baseline and back.]

The first 10 suicides, you could run each as slow or as fast as you wanted, so long as each suicide was done in under one minute. After those 10 suicides, i.e., after the 10 minute mark, the next five suicides had to be run in 43 seconds each for post players (me); the last five suicides had to be run in 39 seconds each.

The entire team lined up to do the 20 in 20 together. Not all of us made it through the first 10, even though they were untimed.

But I did. It was a struggle, but I finished those first 10. Barely. The next few sets were a blur. My feet felt laced with quicksand and my muscles burned. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see for the sweat pouring in my eyes. My mind stopped working….and that was only on number 13. No way was I going to make it to 20 if I already felt like death on number 13. No way! Still, I gave it my all for number 14, but didn’t make my time. I missed it by a second and went out.

One of my teammates ran up to me, grabbed me by my sweaty shoulders, and shook me like an angry elf: “HOW COULD YOU GO OUT ON 19??!?!”

I had lost count. I wasn’t on number 13. I was on number 19. I was ONE SUICIDE AWAY FROM FINISHING and being only the second freshman to ever accomplish that feat. I literally gave up RIGHT AT THE FINISH LINE because I couldn’t remember what number I was on. I didn’t finish hard because I didn’t think I could make it, when in reality, if I had only dug a little deeper and held on a little longer, I would have conquered that obstacle.

The bad news is I had to run the 20 in 20 again – every player had to actually make all their times if they wanted to play during the season.

But the good news is I passed with flying colors on my second try. And, more importantly, I learned an important life lesson: KEEP TRACK OF THE COUNT AND NEVER GO OUT ON NUMBER 19.

I tell you this story because I love this week’s set-up for Total Body Core:  It’s easy to keep track of the count. With this week’s rep scheme of three sets of 10 reps, it’s easy to remember how much you’ve done and how much you have left to do. You do the same three exercises for 10 reps each, three times in a row, then move on to the next set of exercises.

Last week, because the workout gets so long, I tended to get lost and forget if I’m on set one or two.

But this week, it’s easy to remember. And I don’t know what it is about not having to think about what set you’re on, but it makes it easier for me to push myself with heavier weights. I think because I can actually remember how the first set felt and adjust accordingly; I can recall whether I really struggled and need to drop a pound or two, or whether it was on the cusp of being easy, so I can add a pound or two.

This week, I was able to add a pound or two. I felt strong. Especially in that first shoulder set, where you go from squat-row-hinges to rotating-lung-to-chest-press to quad-ped-opposite-arm-knee-crunch –all the burnout. Even then, I felt like I had extra power to press that weight above my head, and each time I managed to move quick enough to stay a beat ahead of Autumn and the gang. Plus, it was easier for me to adjust my weights for the reasons explained above.

This Week 3 in the Phases is my suicide number 19: It’s when I push harder and hold out a little longer because I know how close I am to finishing.

That’s what I remind myself during this week: As much as I might not want to do the workout or bump up in weight, I don’t get that option. I already blew that mindset on the 20 in 20 in college. That was my one screw-up, and I remember how it felt. TERRIBLE. I do not want to do that again, so I don’t let myself slack off during this week.

Neither should you. Even though you know you can do three sets of 10 reps for all exercises, push yourself. This is IT. You are past the halfway point on 80 Day Obsession. You should be feeling strong and kicking ass. Look at this steely eyed determination:

Staggered Stance Bicep Curl
Throw a filter on that shit and call me Wonder Woman cuz I feel strong.

Channel whatever you need to to get the job done. For me, it’s hearkening back to that heartbreaking moment in college: I don’t quit on 19. Not ever again.

Don’t let yourself quit on 19, either. You’re doing this for a reason. Remember your why and stick with it.

Besides, you’re more than halfway there. You’ve come this far….why give up now???

Message me for inspo or shits and giggles. And check out the usual link for Beachbody 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.